Things Stay The Same

Xanadu Weyr - Infirmary
The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is spotless and smells of disinfectant, cots are lined up against one wall, a curtain can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. A cabinet stands off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed. A couple of curtained off beds are used for examinations of patients and the treatment of minor injuries which won't require long term care. A desk with chair is just off of the doorway for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long days work.

In the caverns, there's a celebration going for whoever it was who won the steeplechase race conducted earlier today. If news of the victor has penetrated the infirmary, Jethaniel is not aware of it, though he was watching the race - or at least, its beginning. His motivation for doing so is also why he's now here instead of visiting those celebrations. It's afternoon, drifting toward evening, and Jethaniel is seated in a chair next to a cot in one of the private alcoves in back, the curtain half-drawn. On the cot is… a bodyboard. On that is Darsce, still dressed in her riding clothes (she's lost the boots, at least) and tied down at enough points to make it clear she's not going anywhere, even if some of the straps are obscured by the sheet draped lightly over her legs. There's even a strap over her forehead, holding it down, and a pair of gauze rolls to either side of her head to keep it from turning. She's… not protesting this treatment. Uncomfortable as it must be, Darsce isn't complaining even a little… because she's entirely unconscious. One of her arms has been carefully extracted, and Jethaniel is holding her hand, his chair turned partly toward the cot as he watches the rise and fall of her breathing, slow and regular.

Mur'dah was at the races, but a different part, and it's only /now/ that word was brought to him about his sister's accident. After a swift "why the hell am I being told this NOW?!" that had the poor messenger cowering in fear, Mur'dah bolted for the infirmary. And so he arrives, waving off the Healer who greets him with "What did you do to yourself /now/?" as he moves back to where he figures Darsce will be. Though he's panting for breath, he's at least quiet as he peeks around the curtain, and seeing his sister there on the bed, as she is, has him going pale. He doesn't faint though, even though to faint and split his head open on something would be /so/ like him. But he doesn't. He just steps into the alcove and stares at her, taking a slow breath.

If Mur'dah did faint, it would at least provide that healer an answer about what he did to himself… which is likely not a sufficient justification that he should do so, and the healers are probably glad that they do not actually have to prepare another cot. The sound of footsteps does not draw Jethaniel's gaze away from Darsce; they have been a frequent enough occurence in the time he's been here. The sight of someone out of the corner of his eye does, but not immediately. It might be another healer by to check vitals, easily enough ignored - but a healer would not stand there like that, and so Jethaniel slowly turns his head to see… ah. "Mur'dah." He nods, slightly.

Mur'dah tears his eyes away from his sister to look at Jethaniel, and then…back to his sister. "Sir," he says, distractedly. Wait, what? "Jethaniel. How…what…" He remembers to breathe and scrubs a hand over his face. "Is she going to be okay?" he asks, his voice quiet, soft, low. More child than man, in his suppressed fear.

Jethaniel has no particular urge to keep his gaze on Mur'dah, and he returns it to Darsce. No change. He's told the healers to inform him if there's a change in one of their readings of vital signs, but he's not entirely certain they would. There is, however, no sign perceptible to him. Her breathing remains constant, and she does not awaken. "She was riding. She fell." The situation was slightly more complex, but that's the essentials of it… or at least, of the mechanism for injury. The injury itself… "She hit her head." It's a very simple explanation. This time, the complexity lies beneath the surface - the events of the accident were observed by officials and may be recorded. The events inside Darsce's skull are more difficult to ascertain. Jethaniel is silent for a moment. His thumb trails along Darsce's fingers, encouraging them to curve against his - though they'll go limp again as soon as he releases them. "I… don't know."

