Shanta looked out over the battlefield. She saw it was just littered with dead bodies. As a whole, it was a small portion of those who had fought… but many more had been injured. Many of the injured could walk, and had taken themselves to the medical tents after the battle, and the rest had been picked up by the stretchers. Afterwards, the dead would be buried. This was the sort of agreed upon ceasefire that would happen during a war, proof that both sides could be civil… and yet hadn’t talked out their differences. Perhaps in a week or two they would fight again, and more would die.
Then Shanta noticed something. “There’s another one! Put him on the stretcher.”
The two soldiers carrying the stretcher just exchanged glances. “Isn’t that one dead?”
“Not yet. Hurry up!”
“Well… he might not be dead, but he will be, right? He looks heavy… and he already had a bunch of injuries before the battle, looks like.”
Shanta crossed her arms in front of her. “Someone’s going in that stretcher. It can be him, or it can be you if you don’t PUT HIM ON THE DAMN STRETCHER!”
“Uh… yes sir. Miss healer.” The soldiers looked down at the body- certainly it was a corpse. How were they even going to get this on a stretcher? There were spears sticking out, getting in the way. One of them reached out and-
“Don’t touch those! I can’t have you making the wounds worse. Just… pick up up and keep him on his side. I’ll hold him steady.” Shanta soon found it took a lot more work than she was expecting, “Walk carefully! You’re jostling the spears!” The soldiers grumbled, but walked more slowly. The body was heavy, but if they walked slowly to make Shanta happy, maybe it would take long enough that they wouldn’t have to go out again.
Inside one of the medical tents, Shanta set up a hammock, hanging high. It was a pain to maneuver the injured soldier without hurting him more, but the hammock allowed him to be worked on… somewhat. The first thing she did was look over the body, to make sure he really was alive. He was breathing- just barely, but that was what she had noticed. All over him were wounds, tiny slashes and punctures. Most of those had already started to scab up, though a few larger ones needed stitches. It was a pain to find them through the bandages he was wrapped in, and it was odd that the bandages were already covering the wounds. Shanta wondered where this young man’s armor was. Had someone taken it, presuming he was a corpse? No, that wasn’t right- he couldn’t have gotten the wounds without armor. On the other hand, most of the wounds were shallow enough that he should have had some sort of protective layer, or it made no sense.
With some salves and other medicines in addition to stitching, the bleeding was stopped everywhere- except for the most grievous wounds. Somehow, this soldier had a spear stabbed into him both from the front and the back. They’d both gone past the head, and the one from the back even stuck out the front a little bit. The only good thing about the situation was there was little bleeding going on- externally anyway. The spears nicely kept the blood inside. That said, they couldn’t stay. With some assistance, Shanta started with the easier one- the one that merely penetrated into his guts.
It was an effort to keep most of the blood inside the young man and at the same time stitch him up. Amazingly enough, nothing important was damaged, and his intestines were merely pushed out of the way. The flesh and muscle was torn, but that wasn’t deadly- except for the bleeding.
She’d already given him some blood nourishing and fluid replenishing pills, but quite frankly he’d probably already lost too much blood. Saving him was probably a waste of time… but her stubbornness wouldn’t let her give up. He wasn’t dead, so she could save him. Surely, it was possible.
The shaft of the spears had been carefully sawed shorter, so that the young man could even fit anywhere. That left just enough room to carefully edge the one in his back downward. Shanta didn’t take the whole thing out at once, because that was just asking for blood to get everywhere. First, she retracted it slightly and stitched up the front. That was only a stopgap measure, but her hands worked swiftly.
Finally, he was turned gingerly onto his front, so that gravity wouldn’t be working against her for the next part. The second spear was removed and she set to work. There were so many things that needed fixing, and her hands couldn’t reach inside to do it. The slippery blood didn’t help, and there weren’t any tools that could handle what she needed either. She needed her special needle… and special thread. It was expensive thread that was strong, soft, didn’t have problems when covered in blood… and wouldn’t harm someone by being inside them.
Shanta placed her hands on the young man’s back, and concentrated hard. The small needle shot down into the wound to where she could not see… but could sense. Her hands could not fit, but she had just as much finesse with her fine control of energy. The needle darted and turned, knitting together flesh. Then, a small mental cut and knot to tie off the string. Re-threading the needle was difficult, but Shanta had some practice. The hardest part, however, was the stitching itself. She’d noticed slightly when working on the surface, but this young man had tough skin and muscles. With very sharp needles and strong hands, she had managed it, but each extra bit of energy she had to use for the internal stitching became incredibly obvious. It was like trying to sew tough leather instead of soft tissues.
Once she finished, she considered whether the young man might have died during the surgery… But found him still breathing. The continued bleeding had been a sign as well, but it was also the primary source of her worry. She sighed. It had been exhausting work. Then she blinked as she realized there were still arrows in some of his limbs… well, she could take care of that in the morning, if he was still alive. His signs of life were so small that he probably wouldn’t survive either way.