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Old 06-25-2006, 10:25 AM   #11
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Folwren's post - Athwen

“Mistress Athwen, will it be alright?” the little boy asked.

Athwen smiled sweetly without looking up from her work. “Yes, it will be fine, so long as you do as you’re told and don’t touch it.” She gently swabbed at the cut with a clean, wet cloth. “That’s a nasty scratch you got yourself, lad,” she said. “How did you manage it?”

“My brother got me with a stick,” the boy replied. With his unwounded arm, he drew his sleeve across his nose. “Mum can’t stand the sight of blood and it hurt something awful. Are you sure it’ll be alright?”

Athwen nodded again to his urgent question. “Yes. Especially after I wrap it up. What was your brother doing with a sharp pointed stick?” She knew better than to add ‘he could have killed you with something like that!’, though it was obviously clear from the cut the child’s stick had inflicted. She asked herself mentally if all Gondorian boys were so violent.

“We were playing battle. Our father fought years ago in a great war and he tells about killing trolls and all kind of things. Berl was supposed to be the troll and I was Father because I’m smaller, but he didn’t like being the troll and he got mad.” Athwen nodded understandingly. She held the arm gently in her hand while she put down the wet cloth and picked up a roll of bandaging cloth. “Will that hurt?” her young patient demanded, stiffening. “When you wrap it around it, won’t it hurt?”

“Actually, it will feel good. I promise you it won’t hurt. Now, hold your arm out for me. I need both my hands to do this.” The boy obeyed and Athwen wrapped the arm from the wrist to nearly the elbow. She tied it on, securely but gently. “There you go, my man,” she said, stepping back. “You’re all patched up.” She smiled at him before turning away to talk to the boy’s mother, sitting nearby. “I’ve bandaged it up. The wrap will stay, so long as he doesn’t touch it. It will not stay on tonight when he sleeps, though, unless it is re-wrapped and re-tied carefully and he doesn’t toss and turn much in his sleep.”

“Will he be alright?” the woman asked anxiously, standing up.

“Yes, he’ll be fine. I cleaned it out and you came to me directly, so no infection had already settled in. I suggest you take away the sharp play things from your boys, though. You might have worse things to handle next time. Tomorrow morning, wash it again with soap and clean water. If you have any oil from the olive or any lavender, put that on it, and then wrap it with new cloth. Keep it wrapped gently until it scabs, and then be sure that he doesn’t pick at it.”

“We will. Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome,” Athwen replied with a smile. She nodded goodbye and waved to the boy as the two of them left.

Athwen turned to wash her hands and then clean up her work place. She was fastening the lid of the box with bandages and ointments when a knock came at the door. Her hands paused in their work, and then with a sigh, she stood up.

“I didn’t want another patient just now. I want Dorran.” But she still prepared a smile as she opened the door.

Instead of a young mother holding the hand of a crying child as Athwen half expected, there stood on the doorstep a young man wearing the black and white livery of the Citadel. She blinked in surprise.

“Lady Athwen?” the man asked. She nodded, expectant. “I was to deliver this to you.” He extended a letter and she reached out to get it.

“Thank you!” she said. He bowed and turned to walk away. She watched him go until he went out the gate into the road, then her eyes turned towards the letter. On the front of it her name had been written in black, swirling ink. Turning it over, she saw and recognized the impression of the king’s ring in the sealing wax. Again she had cause to blink her dark lashes at it.

Without looking up away from the letter, she closed the door and walked to the same chair that the boy’s mother had sat in. She lowered herself into it and then gently broke the wax. The fine, cream colored parchment made a soft crinkling sound as she opened it. The king’s seal was at the top and the letter that ran below it. She read the entire thing over once. . .twice, and then she put it down on her knees. Her blue eyes scanned the room in front of her. They passed over the table and chairs where she and her husband ate, the cupboards where dishes and food was kept, the pitcher of water standing on the counter, and the door leading back to another room. Then she picked up the letter again and read it a third time.

‘. . .to go with the fellowship to cure and to heal as your skills are required along the way. . .’

“To free the slaves and help them live on their own?” Athwen whispered. “He wants me to go? Clearly that’s what he’s asking. . .” She sat upright and refolded the letter. It would wait until Dorran returned and they could talk it over. His name was written on the list beneath the letter, but she didn’t know if he had accepted. They would discuss it when he returned home. Would he accept the mission himself? She knew what he had gone through in his past and she also knew how horrible it was for old memories to be stirred up. If he did not go, he would not want her to go, either, and she would not wish to go alone anyway.

She stood up and put the letter on the table. There it would wait until Dorran returned. Athwen put her hands to work, cleaning the house that was practically entirely clean already. Her mind turned the contents of the letter over and over again. Alone, though, she could not make up her mind of whether she wanted to go or not. But was it even a request? Or was it an order?

Whatever it was, it would wait until Dorran was home.

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-30-2006 at 08:17 PM.
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