|Summary:||In the dying remains of the Flint camp somethings don't need to be said to be understood.|
|Related Logs:||Flint camp stuff|
|Large clearing with lots of tents. A big pvaillion and multiple smaller ones, also a cook fire and the foundations of a small manor.|
|Thu 10 Jan, 290|
What remains of the former Flint camp is hardly a cheerful gathering. The majority that were left behind by their recovered of ever-hale brethren are near-death, or at the very least seriously ill. The only true activity is that of the brave healers who have chosen willingly to remain with the unfortunate souls. And among them, as always, is Ragny. She may not be the most highly qualified, but she has been unwavering in her dedication, in trying to ease the suffering of her kinsmen. And now, that's really all that one can ask. Well, that and keeping the embers of the cookfire alight.
That is, in fact, where this afternoon finds the woman; poking at grudging, half-ashed logs with fresh kindling, hunkered down by the encircling stones that keep the debris from spilling awry. It's not enough to say the woman has lost weight. In the space of a mere month or so, she has gone from average to haggard, with her hair scraped hastily back from features that are sunken and hollow with exhaustion.
Einar would probably need some time to get back into a condition where he was fit for polite society himself. His sleep has been patchy at best for a while now and even with the lessened load now that the healthy are heading home he's still feeling the weight of responsibility. Today though there's something else on his mind, not unrelated, just different. He'd spent most of lunch working on his notes, ensuring that they are up to date and then taken a turn around the sick, sharing a few words with each that were able. And now? Now he spots Ragny on her own by the cookfire and, taking a deep breath, he heads over for a conversation he's been putting off for too long.
Glancing up dully from her task, Ragny musters what can just barely pass for a weary smile. "M'lord." A sombre greeting, but she does seem at least a little cheered to see him, and to actually have the time to talk, instead of just barking orders at one another, or exchanging fresh gauze for bloodied. "I was about to make some pottage, if you'd care for some..?" Ugh. Not the most tempting of offers at the best of times, and likely far less so to one who's so tired and out of sorts. But it's always nice to be nice. Straightening, the woman dusts off her hands on her apron, wincing a touch at the aching muscles in her back and legs. she's not as young as she used to be.
Einar returns the smile with one of his own, although his too is not perhaps what it might once have been. "Mistress," he greets with the slightest of nods before pausing for a moment as he tries to decide if he should sit down or not. His feet are tired enough but no, for now he'll stand, it just seems better in his head that way. Shaking his head at the offer of food he subconsciously mimics her actions and straightens his own tunic. "Mistress, do you have a moment? There is something I need to talk to you about."
"Certainly, m'lord." Folding her arms comfortably beneath her bosom, Ragny arches her brows in enquiry, studying Einar's features with the practised eye they all seem to have developed, during their time here. "What can I do for you?" It'll take a short while for the fire, even stoked, to rouse enough for cooking. And so long as there's no screaming or death-rattling audible from the last remaining pavillion, she has all the time in the world for the sole Flint still here.
"Well, two things I suppose," Einar admits as he nods a silent acknowledgement to her answer. One of them is easy though, so he starts with that, not in anyway delaying the second, even if only for a minute or two. "I wanted to thank you, for all your efforts here. You've worked tirelessly and I honestly do not know what I would have done without you these past weeks. I sent a message to Lord Anders informing him of such."
Blinking in surprise at the compliment, the older woman seems at a loss for a long pause. Eventually, she fumbles a slight curtsy, with a murmured, "Thank you, m'lord.." before adding, "It's what anyone would do, in my position, though." It's not false modesty; she really believes that everyone ought to be as selfless to their fellow man. Rather naive, at her age. "And the second thing, m'lord?" It's strange, how a mere smile can warm one's features so. His words seem to have bolstered her, if only for a little while.
"And the second thing," Einar repeats before taking a deep breath. Now or never and all that. "I need your opinion on something. I have my own conclusions, but I wanted to get your thoughts as well." A pause, for just a moment, and then he's reeling off the all too familiar list, "slight but worsening fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, intermittent nausea.." He manages to keep his voice flat and level, just as if this was something purely hypothetical right up until the point where he trails off, and even then it isn't his voice that tries to betray his concern but his facial expression. Worried would be a good word for it, maybe even creeping towards scared.
