Chaos and Risk Management

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.

The hour is late, sometime after midnight on the second evening after that ill-fated runner race. Most of the Weyr sleeps - including those few left in the infirmary, though it's mostly emptied out by now, since the visitors well enough to fly have gone home and others preferring their own beds checked out. There are those who are awake - the on duty off in the back room doing inventory to keep from succumbing to utter boredom, those of Galaxy Wing doing night sweeps, the wherhandlers patrolling Xanadu's borders, probably a few insomniacs up late in their cottages reading and wishing they could sleep. Darsce's slumbering is of a different sort, one deemed best to awake from. Heretofore she's shown no inclination to do so, no movement or visible response of any sort to voices in the cubicle throughout the time she's been here. She remains unconscious upon that backboard, neck in a molded plastic brace, head and neck immobilized, legs and upper arms wrapped in soft ties that bind her to the board. The healers have come and gone, tending to her physically. Presently there's a needle in one arm with a tube leading to a bottle hanging that drips vital fluids, salts and sugars into her veins but how long that will sustain her, the healers have made clear that the answer is: not very long.

Bodies are complex and intricate. The healers comprehend them more than most; they know the right balance of ions to put in water, how much glucose to add to provide fuel for muscle fibers and neurons. They know reasons why people fall unconscious in this manner; they do not know the precise reasons why Darsce has. The answers are buried inside her body, invisible to the external observer. Even if the healers knew the precise reason, there is likely little they could do. AIVAS's files speak of interventions for which the technology is no longer present, medical marvels of which Pern is incapable. If Darsce is to awake… she must do so herself. The drip into her vein merely grants her more time in which to do so; time to heal, and energy to do so that does not have to entirely come from her body. It is not a cure. It is merely a staving-off of the end, an extension of Darsce's chances. The healers have made that clear, as they come and go. Jethaniel… has remained here. He's seen the duty changes of the healers. He's slept in that chair by Darsce's bed, in fits and starts and fragmentary dozes. He's eaten - not much - from the trays various people have brought. He's slipped away when he must attend to other needs, for no longer than absolutely necessary, and returned to take Darsce's hand once more in his and remind her of his presence. He is here now, awake despite the lateness of the hour. It's quiet in the infirmary; perhaps that's why. It's quiet enough that he can hear Darsce's breathing, the slow, steady rate one that might, in other circumstances, be reassuring. In these… Jethaniel exhales slowly, and closes his eyes as his fingers curl more firmly around Darsce's.

The brain is certainly complex and the reasons for prolonged loss of consciousness many. The healers do know that the longer one remains in a coma, the chances of coming out of it drops. On the other hand, the longer she remains alive and without having seizures, the better the chances of survival without lasting damage. All balances on that knife edge of awareness. Up to this point there's been no sign that Darsce is aware of anything, not a flicker of lash against the curve of her cheeks, not a twitch of a brow to murmured words. Silence save for the sound of regular and even breathing in the dead of night; a pattern that changes, imperceptibly unless one were in tune to that rhythm, to breaths that are taken more deeply. The fingers within the curl of Jethaniel's slowly move - a barely-felt response to that claim of his. That is all; her lashes remain closed but there is also a tiny pucker between her brows as if the dawn of faint perplexity pushes back at the blank dark of night inside her mind.

Chances. Probabilities. Given a sufficiently large sample size, the healers can say about how many will live and how many will die. What percentage may expect this sort of recovery; what proportion will linger for how long. Every moment, every reaction or lack thereof, changes the probabilities, but nothing creates certainty save the results themselves. The healers speak to Jethaniel of probabilities; he has acknowledged every such statement, and yet… there has been no certainty. He has waited; he waits. The change in Darsce's breathing is noted, though not on a conscious level. He's not sure of the change, but some part of his own complex brain informs him that there is a change. Something is happening, and some subconscious process pushes Jethaniel to increased alertness, that he may respond. It's with that heightened vigilance that he notes the motion of Darsce's fingers. The response is minute; almost nothing, but the change between nothing and almost nothing is enormous. Almost nothing… is something. "Darsce." It's a question for which any answer is better than no answer. It's an urgent hope, one that… Jethaniel leans forward, his head tilted down over Darsce. "I'm here." He's said it so many times. He says it again.

At the sound of her name spoken by Jethaniel, Darsce's breath changes yet again, drawn in enough that her chest rises in the sort of slow expansion prior to waking in the morning where lingering in the languor of pleasant dreams and utter relaxation brought on by a restful sleep. He says he's here; that pinched brow smooths, the corners of her mouth twitch in a barely-there curve and her fingers curl more deliberately, seeking to twine with his. Her lashes flicker, then lift, iceblue eyes focus on his face. "Better be," she says faintly with lips that lack exact coherency, her voice sounding rusty and dry, but her smile nevertheless grows fond. Above his face, blurred because that's not her focus there's a ceiling… an unfamiliar one. A touch of confusion shadows the iceblue of her eyes and her smile falters. She has yet to move anything save her hand so her question is calm enough, "Where is…here…exactly?"

The mere variance of Darsce's inhalation is more answer than Jethaniel has received in over a day. Her fingers move again, and his are eager to twine back to them; to be nudged at by hers, to find intentionality in her touch instead of limpness. Relief floods his face as Darsce's eyes open to hide it, washing out the worry but nevertheless making its presence known; he could not be this relieved were it not for the depth of his anxiety. His presence here is required, and now… Darsce is capable of expressing that requirement. Jethaniel nods firmly to that blurred statement, an answering smile curving his lips and his eyes eager for her. He is here for her, and here is… Jethaniel swallows. "The infirmary." His fingers squeeze at hers, as if by that gesture he may hold her here in consciousness… though he knows that is not necessarily a sufficient means to do so. He had her hand in that gully, and yet she slipped away because… "You… are restrained." She slipped away because of the threat of that bodyboard she is still tied against. Jethaniel fears to mention it; he fears more for her to discover it, unwarned. The anxiety makes its return to his face as he tries to convey the most essential parts of what the healers explained to him. "For your safety, while you were… unconscious."

