|Old Friends And New|
|Summary:||Senna runs into a very old friend in the camp, then tends to Gedeon's wound and discovers she may have new friends as well.|
|Lots of tents and pavilions.|
|January 8, 289|
Armed camps are chaotic places, no matter how much order the commanders may try to impose upon them. Tents pop up where they shouldn't be, and nobles are certainly difficult to control. It makes weaving through the camp difficult, but some people have more practice with it than others. Senna has a pot on her hip, the lid tied securely over it and a cloth wrapped around it to keep it from burning her as she moves through the camp, apparently headed toward the Valentin tent.
Camps, armed and organized as they might be, still require amusements to keep men entertained, and to allow those that need blow off some steam to do just that, whether they do it by drink, whore, or some other pursuit. Many it would seem enjoy gambling, and this is just what a group of men off to the side of Senna's trail are wrapped up in just that. She can hear them shouting even before she sees them all bent over their game, near one of the innumerable camp fires, boasts and jests flowing freely.
The scuffle only kicks up as she grows nearer, at least two of the men arguing over some aspect of the game, or a wager, followed swiftly by the sound of fists being thrown, and men shouting them on.
Senna sighs when the game devolves into fighting, trying to step wide around the group. She certainly has more important things to do than get caught up in those sorts of messes. Unfortunately, as she tries to go wide, one of the spectators gets shoved into her path. "Careful!" she snaps, stumbling back and turning a circle to try to keep the contents of her pot from spilling. As it is, a little manages to splash out from where the lid is tied down, creating a wet spot on the side of her skirts. "Dammit. Two days in and you're all- Excuse me," she mutters, trying to shoulder past the man.
She doesn't quite make it past the man before another rolls out from the circle and into sight, quite deftly finding his feet despite the blow he's just taken, crouching as he gathers his bearings. Blood trickles from a split lip that will seem less than handsome on the morrow, but its not for lack of trying. There is a certain grace to the man, more of a body mastered than of courtly training, and when he looks over to apologize to Senna, she surely cannot even after all this time fail to recognize Markus' face. "Pardon, miss, just having a bit of a disagreement with my fri-" before he can finish, or perhaps recognize her himself, he's dragged by a few of the others and propelled back into the brawl, hoping to do better than his first round.
"Watch where you're-!" Senna doesn't finish her sentence, because that face registers in her memory and cuts off her access to words. Her hands go limp on the pot, another bit of the contents spill down her skirts, and it's only the curve of her hip that keeps the whole thing from tumbling to the ground. Stunned, she just sort of looks at the group of men for a long moment.
Senna is moving through the camp - or she was - with her pot on one hip, the lid tied into place to keep the contents from spilled. On her way, though, she's stumbled over a gambling game gone bad and turned to brawl.
There is swearing and shouting and some jeering amongst the men, and at Senna's vantage it's almost impossible to tell what's quite going on. Until, that is, one can hear a loud thump and a mixture of cheers and curses following. "Damn, ya cost me!" one of the spectators nearest Senna shouts, and like most of the rest begin to disperse. A pair of men carry the fallen fellow who doesn't look all that worse for wear; he's thankfully not the man Senna recognize.
Senna scans the faces of the people passing by from the group as it breaks up, looking like she's seen a ghost. She doesn't even notice the second spill, shifting her pot to her other hip and turning a slow circle to see if she missed anyone. After a moment, she shakes her head, rubbing at her eyes. "You needed more sleep, Senna," she murmurs. "You're hallucinating."
"Packs a mean punch, that son of a bitch," Markus can be heard to tell the others, reaching up to rub his chin. "Never seen a man lose a game so poor as- well, shit that's a lie. Here's your share, boys." A few coins can be heard to change hands before the group settles back down about the fire, passing a flask of something or another.
If she's hallucinating, though, she's hearing voices as well. Senna turns quickly at the sound of his voice, trying to track it down…And when she does, she stays right where she is for a long moment, staring hard enough to bore a hole through the man. Only able to see him in profile from where she stands, she moves carefully around the campfire, trying to get a better look.
The hair is a bit longer than she might remember, and of course his frame better filled out, more muscular and toned than it was in their shared youth, but the glint in his eyes, that easy sort of smile… even the way he leans back on one arm, and props the his other elbow on a knee to hold up his drink, it all speaks to what she remembers.
"Markus?" Senna isn't very loud at first, moving a little closer to the group. "Markus." It's a little firmer the second time, her brows lowering into a glare. "You- Markus Ilgrave!" She doesn't quite step into the circle of the campfire, staying just outside with the pot on her hip when she comes to face him.
