Vigil [Vignette]

Follows Slip of the Knife

She must have been asleep when the incoherent talking started. Fellis dreams they said. He sounded so… distraught. Hearing his voice sound so lost tore at her. She’d taken his uninjuered hand, lifted it to her cheek. Even though damp with tears it had seemed to quiet him.

When he’d drifted back into an uneasy slumber, she’d sat, cradling his hand in hers, absently studying it. Her finger traced his palm and she thought how Marella had sung to him of his hands, ironically, just the night before while his other one had been bleeding.

They were strong hands, she decided. Good hands and indeed as their daughter had sung, loving hands. Those hands had carried her cross-Weyr numerous times, shaken her once, punched her father twice (who had deserved it and then some), saved her life on at least three occasions, saved his family from pirates, built her a home, held his babes (fearfully and like fragile glass that would break, but he’d done it) and served his Weyr.


Marella hadn’t meant to cause the accident and would never know her tackle from behind while her daddy was leatherworking had caused her father’s knife to slip into his hand.

Hand surgery, the healers told her, was a complex thing. With so many nerves, tendons and little blood vessels within the hand, the potential for extensive damage had been great and the slice had been deep. The screens ‘round D’had’s cot hadn’t let her see the surgery in progress and though the healers tried to get her to go sit in the privacy of the alcove, she wouldn’t leave.

So she’d paced just outside of those screens instead. Half listening to Xe’ter when he’d tried to offer comforting words, her attention had been on snippets of conversation between the healers working within.

“Donn don’t…” Her unvoiced plea was left unfinished.

« Siebith says his is. » came the cool rains from Seryth, assuring her the man was still alive. Repeated every so often, the message was a comfort to her and it helped knowing the queen was supporting the blue in whatever way she could.

Even with the fellis D’had would moan now and then, a low-pitched sound that cut her as deeply as that knife had cut him. She’d pause then, with her lower lip pressed between her teeth, breath suspended and wait until he’d stopped before she breathed again.

The hours ticked by. Five of them, each slower than the last. When finally the healers emerged towards the wee hours of the morning, she’d been right there and it was all she could do to keep from pushing past them to go to him. Her way was blocked by the Master they’d flown down from the Hall. “He cut across the base of four fingers, severed an artery with the tip of the knife.” The surgeon went on to tell her the extent of the damage. After the words ‘extensive blood loss’ she had caught but partial phrases like, ‘repaired tendon…muscle involvement…severed artery…stitches in multiple layers…therapy…rest’. The surgeon noticed her dazed concern for the still form behind him and when she’d nodded, thanked him politely and offered her hand to shake he had pulled her into a fatherly hug instead. He’d chucked her under the chin, promised her that her weyrmate would be alright and then left.

She couldn’t get to his side fast enough.


Sitting beside him now, his uninjured hand held between both of hers, she’d watched his face, noting the shadow of stubble on his jawline, how dark his lashes were against his pale skin.

« Does he know how deeply he is loved? » Thea's question was passed on to Siebith from Seryth.

The image Siebith had replied with was to Thea directly, shared with Seryth but not through her, a watery image of herself and the twins playing on the beach as seen through Donn's eyes. « No tears. » the simple message that accompanied it.

A bittersweet smile played upon her mouth. No, D'had wouldn't want her to be crying.

Thank you, Siebith.

The hours passed, the healers came and went, checking on him, checking on his bandage, encouraging her. She’d continued her vigil until she couldn’t stay awake any longer. She’d early on pulled her chair up beside his cot as close as she could get it and then some. It was a simple matter, then, to lean and rest her head on that familiar spot in the hollow of his shoulder. Fatigue overcame her almost instantly, her lids were too heavy to keep open and her lashes fluttered closed as her thoughts drifted…

I wasn't expecting Siebith to talk to me…first time he's ever done that… Donn does know…

And that, really, meant everything to her.

Followed by Recovery


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