Mur'dah's breath hitches and he moves forward, wiping at his eyes as he looks down at her. "Faranth's blue balls, Darsce," he mutters, gritting his teeth. "Sh-…I…" He looks around as if searching for something to hit. Stops himself. Controls himself. Looks back at her, then Jethaniel, then her. Then he scrubs his face with both hands. "No, no, no…"

Kiena had been a part of the celebration in the caverns until word filtered in. How, if it were the beginnings of whisperings of the accident or by other means, is uncertain, but the Weyrsecond politely excuses herself the moment the chance arises and slips out before her departure can be noted by too many eyes. Her steps are brisk and slightly hurried as she makes her way to the Infirmary, but once inside they slow and grow hesitant. Should she be here? Is this any of her business? Maybe. Maybe not. A few quiet spoken words with the Healers on duty and she'll find out where she needs to go. Again she will hesitate outside of the curtains, fingers reaching out to grasp the edge and then clearing her throat softly she will pull enough of it back just enough to be visible and perhaps slip through should her presence be welcomed. "I only just heard…" Kiena says in a near whisper soft voice. "Is… Darsce alright?" Unaware that that question had just been asked and answered and her blue eyes will drift from the injured Headwoman, to Jethaniel and linger on him before drifting with equal sympathy and concern to Mur'dah.

The lack of consciousness could be construed as peaceful… if someone were so entirely unaware of Darsce as to think she would ever be peaceful in the infirmary, let alone when dressed in rumpled, muddy riding garb and strapped down to a board. Mur'dah's cursing… would be drowned beneath the waves of Darsce's, were she capable of providing it, but she remains quiet save for the soft murmur of her breathing. The alcove is a sparse place - the healers can bring whatever they need to it - and Jethaniel's already studied it. He does not care to now, his gaze remaining on Darsce. Mur'dah's protests make him frown, head lowering as his shoulders draw in on themselves… until another voice draws his attention. Another arrival, and Jethaniel glances up only to hear another variant of what is, admittedly, a very obvious question. His frown remains, but he answers. "If she is not bleeding." There's no break in the skin. "If there's no swelling." None of that, either - not anywhere visible. "If she wakes." Not that her awakening would negate the possibility of there being a more serious condition, but she cannot be alright if she does not wake. Jethaniel swallows, an effort of control as he turns his head back to look once more at Darsce.

Mur'dah reaches out to boldly grasp Jethaniel's shoulder, if the Steward doesn't pull away, and then he turns to look at Kiena, both surprised and grateful to see her here. "When will they know any of that?" he says, looking at her again. "She's got to be pissed she's still in those filthy things. Can't they, like…clean her up, give her a bath? I can go bring fresh clothes…nice ones. Coordinated. I won't even mix patterns." He stops rambling, bites his lower lip, wipes at his eyes again. "She's going to be fine. I wonder, can the dragons…if she's in there, in her mind somewhere…has that been tried?" Again, the rambling trails off as he tugs fingers through his hair.

Kiena's head dips into the slightest of nods to Mur'dah's surprised and grateful look. Yes, she is here. Why… she will debate that later. Her support could have been saved for a later time and yet she has committed herself now to being here and now. "I…" she begins to say and hesitates, fumbling and licking at her lips nervously as her eyes drift again to the unconscious form of Darsce. She sees no bleeding, no swelling. Just the muddied clothes and continued unconsciousness. "I—I'm sorry." she finishes lamely and directed to Jethaniel, as her gaze now lingers on him. "If there is anything…" It begins as a quiet offer, but Mur'dah is on the same vein and so the Weyrsecond lapses silent again, but takes a small step forwards towards the brownrider.

Jethaniel's shoulders draw up into a hunch as Mur'dah's hand rests there, but he does not actually pull away. When will they know? They'll know if there's a problem with those vital signs the healers are checking every hour or two. A weak or racing pulse. Irregularities in her breathing. A drop in blood pressure. Signs, all of them, but none of them good. Other than that? "…when she wakes." Whenever that is. If that is, and the longer it takes, the higher the probabilities become of… non-favorable outcomes. Jethaniel curves his thumb over Darsce's fingers once more, not looking up from her. He's watching that breathing, the pattern of it still regular. As it should be, but without the quickening that would mean she's soon to awaken. He knows what that sounds like, from mornings with her, but he does not hear it; just the sounds of unconsciousness, and words from Mur'dah and Kiena. Jethaniel nods slightly to Kiena's apology, her offer muddling into Mur'dah's. Jethaniel's eyes lift, tracing one of those mud-spatters, then lower. "They cannot. Not while she is unconscious." There's a reason for those restraints, and apparently it's not just to prevent a crazed Darsce from going after the healers with fists swinging. Jethaniel's head remains low, despite Mur'dah's assurance, looking to Darsce's hand as his fingers curl her limp ones toward that fist, and he does not comment regarding the nature of dragons. They - like medicine - are not a field of his expertise.