Darsce is aware of the relief she sees replacing that concern, but has no inking of how pressing it had been (is?) nor why it had been present in the first place. Confusion is further expressed in a frown. It's not outright displeasure, merely non-comprehension. The infirmary??? "How…what…" Her frown deepens. "Shit." She exhales before he can explain, a self-disgusted snort through her nose. "I didn't win?" Because if she's here, something tells her that she - or Cereld - or both of them - went awry. Restrained Jethaniel says and she blinks further disorientation. "Whut?" The news is processed slowly, uncomprehending until she tries to shift her head, to flex bound legs, to turn off of her back as awakening awareness communicates to her that her muscles ache with inactivity and discomfort of the hard board. Her eyes widen as she makes a garbled sound and in a sudden panicked flail, she strains against the bindings. Her cry begins in an inarticulate whine but escalates into a miniature roar of fury aimed at the cloth bindings her arms are writhing against. Hello infirmary! Aww, were you sleeping? Welp - WAKE UP!!!

How did Darsce end up here? Carried by healers, unconscious on a bodyboard. What… may constitute a question of diagnosis, one Jethaniel is not qualified to answer and that the healers found difficult to assess in an unconscious patient. He might nevertheless try, but she replaces those questions with another one, and to that Jethaniel shakes his head. "No." She did not win. There… was (is) some question of just how much she lost, but it is certain that she did not win. She has assuredly lost - for the moment - her freedom of movement, but Jethaniel lacks any better explanation. His verbal one is insufficient to prepare her for the reality Darsce encounters as she tries to move, and Jethaniel winces, his eyes widening with fear to echo hers. "Darsce," he asks - pleads - as he reaches up his other hand for her cheek, tries to brush it there. "Darsce, please…" Don't leave him again. "We'll get you out." Surely the healers will come running? There's supposed to be one posted. They should be making their rounds. All the times they came by to check vitals and disturbed him, all the times he heard footsteps just behind the curtain that made it difficult for him to speak words meant only for Darsce, and now the healers are elsewhere.

Later Darsce will ask for details - or they'll resurface in her memory - of just what went wrong where with Cereld and that boulder jump. Yeahno, she didn't win the race or she wouldn't be here - two facts that displease her. The third fact - being immobilized - is beyond distressing. Her breathing is rapid, her heartbeat racing as she fights the restraints in a panic. Thus far all she can do is move her arms from the elbows down - fingernails clawing at the board and bed sheets, which does nothing to free herself. Jethaniel's fingers touch her cheek and her eyes lock on his, wide, disoriented as she hyperventilates. Out. The word penetrates Darsce's frenzied haze enough for her to cling to it. She gasps, "Getmeout! Get me out! Get. Me. OUT!" The first two repetitions are a plea to Jethaniel, the last one demanded of the gaping healer, brought by the stir from the back room. He's yanked the curtain back and then just stood there staring. "Subdural Hemorrhage!" he snaps before turning on his heel and racing back to the back room without a word. Oh he's wrong. Very wrong. But he's back within moments with a syringe which he intends to inject Darsce with by the looks of it. "Hold her wrists, I'm going to sedate her!" Clearly he expects Jethaniel to comply.

Jethaniel lacks expertise in the field of medicine, but when it comes to Darsce he has a certain familiarity. This panic of hers, the struggle against being confined… he recognizes it. He's never seen it this severe; he's never seen her this restrained or coming to it from this degree of disorientation. If he extrapolates from previous events, her reaction now is entirely plausible. Her words, gasped on too-quick breaths, may be entirely incomprehensible to the healer; perhaps that's part of why he leaps to the conclusion he does. "She needs-" Jethaniel begins, and tears his eyes from Darsce's just long enough to see the healer's retreat. She needs to be let out, or she'll hyperventilate herself into unconsciousness once again, another sleep from which he must wait for her to awaken. The healers informed Jethaniel of the necessity of keeping Darsce restrained; they told him about the possibility of spinal injuries, the need to test for them under controlled conditions. The fact that any incautious movement might aggravate a minor fracture; might lead to paralysis or death. They told Jethaniel all these things, and so as he reaches for the first of the bindings, the arm nearest him, he knows exactly what he's doing. He's risking Darsce's life, because he's letting her out. The departed healer and his incorrect diagnosis are given little thought in these moments. Jethaniel is not a medical expert. He may have heard those terms before, in one of his conversations with the healers. He may not; at the moment, he finds it irrelevant, reaching across Darsce for the other arm as the healer returns with a syringe. Despite his lack of expertise, Jethaniel knows what sedation is. He knows it will push Darsce down into unconsciousness - again. "No!" Jethaniel tells the healer. Compliant? Not this time. This is about Darsce. "She just needs-" he reaches across her for the tie on the other arm, tugging at it urgently. "- to move." According to his unqualified opinion, carried out against all available medical advice. At least he hasn't disturbed the neck brace supporting the most fragile part of her spine.

Mur'dah goes to take a pee…and comes back to chaos. The first thing he registers is that she is /awake/, and he grins, almost dropping the cup of water he carries. Only…wait. She's moving, there's yelling, Jethaniel is untying her? Wait, didn't the Healers say that'd be bad? Didn't the Healers say…why is that Healer holding a syringe? "Wait, hold on," he says with a frown, his eyes scanning the scene and trying to make sense of it all. "Darsce, hang on, Jeth…wait a second…" And he moves closer to everything, since surely one more person in the way won't be a bad thing, right? He reaches instinctively for the Healer, and the hand holding that syringe. "Wait a second."

One hand free! Darsce wastes no time in moving it - and then the other as Jethaniel yanks the cloth slipknot free. He hasn't undone the restraints on her feet and knees so her body remains prone on that board. She doesn't try to sit up, because the cloth binding her forehead to the board is still there. She's basically unaware of that though, instead her focus is on that molded plastic neck brace. Both hands reach to claw at it, fingers slowing as they seek to understand how it's put together, to find the way it's fastened. Her breathing only speeds up, eyes wild and still upon Jethaniel. That healer might as well not even exist for all the attention she gives him and Mur'dah is likewise unnoticed for the moment. Her voice is high-pitched, nearly a squeak as she begs between pants, "Off, off, off…!"

