The royal healer straightened her back and wiped the sweat from her brow. She knew the king was watching her from the balcony and she hated to be under such pressure but it went with the job. Today, it was the prince beneath her hands and today he was not cooperating and without that, there was very little chance he would survive.
The king turned on the intercom and asked, “What do you think, healer?”
“I think he’ll likely be dead by this time tomorrow,” she replied. She felt it would be her fate too but one could never tell when it came to Uther.
“I need him to live, Elizabeth. You do what ever you need to, to make that happen.”
“He doesn’t want to live, sir, and his injuries are bad enough where that makes a difference.”
The king left the viewing deck and a few minutes later, he came right into the sterile room with them. “What are you saying, how can he not want to live. Wake him up and let me speak to him.”
“That’s not a good idea, Uther; with him awake he could fight me harder than he is now.”
“I said wake him.”
The healer shook her head and did as she was commanded. When the knight opened his eyes and looked around, she could see the heartbreak deep in them.
“Jake,” called Uther. He leaned closer into the range of vision of the man on the table. “Jake, I need you to live. I need you to tell me what went wrong out there.”
“No,” said Jake “No,” he whispered again and closed his eyes. “No,” he breathed again and turned away. He would have rolled onto his side, showing them his back if he’d been stronger but he lacked the strength to lift his hand and so had to be satisfied with merely rolling his head away from them.
“What are you saying? I need to know and you are the only one who can tell me.” When he got no other response from Jake, Uther turned to the healer for an answer.
“Perhaps he doesn’t want to be the only one to have survived,” she supplied.
“I don’t care about that. As my son, he doesn’t have the luxury to just die because he wants to. You make him live, do you hear me? Do whatever you have to do but you make him live. That is a command of the highest order.”
“What you ask could destroy him,” she warned one last time.
“You make him live, I can’t have him die now,” said the king and left abruptly.
That left her with no choice so she took Jake’s head in her hands and began a hypnotic mantra, “Jake, hear me. Sleep and heal - sleep and heal. Jake, hear my words - sleep and heal - heal . . . .” She kept repeating the command until his no’s turned into a repetition of her words. Only then did she allow him to drift into the sleep that she ordered.