Mur'dah gives Jethaniel's shoulder a squeeze. "I'm going to talk to the Healers," he says, giving Darsce one more look before he turns and slips out, giving Kiena a brief look as he goes.

Kiena has no advice to offer either, concerning the dragons or diagnosis. She is no Healer and she is wise enough not to speak of things she does not entirely understand less they lead to false hopes. As Mur'dah turns to slip out, she'll meet his brief look and step back a bit to allow him to pass. Left alone then with Jethaniel and Darsce, Kiena again struggles for something to say but fumbles and fidgets from her awkwardness. She's not the best in articulating emotions into words, not in charged (and rathe private) moments like this and the vigil that Jethaniel holds at Darsce's side is not lost on the bluerider. What can one say, that isn't forced or rehearsed? "I'm going to go find Mur'dah." she says instead, more so to explain her quiet steps that take her away rather than forwards. "Sorry, again… and my thoughts to you." Which is Kiena-speak for 'my sympathies' and that she will hope for the best for Darsce's recovery. She does not envy Jethaniel's situation. With a final nod of her head, she too slips away to find Mur'dah.

Jethaniel nods slightly to Mur'dah's departure, not looking up from Darsce in order to do so. The healers can explain to Mur'dah what they did to Jethaniel. They may use slightly larger words than his subsequent explanations, but they'll be expressing substantively the same things. Jethaniel… his emotion is obvious, and yet the one it's directed to is the one who's incapable of responding. Kiena is only barely noticed, seen just enough that he's aware of her lingering presence. He could talk to her, make it less awkward, but that would require him to care, and at the moment… all his care is taken up by Darsce. He nods to Kiena, acknowledging her departure - and letting her slip from his mind such that he's almost surprised when she has more words to add. "Thank you," he says, polite but absent, and dismisses her from his attention once more. As Kiena leaves, Jethaniel lowers his head, brushing his lips to Darsce's fingers and holding them there in silence. He has no more words; not now. Jethaniel simply… waits.

Mur'dah is standing in the main infirmary when Kiena approaches, nodding and murmuring a soft 'thank you' to the departing Healer. Rubbing a hand over his face, he sniffles, wipes his nose on his sleeve and then turns to see her there. "They don't think it'll work. The dragon thing. She's not a rider. But I thought maybe…but it won't." He shakes his head, fingers running through his hair again. "I feel so helpless," he whispers. "I don't even know how to help Jethaniel. What should we do? Mom needs to know, if she doesn't already. We could take their duties…or…find competent people to take them." Faranth knows him being Steward or Headwoman wouldn't go over well. Mur'dah fidgets. "Maybe if I got clothes…I know the fabrics she likes. Or…food, maybe the smell…" His breath hitches and he rubs his hands over his face again. "Shit. Shit shit shit. She…can't…this can't happen. What do we do?" There's a pause. "I wonder if dad knows…" And a wince. Should he know?

