Truth and Consequences

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 evening shift at Xanadu's infirmary has only recently come on staff, and for the most part, ony the sound of the unceasing rain breaks the stillness of the area. While the shifts' usual On Duty rests at her desk, processing paperwork, another table has been moved into the rear of the room, and Fraille sits there, surrounded by mortar and pestle, jars and bags and boxes, mixing something with a clinical eye. The beds in the room are all but empty, save for one occupant. Phylicia rests in a medically induced doze, bandages covering much of her arms and her legs, her face wet with salve for the minor burns. Resting next to her on another bed appears to be the remains of a largish piece of hide. Closer inspection will reveal the truth: It was a coat, at one point, but the bottom of it has been completely burned away, and the top is riddled with burned holes. The deep hood that hangs from the back of it has been completely blasted away on the right side, and where there aren't burn marks, there are dark stains from some kind of fluid.

Quiet footsteps sound on the stone floors. Thea walks slowly through the Infirmary, noting the cots and the occupants therein. Green eyes still carry a haze of fatigue, but being behind in work due to the fires, it is catch-up time. In the crook of her arm she carries a folder and it is to the On Duty's desk she heads without pause until she spots Phylicia lying on one of those cots. She stops with a quickly-indrawn breath.

The On Duty looks up with a smile when Thea approaches, waving a quiet salute. "Good evening, Weyrwoman." her eyes follow Thea's gasp to Phylicia's bed, and that smile droops a little. "One of the two bodies brought in here from the deep woods a few days ago," she clarifies in a low voice. "She was…lucky. It'll take time, but she should make a full recovery eventually." In the back of the room, Fraille simply continues her work. If she's aware of Thea's presence, she either doesn't show it, doesn't care, or a more likely option 3. Both.

Thea hasn't seen Fraille, but if she had, her reaction would be similar, likely. Instead, her eyes are riveted on her best friend and she steps closer to her only to hesitate. "Bodies?" Her head turns in perplexity towards the On Duty briefly. Her words sink into the tired Junior's mind. Two she'd said. Her eyes flicker towards that empty cot beside Phylicia's, a frown forms when she spots the remnants of that coat, but it is to her friend that her attention returns. She closes the distance to her side, bending to see her more clearly through the sudden tears that spring to her eyes. "Is she…?"

The On Duty stands slowly, shaking her head. "She's not dead, no. Just sedated. We can't keep her awake for very long right now because of the pain, and when she's awake, she's too groggy to get out more than a noise or two." She takes a breath for a moment. "Her attending is planning on waking her tomorrow evening, but she's going to do it in private."

Thea exhales suddenly, a quiet whoosh of relief as she blinks to clear her eyes as she nods mutely to the On Duty. It takes a breath or two before she can murmur, "In… private. Of course." She's gone quite pale by this time and sinks down suddenly into the chair beside her friend's bed, whispers brokenly, "Oh, Phy…" One hand reaches towards the girl, hesitates, then rests atop the coverlet on her thigh. She sits that way for a time, then asks the On Duty finally, reluctantly since that next cot is empty, "And the other?"

The On Duty absently reaches down to the chart at the foot of that other bed, frowning a little. She flips a few pages deeper into it before stating, "I'm honestly not sure. It was a male, and…" she squints. "This can't be right…" The chart gets snapped closed with a frustrated sigh. "We've got to talk to people about their charting. It says this patient carried that one to the edge of the neadow from the forest before collapsing. Then there are notes about a new kind of sedative used and then the rest of the chart is gone."

"It's not gone, Journeyman," comes that grating voice from the back of the room. Fraille doesn't even bother looking up. She simply patds a folder next to her before going back to her mixing, grinding Thread knows what into her stone bowl. "His attending didn't know what kind of medicine he was given, and I took the chart myself."

Thea's mind is befuddled with too little sleep and still reeling from several recent events, the fire not being the least of them. She frowns slightly in confusion as the On Duty goes on about charting. "I recognize the coat-" she begins. That voice from the back causes her to wince before her eyes lift in that direction. "Master Fraille." Courteous, no more. "Did he-" Her eyes swing back to Phylicia and safe territory, perhaps. "Do you know what happened?" Shocked into a deadly calm, she has no patience for games.

