Sahsha’s Journal Entry: Uncovering My Bruises

It’s been a long night on the battlefield.

So long, in fact, that the Lotus Bath House is now closed. I’m unsure what time they actually stop accepting patrons – at almost one hundred gold per full service, I suppose they aren’t lacking in funds – but at the moment I am sitting on a bench, staring at a closed sign and a darkened interior. I almost feel like the nearby fountain is taunting me; trying to tempt me into the water, knowing I am in need of a good washing.

Though at this point I would prefer the fountain to the river, honestly. I never truly feel clean, even from a fast-running mountain spring. And because I can’t afford room in my bags to stow a towel or a robe or any sort of small comfort, I end up freezing.

Maybe it’s petty of me. I imagine there are other, less reputable bath houses that are still open. But I have no desire to entrust my business, or my body, into the care of another bath house. The Lotus is a luxury I allow myself very rarely, and right now I could use the attentiveness of Salira and Amel, two of the most thorough handmaidens I have ever seen.

On the rare occasion that I treat myself to the full spa service, they ensure I am given all the pampering my coin can buy. They help me undress; handling my robes as though they were cradling newborns. While I settle into my bath, they clean and repair the cloth. Somehow no matter what sort of mess I’ve gotten myself into, my clothing ends up as good as new.

And the bath… Oh, what a divine experience. First they line the large, deep tub with the finest white sheets, silky smooth and a true pleasure to rest your arms against. The normal service grants the patron hot water that’s kept the perfect temperature thanks to an enchantment, but top price buys a bath of milk and softly-scented oils that gently caress the skin. Flower petals dust over the surface, and as I sink into pure bliss, Salira and Amel wash and comb through my hair as if they exist in slow motion, intimate and soothing in the dimly lit room.

It would be utter perfection, if not for the bruises that always litter my body. I consider them a mark of honor, and a reminder that I’ve made it through another day. But my attendants are far too sensitive. Perhaps they spend all day tending the useless women who flit about on ‘diplomatic’ missions of politics; the women for whom a bruise is a rare pox, obtained from the malicious intent of others.

I have tried to explain them, as for the most part I can recall where each and every bruise has come from. And yet every time my underclothes are stripped away, the gasp is just as inevitable as the exclamation that follows. “By the Light!” is a common one, along with the passionate inquiry into just who has hurt me so.
They mean well. I know if they could, they would take the marks away. They can repair my clothing and wash away the dirt and blood that has dried onto my skin, but the bruises only heal with time. Their concern and compassion helps heal my spirit, though, and I wonder some days if that’s not what I most need.

Pulling up the sleeve of my robe, I can see another angry bruise spreading underneath my arm. I can even make out the faintest imprint of a large hand, and instantly recall being grabbed and tossed by a Worgen. It’s a wonder his claws didn’t sink into my flesh, and the bruise reminds me again that I am fortunate to be alive; fortunate to have wit and skill on my side, not to mention the quick thinking that led me to delve into his mind and send him right to a waiting rogue.

No, I don’t wish to erase these marks. They sting, even as they are brushed over by cumbersome fabrics. But I will not flinch. And tomorrow, when the Lotus opens its doors once more, I will remind them and myself that the bruises are nothing; that I will be perfectly fine.

Illustration by Dave Allred

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