A Stitch in Time

Xanadu Weyr - DragonHealer's Annex

An entrance way which would allow admittance to even the greatest of Queen Dragons leads into a chamber which would house half-a-dozen of the same size. To one side is a shallow pool which constantly clears itself of grime and is used is washing wounds. Nearby is a shelf with a generous supply of clean bandages and clean sheets upon stone shelves. The other side of the chamber is taken up by an alcove with multiple banks of computers to house medical records and help to diagnose illness and injury in the Dragons who come for aid. Within this alcove is a small medical laboratory where medicines and herbs can be prepared and experiments can take place. The far wall houses two dozen Dragon couches, each separated above by a rail which supports a thick curtain allowing the patients an option of privacy as they rest and recover.

The Dragonhealer's Annex is full of unlucky dragons this morning. There's a blue with a bruised wing from sliding across the ice into a boulder in the bay nearest the entrance, dozing fitfully with his rider bundled in a heavy blanket and doing the same. Across on the other side, a thrice-unlucky young bronze has one of the warmest spots, closest to the sands whose heat radiates through the entire building. His first unluckiness was in being too slow to catch the glowing queen. His second, acquired at much the same time, is a gash on his foot. His third unluckiness came partly as a result of the second, a loss of control as he landed that sent his wing scraping against the ground. The wounds are covered in bandages now, his wing spread on a giant padded rest, and the smell of numbweed is strong as the heated air from there convects through the room. Near the backup incubators, the cots usually used to let riders sleep near their injured dragons are instead occupied with dragonhealers finally catching some sleep but wanting to be on hand if the ice brings more injuries - or perhaps simply unwilling to leave the relative warmth of the Annex for their own icy rooms.
There are a few still awake. C'per is looking at a green's snout as she peers at him cross-eyed and her rider fidgets nervously, Fallian is talking to the bronze's rider, and Soriana is making her way along the alcoves to hand out hot (well, warm. They were hot when she got them from the kitchens) rolls to those who have missed their breakfast.

The rest of the Weyr is busy coping with the ice storm and a night of uncomfortable, interrupted sleep as temperatures plummeted in the cottages and weyrbarns dependant upon electrical heat. Those lucky enough to have a fireplace have been able to at least warm one room and bed their families down before a crackling fire radiating warmth from the hearth and so stayed put in their homes. Others have had to dress warmly and make the trek to the observation level armed with pillows and blankets. Even the caverns have not proved immune, although they have remained somewhat warmer as the dissipating heat in them is slower to disperse thanks to the rock edifice surrounding them. Outside trees continue to snap and shatter, more electrical lines dragged down with them. Beasthandlers are kept busy moving herdbeasts into shelters or disposing of the occasional downed cow. The pale silver skies, still frigid, are empty of traffic while most dragons are wisely hunkered down in their weyrs or wallows so they won't slip on the ice. Yet, there is one about, treading carefully, slowly and painstakingly across the ice coating underfoot. Though thick, the ice cracks echoing gunshot protests between the hatching arena and the dragonhealer's annex until the dragon halts, awaiting the massive door to open and let her inside. It's the rider that enters the human-sized door to alert the dragonhealers that they are here. The Weyrwoman, steps inside, lowers the hood to her fur-lined coat and waits.

The movement of a dragon on this ice is definitely not subtle, but the sound could be other things. Another barrage of trees finally giving up the fight, perhaps. These sorts of sounds have been happening throughout the night, though as they get closer, they start to get more noticeable. When the small door actually opens, the blue dragon stirs at the swirl of cold air, rumbling briefly before drifting back to uneasy sleep, and it's not long before someone notices. That someone is a greenrider, but he tugs at C'per's arm and says something. The dragonhealer blinks, and peers back to the door. What? Oh. He pats the greenrider on the shoulder, replying to him, and gives the green another glance and her rider another comment before hurrying over. "Good morning," he says, smiling - but his eyes dart across her expression with a bit of anxiety. This could just be the Weyrwoman checking on the various parts of her Weyr… or it could be her coming in her role of haver-of-dragon, and a newly flown gold is one of the last dragons anyone wants to see hurt. There are a few other glances that way, a few murmurs of comment starting up, but so far Thea's presence hasn't caused much of a stir.