Fraille simply shrugs. "I know the important details, yes." Finished with whatever she was working on, she sets her pestle aside and looks up. her own eyes are blood shot, dark circles forming beneath them that speak for a nearly complete lack of sleep over the last three days. "There was a fire." She points a bony finger at Phylicia. "For some reason, that one found herself in the middle of it." She reaches over to one of the jars, opening it and dumping a small dollop of cream into the bowl. "And the boy did what he always does when seemingly intelligent women leave their brains at the weyr and go running inot the forest." She makes a face. "For a person who doesn't live here anymore, he certainly spends enough time watching over it," she grumbles to herself. "Damn fool should make up his mind."

Thea makes an impatient noise in her throat as Fraille begins giving her information she already knows, "I KNOW about the fire-" only to quiet as she mentions Phylicia being out in it. She hushes with a shudder to listen, although the woman's acerbic words about brains and running in the forest draws a grimace of annoyance, but she allows the woman's attitude to roll off of her. She pays heed, however to the phrasing of the ancient healer's words. "Make up his mind? So…" Her eyes drift towards that tattered coat, "He's alive then." Her relief is explained in her next words, "Phylicia would have been devastated had it been otherwise." A pause, "I'm glad he was able to save her, but why isn't he still here?"

Fraille looks up from her work slowly, one side of her lumpy face sliding up into an unpleasant little smile. "Oh, indeed. She…would have been devastated." Hard eyes wash over Thea's face for a moment before she offers an ugly little chuckle and goes back to her work, looking away. "I'm not a mind-healer, but I suspect there'll still be some of that devastation, if she's got any heart in her at all." She's still for several more moments before, "The boy had an…adverse reaction to the sedative he was given. When I brought him out of it, he went half-mad before he finally realized where he was. He was relocated, for everyone's saftey."

Thea 's lips press together. She catches the implications between the pauses and ugly chuckle. She allows the information to sink in for a few moments, fatigue washing over her face before she answers carefully, "Phylicia is close to him. I do not wish him - or anyone ill, Healer." Her attention returns to her friend's face, but her question is for the old healer, "Wherever you've had him moved, I'm sure you will be sure he's cared for and reasonably sure he won't be happy until he's free of there." She sighs, "How is he now?"

Fraille finally sighs and sets her work aside. "He's absolutely, staggeringly, uncompromisingly miserable, Thea," she finally admits, her own weariness showing through. "Stormhaven was obliterated, as was his research garden in the deep woods, his apprentice is wounded and he feels at least partially to blame, and we're not sure yet if he'll ever be able to go back to the life he's used to." She tosses the chart onto the front of the table, in case Thea wants to look at it. "He's lost the use of his right arm from the shoulder down, has an impressive concussion whose effects we haven't fully charted yet and the fire took half of his face." She rubs her face with one hand, a gesture remarkably similar to one of her student's. "He's…absolutely miserable."

Thea isn't without compassion. Her eyes swing back towards the old healer when she sighs and her gaze softens for that vulnerability she shows. "The trees and garden can be replanted," she begins, only to wince at the news of the Journeyman's injuries. "Permanently lost the use of his arm?" She can only shake her head about his face, murmuring, "The fire was terrible for many others, but I suspect not that bad." Green eyes flicker over that familiar gesture, "I suppose he would be. But perhaps in time." There's really nothing she can say, is there?

Fraille shakes her head slowly. "Time does very little that's good, all things considered. People think it's time, but it's not. It's us. It's doing. It's living. That changes things, not time, child…" She looks over to Phylicia's bedside. "She'll recover fully, if in body. A few weeks for the burns, and then a few more for the rest of it. But I doubt she'll go back to the woods. Not now…"

"I cannot agree with that pessimistic outlook, Healer Fraille." Thea objects quietly. "Time gives us the space to recover, adjust if need be." She gives the old woman a clear-eyed look, "It's more than doing and living that brings changes. It is understanding. And that takes time." She merely shakes her head about Phylicia going back into the woods. ""If I know Phylicia, she does not scare easily. Why would the experience keep her from the forest?" Since her questions about Tenebrous are not being answered, she does not press.

Fraille shrugs again. "Your disagreement does not invalidate my claim, but I suspect that's largely irrelivent." A pause. "As for the boy's arm, I honestly cannot tell you if the damage is permanant. He wasn't….shall we say calm enough to discuss it when we last spoke, and his watchdog isn't brave enough ot ask. But if he doesn't go back out ot the forest, I suspect she won't either. Neve rmind the fact that she's not qualified to do the work he did, there are other factors in play."

Thea nods, "You are, of course, entitled to your opinion." She listens gravely as Fraille speaks about the Journeyman's arm. Her eyes return to Phylicia and she murmurs, "Perhaps not, but I cannot imagine why Tenebrous would not return to the forest. He isn't happy anywhere else." She blinks back to the elderly woman, "Other factors?" A slight frown follows, "Can you say what those are?"