He doesn't seem to hear her at first, taking his time with the flask before he passes it on to another of his compatriots. It's the second time that he seems to hear, head lifting just a touch. By the time she's speaking his proper name, Markus looks over and asks, "And just who in the hells is ask-" There's a glimmer of recognition there, but he doesn't speak on it, instead he looks back to the men, brushing it off. She's long dead, and no number of drinks and lookalike faces will fix that; he's tried on occasion. But what he sees he can't quite deny, so he's looking back at her before long again, though he says nothing.
"Who do you think?" Senna walks closer, setting her pot down next to the fire before striding the last few steps toward him…Only to draw back her hand for one hell of a slap. Hopefully he's paying attention.
Before she can think to deliver it, Markus is on his feet and reaching for her arm. "A ghost," he swears, although his eyes are searching her features now, now that she is closer, and the throbbing in his head is easing. "You can't…" he insists, though he isn't letting go of her arm, and isn't turning away. "You…" His expression crumples a bit, and he asks, "Sen?"
"Where were you?" Senna doesn't struggle against his grip, staring up at him instead. "The Trident. The tents. I waited as long as I could. I went back to the rendezvous. I asked after you. I thought you were /dead/." She's breathing quickly, staring up into his face as if she's sure looking closely enough to will change it to someone else's.
"How the… I went back to your tent when it was over, I looked everywhere for you Sen…" There's something that lies between apology and anger in his voice. "Everywhere. How in the hells…" Markus ignores the calls from the others at the fire, and darts his eyes to somewhere more private.
"The Naylands," Senna answers, starting to lower the hand in his grip. "They showed up after the battle, they were mostly stable, and they had a young knight in their party who'd managed to fall off on the way and needed a healer. So I went with them. Father was dead, I thought you were dead, almost everything we had was gone. I did what I had to do." She falls silent for a long moment, staring back at him. "Where have you been? What are you doing /here/?"
He lets her arm go once she begins to lower it, heading off towards that less public space as he listens to her explanation. "I took up with a few others that didn't see much left for themselves here, and went back to more familiar territory," Markus remarks, "We took up with the Golden Company." There's some pride in how he says that, having long recalled the shitty conditions they were all forced to endure because his knight and her father could not find a decent job with a decent company. "Got homesick, eventually, and when I heard what was going on here, I stopped fucking around in Riverrun and came to find a lord to take service with."
"The Golden Company?" Senna's brows rise, and once he's released her hand she tries to punch him in the shoulder. "You would get there without me. Hold on." She moves away just long enough to retrieve her pot - watching him over her shoulder the whole way - before following him to one of the spaces between tents, still trying to take in every detail of his appearance. "Who'd you sign on with? I hope they at least gave you decent rates."
He snorts. "If you'd not fucking run off at the Trident…" he begins, but quiets as he holds on and waits for her to retrieve the pot. Markus sits down on an upturned log, leaving one across from him for Senna to sit on. "I was late in arriving at Stonebridge, this whole mess caught me unawares. So I didn't have a lot of choice, and I signed with Lord Anders of Flint's Finger. Calls himself a Ser, even though he's no damned knight." He smirks. "Not that I care too much for the Seven or what have you, but if the likes of Eddard-fucking-Stark aren't knights, this Northman has no right." He shrugs a shoulder. "But it pays, so it'll do for now." His brow climbs. "What are you doing in the camps? You're not…" He frowns a touch, and doesn't quite ask if she's somehow found herself relegated to the rather unworthy place of camp follower. "You said something about the Naylands, right?"
"Naylands," Senna repeats at the unasked question, settling the pot on her lap. "I followed them back to Hag's Mire after the Trident, and I've been with them ever since. They're a rather poisonous lot, but they take care of their own, and they usually avoid doing anything stupid, which suits me fine. I came because there are only a few maesters in the camp, though. The wounded from the assault on Stonebridge were mostly recovered, and it seemed likely there'd be more here. I've got one, at least," she sighs, motioning to the pot. "I'm not sure if I got it clean enough, though."
He nods at that, seeming relieved she's found reasonable service. "I fought with Ser Rygar some during the war, he seemed like an honorable sort, though he was as hard-nosed as any I'd met," Markus recalls, his eyes flicking over at the camp fire they'd abandoned. "You always were good at mending, whether it was my arm or a shift, didn't much seem to matter," he says, and it's altogether a bit awkward on his tongue. Not for lack of sincerity, but because until a few minutes ago that was a fond memory of the dead.