The healer's shout, "NO DON'T…!" ends in a mutter, "…remove…those…" as he's ignored. He steps forward to prevent what he feels will be catastrophe when his wrist is grabbed. "Here now!" he tries but oh, the patient is partially free and he shakes his head, eyes widening in dismay. Checked, he can clearly see and recognize a panic-response. "Get her calmed down!" he roars, then surrenders the syringe to Mur'dah with a quirked brow, silently requesting his arm back. Don't sedate yourself?

'Bad' is an understatement for the potentially catastrophic results the healers described for freeing Darsce. Jethaniel is (to all appearances) blithely ignoring that, as well as the healer's renewed instructions to stop. Mur'dah's only asking him to wait, but Jethaniel's unwilling to even do that. "Darsce." Her hands are free to scrabble at the brace, but not for long. Jethaniel reaches for them, catching at those clawing fingers. "I will." The healer would rather he didn't, but why start listening now? One reason would be because the healer has started to suggest the correct thing, or at the very least, one which Jethaniel was already attempting. The concordance with his intentions is likely more responsible for Jethaniel's acquiscence than any inherent truth value. "But you have to breathe." Please. Don't pass out again. "Breathe, Darsce." He squeezes at her hands, his eyes wide with concern for her, with an earnest plea that's there in his voice as well, raising the pitch and making every word urgent. "Please." Stay with him.

Mur'dah has the syringe now? He blinks at it. Stares at it owlishly. Whyyyy does he have this? He didn't actually /want/ it. Syringe in one hand, cup of water in the other…his expression would be comical baffled confusion if the situation weren't so serious. Slowly, hesitantly, he offers the Healer the cup of water in an instinctive and unable-to-be-stopped trade gesture. Here. You hold this now. Water for drugs. Best trade ever. He moves with long strides to the other side of the bed - his side - and swiftly sets the syringe down on the floor, thinking that if she sees it she might panic more. So. To the floor it goes. Hygienic, right? Right. He just stands there, not touching her, not getting in her face, just…there. If she looks at him, great. If she doesn't, that's fine too. He just watches, worried, heart pounding, saying his own pleas in silence.

Darsce's hands, once taken, grip Jethaniel's, iceblue eyes remain locked with grey, wide, questioning. Promise? It's only the depth of her trust for him that prevents her from flailing and instead attempting to do as he asks and breathe. Slowly the tension in her body eases - though her hands still grip his tightly - and her indrawn breaths become deeper, slower. Oh, she's still on the edge because she's still contained in that neck brace, but he is here. He will take care of it. She's able to say something, breathless still, just one word that sounds like 'saw'. Not solvent. And the hint of strained smile is her trying trying to overcome her own terror and joke. Mur'dah moves into her field of vision - seen from the corner of her eyes and they flick to him, puzzled at first, then ohhh. Her family must be… She manages to breathe out two words to her brother, "Hi…Squirt." At least she doesn't have amnesia? Back to breathing!

Mur'dah has the syringe because the healer doesn't want the crazy pair to jump him and try to wrestle it from him. That could have unintended consequences. He just stares at the cup of water, looks back at Mur'dah, this time both brows twitch upwards while he doesn't say a word. He… doesn't take the cup. He doesn't loom over Jethaniel either but speaks, "Please try to keep her from rising. I'll conduct the sensory assessment when she's calmed down."

Jethaniel's hold on Darsce's hands is firm. He's not letting go of them - which does mean that he's keeping her from undoing the neck brace, but more importantly, he is here, and reminding her of that fact. His eyes are steady on hers, an earnest answer. "I will." He'll take care of things, though the timing of those words is mostly incidental; part of the pattern of reassurance and instruction to inhale, to exhale… "Good," he says as her breaths start to slow. They're still more rapid than he'd like, but he can hear the change, and that - more than Darsce's attempt at humor - makes his face relax toward a smile. There is still a great deal of concern in those grey eyes, but it's no longer so vast as to overwhelm all other emotions. Jethaniel doesn't look up to the healer, though he hears him. There's a far more important place for his eyes, and it's Darsce. "Deep breaths. Good. I'm right here." Holding her hands. He doesn't look aside to Mur'dah, though he's likely aware of the loom of presence - or at least shoes, given the way he's bent down over the bed to see Darsce. Now, about that healer. Jethaniel keeps his eyes on Darsce, his voice soft and calm in a way that's much less pretense than it was just a little while ago. "In a moment," or five or ten, "the healer will ask you some questions." Conduct the sensory assessment. Apparently Jethaniel can translate from technical jargon into simple language. "I'll be here." Holding her hands.

Mur'dah puts the cup of water down too then. So there. His focus is on Darsce then, and when she speaks…those two little words he's been /aching/ to hear, his heart leaps and his eyes glisten. "Hey…" and his usual fumble to come up with a good nickname. Fail. Again. But it's okay because his voice failed him anyway. He just reaches out to gently touch her shoulder, smiling down at her. Thank you for not being dead. Then, more silence. Sensory assessment = asking questions. Shards, why can't the Healer just /say/ that. He tucks the translation to dumb brownrider speak away into his memory to be reviewed later.

When? WHEN will he? That's the question in the iceblue that hold grey. Those eyes of hers, they're calmer, but only barely. Darsce's breathing slows - still too fast - but better - the rate slowed as far as it's going to until she's free. She's hanging onto control, but barely. She can wait for only so long. Questions? Her eyes drift beyond Jethaniel reluctantly to that healer. "So…? Get on with it!" she says tartly, sounding irritable, annoyed. Aaaand that's likely because she has no clue WHY the healer needs to ask her those bothersome questions. While waiting, her eyes flick to Mur'dah once more. "…Sunny," she supplies his long-ago made up petname that sounded more like 'Thunny'. "Papa's Sunshine was a mouthful, remember? But if you want to change it…" Her would-be smirk is fail. Deep breaths, Darsce. Exhaaaaale. Her eyes return to her husband. "I want…" her hands relax, seeking freedom to slip around his neck.