Kiena could have remained there with Jethaniel, if at least for silent support while Mur'dah was off to speak to the Healers but that would have only been awkward and perhaps for both of them. She does, however, feel some shred of guilt for slipping away so soon and with so little to offer. When she does catch up to Mur'dah, Kiena's frown will deepen but she makes no comment on catching him sniffling or on his current state. She only takes a quiet and slow, steadying breath and reaches out in an attempt to grip his shoulder firmly and squeeze reassuringly should he not move away. "It was an idea and worth a shot to bring up," she murmurs, keeping her voice lowered and only shakes her head. "I don't know, Mur'dah." Her answer could be one to many of the questions and concerns brought up by the brownrider and her grimace only shows that she is similarly at a loss. "Easy." Kiena whispers. "One thing at a time. Maybe letting… other family know is a start. You could ask Jethaniel about that? And for duties… that'll come later. I'm sure for now that can be, ah — overlooked. For obvious reasons." The Weyr won't fall apart that swiftly, right? Stepping a little closer to Mur'dah, Kiena will murmur a few words of encouragement, almost under her breath when Mur'dah's breath hitches and his distraught state is clearly apparent. "The clothes… may be a nice thing? Though I don't know if she can be moved yet, Mur'dah…"

Mur'dah shakes his head, leaning into her hold on his shoulder. "Not to move her, just to put near her, to let her feel them, but if Jeth's touch doesn't wake her…" He shakes his head again, fingers through his hair and gripping for a moment. "Could…food might help…Jeth needs to eat. I…" He looks at the curtain, stricken. "What if, Kiena? What if?" he whispers. "Shit. /Shit/." It's hissed, but it's forceful. "I'm going to go get her some clothes. And some food. Make sure Mom knows. Tell Dad, too, though…doubt he'll do anything but drink more." Bitter. "Will you stay? Have Ujinath call Kalsuoth if there's /any/ change. I'll come running. Please."

Kiena's eyes follow Mur'dah and her concern for her friend only grows more to see him in such a stricken state. "Don't think like that," she says without hesitation now, her voice almost hissed and so low to be gruff. "Thoughts like that don't help." No, but it's easier said than done to ignore them, isn't it? Even the Weyrsecond has likely had similar ones flit through her head. Wincing at the bitterness in Mur'dah's tone, she exhales and goes to say more, only to close her mouth and draw it back into a grim line. What he asks of her then… startles her. "I— Of course I'll stay." Kiena manages to stammer out, even though her glance back to where Darsce and Jethaniel are behind the curtain is mixed. "I will. Promise." Even if it means standing on the outside of the curtain. Before Mur'dah can slip away again and after a moment of indecision on Kiena's part, she'll move in to swiftly hug the brownrider and fiercely so, if he allows it. The gesture is over and done in a matter of a few seconds and then Kiena is moving to step around him, glancing once over her shoulder to offer what she hopes is a reassuring look before turning back to face that curtain. She'll at least inform Jethaniel of what may come to pass.

Darsce hasn't moved; neither, apparently, has Jethaniel. His head is still lowered, Darsce's fingers held near his lips. His eyes are closed, but both their chests rise and fall with their breathing - his waking, faster than hers despite a conscious effort to slow it, hers the slow pattern of unconsciousness. His fingers move, ever so slowly, brushing in gentle caresses against hers - which remain entirely unresponsive. The healers may have reported status elsewhere; Jethaniel hasn't yet, though he'd arranged to have nothing pressing for the rest of the day before going to watch the race. Not because he expected it to take all day, but simply because he did not know precisely when he would be back. Nothing on his desk will fall apart overnight, and by tomorrow… a plan can be put in place. The headwoman's duties… any minor catastrophes during the post-race partying and the guests staying here can hopefully be handled by the assistant headwomen, if perhaps not in the same manner as Darsce would have dealt with such issues. The infirmary may have a few drunken accidents tonight, but the healers are well-equipped to handle such things. Their ability to deal with Darsce… will be determined when she wakes. There's the sound of footsteps on the other side of the curtain, and Jethaniel's eyes open again, his head lifting somewhat.