"It's a useful skill," Senna agrees quietly, adjusting her grip on the pot. "Not that I haven't been asked to make use of other useful skills. But…" She trails off, shrugging one shoulder. "I'm safe. I'm well-off. I'm…relatively free. And I'm valued." She falls silent, glancing over her shoulder. "I…I need to go see to my patient. Oldstones. Ser Gedeon Rivers. The last thing I need is someone thinking I didn't take the right sort of care of him and getting his death pinned on me."
He frowns a touch. "I… alright," Markus says, and smoothly gets up from his seat on the log. He doesn't seem quite sure what to make of her, the swift departure, or something in-between.
Senna presses her lips together, watching him still. "Come with me?" she suggests. "I'd…feel better. Like I said, I'm not sure how it's going to go, and I'm not sure how anyone's going to take it." She takes a step back, moving toward the Oldstones tents. "And if you don't want to, I'm in the Nayland tents. You could stop by. We could talk."
It doesn't take Markus long to answer, and maybe, to fall into old habits. "Sure, Sen. I'll come with you to this Rivers patient of yours," he says, "Not but a bunch of shitfaced men back there anyways. Nothing important."
A faint smile touches one corner of Senna's lips, a gentle expression that seems rusty from disuse. "Thanks." And she walks next to him in silence on the way to the tent, glancing up every now and then as if to make sure he hasn't disappeared.
Senna has a pot balanced on one hip, wrapped in a blanket to keep it warm, when she ducks into the Oldstones pavilion. She seems to have lost some of the contents on the way, given the spills down the side of her skirts, but at least some of it is still left. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that someone has actually accompanied her. "Well, Ser Rivers," she says as she enters, moving toward the bed. "Let's see if you're fit to be stitched up yet."
Ser Rivers is much as he was when Senna last left him, laying on his back, with his shirt off, bandages across his belly and in that state somewhere between awake and asleep that he seems to settle into when he's not interacting with anyone, directly. There are, however, a couple key differences. He's shivering, now, and the greyish pallor of his skin has gained a flush atop it. Gedeon blinks a couple times as the tent flap opens and a pair of figures comes in, one of which he knows. "Have at it, then," the knight allows, his words a little trembly for the way his teeth are trying to chatter.
Markus doesn't say anything by way of greeting when he follows in behind Senna, though he's kind enough to hold the tent flap aside for the woman playing at Maester he makes no other move to help. Instead, he gives Gedeon a once over, focused as much on the man's features as he is the wound.
Senna stills when she sees Gedeon's state, setting the pot down next to the bed and reaching down to press the back of her hand to his brow. "Dammit," she murmurs under her breath, smoothing the hair back as she withdraws her hand in an automatic motion. "When did you start shivering?" She opens the pot, reaching in carefully to withdraw a rag that's been soaked in the solution inside. She uses it to dampen the bandages before carefully starting to peel them away.
His forehead, as Senna likely expected, is too warm and the question makes Gedeon's brow furrow a little in confusion. "When the day became cold," he answers logically. And then, perhaps supposing she'd like something more specific, "Afternoon." He looks over at Markus, but as the other man simply stares, Gedeon makes no attempt at conversation. The wound, as it's uncovered, is beginning to redden around the edges, the skin hot to the touch. The gash looks a little swollen and puffed, overall. The start of infection.
"Dammit," Senna repeats once she gets a look at the wound, carefully cleaning away the remains of the last poultice with whatever liquid she has in the pot. "I must have missed something. But the firemilk…" She catches her lower lip between her teeth, trying to gently clean away blood and medicines. "Markus, could you pass me the skin from my bag?" she asks, looking up toward the man who came with her. "I'm afraid this may get messy…"
The unfamiliar Markus leans a bit over Senna to get a look at her patient and his wound. "You're the Tordane Rivers, aren't you?" he asks, perhaps making a bit of conversation while the woman gets to her work, or interrupting if she's more to ask Gedeon. "I've-" And then Senna's asking for the skin, and he's good enough to oblige her.
Gedeon blinks a few more times, watching Senna as she peels the bandages off and begins to work. "That sounds less encouraging than I had hoped," the Rivers murmurs. And then he's addressed by a stranger and, in his current state, is hurting and blunt enough to say, simply, "Yes. Who are you?"
<FS3> Senna rolls Herbalism: AMAZING Success.
<FS3> Senna rolls Chiurgeonry: Good Success.
"Yes, well. This is more infected than I had hoped," Senna replies quietly to Gedeon, squeezing some of the solution from the pot over the wound. "Luckily for you, I'd rather not become someone's scapegoat for your suspicious death." She doesn't look up from the wound as she speaks, the bulk of her attention fixed on figuring out how to draw out the infection. "And Ser Anton seems attached to you, so at least you've a bit of support in the meantime. Though I doubt you'll enjoy the next day's trip."