Actually… sensory assessment=asking questions while conducting tests in controlled conditions. The healer journeyman, satisfied that his patient isn't going to explode into further struggles, steps away to gather a few key tools before returning to do that assessment; he's gone but a few moments. While Darsce is focused on Jethaniel, he moves to her feet, carefully slipping off her socks. A cotton fluff is drawn along the arch of her foot, tickling. "Can you feel that?" Then a pin jabs her big toe. "Does that-"

If Jethaniel knew more about this particular assessment, he might have expressed that to Darsce, but he's no healer. He knows the meanings of the words, the denotations, but he does not know their additional connotations in this context. He'll release Darsce… as soon as the healer conducts that assessment and informs him that it's safe to remove. If the results of the assessment are such that it is inadvisable to do so… then it is fortunate that Jethaniel has not provided a timeframe. If the answer is that he must wait to fully remove it… he'll find some form of mitigation. First, there's the tests to be done and names to be given; Darsce is certainly demonstrating that, regardless of what else may have happened, she does not have amnesia. He feels the motion of her hands, reads the inclination behind it, and helps them with a lift to his neck. Her own must remain braced. His? She may do whatever she wishes with, and he lowers his hand to gently brush along her cheek and tease back a few strands of hair - though, given the cloth band, he can only do so imperfectly. The healer returns, and while Jethaniel might find the assessment interesting under other circumstances, under these ones his gaze remains on Darsce, grey eyes on hers.

Mur'dah blinks, staring at his big sister. Sunny? How could he have forgotten that? All these turns of trying to come up with a suitable reply to Squirt… "Sunny," he murmurs. Does he /actually/ remember? Expressions say yes, but it's fleeting. A brief smile, a flicker of memory, and then cemented in the now. Sunny it is, and it suits her, and he loves it. There's a nod, and then she's reaching for Jethaniel, the Steward is touching her so gentle and tender, the Healer is tickling her bound feet and then poking her with a pin (what an asshole) and Mur'dah takes a small step back, so's not to distract from the couple's moment and Jethaniel's hopeful distraction of Darsce to stave off more panic, and to EYE the Healer. Hey. Dickwad. Make it quick. He's WATCHING.

Denotations - detonations. The words are SO close! And detonate Darsce does as the healer conducts a peripheral neural assessment. Distracted, her foot merely curls at the ticklish sensation. She's busy sliding her arms loosely - and with a wince because she's sore from falling and stiff from lying on that hard board - about Jethaniel's neck. "Jethaniel, let's go ho-" Pinstab! Her foot jerks - but not far as she'd like since her feet and legs are still strapped to that board. She'd like to lift her head and glare at the healer but instead it's the ceiling that gets it. They should totally put pictures on the ceilings in here! "OW, dammit!" The healer nods satisfaction and without missing a beat stabs the big toe of her other foot. "Augh!" Her fingers curl, clutching Jethaniel's shirt as she's drawing breath to let the healer have a piece of her mind Drace-style, he moves up the side of the cot where Mur'dah stands and runs the cotton fluff down her arm. "Yeah, I feel that and if you st- OW!" He stabs the back of her hand with that blasted pin again. Both hands jerk away, retracting from around Jethaniel's neck so she can form claw-hands that dare the healer to try again, " Damn, are you insane?! Get away from me!" This time he's in her periphery and he gets the full benefit of her icy glare.

The healer has been through this before. He doesn't look like he's going to back off. Instead he reaches for her other hand. "This is…procedure…Miss. Quick sting and it's over."

Jethaniel may certainly provide some measure of distraction to Darsce, but the healers are quite glad that he does not do so sufficiently that she does not respond to the stab. Her distraction of him is perhaps more complete, listening to her as she suggests… ah. Home. His expression is a troubled one, the desire to oblige her struggling with concern. She has not heard the explanations of the healers as to the seriousness of this; he has. And yet… surely she will rest and recover better someplace that is not a sterile infirmary. He can provide better ceilings, though the ability to view them may be contingent on the freedom to not necessarily do so. Whatever answer might emerge past that concern is waylaid by Darsce's reaction to the pin, and Jethaniel winces in reaction, head lowering - or perhaps being dragged down by the tightening of her hands. His hand goes to beside her head, bracing against the backboard as the healer demonstrates one of the reasons why he prefers his patients to remain bound - it makes them easier to stab! Jethaniel frowns, straightening somewhat as Darsce draws her hands away to take a defensive posture. Jethaniel looks up at the healer, frowning. "…is there an alternative?" He glances to Mur'dah, then back down to Darsce, reaching his hand to her shoulder to rest it there. He's… not reaching for her hand again, though he's not actively stopping the healer. Good luck?

Mur'dah frowns sharply at the Healer. "Procedure for /you/ maybe, but warn a person before you go stabbing and tickling them. This isn't some sex and bondage play house." His eyes flick to Jethaniel and then back to the Healer, frowning. "Or at least warn, or talk to her? She's not an invalid." Not right now, anyway.

Darsce keeps her hands clawed. Those fingernails, filed to shapely ovals with their layers of polish are nice and hard - though fists might ordinarily serve better - hers are, nevertheless, ready to draw blood. Her eyes shift to Jethaniel, briefly puzzled. Alternative for what? She has no idea what the healer is even looking for. She wants to keep her eye on that healer though, so the question remains unvoiced as she warily returns her gaze to him. A gaze that is swung towards Mur'dah to stare at him for the bondage comment. He shouldn't know about such things! While she's gaping at her baby brother, the healer steps in and jabs her other hand, then darts out of her reach - towards Mur'dah again. This time there's a stream of cursing and a promise of what Darsce's going to do to him when she's freed from the restraints. So if tomorrow's incoming shift finds him gagged and strapped to a bodyboard…

"Good news!" The healer is determinedly cheerful. "You've passed your neurological test. And you seem to be moving your extremities well enough. It's unlikely that you've got spinal involvement. Tomorrow…" he swallows, "we'll assess your brain function. " He takes another step backwards because Darsce is still listing ways she's going to wreak havoc on his person in colorful language. Brightly, "So, if you've no pain in your limbs, we can now take the restraints off." He motions to Jethaniel and Mur'dah to go ahead and do that. "I'll just go… chart the results." He's not going near her!

