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THE MIRACLE

By Lady Sahara

Sinbad and Bryn were walking through the port of Mynara. They were on their way to a meeting with a merchant, for whom they were to organize a shipment of cargo to Basra. The rest of the crew stayed at the dock, making repairs to the Nomad and stocking up on supplies for the voyage. Sinbad had not been to Mynara for a couple years, and he didnít remember the streets that well. Suddenly he realized he and Bryn werenít going the right way. They stopped walking.

"I think weíre in the wrong place," he said.

"Are you sure?" she asked.

Sinbad scratched his head. "I think so," he said, looking around. "Hafeez doesnít live near here, Iím pretty sure of it. This is a different street from what I remember."

"Maybe we should ask around," suggested Bryn. Sinbad agreed. They asked several people and took several different turns, but still got nowhere. Soon they were hopelessly lost. They found themselves on a deserted side-street that made Bryn uneasy.

"Letís get back to the main street, I donít like it here," she said.

"I agree," said Sinbad, looking at the derelict buildings and a few strange characters lurking around. "This sure doesnít look like the most scenic part of town." They hurriedly turned a corner to try to find their way out of the area. Suddenly they were confronted by two men who jumped out of the shadows.

"Well, what have we here?" one of them asked as he blocked their path. He had dark hair and a scruffy beard, and reeked of ale. More than that, he was brandishing a knife.

"Vistors," the other said through a sneer that was missing a couple teeth. "You can see they have no idea where they are."

"Look," said Sinbad firmly, with his hand on his sabre. "We donít want any trouble. Just leave us to our business, and we wonít get in your way." He became aware of the pouch he was carrying on his waist that held his money.

"Youíre on our street," said the man with the gaps in his teeth. "Youíre already in our way."

Bryn was very nervous. The rest of the crew was at the dock, and there was no one else in sight who they could call for help. The few strangers at the end of the street didnít seem to care what was going on.

"Besides," said the first man to Sinbad, his knife flashing in the sun, "weíve taken a liking to that pouch youíre wearing, and to your friend here." He nodded in Brynís direction. "Weíll take both."

"Back off!" said Sinbad. He drew his sabre, and Bryn drew her sword. The men lunged at them.

The one with the beard, though only armed with a knife, was surprisingly swift. He slashed out at Sinbad several times, narrowly missing him, while at the same time avoided the swings of Sinbadís blade.

The other man was backing Bryn into a corner. Years of street fights had made him equally skilled as his friend, and in one swift move, he kicked Brynís sabre from her hand.

"Time to give up, beautiful," he said with a sinister grin. He made ready to grab her.

"No!" she cried. She was threatened and terrified, and suddenly she felt magic awaken inside her. Her eyes fixed on the man and her gaze became emerald green. Bright flashes of light shot at him from her eyes, wounding him in the shoulder and causing him to tumble backwards. He scrambled to his feet bleeding profusely, and scampered off behind a building.

Bryn tried to catch her breath, her heart pounding. Suddenly she heard a cry of pain. She looked up quickly to see that a third man had joined the first while she was distracted. They were attacking Sinbad. In horror, she saw one of them plunge a knife into his chest. He crumpled to the ground, bleeding heavily. The bearded man knelt and quickly ripped the pouch from Sinbadís belt.

"No!" Bryn cried again, scrambling up. She ran towards them, her eyes once again glowing green. The men stood frozen at the eerie sight of her.

"Sheís a witch!" cried the bearded man. He backed away a few feet and began to run, his accomplice following closely behind. Brynís gaze shot at them again as they fled, narrowly missing. They disappeared around a corner but she didnít pursue them. She rushed to Sinbadís side and kneeled beside him.

"Sinbad!" she cried, as she looked at the red gash on his chest. His blood seeped into the dust of the road, forming a small pool that was rapidly increasing in size. From the looks of it, he might have been stabbed in the heart. His eyes were closed, and his breathing was deathly shallow. "Sinbad, can you hear me? Can you hear me?" she said urgently, cupping his handsome face in her hands. His colour was draining away. Bryn could tell that if he wasnít helped soon, he would die. Terror seized her. She looked up frantically to see if there was anyone, anyone at all who could help them. "Help!" she called out, to whoever might be near. But there was no one, not even the strangers who had been nearby earlier.

Tears were filling her eyes. What was she to do? If she left him to get help, someone could harm him in her absence. And being a stranger in the city, would anyone believe her story and come to help? What if she got back too late? On the other hand, if she didnít go, there was no chance he would survive. She had no idea what to do, and confusion clouded her mind.

Then suddenly, it seemed like a tiny voice inside her spoke with an idea. She knew her chances of success were slim to none, but she would try to do what it told her. She would try to heal him with her powers. She wasnít a healer, she had never done anything to lead her to believe she was one. Her powers were never something she could control. But something in her heart told her to try, and try she would.

She took a deep breath and opened his vest. Then she tore open his shirt, exposing the wound. She gasped. It was deep and torn, and blood welled up from it continuously. She knew she didnít have much time. She had no idea how to begin, but decided to do whatever came naturally.