Thea is good with the lack of stir. Neatly attired in clean leathers and boots rather than office wear, her hair left free of the usual office updo has at least been brushed. Still, the Weyrwoman looks tired and probably hasn't slept a wink. She hadn't made it this way yet, but it is next on her list - killing two birds with one stone now that Seryth has noticed her discomfort. Waiting until C'per approaches, her pale green gaze, drifts over his shoulder, concerned. "If you need to finish with her," she says quietly so as not to awaken those sleeping, "Seryth can wait. She's waited this long." As she redirects her attention to the dragonhealer, Soriana is spotted, a gloved hand lifted to wave to her junior's daughter, a pale smile curves her mouth in greeting. She's not surprised to see the young woman here.

Aha, so there is something to do with Seryth. C'per nods to himself, then shakes his head. "Verzth isn't urgent," he says. Not that Seryth is either, according to what the weyrwoman is saying, but he'd rather do that triage himself. He turns to the doors, then glances back to see who's free. There's Soriana, just looking over with a smile back to Thea that looks more relieved than anything, and C'per takes that opportunity of Sori looking this way to gesture her over, pointing to the dragon-doors. As she puts down her basket of rolls and comes over, C'per looks back to Thea and explains, "She was hunting in the storm and slid into a fence. Managed to bite her own face, and I'm still not certain if she should be allowed to eat yet. Time will only improve her chances." He smiles slightly, then greets Soriana with a nod as she arrives and heads to position for door-opening. Soriana herself hesitates, looking at Thea. That smile is now tinged with… uncertainty? Maybe even a certain kind of wariness? It's that look of a teenager who's not sure if they should be getting ready to dodge cheek-pinchings. It only lasts a moment, before she pulls herself together, says, "Hello," and heads over to help with the door just marginally before C'per's "Aherm!"

That relief Thea sees in Soriana's return smile is assumed to be because it's been a very long and busy night here in the annex and thus she says - still quietly, but loud enough for the dedicated apprentice to hear, "I've grounded the dragons. There shouldn't be too many more of them coming in." C'per speaks and she winces, mouthing 'bite her own face' silently, rising on tiptoes to see poor self-bitten Verzth over C'per's shoulder. Huh. "She'll be hungry." She's assuming the green bit herself rather than the intended prey and thus her meal went uneaten. Easing back down onto the flat of her feet, she asks quizzically, "Do you make dragon soup at times like these?" Though that opens up a whole can of worms like feeding tubes and giant kettles, but times like these do make the non-dragonhealers wonder. The Weyrwoman flicks Soriana a 'what?' look for her wary uncertain pause but it's over so quickly she must surely have imagined it. Outside Seryth waits patiently. The cold isn't bothering her.

"Quite," agrees C'per about the dragon's hunger, "But she's in good health, and she's staying hydrated. An extra day or two without eating won't do excessive harm." Just drive her rider to distraction, as he pats her neck and she stares at him with orangey eyes over a muzzle marked silver with numbweed and ichor. C'per adds, "If it goes on long enough, we can make a broth of bone-marrow and blood." It's when the dragons can't even drink that things get more challenging. Syringes aimed down the throat, and if that's not an option, it's time to call in the Grade Fives and hope they can work a miracle. Fortunately for Verzth, she's not likely to require anything Interesting like that. Soriana smiles to Thea, nope, nothing here, if Thea's not going to say anything she isn't either. Pretending it never happened sounds just fine to her! The doors opening drops the temperature in the Annex by at least a degree all over, and the restless blue wakes. His eyes open halfway, gleaming yellow. «Too cold. We should go to Igen.» Despite the chill, Soriana steps out as soon as the doors are opened. It's not just to escape Thea's questioning looks, really! It's to take a look at Seryth. C'per is in no such hurry, or maybe just more practical, and he simply waits for the queen to enter so they can shut the doors again.