Fraille mms thoughtfully. "Be careful that you do not mistake a lack of the negative for something positive. One does not beget the other, and I suspect that the Boy's happiness may indeed be something else. If he was truly happy there, he wouldn't have left." She tilts her head a little, regarding the Weyrwoman for a moment before making some choice in her head. "As far as the other factors are concerned, no. I am not at liberty to speak of them. Perhaps you should ask him."

Thea nods once more, "Of course." As to trying to be overly positive. "Happy is perhaps the wrong word to apply to him, I suppose. He was always… troubled. Perhaps less so in the forest." She rises, giving Phylicia one last look, then turns to face the healer. "I do not think I will do that, Master Fraille," she murmurs. "I think it's best I give him his privacy." She pauses, making a decision of her own, she asks cautiously, "Are you blaming me for him leaving Xanadu, Master Fraille?"

Fraille's answering smile is wide, almost approving. "Now you're getting somewhere, girl. Asking smart, direct questions, indeed honesty itself, is a difficult coin to trade in until it is the ony one used." Something about Thea's question has pleased her immensely. She leans forward in her chair, somehow manging to loom, despite her seated posture. "Yes." She gestures absently. "Make no mistake, I cannot know exactly why the Fetch chose to leave, but I know a huge part of his absence was simply because you had efficiently the last of his illusions from him. And he needed that. Needed it badly." Finally, she leans back a little. "You weren't the only reason why he left, I think, and there are other aspects of his life that I have placed my blame upon as well." She points a finger at Thea. "I'm glad it was you that did it."

Thea is by no means made comfortable by that approval, gives the old healer a look askance at her commendation of honesty. "I find that when others accuse folks of being dishonest, it is usually that they do not hear what they wish to hear." She inhales, "If by illusions you mean he thought I loved him, then yes. He was illusioned and I am sorry for that." She flaps the folder in her hand absently as she explains, “He reminded me of someone I loved long ago and I was at a vulnerable spot in my life. I thought I did for a brief time, but in retrospect, no, I did not. And I'm not sure I can explain it adequately. I was confused." She takes the few steps to the On Duty's desk to place the folder there, turns to face Fraille. She sighs, "He made me an offer I could not accept - to be there for me and love me - even though he knew I was going to be with D'had. An offer I declined."

Fraille snorts, waiving a claw. "The boy never told me exactly wha transpired between the two of you, and I never asked. You both probaby did some stupid things that neither of you should have done, because that's what young, confused children do. I KNOW you both said some things to eachother than you should not have said, because you are young, and that's what young people do. In the end, you misrepresented yourself. But." She spreads her hands. "As I said. I'm glad you did it. I'm glad it was you. And he will be too, eventually."

Thea opens her mouth to protest lest the old healer presume, "We didn't -do- anything!" then subsides to listen carefully. She considers her reply for a moment before she speaks, "If I misrepresented myself, it was certainly not intentional. Perhaps I should have realized with a head was still rattled from the blow I'd taken…" She waves a hand, dismissing the mess. "I am sorry that he was hurt." She meets Fraille's eyes, "I chose to work out my relationship with D'had, and while Tenebrous did not agree, it was what my heart wanted." Firmly, "I love him and I do not regret my choice."

Fraille makes a disgusted noise. "And you were doing so well. I don't care about your choice, girl. If I DID, I'd be glad you chose D'had, and not the Boy." Her eyes narrow. "But don't you dare sit there and tell me you didn't do anything. I'm old, not senile. If you didn't do anything, the situation wouldn't have de-evolved the way it did. I'm sure that, if you think about it, your mind will stumble across something that probably gave him the wrong idea." She lowers that dark gaze back to her work then. "There are consequences for everything. Those idiot riders thought there wouldn't be any if they played with fire in the middle of a bloody drought."

Thea sighs, her patience evaporates. Phylicia needs quiet and rest, so she doesn't raise her voice as she grits evenly, "Look, we talked a lot and kissed a few times. I could care less if you do not believe that." She steps around the old Master, ice fire in her green eyes, "Not a mindhealer nor a mindreader. Remember that." She takes a few steps, turns back to add, "I told him I loved D'had and he wouldn't accept that but tried to convince me otherwise. Hence some of my confusion. Did I say something wrong? Yes. I rectified it." She pivots on one foot, muttering in a near-growl, "Can't argue with you about the fire." With that she stalks out.

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