Gently she placed her slim hands over the wound and closed her eyes. Through the wound she could feel a faint but irregular heartbeat. At the same time she could feel warm blood constantly seeping under her fingers. She concentrated and cleared her mind. Then she pictured white light flowing into the wound, sealing it and healing it.

Come on, she said to the powers within her. There was nothing. She continued to visualize, but still nothing came. She began to panic. She tried and tried, but it seemed like nothing would ever happen.

Then finally, just for a moment, she felt a slight tingle in her hands. She closed her mind to everything else and continued to visualize her energy healing the wound. The tingling increased. Behind her closed eyelids she began to see an image of the wound being repaired. She could see it beginning to close, the gash in the flesh beginning to narrow. She didnít dare open her eyes lest it break her concentration.

Soon healing energy was flowing through her like a river, moving out of her and into Sinbad. She could see fibres of muscle rejoining, as though they had never been cut. She could see a torn artery being repaired, and new blood forming to replace that which he had lost. As she continued to concentrate, she also became aware of an odd stinging sensation in her hand. But she wouldnít let go, even as her pain grew greater. Bryn knew that this was the pain Sinbad was feeling, and that she was taking it away from him. She held on as long as she could, until it became nearly unbearable. Only when she couldnít take any more did she finally lift her hands from him and open her eyes. Her vision instantly disappeared, but she knew in her heart that Sinbad had been healed.

She looked down at him. There was blood all over him, but his wound had completely disappeared. He was still quiet and unconscious. Then slowly, he stirred. He opened his eyelids opened and looked up at Bryn. She smiled at him. She was never so happy to see his beautiful, sea-blue gaze, and didnít even think about the magnitude of what she had just accomplished.

"Sinbad, are you alright?" she asked him.

He moaned a little and then sat up a bit on his elbows. "I think so," he said, weakly. "WhatÖwhat happened?"

"One of them tried to stab you," she said, hiding the truth. "But itís alright, nothing really happened. I stopped him before he could do so, all he did was knock you out." She didnít explain, not wanting to give him too much to deal with so soon after his ordeal.

"ButÖ," said Sinbad, looking down at his chest. He was completely puzzled. He inspected himself but could find no wounds, even though he was covered in blood.

"I donít understand, I thought I felt him stab me," he said, confusion furrowing his brow. His strength slowly returned he got up from the ground, still puzzled.

Suddenly his eyes searched Bryn, thinking that she had been wounded saving him, and that it was her blood that was on his body. Then he noticed her hand.

"Bryn, your hand!" cried Sinbad. There was a wound in it that was raw and red, and went straight through. She was losing a lot of blood that dripped to the ground beneath her. Bryn lifted her hand and looked at it. She hadnít even noticed it until now. In an instant she knew that it was identical to the one Sinbad had had; she realized that by healing him, she had simply transferred the wound to herself. Suddenly she felt faint and swayed a little bit as the loss of blood began to affect her. She would have fallen if Sinbad didnít catch her. He gently helped her to sit on the ground.

"By Allah," he said, hastily shredding off a piece of his shirt. He gently took her hand and began to wrap the wound. "Curse them for hurting you," he grumbled, grave concern and anger flashing in his eyes at the same time.

"I guess I took one in the hand," said Bryn, covering the truth again. She let him think that things had happened the way he thought. "But please donít worry, Sinbad, it isnít really that bad."

"Oh no you donít," said Sinbad with friendly sternness, as he secured the makeshift bandage with a knot. "Youíre losing a lot of blood, Bryn, weíve got to get you to Firouz and let him take a look at you."

He helped her to her feet and supported her as they left the deserted street. After a couple wrong turns they made it back to the main street and headed for the docks. When they got aboard the Nomad, Firouz gave Bryn immediate attention. He cleaned and dressed the wound, and prescribed a week of rest for her.

"Poor little thing," said Doubar of Bryn later that afternoon, as he and Sinbad talked about the incident. "Damn those bandits to hell." Like all the crew of the Nomad, he was very protective of Bryn.

"Doubar," said Sinbad, with a puzzled look. "Thereís still something thatís troubling me about the whole thing, something I canít understandÖ."

"Whatís that?"

"Well, Bryn told me that one of the bandits Ďtriedí to stab me. But in the instant before I went down, I couldíve sworn I felt the knife enter my chest. I felt pain."

"What are you talking about?" asked Doubar. "Youíre fine, you werenít hurt. Maybe it was just the blow that knocked you out that youíre remembering."

Sinbad shook his head in confusion. "I know it sounds strange, Doubar, but I know I was wounded. But when I woke up, Bryn was there, and there was blood all over me, but there was no wound." He placed his hand on his chest again, as if reliving the moment.

"But that doesnít make any sense!" said Doubar.

Sinbad scratched his head. "I know, I knowÖbut thereís more. When I was lying there, I remember going unconscious. And I remember at some point seeing a light, and there was a warm feeling in my chest that lasted for a while. Itís something I canít forget."

He paused for a moment. Then an understanding came over him. "Doubar, I thinkÖand I know it sounds strangeÖbut I think Bryn healed me."

