This is a scene I recently wrote that takes place about halfway through the book. The character Meshiah healed her friend’s sister the night before and news has spread throughout the village about the healing. Now, the town has shown up to see if the miracle can be repeated with others in need.

After dressing in a wool skirt and button-down white blouse, Meshiah walked from the back room into the main bakery. The room was full, but no one was talking. Meshiah assumed the place would normally be a bustle of chatting customers and delicious smells, but the hearths had been cold back in the kitchen, and beyond the general smell of flour and day-old bread, there was no fresh scent of developed yeast. Instead, the main large room of the bakery was packed with people, nearly silent, all staring, at her.

A middle-aged woman rushed up to her, tears flowed from her eyes and dropped in front of Meshiah and clasped at the front of her skirts.

“Please milady, please, my daughter. She fell last week and hit her head. She’s just gotten engaged to the miller’s son. They were to be wed in just a month,” she pled. “I can pay whatever is needed. Please.”

Meshiah looked over to where the woman indicated and saw a rather handsome lad of no more than twenty carrying a woman of about the same age. She had long dark hair, but it was pulled back, a thick bandage covering most of her head. The young man had the haunted eyes of a man who had spent too many nights awake in prayer, pleading to a God he wasn’t sure was even there. She looked down again at the woman and reached down to her, lifting her up.

“Will you help her?” the woman asked, meeting Meshiah’s eyes. There was a desperation in that face, haggard desperation. “I heard what you did for Schalk’s sister, and if you can take away the Heat, then you can save my daughter. I know you can.”

Meshiah felt a stab of guilt. Of course, she would want to help, but she looked out at the mass of people, crammed into the little shop. The bay windows looked out into the courtyard of the town hall across the street and the very street itself was packed with people. There had to be thousands. Where had they all come from, and had they been waiting here for her while she slept nearly all day? How could she help so many? She pursed her lips.

“Mrs. Lusion,” she announced and Procty popped around the corner of the counter where she had been standing behind another group of people.

“Yes, milady?” Procty said.

“I am going to need a large cup of coffee, some sort of breakfast bread, an apron, and several people to help me prioritize those in this mass of people who are in the greatest need. I won’t be able to help them all today, but I intend to make a sizable dent,” she said as she unbuttoned the sleeves of her blouse and rolled them up past her elbows.

Procty bounded off towards the back of the shop and Meshiah walked over to the young man who held the injured woman.

“I am going to need your help,” she said, looking to the man’s eyes. There was hope there, but it was distant.

“Okay,” he mumbled.

“No, I mean it. This is going to be hard on you. I am going to use you to heal this woman. It will not be pleasant.”

He looked confused but nodded his head.

“Okay, get ready,” she said and he stiffened his body. “You might want to lay her down on the floor here and sit down beside her.”

He did as instructed. Meshiah bent down and placed her right hand on his shoulder and then her left hand on the girl’s head. Then she began to pull again like she had done the night before, but this time, instead of her general surroundings, she pulled from the man. The warmth flooded into her again until she was nearly bursting with energy. The man fell back, his entire body going limp. People standing nearby gasped and one woman went to try to stop Meshiah, but was held back by others. Meshiah allowed the energy to pour into the woman, and she stirred slightly. The one eye that was still visible under the bandage opened and she blinked several times.

She looked around the room. Faces stared at her, shocked expressions on them all.

“Fire and ashes,” one woman exclaimed. “Has she killed the boy to heal the girl?”

A man who had knelt to the boy shook his head. “No, he’s just sleeping.”

A cheer rose in the room and everyone began talking at once. The woman who had spoken to Meshiah at first had run over and begun hugging the woman, but she now stood up and came over to Meshiah.

“Thank you, milady. Thank you,” she wept, wrapping her arms around Meshiah.


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