As she listens, Ragny's pale eyes widen by degrees with every listed symptom. She's no actress, and the concern she feels etches itself plainly across her features. The sudden reality of the situation, that someone is going to be the last left alive here, hits her all at once, like a punch to the gut. Still. Shes a Northerner born, and she won't go wringing her hands and wailing. "Could be naught, m'lord." she answers, briskly. Or at least an attempt at brisk. "That Ashwood fella felt a bit shaky, an' he recovered, now didn't he? Not to fret." Sheer stubborn willpower strengthens her smile to something really quite convincing. "Just take yourself some time, m'lord. Rest. Try to eat. You've run yourself ragged, these last few days. I can hold the fort for a bit while you recover your strength." Or.. well, she's hardly going to speak the alternative aloud…
There are many things that Einar is thankful for where his fellow Northerners are concerned, and one such right now is the ability to understand what is left unsaid. He himself is still hoping that there will be multiple people left at the end, to see to the dead and such before heading for home, but the possibility of no one else leaving alive had crossed his mind several times as he'd stared at the roof of his tent for what felt like an age the night before. If his words had bolstered her before, her's now have the same effect on him. Even if he's not convinced by her words. "I will Mistress," he agrees with a slow nod, "perhaps some of that pottage? If," there's a slight pauses as he realises he was about to ask a question based on a potentially wrong assumption and has to quickly reword things in his head. "Do you read Mistress?"
Nodding in that firm, maternal way of hers, with that purse-lipped look of grim satisfaction, the healer accepts Einar's assurances. And admittedly, she brightens as he reconsiders partaking of her hasty cooking. Turning back to the small pot already waiting nearby, she continues to speak even as her gaze and mind settles to the new task. Small blessings. "Slowly, m'lord. But yes. I can." A sidelong glance briefly wanders his way, across her shoulder as she stoops to stir the blankd-looking mixture. "Why do you ask?"
Now the difficult bit of the conversation is done with, Einar takes the opportunity to take the weight off his feet and sits on one of the specifically located logs. "The notes I've been keeping Mistress. If I'm going to be… taking it easy for a few days," yes, lets call it that, "then someone else will need to keep them up to date." Not that there's a huge amount of use in keeping them now, since the disease has been identified and the cure, or lack of it identified, but there's still part of him that feels the record should be kept. So people know what happened.
"I see." Considering this in silence for a long moment, concentrating on her stirring once again, the common healer then nods slowly in assent. "I can see to that, m'lord. Though I doubt my writing is quite as good as yours.." Chicken-scratch, more like. But it'll get done. Just like everything else. "Would there be anything else you'd wish to see done, m'lord.. if.." Damn it, this pretense is hard to maintain. "..if you're unwell for longer than expected?" Stir stir stir. With flames licking to life at one side of the fire, it's almost time to heft the pot up over the heat. But for the moment, she needs it more for a distraction.
"Thank you," Einar replies as he takes a moment to glance around what remains of the camp, "I am sure you will manage well enough." Turning back he looks to the fire a moment, the flames having a seemingly mesmorising effect before her question drags his attention back to Ragny herself. "There are letters," he admits, "although most went North with strict instructions. There's one for my good-sister though, at Highfield. I forgot to pass it along when the Ashwoods left. If that could be passed on to one of the guard or such."
Processing all this, committing it very firmly to memory despite the hundred other things on her mind at the moment, Ragny straightens and affords the solemn Flint an encouraging smile. "Well, I doubt I'll need to do any such thing, m'lord. We're made of stern stuff, after all." So were all the others who've already been put to the flame, of course. But no need to point that out. This is a pleasant fiction, and they'll both make it through perfectly well. Then they'll go home. Tucking a few errant wisps of fair hair back behind her ear, the woman glances about herself, softening her tone before she adds, sotto voce, "..if it comes to it, m'lord.. likely the guards could send for something stronger. To help you find slumber." Milk of the Poppy. That has to be what she's referring to. So he might meet his end with dignity, and without pain. Doesn't he deserve that?
"I doubt so too Mistress," Einar answer with another go at a smile. Reaching over to a nearby water skin he would take a drink, but it seems the thing is empty so he instead pushes himself to his feet so he can go refill it. "If it comes to that," he answer first though, softly, "then you must do as you see fit." It's tempting, certainly, but he's not about to admit defeat yet even though he's aware that at the point he should he might not be able to.
Well, that's as good as a go-ahead, to Ragny's mind. With a last gentle nod, confirming it to herself and doubtless making a mental note to send for the drug as soon as she is able, the woman heaves the cooking pot up over the fire, carefully slinging it in place with a quiet grunt of exertion. "Very well, m'lord." she replies, returning to her natural manner and tone. "..this won't take long." Hopefully she's referring to the food.
Einar nods slowly at Ragny's words and then moves to help with the pot, although it seems she manages just fine before he can actually offer. "I'll only be a minute or two then," he answers, lifting the waterskin as he does so, just in case she's wondering where he's off to. He turns to walk off but then pauses to glance back over his shoulder at her for a brief moment, "thank you."