Doubarís jaw dropped slightly. "Healed you??" He shook his head We know Bryn has powers, thatís trueÖ.but weíve always known she has practically no control over them. And weíve certainly never known her to be able to heal. How could she heal you?"

Sinbad shook his head. "I donít know, big brother. But I think thatís what happened."

"But what about the wound on her hand? Didnít she get it saving you? Wasnít it her blood all over you?"

Sinbad scratched his head. "Thatís what I thought, but I donít think so now. Itís true I was distracted fighting one of the men at the time, but I donít ever remember hearing her cry out. Youíd expect she would do that if she was hurt that badÖ.the wound goes straight through her palm."

Doubar thought for a while, trying to make sense of it all. "So what are you saying?"

Sinbad looked into his brotherís eyes. "Iím sayingÖI donít think she got that wound in the fight. The blood on me was my own. I think I was wounded, and she took the wound from me. She healed me, and in doing so took the wound on herself." Sinbadís eyes were serious, and Doubar could tell he believed in what he was saying.

Doubar didnít know what to make of it all. "Well, why donít you talk to her?" he suggested. "Itís the only way to know for sure. Perhaps she has begun to discover and control powers she didnít even know she had. Iím sure if it happened the way you think, sheíll tell you. You two donít have any secrets. Maybe she just didnít want to tell you just then." He rested his hand reassuringly on Sinbadís shoulder.

"Aye," said Sinbad, patting his brotherís hand. "As soon as sheís rested a bit, Iíll see her."

Later that evening, Bryn was lying in her bunk, as per Firouzís orders. She was quietly thinking to herself about what had happened. Even now she wouldnít dwell for long on the fact that she had discovered she posessed a miraculous gift, and that there might be even more undiscovered powers within her. All that mattered was that she had saved Sinbad. She had admitted to herself long ago that she loved him, and she would have done anything to save him, even the unlikely and improbable. Suddenly there was a soft knock on the door.

"Come in," Bryn said.

Sinbad peeked in the door. "Do you have time for a visitor?" he asked, with a smile that melted her heart.

"Of course," she said, returning his smile. With her good hand she beckoned him in. He sat next to her on her bunk and looked down at her.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, taking her bandaged hand in his own. "Howís your hand?"

"Itís alright," she replied. "Firouz said itíll mend, though Iíll probably have scars on both sides."

"Bryn," said Sinbad, taking a deep breath in, trying to think of how to say what was on his mind. "Thereís something I wanted to ask you about what happened today."

Bryn looked up at him quietly and waited for him to go on, even though she knew what he was going to say.

"Today," he went on, "you told me the bandits knocked me out. But I remember the knife coming at me, and I remember it going into my chestÖ.I felt it. I remember bleeding."

"I know, Sinbad," said Bryn, lowering her eyes and nodding with admission. "I knowÖI was going to tell you tonight."

Sinbad lifted her chin gently to bring her gaze back to his. "You did something, didnít you Bryn? You healed me?"

She looked up at him. "Yes," she confessed. "I didÖI donít know how I did, Iíve never done it beforeÖbut it worked. When I saw you lying thereÖ." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I was so scared, Sinbad. I was so sure you were going to die - I couldnít let that happen. I had to do something to save you, and something inside of me told me that was what I should do."

"I owe you my life, Bryn. Youíve given me a miracle. Thank you," Sinbad said gratefully, stroking her hair. "But you ended up with the woundÖwhy?"

"I donít know," said Bryn, shaking her head. "I suppose thatís how it worksÖthe wound couldnít just disappear, it had to go somewhere. So it was transferred to me. Iíve also found that I canít heal myself. I tried. It seems I can take a wound or pain from someone, but I canít get rid of it from myself. Once itís on me, it stays."

Sinbad was amazed. He always knew Bryn was special, but now he knew that there might be powers within her that he couldnít even imagine. He felt blessed to even know her, and even more so to carry the feelings in his heart that he had for her. He worried though, that using her new gift might get her seriously hurt.

"Promise me, Bryn," he said, looking into her eyes, "that you wonít use this gift unless itís absolutely necessary. I couldnít bear to lose youÖ." His voice choked with honesty.

Bryn smiled softly. "I promise," she said. But she knew in her heart she would willingly give her life for any member of the Nomad crew, and most of all for him.

Sinbad studied her face. She was a treasure to him. She had literally healed his heart today, and apart from that, in so many other ways he could think of.

"Do you have any idea what you mean to me?" he asked, stroking her hair.

Bryn blushed a little. "MmmÖI think I do," she said softly as she looked up at him. She touched his face with her bandaged hand, and he kissed her fingers lightly.

"Here, maybe this will help," he whispered, and he bent his face to hers. Her heart fluttered. His lips covered hers for a blissful moment that made time stand still. He couldnít know, she thought to herself, how at that moment she felt like the one being given a miracle.

He stayed for some time that evening talking with her until she fell asleep. After that, he went up on deck. It was cool and windy and the sky was alive with twilight colours. He thanked Allah for having Bryn in his life, and for what she had done that day. And as he watched the sun setting on the sea, he knew in his heart that what they shared was the greatest miracle, the most divine gift of all.

THE END