Jourd’Umbra, 7th Primera
Ghia was at the bakery visiting Sappho when Jules and the others rode into Harbourtown.
She’d gone to get something to eat, but Laurel had been working, and Sappho and her wife were not in sight.
“Hello,” Ghia said to Laurel politely. Laurel glared at her and walked away. Ghia’s temper flared, but she held it in check as she remembered what Sappho had said about Laurel’s life. She followed the older woman down the length of the counter and tried again.
“Hi. May I buy some food?”
Laurel bared her teeth. “Ye can burn in Tyvian, fer all I’d care.”
After Ghia left for her shift at the clinic, Aro stole back upstairs to Anala and the healer’s shared room.
Anala was napping, but she was over on one side of the large-ish bed, as if making room for him. He smiled, and sat on the edge to take off his boots before crawling in beside his bellica.
Her eyes opened briefly as he settled beside her. She smiled at him. “I’d been hopin’ ye’d join me,” she said softly, and snuggled up to him before dropping back into her sleep.
Aro tucked them in and wrapped his arms around her, happy beyond measure to have her returned to him. Pledging my life to the healer is worth the cost, he thought decisively before joining her in her nap.
Ghia felt indescribably silly. Of course, she knew every woman could expect her moontime around the age of fifteen. Of course, some women got theirs late; some early. Of course, she’d not had hers yet. She’d just never put the thoughts together in her mind, and so had panicked momentarily at the rush of blood from between her legs.
Thank Terra for Anala and Aro, she thought. Otherwise she might have made a true fool of herself.
Truth be told, it was a relief. It certainly explained her cramps of the past tredicem or so, and now she knew without a doubt she was human and able to have children.
Jourd’Muerta, 6th Primera
Anala was immensely grateful to the forward-thinking healer, who had booked a few rooms at the tavern the night before in anticipation of not only Yarrow and company’s arrival, but in anticipation of Anala’s cabin fever at the clinic: one more day there and she would have gone mad.
She had protested quite vocally at being carried by stretcher, however, from clinic to tavern – to no avail, of course. Ghia’s word had been a law that Aro and Dagon would not break. So she’d sat back and sulked, and upon reaching her new room, promptly and viciously paced the length of it several times.
There was an interesting rumour flying around Harbourtown.
He heard it at the tavern while he and his new friends Aro and Dagon sat nursing pints of ale over life stories.
He’d been surprised that Major Aro had apparently changed his tune so quickly – not that he had changed internally, for Healer Ghia had told him to do so and Lares very much doubted that anyone, as submissive as Lares or not, could disobey the opinionated, feisty young woman. It was almost instantaneous – one minute Lares had been walking to the tavern alone, a surly Dagon following this new pariah of Athering, and the next Aro had come up beside him and apologised for his earlier behaviour, asking to be friends.
Anala was surprised, to say the least. Surprised to be alive and back home.
Surprised to have Lares pledge himself as her paxwoman immediately upon her wakening – wasn’t he technically an enemy? Not anymore, she supposed.
Surprised that Ghia and Aro were in town, and that apparently Yarrow and company were arriving shortly thereafter.
Really, incredibly surprised – no, wrong word – shocked, astounded, traumatised – to find the truth of her parentage lay in the royalty of Mt. Voco.
It was well past noon when Ghia was able to take a break. All the patients who had needed moving had been moved, all those whose lives could be salvaged had been saved, and standard healing procedures had been applied to the less serious cases. There was still work to do, of course – A healer’s work is never done – but she figured she could take a break for an hour or so before being needed again.
Among those she’d ministered to personally had been Eorl Gray, who had sustained several serious injuries in the defense of her province. On a younger woman, standard healing practices probably would have done the job. Eorl Gray was no longer a young woman, and her healing had needed Ghia’s special touch. Harbourtown wouldn’t stop needing its Eorl just because the battle was over; so Ghia made the woman a priority.
Upon the former bellica’s waking, Ghia instantly liked the woman although she was quite intimidating. Her eyes had snapped open the second Ghia had healed her, and when she saw she was in the clinic – in bed and resting! – she’d been furious.
“Should she be sleeping, Healer?” Merry asked the young woman who had saved two of his nieces.
Ghia waved her hand. “It’s fine. She won’t slip away from us anymore. Courageous girl,” she added as she leaned over to adjust Mara’s pillows and blankets.
He nodded. “Aye. Mara’d be that. Like ‘er sister.”
“True.” Ghia straightened and smoothed her clothes. “If you’ll excuse me. I have other patients,” she said, smiling graciously, but Merry didn’t hear, as a glinting pendant around the healer’s neck caught his eye. He grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to take a closer look. “Captain Merry?” she said, looking at him perplexedly and with a bit of apprehension.
Mara woke to a feather-light touch on her forehead.
Her eyelids fluttered open to see a woman with fiery red hair smiling down at her. “I was beginning to fear we’d lose you there. How do you feel?”
Mara knit her brows together and considered her dry mouth, aching head, and lack of any memory following Anala’s being brought shipside. “I’d be feeling terrible. Who’re ye? Where’d me sister be? Does she live? What happened? Why does me head hurt so?”
Another day, another crisis, she thought as she made her way to the clinic. At least the tavernkeeper was no trouble.
Before she’d even had a chance to speak, Sebastien had answered her question. “I’d have no problem with whatever ye’d be needing ta be doin, Healer, if’n ye could do one thing for me,” he’d said.
“I’ll do my best,” Ghia said, knowing what he asked already, and hoping that it would be someone who wasn’t too far gone. There were only so many she could bring back from Muerta’s door before she drained her powers.