Blood and bone marrow soup. Thea had to ask! She sums up her idea of that in one word, "Ick!" But it does the job, apparently, when needed. With a sympathetic look for Verzth's rider, whom she'll console in awhile, she faces the opening door. The look she had given Soriana was genuinely perplexed. She doesn't remember the pre-flight hour. Well, she might have a dim niggling of something in the back of her mind, but nothing is triggering it as yet. Although it might be a subconscious thought that prompts her to ask lightly, "Is your mother beating off the boys with a stick yet?" Oh glory! No names bandied about and she must be joking, right? They both know Sorrin's easy-going approach to Weyr-life. As the door opens, plumes of steam puff and curls about Seryth's muzzle as she breathes. Thea steps back to give the gold room to enter, saying, "It's her belly." Then aloud, "Lie down for them, Seryth." More puffs of steam swirl around Soriana as Seryth greets her with a whuff, not seeming in any acute distress, then she plods into the annex, moving carefully until there is no more ice underfoot. Once inside, she eases down, tucks her wings and rolls over onto her side with a groan. Okay that hurt a little bit. In a diagonal across her belly, there is a long, shallow gash, deep enough to need stitches and packed with sand from the hatching grounds where she's been lounging - even if the warmth fluctuates with the diagnostic.

And Soriana stops. Mid. Step. at Thea's mild teasing. She turns to look at the Weyrwoman. She stands as Seryth's warm breath swirls around her, bobbing a greeting to the gold that's more than half on automatic (though it does come with a smile, but that's automatic too) before she returns to looking at Thea. "Ah," she says, and for once, she seems at a loss for words. They're conspiring, that's the answer. It must be. First her mother sends her and Kale on a vacation, now Thea is matchmaking at them… next thing, it'll turn out the new Weyrleader's trading post stocks exclusively flowers, candy, and cute stuffed toys! "Nooooo," she says, because it's true more or less, and then the fact that she's in cold frigid enough to pink the ears and cheeks finally comes back to her attention and she scampers back inside. The doors are released and swing shut, and C'per frowns at the mention of Seryth's belly, though he seems a little reassured by how the queen moves without difficulty, watching her go. Soriana takes advantage of the momentary distraction of getting Seryth positioned to flee wordlessly and look for something else to do. Anything else. Anything at all. C'per doesn't notice her go, his attention wholly on the queen as she settles herself down and rolls over. "From the flight?" he says in a 'just making sure' tone, then frowns as he looks at the gash. "How painful is it?" he asks Thea, then frowns as he leans down to take a closer look. "Ideally, I'd like to get it washed before we numb it…" He sounds like he's expecting to be disappointed.

There's nothing but clear-eyed, straight-forward humor in Thea's sea-green eyes as she regards the pink-cheeked Soriana with a casual smile. What? She's innocent. Since she knows nothing of the vacation, she can only assume someone is a little self-conscious about a special someone - though who that is, she has no idea - and that vague inkling of something awry returns to nibble at her focus on the apprentice. Now if only she could juuuust put her finger on it! Oh well. "Give it time," she says breezily as if the girl she knows to be level-headed is longing for just such a day. The subject is then left to drop as casually as it was broached. She does notice the apprentice head off, assumes she's after the usual numbweed, redwort, needles and suture material, so asides to C'per, "Has she learned stitching hide yet? Seryth's a steady one to practice on." It's up to him, of course! And indeed, the queen doesn't flinch from examination, but she's using her own self-control to lie still. "Go ahead. She says it hurts, but I'll support her," says the Weyrwoman easily. "If we need help, we'll bespeak the other queens."