Perhaps procedures in the infirmary need review… again? Jethaniel's frown could be that, but it's more likely a concern for Darsce, his gaze lowering to hers again - only to lift to Mur'dah as the brownrider makes his own opinion of these procedures known. "That is hardly…" Jethaniel frowns and lowers his gaze, returning it to Darsce. Her position on the cot and the presence of an intravenous line make a compelling case that she is, in fact, an invalid… but she is at least a conscious and reactive one. Quite reactive, in fact, as the healer conducts his final extremity test. Jethaniel's wince is subtle; Darsce's response is not, and his fingers curve against her shoulder as she explains the precise nature of her sensation. Perhaps what Jethaniel sought was an alternative to is Darsce's quest for vengeance? Apparently, however, there is none; as such, the healer will have Darsce's wrath descend on him at her earliest convenience. Her freedom may not actually be good news for him, but Jethaniel is listening - as evinced by the way he relaxes a little for what is (to him) good news. The test of brain function is itself value-neutral, but the 'tomorrow' draws a frown from Jethaniel. He looks up, lips parting. "Can she be moved?" Or - more importantly - can she go home? If the healer even hears Jethaniel over the stream of curses from Darsce, he doesn't acknowledge it, instead retreating - but providing further good news along the way. Darsce may be released, and as Jethaniel considers that more important than pursuit of the healer… he does so, releasing the strap over Darsce's forehead before reaching to start unfastening that neckbrace.

Mur'dah doesn't know from /personal/ experience. But he did travel around a lot in Comet. When the Healer moves back towards him, the brownrider puts a hand on the Healer's arm, squeezing. Restraining. It's a good thing the man doesn't move towards Darsce again, and after hearing what he's said, Mur'dah lets him go. He moves towards Darsce's feet to gently begin undoing the restraints that hold her legs. "… file… against him. Fucking… can't… just woke… from… a dick…" he mutters to himself.

One thing Mur'dah's comment has done has given Darsce something to do other than focus on her panic - and rage at the healer, whom her glare albeit half-hearted, follows as he heads off. She's still inwardly shuddering about the idea of- Ahh! The cloth strap lifts from her forehead allowing a the cool sensation of air to stifled skin and she returns her gaze to Jethaniel, trying to further slow her breathing from rage to mere controlled panic as she's once again aware of the confines of that plastic neckbrace. She swallows as she feels the clips he's undoing, holds her breath quite without meaning to and her eyes drift shut. If she just concentrates hard enough, time - those few seconds he needs to undo them though they stretch unnaturally - will pass and she will be free. Mur'dah's muttering, and oh she catches choice phrases. They've both had the same example from D'had over the turns, learned all his words well. She'd smirk if she weren't fighting the urge to resume flailing. She does feel him tugging at the ties to her ankles and knees - freedom, sweet freedom is near at hand. That IV… yeah, she's going to discover that in a moments as well as something else.

There does exist a certain similarity in demonstrated vocabulary between Darsce and her brother. Jethaniel, if he notes it, does not comment; most likely this is because he is occupied in analyzing and unfastening the unfamiliar connectors of the neckbrace. While they do require his attention - eyes, after a brief meeting with Darsce's, lowering to her neck - they are not unduly complex, and so it's not long before it comes open, padded plastic parting. She's still lying on it, but that's why Jethaniel offers her his arm, reaching for her shoulder in an invitation to wrap around it and help her sit up. From there… ah, that is yet to be determined; there do exist certain complications regarding a full departure.

Mur'dah frees her legs and then takes a small step back, watching both of them now, his eyes flicking from his sister to his brother in law and back again. Tense and ready to spring forward and help…or go file a report against that asshole Healer. Or…go stab him with pins. Maybe in his sleep. After tying him to the bed.

Darsce does not explode from the cot. And she opens her eyes as the neckbrace pops apart, so she hasn't fainted again. Her smile is for the both of them, "Thank you." Heartfelt. Feeling Jethaniel's touch at her shoulder, she lifts an arm and curls it around his neck, shifting to sit up. Ohhh to sit up! It happens slower than she'd like, her face contorting in a partial grimace as the stiff muscles in her back protest, but she manages to do it and also pull her knees up so she can shift for the removal of that body board. She remains upright - a day and a half of lying on her back has her craving the position - but she's dizzy and thus keeps her arm about her husband's neck and leans her forehead against his shoulder while it passes. Her other hand pushes to the mattress to steady herself, landing in a pool of silky material. Her head turns, curious and that's when she spots the IV stuck in her inner arm. Aggrieved, she wails, "They…cut my jacket?!" And her sleeve, but the jacket was new. Oh and that silky material is lifted and stared at, then held up so they both may see it. "What's…this…doing here?" One of her silky spaghetti strap shirts - her favorite if the frequency with which she's been seen wearing it.

Jethaniel smiles for the resumed opening of Darsce's eyes - or perhaps her gratitude, but after the time she's spent with those eyes shut, his concern for their closing is… somewhat beyond a merely rational one. He helps her gently to that seated position, his arm settling around her upper back to provide support once there. She may have closed her eyes once without a return to unconsciousness; he still does not wish to risk the consequences of having her fall, even just to the bed. Jethaniel's lips brush to the top of Darsce's head as she leans against his shoulder, and his gaze follows hers as she looks across. They cut her jacket. Jethaniel nods slightly, and explains, "They could not… maneuver you, while unconscious." Which, given the presumed medical necessity of the IV, necessitated alternate means for access to her arm. The shirt… his sight of it is followed by a glance to Mur'dah, but Jethaniel says nothing aloud, merely lowering his head slightly as he continues to hold Darsce in this upright position.

