We Need a Master
The young bronze fire lizard nestled closely against Humari's neck,
his head resting beside the unbruised cheek. He crooned, staring at
the unmoving face, rubbing his cheek gently against hers. The
Healers had left him food, and he'd eaten but had gone back to
observing his pet with the confusion and determination of the young.
He didn't quite understand what was going on, just that his pet
needed him. And the man next to her, sleeping in the chair with his
brown companion needed her too.
Jib's head lifted as he felt a change. Her eyelids fluttered and he
gave an excited cheep of encouragement, nudging carefully at the
Emerging from a swirl of darkness, Humari woke to pain, pain in her
body and in her head. Why did she hurt? Her head pounded, her mouth
was dry, and it seemed like her entire body was one large bruise.
She tried to move, but the attempt made her whimper. Eyes fluttered
open but the light seemed to sear her eyes, so she closed them
quickly. The was a soft nudging at her cheek that she couldn't
identify. Confused, her dry mouth clumsily formed the words and a
Taril awoke with a jolt, his first thought flying to the woman beside
him. His heart leapt when he saw her eyelids flutter, and he leaned
forward to carefully take Humari's hand in his own. "Can you hear me?"
Her head turned slowly towards him, brushing against Jib, who
chattered with excitement. Her hand flexed weekly in his. "Tril?" Her
words were slurred and her soft voice raspy. "Water?"
Taril turned and bellowed, "I need a Healer in here, now!" He turned
back to Humari and gently ran his fingertips along her battered chin.
"Just a moment, love. I'll get you water in just a moment. You've been
hurt pretty badly..."
She responded to the sudden bellow with a whimpering cringe, the loud
noise making her head ache even worse. The light touch soothed her,
though and she turned her head towards the touch. "Hurt..."
Before she could reply, Riadem stepped in, looking tired, but awake.
"You don't have to yell, Taril." He pointed up to the rafters, where a
small green flit stood peering down at them. "I was already coming.
Loud noises might be too much for her right now. Go ahead and give her
small sips of water." He noticed the expression on her face and
immediately moved to dim a few glow baskets around her before
approaching the bed. There was open relief on his face. "Wake up,
little sister. Can you tell me your name?"
Her brow knit, confused as her sluggish brain attempted to come up
with an answer. "H'mari."
"Good." Riadem bent to carefully lift one of her eyelids, then the
other. "Do you know who I am?"
"Ri'em." Her tongue darted out to moisten her dry lips. "wa'er?"
The relief spiraling through him was enough that Taril had only
half-registered Riadem's irritation at being summoned. He picked up
the glass by Humari's bedside and waited for the Healer to move out of
the way. "She'll be all right?"
Riadem moved, but didn't answer Taril right away. "Small sips. Use
the straw. " Frowning, he made notes on a piece of hide he carried,
then set it down. He waited until Humari had drank, then spoke
softly. "Humari, do you remember what happened?"
Her eyes slowly opened a bit more, felt the hand in hers and held it.
She blinked slowly and it was obvious that she was struggling. Then
her eyes widened with alarm and her hand tightened on Taril's. "
Tmarl...Yabin..." the words were heavily slurred, as though her mouth
had forgotten how to form around them.
Taril frowned, a trickle of unease returning. "Tumaril's fine. He's
safe, thanks to you."
She relaxed, then tried to move her broken arm towards her self, hand
seeking her belly. She winced in pain and turned her head towards
Riadem quickly shook his head, mouthing the words 'not yet'. Then
cleared his throat. "You need to rest as much as possible, Humari. The
water has some fellis in it to help." She turned her face back to her
brother, confusion evident. "You've a broken arm and your head was hit
by a hoof. Your nose and cheekbone are broken and you have a gash on
your forehead. That's why you're hurting."
"M'baby." There was both stubborn demand and a hint of fear in her
voice now, even through the slurring. She turned back to look at
Taril, her head moving slowly. She pulled at his hand. "T'ril? Th
"Ssshhh." Taril pressed a kiss to Humari's bruised knuckles, even as
he shot a black look at Riadem. "You're all right, Humari. Tumaril,
Yavin-- everyone is all right. Look-- Jib's here. He stayed with you.
Want more water?"
Jib began to croon, his young voice still pitched high, but the effort
was there. As Humari drank more of the offered water, a tear trickled
down her cheek. The added fellis quickly made her lids droop and
shortly after, her hand slackened in Taril's grip. Riadem watched,
face unreadable until he was certain that she slept. "Taril, would you
come with me for a moment please?" He stepped out of the curtained
enclosure and waited.