Mur'dah returns Kiena's hug, though his is stiff and distracted. Then he's gone, quick steps. To tell Thea, to tell his father. To the kitchens, for food. Her favorites, again, and then some simpler fare for the rest of them. Easy on the stomach. That he sends with a drudge as he - sorry - gets into Jethaniel and Darsce's room and pulls out a few things from her closet. That's when he loses it, if briefly. A minute of tears, anger, fear, frustration, and then he's returning to the infirmary. A Healer wraps his scraped hand and then he's ducking back into the room, wiping his face on his sleeve. "I brought some of her things," he says quietly. "A few things, maybe, we could just put against her skin. And a change of clothes for when she wakes up…"

If those footsteps are Kiena's, she'll pause after pulling back the curtain and only when she has made eye contact, even if just briefly, with Jethaniel will she nod her head as she slips back inside. Unless, of course, he speaks up and asks her not too. "Mur'dah has gone to fetch some clean clothes for her. As well as to inform Thea… if the Weyrwoman is not already aware. And, I believe, other family members." That she leaves a touch cryptic, mainly due to her uncertainty on familial ties or relations between Darsce and Mur'dah, aside from them being siblings. "Food too." Which should be arriving by drudge not long after she makes that remark and she may take care of seeing it set wherever is safest for the time being or where Jethaniel may ask. It's the least she can do and the Steward will not have to move from Darsce's side. Difficult is it to say what, exactly, Kiena is feeling aside from concern and a certain amount of awkwardness as she keeps to her reserved and guarded nature and she'll stand politely aside unless dismissed, her gaze adverted as if staring too long at Darsce would be deemed inappropriate. Looking up as Mur'dah returns, Kiena's eyes are quick to note the wrapped hand and her mouth draws to an grim line. Saying nothing despite wanting to, the bluerider will wait or step forwards if her help is needed.

If those particular footsteps are not Kiena's, other ones will be. The hesitation by the curtain marks them as not those of a healer; they do not wait or ask permission before coming to check vitals. This not-a-healer, Jethaniel determines, is Kiena, and he gives her a nod of faint acknowledgment. There's no invitation to enter, as such, but there's no refusal either; he seems to expect that others will come and go from this space. It is not a personal space, though it is more private than the main infirmary, made so by that curtain. Jethaniel frowns at the mention of clean clothes - he did explain the impossibility of her changing to them, and did not hear Mur'dah's further thoughts concerning them - but nods to the informing of Thea and the others, the frown easing. Perhaps the Weyrwoman will be by later, though she could surely arrange for the necessary logistics without setting foot in the infirmary. Perhaps she won't; Jethaniel, if he considers those possibilities, does not appear concerned by them. The future presence of food is acknowledged with a nod, but when the actual comestibles arrive, they receive no notice from Jethaniel; perhaps he is not hungry. Darsce… is unchanged. There's a bedside table where the tray can be placed, though Kiena will have to take for herself the initiative to place it there. With how she keeps her distance, there's little to direct Jethaniel's attention away from Darsce and to her. His position in the chair now is an upright one, stiff back as he watches Darsce's breathing and holds her hand in his own, occupying the other with soft caresses along the back. Thus is Jethaniel, until Mur'dah has completed his errands and returns. There's the sound of footsteps once again, but these, when they pass the curtain, are accompanied by Mur'dah's voice. Jethaniel's gaze lifts to see Mur'dah himself, accompanied by… clothing. Darsce's clothing, easily recognized even if were not for the words admitting as much, and Jethaniel frowns. "Where did you…?" he asks, despite how the answer should be obvious, and his fingers tense.

Mur'dah looks around the area, flashing Kiena a brief smile of thanks, seeing the food on the table, and he sets folded clothes on another flat surface. "Closet. For when she wakes up. And this," he says, holding out one of her softer shirts to Jethaniel. "I'm sorry if I shouldn't have gone into your room. I thought maybe the touch of familiar fabric might…do something." He looks at his sister again, heart lurching. "Is there anything else we can do? Would you mind if I stayed a while? Or…would you rather…be alone with her?" He hardly knows this man, his brother in law. And yet, there he sits in vigil, and Mur'dah has to argue with himself that it is his right to be there. He is her husband after all, and clearly loves her despite Mur'dah never really seeing it. Or understanding it.