Why, yes, it would be totally reasonable for Soriana to be going for supplies! If only her motivations were that noble, instead of trying to run away. Unfortunately for her, an injured gold dragon does not easily escape notice in a dragonhealer's infirmary, and this time, neither does a grade one making for the lab as a hiding spot. Fallian emerges before Soriana can make good on her escape, draping a suturing kit over one of Sori's shoulders, a covered bucket of numbweed on a strap over the other, and plunking a large tub of redwort solution into her arms before pointing her right back the way she came. Butbut… sigh. There's really no way out of it, and so Soriana trudges her way back with those supplies. Meanwhile, C'per has been continuing to study the gash, though he hmms at the question about stitching. "The basics of it," he admits, then frowns in a different sort of consideration at the wound. As injuries to practice on go, this isn't a terrible one; a bad job will just mean an unsightly scar, not the sort of problems an improperly healed wing might cause. "Perhaps I'll let her try," he says, nodding, then smiles. "Good. Let us know if anything is particularly painful." Both so they can be careful, and in case it's a sign of some deeper problem. He looks up for his supplies just in time to see Soriana arrive again. So convenient! "Ah, good," he says, and reaches to help unburden her before dipping his hands in the redwort. "Start with cleaning," he tells Sori. "And report diagnosis." Every moment is a training exercise! Also a test. How else will he decide if she's ready to try the stitching?

"It did happen during the flight, yes. She doesn't remember how exactly. She probably zigged when one of the males zagged," Thea answers C'per belatedly. She seems unsurprised to see Soriana return with the supplies, gives the grade one a thumbs up and an encouraging smile. Or is that a crocodilian smirk? That might be paranoia setting in, though, right? The Weyrwoman seems to be her normal sane self once again, and thankfully for the teen, focused on the task at hand. If only dragon forearms were long enough to prop an elbow with paw to head so the side-reclining queen could peer at her own belly during the procedure! Alas, they are not, so the golden neck is stretched out on the floor, muzzle pointed to watch the rest of the room (no sense two intimidating personages breathing down her neck, right?) Thea watches though, from her seat on Seryth's neck, a precaution to keep the queen from lunging at her belly. Save for the dew of perspiration on her brow, she shows little of her mental efforts of restraint and Seryth is a good patient, allowing the cleaning without complain other than a twitch or a soft groan now and then. What is seen when the dried ochre and sand packing the wound is removed is hide sliced to the edge of the muscle fascia from near an armpit on one side to nearly her thigh on the other side. It's a long slash, but not deep.

That's probably just a smile, right? Soriana gives one back to Thea, but she doesn't have much opportunity to do more, what with having a task to do. She's really kinda okay with that, relaxing now that she's just interacting with the huge dragon that could squish her with a careless swipe. "A ventral laceration," is the first part of her answer to C'per, and then she gets to that cleaning, rinsing her own hands and brushing external sand away, then dribbling redwort solution over it, then finally using what looks like a syringe with no needlethorn to actually squirt redwort along the wound and wash it out. There ends up being quite a puddle. "Simple," Soriana continues her diagnosis. "But increased risk of infection due to condition." She looks closer, and adds, "Ichoring looks good, though." C'per, who has been helping with this but letting Sori take the lead under his careful eye, nods, then raises a brow. Well, trainee? What now? Soriana gives it another look, then says, "It's ready for numbweed and sutures." C'per makes her sweat a moment, then nods. He open the bucket of numbweed, and Soriana gets the oil from the suturing kit to coat their hands, and it's time for the pain to go away now.

Seryth's belleh turns orange-y under the redwort, but she's patient during the cleansing. Serene the majority of the time, gleeful during flights (her party-time), it is the rider now who influences the queen rather than the giddy mating urges making the rider drunk. Thea sits primly on that neck-seat, only tensing a few times with the shared twinges of discomfort she feels though the mind-link. With the cooling numbweed the queen's abdomen, which hadn't seemed taut, relaxes fully and the Weyrwoman exhales and rises to walk around the room, her bootheels clicking quietly on the stones as she makes visits on the other patients and murmurs comfort to their riders. It's well into the stitching job - or maybe towards the end - before she returns to peek at Soriana's handiwork. Thea is a weaver, hand sewing is one of her best skills. No pressure though!