Markus doesn't answer immediately, instead handing over the skin and letting Senna do her work. He'll hold his tongue unless the patient glances his way again, still looking for an answer. He's content to linger in the periphery.
There is a small grimace from Gedeon as Senna begins her work, and his eyes close. He has other things to focus on than the stranger, just at the moment. "Would you not?" he asks, his voice a bit strained, "Lucky for me, indeed, mistress." The word ends on a soft, sharp hiss as she cleans.
"No, I really wouldn't. You've enough friends to make such an accusation rather uncomfortable for me," Senna explains in that same low, distracted voice as she takes the skin from Markus, using the contents to rinse the wound once again. "Furthermore, while I am useful to the Naylands, I am mostly useful by virtue of things like not being accused of murder, so I suspect I could anticipate little in the way of protection."
"You need better masters, mistress," the prone knight opines softly. "What makes you…" Gedeon pauses, swallowing tightly as she begins rinsing again, "…so sure murder would be the immediate assumption? Not that I -fffffuck- am trying to dissuade you from keeping me alive, mind."
"Like the Terricks?" Senna asks, a faint smile touching her features as she glances up from her work. "The thing about ambitious people, Ser Rivers, is that they are predictable. You can make a reasonable guess what they're going to do. They're going to do what is best for them. And when it comes to survival, predictability is key. Kind people, on the other hand…" She trails off, pausing to rinse the wound again. "You can never quite be sure what they'll do. And some of what they do won't be rational at all." With the wound clean again, she reaches into her bag, pulling out a bowl and starting to mix up a paste. "Your death could certainly be seen as an advantage to the Naylands. Or at least the removal of an obstacle."
"Or the Valentins, if you'd rather," Gedeon replies around a weak smile. "No, kind people don't always make sense, but more often than not, if you are their ally, their foolishness will be in your favor. And… they can be predictable, too."
"I've grown rather fond of your little band," Senna admits, adding some of the liquid from the pot to the mixture in the bowl. "You all remind me of my father, and growing up with him. And," she continues, "You've got a bit more sense than most of the crews here. Experience, at least. You know how to work together." Once the mixture is a thick paste, she scoops some up with a cloth, then starts to spread it carefully over the wound.
"I'd agree about the experience, though I suspect the wound you're currently- gods, woman, gently- what was I saying?" Gedeon drags in a shaky breath and gives up on his witticism. "Thank you, actually, mistress," he murmurs instead "I've a feeling that's high praise, coming from you."
The poultice is warm, and whatever is in it seems to tingle with heat as well. "It is," Senna replies, her tone a little more gentle and introspective. "And ten years ago, I would have been the first in line to sign on with you." Ten years? She's hardly old enough to have been making those sorts of decisions ten years ago. "But I've seen a little bit more of the world since then. Enough not to trust something that seems like such a pretty picture."
There is a soft sigh of relief as the poultice is set on his skin and offers some gentle respite from the throbbing pain of his belly. "Three knights and fifty bowmen from a timberhall is a pretty picture?" Gedeon asks, the corners of his mouth curling into what would be a smile if he had more energy. "Show me your canvas, mistress. I long to see what you do."
"You're out of the mercenary life," Senna points out. "You have a home. You're three knights, but you're three knights who've been to the hells and back and come out of it whole. Or mostly so, at least. You have the support of fifty bowmen, and if I know your lord, they're well-trained and disciplined enough to be useful. A timber hall isn't pretty, but it can be secure." She reaches for the blankets then, tucking them up around him. "From here, it looks like you've made good."
"Then consider the offer, mistress," Gedeon murmurs. "You needn't answer, only think on it. We could use the skills of a healer at Oldstones, and, I expect, your other skills, besides."
"Obviously," Senna replies, smile quirking once more as she draws up the covers. "You are going to get very warm, Ser Rivers. Normally, I'd try to stop that, but right now, it might be more useful against the infection to let you get warm. The trick is to make sure you don't lose too much water, so we'll keep you drinking in the meantime. We'll see if we can sweat some of this out."
He's still shivering a little, so Gedeon makes no complaint as the cover is pulled up over him. If anything, the promise of heat is an appealing one. "I understand," he murmurs. "Thank you for your care, mistress."
There's a moment of silence in which any number of clever responses or deflections might be running through Senna's mind. But instead, when that moment passes, her response is a simple, "You're welcome." It doesn't last long, though, and in a few moments, she's back to her usual brisk preparations and trying to force tea and honey-water down the poor injured knight's throat.