Mur'dah moves forward slowly, reaching out to gently touch her arm. The sight of her shirt has him looking a bit sheepish. "I thought that maybe, wherever you were, you might…like to have something you loved nearby." Other than her husband and brother of course. "Maybe the feel of the fabric would register, or…just be something nice."

"They cut my jacket!" Darsce still cannot believe it. Oh and for something so trivial as an IV?! She sits up straighter, removes her arm from around Jethaniel's neck so her fingers can move nimbly over the site to peel back the tape holding the needle in place. Then with one brisk, decisive yank, she pulls it out. So much for that! So now there's a trickle of blood leaking from it, but she simply presses her fingertips to that and ignores it while using the IV hand to lift the shirt and stare at first it, then Mur'dah. "Squirt, you…broke into our cottage?" The question goes slightly higher at the end, one of amazed disbelief. There's a look towards Jethaniel and a half-frown, which is turned back towards her brother as she mutters, "Well, that was…sweet…of you." Slight sarcasm there but it's mild compared to what she gave that poor healer. Later she'll probably thank him. Right now? Darsce… is being the world's worst convalescent.

Darsce's statement regarding her jacket is true, and as such, Jethaniel does not dispute it. His arm around her shifts to hold her more securely as hers leaves his neck; he does not, at the moment, particularly trust her balance. Certainly not the physical sort; as for the mental… her actions in removing the IV bring a soft 'ah' of protest from his lips, but not one sufficiently formed to consist of actual words. At least there's not a healer present to explain that her actions are ill-advised. Then again, given that their main motivation in having it continue to be present would be for ease of medicating Darsce, she's likely just as glad that she's made their lives more difficult in at least that regard. After the initial glance to the Mur'dah at the display of that shirt, Jethaniel appears to be conducting an observation of Darsce's shoulder; he does not look up at her, even when she glances to him. There's a slight twitch of his lips for Darsce's sarcasm, a further lowering of his head. "He was worried for you." The words are quiet, level in tone and spoken to Darsce.

Mur'dah glances down at the bed. "I looked for a key." So…that makes it better somehow. Then he shrugs. "Thought it might help." He would've done anything at that point. Her sarcasm has an odd double-edged effect of stinging a bit, but he's just so glad she's alive it's a happy sting. With another shrug, he offers them each a little smile. "I'm going to go talk to a Master about that Healer's bedside manner." And give them some time alone. He figures they need it, and without him there as an awkward breaking-and-entering third wheel. He squeezes her arm and offers her cheek a kiss. "Glad you're back, Thunny." Walking around to the other side of the bed, he offers Jethaniel's shoulder a touch, then he's gone, pulling the curtain closed behind him. Stomp, stomp, stomp… "… you about… Healer… was… Darsce…. understand the… for… and testing… but… trauma victim… a… awoken,… nearly panicked… without… them…" And so forth, fading into the Infirmary.

It hasn't occurred to Darsce to be cautious with her movements and balance - or optimal recovery, so it's likely a good thing someone is. She's, as usual, focused on peripheral things. Still peeved about the jacket, it's likely the healers will hear about that later, but for now she stops fussing about ruined clothing, instead focusing on her poor, well-meaning brother. "A key." Said flatly and with an upward twitch of brows. "That'd be in Jethaniel's pocket. Did you-" The quiet comment from her husband hushes her; he's awarded a considering look; his lowered head and flat tone are noted. That goes a long way to bringing her to relent, as does Mur'dah's kiss and farewell. Her mouth softens somewhat to what might be the beginnings of an apologetic lop-sided smile. "They couldn't kill me with an axe, Squirt." The words might be flippant but the tone certainly is not. Her brother's departing words bring an unholy grin to her mouth, "Give 'em hell for me!" Because they can't get enough, in her opinion. The words drifting back through the curtain draw a slight smirk before she turns to Jethaniel and hisses, "But. Our home!"

The key would indeed be in Jethaniel's pocket; it never left. There's a sideways tug of his lips for that. He… has no idea what security hole Mur'dah exploited to enter their cottage; he has not been back to observe the… consequences thereof. When he does, he will be certain to remove it going forward, but for now, Jethaniel's place is here with Darsce; should anyone attempt to bring an axe into her vicinity, he will prevent them. He acknowledges Mur'dah's touch with a slight nod, and glances to the side in order to watch the brownrider depart. Once Mur'dah has done so and passed beyond the curtain, Jethaniel exhales slowly. There is a slight relaxation to his shoulders, if not to the arm around Darsce, and he nods to her words. "I know." He grimaces as if there is an unpleasant taste in his mouth, and lifts his gaze sufficiently that he may regard Darsce and meet her eyes. "I am not happy about it." And yet, when Mur'dah was present, he provided her brother's excuse.

That easing of subtle tension in Jethaniel's shoulders as Mur'dah had departed has not been lost on Darsce and her iceblue eyes are there to meet grey, searching them with unasked questions in hers. The one she asks is "Did you tell him that? Because you may. That's our space." There's more on her mind but first… thankfully this cot does not have rails. Or if it does, they are in the lowered position. It's not too horribly difficult - merely awkward - to shift, increase her lean against Jethaniel and use her IV hand to haul the board out from underneath her to shove it over the opposite side of the cot where it lands with a clatter on the floor. Oops? Darsce's opinion of healers is beginning to fall to an all-time low (not that it was ever very high) for the healer having left before taking it with him when he'd said she could be released from the neckbrace and restraints. But now, ahhhh! To be off the hard surface is wonderful and there's only one thing Darsce wants more - she shifts over and pats the mattress so Jethaniel may at least sit beside her. If he does, she will lift her fingertips from her inner arm to see if the IV site has stopped bleeding, then brush her fingers off on the sheet before sliding both arms around Jethaniel, curling into him and murmuring, "I'm sorry."