Taril let him wait. He took a moment to brush Humari's hair back from
her face and gently wipe away the tear tracks on her cheeks. She'd
asked, and he'd... not answered. Her heart was going to break and it
would be his fault. For keeping her in the dark. For not keeping her
After a moment he rose to join Riadem.
Riadem was waiting, Silently, he took Taril to a small office and
gestured towards the chair, but instead of taking the seat at the
desk, he sat lightly on the corner of the desk. "I think we need to
come to an understanding, Taril. I've heard of the problems that you
have had with my mother and siblings. I don't blame you for your
feelings towards them. But," he held up a hand. "I would like to
remind you that I am not them. You may not have realized, but I was
not at your wedding, nor have I been here since I was twelve turns
old. I've been at Healer Hall until six months ago and I hadn't seen
my sister since then...when she was five. I am not like Bortem and I
am _not_ Yarmel. He was a shaffing monster, even as a child. I am a
Healer above all else, even above being my mother's son and I happen
to I love my sister very much."
He took a breath, looking Taril directly in the eye. "I realize the
situation is very difficult right now and I realize that you're angry.
But I would appreciate it if your anger at my mother, my brothers, and
my twin were directed elsewhere. I had no part in what they did. I am
trying to help Humari to the best of my ability." He leaned back.
"Now...as for her condition, it's better than I hoped it would be.
I'll be calling in for a Master Healer to assess her functioning. Do
you have any objection to that?"
Taril's expression hadn't softened during Riadem's speech, and it
didn't soften now. The Healder spoke a good game, but Taril hadn't
survived as long as he had by believing every word spoken. Besides,
there was a more pressing matter. He absently rubbed the rope burns on
his palm as he thought. "Why does she need a Master Healer," he asked
after a moment.
"Because we don't have someone here who specializes in this type of
injury and my specialization is in child birth and women's health. I
am concerned that her injury has affected her speech, but to be
certain, we'll need a Master. If I can get a rider to transport him,
he can be here tomorrow or the next day."
The merchant was quiet, debating whether or not to ask. But he
couldn't not. "Just her speech?"
"I don't know if there's more. But, she needs to be a bit more alert
and stable before she's given any further bad news. Most of all, she
needs rest. I'm hopeful that she can fully recover, but a Master
Healer can tell us with more certainty."
"Then summon him." Taril rubbed his hands against his face, suddenly
exhausted. Riadem was _hopeful_ that she could fully recover. The
Healers had said that to him too, once. He shoved that memory aside.
"If you need to pay a rider for transport, tell them to speak to me."
Riadem inclined his head. "I'll send a message right away. I can tell
you, however, that the loss of the babe left no permanent damage. She
will be able to bear you another when she's recovered, but as a
Healer, I would recommend waiting until she's ready for any...
"She's broken and can barely speak! What do you take me for?!" Taril snarled.
"A husband who desires children. I don't know you, Taril, and I would
say the same to any husband. " Riadem didn't even twitch an eyelid at
the sudden snarl. "When I speak of her being ready, I don't mean
physically. She'll need to grieve as well. Allow her and yourself time
to do that before trying for another."
**Dimglow.** Taril shook his head. How Humari had sprung from such a
rotten family was beyond him. "Anything you feel compelled to share?"
"Yes." He rose, walking to a cabinet, opening it to pull out a small
jar. He handed Taril the jar and nodded to his hands. "For the rope
burn." His voice was knowing, but otherwise noncommittal. "Until she's
seen the Master Healer, she'll stay in the infirmary. I'd like to
restrict her visitors as much possible to reduce any confusion. Who
will be able to visit will be up to you of course." Running a hand
through his thick, auburn hair, he continued. "I'm hoping it won't be
the case, but this type of injury can cause personality changes,
unexpected aggression, persistent headaches, mood swings, and ability
to reason logically as well as her ability to speak. She may not be
the same after she outwardly heals, Taril."
Of course she wouldn't. Taril smiled bitterly and set the jar to one
side. Good things didn't last for men like him. "Torinya can visit, if
she cares to. I think that's enough."
Riadem didn't argue for his mother. Instead he nodded. "As you like.
It'll be a comfort for her, I think. They're close. I'll send for the
Master right away." He paused, drumming his fingers against his own
arms. "Would you like a cot brought in for you? You can stay with her,
if you like."
He paused, then nodded. There was so much still to do, Taril wasn't
sure how much time he'd be able to spend with Humari-- no matter how
much he wanted to. The Seahold didn't stop just because she was
injured. Even if it should.
"I'll have one brought in then." Riadem nodded.
Last updated on the August 13th 2019