Kiena will for the most part leave Jethaniel alone though her presence continues to hover there. The food tray was set aside and gradually her silence becomes less an awkward thing and more of just… normal or as close to it. If the Steward ever happened to look up, he'd only see quiet understanding in the Weyrsecond's expression. Sympathetic, as always and that subtle desire to be of some help, even if not overly clear. She just can't off her support in the way of words. Not yet. Mur'dah's smile is returned, but a touch strained and she nods. She kept her promise. Blue eyes drift again to the curtain and she considers then to slip away, to leave Mur'dah and Jethaniel to talk but her steps take her closer again to the brownrider. Close enough at least that her hand may come to rest against his back by his shoulder. Comforting. "Couldn't hurt to try? With the clothing." Kiena speaks up, at last, though her voice is barely above a quiet murmur. "Even if it doesn't work now it… maybe be comforting later when she does," Does. Not if. Does. Slip of the tongue or done purposely? "Wake, it'll be a shred of normalcy. Somehow being here may be a shock. Having loved ones and some bit of normal, even if just clothes, could be a help. One never knows." From silent to rambling and all in a very swift span. All it takes if one little itty bitty thought in Kiena's head telling her that she's risking sounding like a fool or falsely building hope and she's clamping down and quieting again, her last look to Jethaniel and Mur'dah almost sheepish.

The hand that had been over Darsce's leaves it, though the other continues to hold. That departed hand of Jethaniel's goes down, not up toward the fabric - the clothes - Darsce's clothes - that Mur'dah extends. "You…" he begins, then stops. There's the start of an apology from Mur'dah, and Jethaniel's jaw sets as he turns his head, looking down and away; toward Darsce. Her hand, in his. His other, curled… no. He uncurves those fingers to the accompaniment of an exhaled breath. Kiena's silence turns to words with Mur'dah's return, but Jethaniel does not turn to look at her, instead watching - frowning to - Darsce's hand. He makes no interruption to her, and no reply either. Mur'dah follows it with more questions, and Jethaniel is silent a further moment before he answers them all at once. "Do as you wish." He's not releasing Darsce's hand, but there is another side to her. The headwoman's affinity for fashion and fashionable clothing is certainly well-known, and the shirt is known to be one she appreciates… though not usually by having it draped against her unconscious form. Mur'dah's continued presence here is evidently answered by those same words; Jethaniel does not add to them.

Mur'dah flashes a pained look to Kiena, even as he takes the shirt back into his own personal space and leans briefly against her hand. Then he's moving, walking around to Darsce's other side and pulling up a chair, sitting in it with a soft squeak. This is the most awkward and awful family reunion ever. With a slow breath, he reaches out to gently take his big sister's hand in his, letting her fingers feel his skin and the fabric of her shirt. "Hey…uh. Non-squirt. Dammit, I still don't have a good nickname for you…" And that's all he can say, really, as he ducks his head down and closes his eyes, turning his head to wipe his face against his sleeve. Thus, his vigil begins.

Kiena quietly observes Jethaniel, both his continued hold to Darsce's hand and the exchange of clothing — which only leads to Mur'dah holding to them. A frown knits her brows but she says nothing. It's not her place and perhaps some part of her understands. Stress can make people do the strangest things and not necessarily meant in earnest. The pained look received from Mur'dah is met with a slightly saddened one from Kiena and her hand will gently pat his back in a final gesture of support where it rests before he moves away. Jethaniel is at his vigil and Mur'dah joins to begin his and it's during that time that the Weyrsecond quietly slips away on backwards steps until she reaches that curtain. No parting words, not wishing to interrupt and then she is gone.

Sometimes life provides reminders of its own uncertainty. They may establish the fragility of existence and create the impetus to focus on… important things, whatever those may be for any particular person. Sometimes they are momentary; at others, they exist beyond the crisis which sparked them. The breaking of expectations is painful; the expectation that those one loves will be safe, the expectation of privacy in one's home. The stress of one challenge may make it difficult to deal with another, but people concern themselves primarily with what is important to them. Jethaniel's attention is on Darsce, even as Mur'dah takes a position on her opposite side. He is silent, sitting in the chair, but his other hand returns to hers, holding it gently with both as… they wait. The healers will be by soon to check her vitals. They'll be the same as last time, and continue to be so as evening fades into night.

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