The lowering of Jethaniel's head may constitute one form of answer to Darsce's question, though he does not look away from her eyes; merely changes the angle at which his meet them. He does, after a moment, provide a verbal one. "It… did not seem appropriate." His lips tug to the side, but then he's adjusting his hold on Darsce as she leans in, reaching with his other hand to help nudge the board out from beneath her. The clatter makes him wince, but he's not about to leave her side in order to pick it up. Let one of the healers come take care of it; if not, it may remain there. Perhaps it will serve to cover the syringe Mur'dah left on the floor - though it is not particularly suitable as a needleguard, and may instead break the glass and let the sedative leak across the floor. Jethaniel is not, at this particular moment, concerned by that prospect; he has a far more appealing one in sitting next to Darsce. He does so readily, his fingertips sliding along her upper arm, hesitant as she checks for bleeding and then growing more certain as she comes to him, both his arms wrapping around her to hold her close. There's a tension to them again, but it's directional; focused, like the energy of a taut spring. It draws Darsce against him; holds her there with a squeeze of his arms that - while it will surely release her - is unwilling to do so at present. "Oh, Darsce," he answers, or perhaps acknowledges, her. The emotion in his tone, the overlay of relief as tensions unwind, makes obvious what he nevertheless quietly reiterates after a brush of his lips to her hair. "I was worried."

Appropriate. Huh. Darsce lifts a brow, her mouth twisting in an ironic, but fond smile. That clatter doesn't faze her one bit but then, she's awake. Thoughtfulness, at least as far as people other than Jethaniel are concerned, escapes her at the moment. That syringe, should it be intact and should Darsce find it, might wind up in the backside of that healer while he's counting supplies. That'll make him far easier to tie to the backboard later. It's probably fortunate that Darsce doesn't know about it because she's in a mood to be…troublesome. At the moment, however, she is focused on Jethaniel and so exhales a long breath concurrent with that squeeze, her arms curling a touch tighter as she drops her head to his shoulder. "I know." She turns her head towards him, too lazy to lift it so her lips meet his neck and leave a kiss there. "I'm sorry, Jethaniel." She says it as sincerely as the first time only this time she continues with, "I thought I'd be alright. Stupid Cereld." Or maybe it's stupid Darsce and stupid stable manager, for poor Cereld was doing what stallions will do. "It felt good to run wild… until I hit those rocks." She's silent, content to remain with her face pressed to his neck until something occurs to her and she asks, "How long was I out?"

Jethaniel nods slightly to Darsce's knowledge, his fingertips tracing gently along her shoulder. There was no opprobrium to his words, merely the statement of that concern, largely mitigated by her awakening. There are traces yet remaining - or will be, once he recovers from the initial relief in order to notice them. The healer mentioned that test of brain function; there may be damage yet to be discovered… but for now, Darsce is here and appears to be substantively herself - including a certain lack of concern for the convenience of others. Her repeated apology draws another brush of his lips, a soft kiss that has him lingering near as he listens. "I know." Of course she thought (convinced herself) that she would be alright. There exist certain facts which Darsce does not choose to acknowledge, but she would not intentionally do herself harm. So Jethaniel believes, even if he is becoming aware that her heuristics for risk assessment may be somewhat more generous than would befit an actuarial standard… particularly in those cases where she may derive significant enjoyment from their adjustment. There's a twitch of his lips up for her pleasure, followed by a swallow for the result, and after a moment of that silence he says, "I am glad you enjoyed it." The words are earnest, if subdued. He is not glad for the consequence, but at least Darsce derived enjoyment, even if that pleasure was… perhaps not worth the cost. It is nevertheless something that pleased Darsce, and for that, Jethaniel is glad. His arms remain around her, fingers wandering slowly until they pause at her question. "This was the second night." If that duration requires supporting evidence, it may be found in the rumpled state of Jethaniel. A day and a half, and he has been here - or, more precisely, in a bedside chair - for the duration.

The next question to follow, naturally, is, "You've been here the whole time." Only not so much a question - not because she's noticed his rumpled clothing (she hasn't) - but because she's noticed others things about him - most of them over the past turn. Darsce's tendency to take risks does not apply to her choice of whom she will trust and Jethaniel has demonstrated that hers is not ill-placed. Intentionally harm herself, whaaat? Nowai! Pain is so not something she enjoys! Her motivations lie along a different line where fears take on symbolic forms and conquering them has nothing to do with changing anything perceptual. They may, in fact have more to do with mental gymnastics than reality (Back, Cyrus!). As for that rush of headlong, almost-flying while leaping over would-be insurmountable obstacles, "He jumps like a dream (a nightmare maybe) and the power at my command (Cereld's command maybe, not hers) is amazing. But-" She withdraws one hand so she may cup his cheek gently with her palm, tips her head back earnestly meeting his eyes, "-not at your expense." What's she saying? Whether or not the consequences of such a dangerous sport have occurred to her (probably not entirely, lalala, not thiiinking about them), she is pretty sure they have to Jethaniel. "I mean, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't hand-raise baby felines knowing how I feel about them, so I won't ride Cereld in that race again." But will she ride him? Hah, maaaaybe. One thing she's definitely going to do is go give that runner a piece of her mind!

It may not be a question, but Jethaniel answers it regardless. "Yes." A simple answer, because - for him - no further explanation is required. He was. There were many things in doubt over the past day and a half, but his presence here was not one of them. Darsce's relationship to the causation of pain… may depend on who is asked; there are those (including certain healers) who may consider her a source. Nightmares would require sleeping; these past two nights, Jethaniel has done no more than snatch a few moments of dozing here and there. The sounds of the infirmary were sufficient to limit his slumber to mere fragments, not enough for any… coherent… nightmares. Conversations with the healers sufficed for his terror. Darsce was unconscious then; she is awake now, and Jethaniel listens to her as she explains the pleasure of risk-taking, of engaging with powerful forces, imperfectly controlled. His cheek is rough with stubble as he leans it lightly to her fingers, his eyes questioning as they meet hers. His expense? The risk is not (directly) to him. It is Darsce who may injure herself, and Jethaniel simply… sits by her bedside and worries. Her comparison regarding baby felines brings a faint smile to his lips, an upward curve for a moment… but only a moment. "I would not raise felines, but… I work with electricity, with chemicals, with unstable structures." He does dangerous things. Most of them are, at least theoretically, part of his job - but not all of them; his workshop in their cottage is evidence of that. "I want you to be happy."