Once Seryth is nicely slathered, there's a few moments of waiting for the numbweed to take full effect… though many dragons start relaxing the instant they feel the coolness of it on their hide. Psychological response is a wonderful thing. During that moment of downtime, Soriana picks up a large, curved needle suitable for the task, and threads it with a length of gut. She holds it out to C'per for when he's ready… and holds it out… and holds it out… Surely the numbweed has taken effect by now. She starts to look uncertain. Did she miss something, and he's waiting for her to figure it out? A run through the mental checklist of the procedure doesn't help to find the missing link, and eventually she gives up and says, "Ready for sutures?" C'per looks at her, and nods. "Indeed. Carry on."
No pressure, indeed! Soriana ohs, and looks again at the wound. Simple. Definitely a simple laceration. Well, here goes. She's slower than a more experienced dragonhealer might be, but then again, there's plenty of riders for Thea to visit here. The icestorm has not been kind to the dragons of this Weyr, though the prognoses look good. Sori focuses on the task at hand, with C'per acting as an assistant to press the edges of the wound together and keeping a keen eye on every move of that needle as it loops through the numbed flesh, again and again. With the size of the wound, Soriana opts for several short runs of stitches. A more experienced dragonhealer could have done it in fewer, but dealing with a longer length of gut is hard. Besides, this way if one of the rows of stitches bursts, the wound is less likely to break open entirely! Er, not that they're going to burst, she doesn't think. They look pretty good to her - okay, there's some that are a bit uneven, but still. She's just finishing up the last of the stitches as Thea returns. It's probably not up to weaver standards, but then again, Seryth isn't a bolt of cloth.

It's nice to be so medically oblivious that the planning behind the shorter length of the gut doesn't occur to Thea. The mental image of Seryth's tummy popping open in one go could be disturbing. "Nice job," says Thea peeking over Soriana's shoulder. She's remarkably relaxed about all this, as is Seryth. They're no strangers to the annex, having been here frequently enough with Seryth when needed to help calm and augment riders control over seriously injured dragons and her own has taken scratches and nicks needing stitches before. "D'had wanted me to sew his hand up once when he cut it," she says conversationally cheerful. "I declined," she adds with a laugh. In otherwords, Soriana's stitching beats hers by a long shot. "Will she remain here for some time or can she go cuddle with Yarovith when he gets back from Ierne? Oh, and restrictions, if any?" She's asking either of them - or both!

And Soriana is so, so grateful for a relaxed patient and rider. Of course, they don't let the grade ones practice on the fidgety ones, and for good reason. She blinks a little as Thea addresses her again, having been focused in on the task to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. "Oh," she says, and after a moment, she smiles and adds, "Thank you." C'per gives a small approving nod of his own. She's passed this test/training, it seems! The comment about D'had's hand makes her laugh as well. "It's a lot different than sewing cloth," she says, then glances to C'per at Thea's question about what comes next, but he just raises an eyebrow at her. What, she thought the test was over? So Soriana looks back to Thea. "No heavy exertion for the next sevenday. No flying, no hunting. If there's sharp pain or it feels hot, get it checked immediately." That part is fairly standard. As for the other, she ponders a moment. "Back on the sands should be okay…" It's warm there, and Seryth will be taking it easy. On the other hand… sand. "Maybe a light bandage so the sand doesn't irritate it?" She glances to C'per questioningly. He nods, and says, "So long as the wound stays clean, she can be wherever she's most comfortable. Just watch for infection and keep her resting."

"That's what I told him," rejoins Thea dryly, leaving Soriana to imagine just how well that went over with the man in question. She clasps her hands behind her back to lean in and peer at the line of stitches, nodding again, pleased with the job. Though if she ever does find out about the barrel roll, Seryth - and probably Siebith for teaching her how - will be in trouble! Turning to the dragonhealers, she listens carefully. No hunting, which means she will be hand feeding Seryth before the week is done, since she only blooded yesterday. Still, things could have been worse. "I'll leave her with you to bandage," she says calmly. "She can stay here until Yarovith returns." The tone of her voice is bland, perhaps speaking of her disapproval for the new Weyrleader even leaving with the Weyr such a mess. "Thank you," she says sincerely to Soriana and C'per with a radiant smile before taking her leave back into the chaos that is Xanadu's ice-bound Weyr. At least she's… not weaving in drunken fashion.

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