Okay, yes. Being a pain is highly preferable to being in pain, Darsce will vouch for that. Not that, y'know, she plans it that way, it just…works out that way (probably because she doesn't try awfully hard to avoid it). Danger is something he handles far more cautiously than she does and she knows it, so she merely nods and doesn't retract her promise not to ride in the overland again. "I am happy and will be, don't you worry about that." Will she ever admit the race is a crazy idea? Maybe someday when it has nothing to do with her ever having ridden in it! There's both wonder and appreciation in her eyes for his confirmation that he's been at her side - no surprise though. To that she smiles, her eyes drifting to take in his appearance and, for the first time, noting his rumpled clothing, taking in the fatigue around his eyes and mouth and yes, feeling the stubble beneath her palm. "You… look tired." She shifts as she says it, wriggling her feet to get them poised to hang over the cot preparatory to rising it looks like. "Do you know what they did with my boots?"

Jethaniel is certainly not about to insist that Darsce takes that risk; given the outcomes of past iterations, he is selfishly glad that she intends to avoid it. He is merely averse to being the cause of excessive risk avoidance - excessive being defined as that which results in her being unhappy. As such, he does not press her for that retraction, but his own nod comes when she avows her happiness, present and future. His concern in this regard may be somewhat excessive, but it is, for the moment, satisfied. Will he worry about it? Of course; Darsce's happiness is one of the things with which Jethaniel most concerns himself. He is, however, unlikely to do so in the context of her decision not to race; he will simply seek other means to bring her pleasure. Doing so may tire him; he is certainly tired at the moment, and he nods agreement to Darsce's assertion of such. His arms shift against her as she moves, adjusting to her change in position without much conscious consideration. That comes with her question. "Ah." Jethaniel lowers his head slightly. The boots probably haven't gone far, tucked under a table or against a wall - unless, of course, the healers happened to remember Darsce's previous interactions with the infirmary and chose to create a barrier to her hypothesized departure; that might be a part of her personalized treatment plan. Their location is something Jethaniel could research, but it is not his primary concern. His eyes are on Darsce, his fingers trailing down to rest against hers, curved over the back of her hand. "…it is… unlikely… the healers will approve your departure." Though, since when does Darsce care what the healers think?

Excessive…risk…avoidance? Not likely. Not on Darsce's part. Recklessness is inherent in her; rarely pre-planned and highly dependant upon her impulsivity - or stress level. Surely she'll come up with something…else to ride besides Cereld. As for being happy - she's got plenty to keep her being that way - Jethaniel has much to do with that, but she also finds odd things that perversely please her (others might not find them so pleasant) in the course of her day. The… healers. She wrinkles her nose and scoots stiffly to the edge of that cot while keeping a sharp ear out for the return of that journeyman Mur'dah went off to chide. Perhaps her brother really did tie him to a cot. One can only hope! "Why not? I'm perfectly fine!" So says Darsce the not-healer. The lean to see if she can see beyond that gap in the curtain is eased back towards Jethaniel, whom she tilts a pert look and a half grin. "Everyone will rest better if I am tangled with you in our own bed." Including the people in here, obviously. She has no disillusions that she's made their night a restful one.

Perfectly fine. So says Darsce, whose time unconscious since the accident outweighs her time conscious by an order of magnitude. Jethaniel is not a healer either, but he is nevertheless concerned… despite a lack of knowledge of what, precisely, he should be concerned about beyond the general state of Darsce. Even in their own bed, his attempts at sleep may be restless ones as his half-conscious brain agonizes over whether Darsce's slumber is a natural one, nudges him to overanalyze her sleep and make him too anxious to rest while being unwilling to awake her. He watches her now, when she is clearly awake, regarding the stiffness of her movements with traces of that anxiety - though the brightness of her expressions provides at least some encouragement. Jethaniel lowers his head to brush lips to her shoulder, then rises from the bed. He turns back to face Darsce almost immediately, extending his hands to her. He will not prevent her from an attempt to rise. He will be standing ready to catch her, because he is not, at present, entirely certain he trusts her physical balance. Jethaniel makes no apologies for the arms delineating Darsce's projected space; not even a downward flick of gaze or tug of lips.

Darsce's fallen off runners before. And so with the vague acceptance that she bumped her head and spent some time knocked out but is now awake, is going with perfectly fine. Tomorrow, when the healers catch up with her to (probably chide her for leaving) check her for brain injury, she might try giving them the same assurance. It'll take effort to even get her back here to submit to the exam, but if Jethaniel expresses concern, that'll do it. As for sleep, Darsce may or may not sleep, having been doing just that for nearly two days. She definitely wants out of here though and doesn't mind those arms awaiting her in the slightest, reaching for his forearms and rising, albeit slowly. She's not blind to his worry and assures him, "I'll be alright. I just… have to get out of here. I'm starved. I have to make use of our bathroom. And…" She glances down at her mud-stained outfit, one hand running over her tumbled locks, grimaces, "…I'm a mess." Her hair, her clothes… At least they didn't cut them all off and stick her in one of those hideous gowns!

If Darsce were oblivious to Jethaniel's concern, that would likely significantly increase his worries. As it is, he supports and watches her rise. The stiffness may plausibly be ascribed as much to the treatment as any injuries; the backboard was not at any point described as pleasant, merely preferable to the potential alternatives. What Jethaniel is more concerned with is that she is steady on her feet, once there; that she does not show any signs of dizziness or disorientation. She does not, and so he nods to her, leans in to touch his lips to her cheek. "Then we will go home." He will believe her assurances that far, though he is unlikely to let her out of reach of his arms tonight, and tomorrow, he will be expressing that concern and accompanying her here to see the healers. For now, however, he will - once she has provided evidence of her ability to stand - assist her in finding her boots. They're tucked beneath the same table which has atop it the set of clothing (as distinct from that shirt) which Mur'dah brought. That, once Jethaniel has given Darsce her boots, he'll simply collect without comment, bundling it together with the silky shirt to carry it back to their home.

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