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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
The Bard Babe

A Visit to the Medics (attn Cass)

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Arkin huffed, the air exploding from his mouth sending bits of his hair flying and bells tinkling as they went for the ride. It had been a few days since his last bender, but his head still felt like he’d just woken up after drinking the tavern dry. Whether it was staring into the sun all day, or having to make conversation with such impressively dull people as the groundsmen and guards of Lord Finney, he had no idea. That and the fact that he hadn’t been able to sneak even a touch of a drink to help ease him through the experience.


He smiled at the guard next to him as he looked over at the tinkling of bells. Arkin couldn’t quite be bothered to talk to him, so instead, he decided he was done here and sent him a lazy nod, ready to leave. The guard vaguely nodded back, his eyes still glazed with boredom. No-one was likely to attack the homestead of Lord Finney. He didn’t really have anything worth stealing. A few nice jewels and a lovely daughter, but that wasn’t enough to pose an issue.


There were a few places near enough to the Citadel for them to need to know about. The Band had made a business of checking them once to make sure no-one was going to try and steal from them and start a territory war, and once again to make sure that they weren’t hiding any darkfriends that the Band really ought to know about.


Arkin had disguised himself and vanished off to scope them out nearly a week ago, starting far out to the east and working his way back in. He’d sent others in other directions. There weren’t too many of them who were good enough to hide in plain sight long enough to get decent information out of the houses, but there were enough.


That didn’t mean checking the houses was fun. Oh no, it was some of the most boring undercover work there was. Most of the time, nothing was out of sorts and you spent a day carting around some lordlings dirty washing. Some of them had taken a frustratingly long time, long enough that Arkin had nearly been making up threats just to keep his days from blurring into one another, but he was done now. This was his final house, and it was squeaky clean. Well, he thought, scanning the guard next to him. Maybe that was the wrong euphemism.


The guard barely noticed Arkin leaving. The Citadel was half a day away walking at a decent speed, and Arkin had ditched his horse two days ago at the last house. The scouts kept a few rented horses at the citadel that they wouldn’t mind losing or trading away away. As much as he enjoyed the speed of traveling mounted, Arkin had never particularly enjoyed the actual act of riding, so walking home was no hardship for him.


Double checking that he had all his supplies, Arkin faded into obscurity and moved through the homestead to the road that split this man’s land and the forest surrounding the Band’s. It was a big forest; impossible to get through unless you knew the way. And Arkin did. And another seven ways on top of that.


As soon as he was a safe distance away, Arkin let out a happy verse of a drinking song and freed a flask from his coat, taking a healthy swallow and pausing, scrunching his face and enjoying the burn as it scorched his throat. Finally. He loved finishing jobs.


Making his way down the road, Arkin didn’t bother to transition to his scout stealth and costuming until he decided to enter the forest. Maybe he could check up on the scouts on his way through. It was always a fun game seeing how long it took for them to notice him. Occasionally he stole something from the particularly unwary ones to add to his stash at camp-a tradition started by the scout leader and trainer, who told them it was worse to miss someone stealing your things than it was for someone to steal them. Arkin liked that logic.


His mind clicked immediately into silence, his senses straining at the faint hint of boots and metal far to his left. He kept walking normally, his body automatically acting as though he hadn’t noticed anything even as his mind whirred into action, taking every scrap his senses were sending him and bolting them together into a coherent picture.


He wasn’t alone on the road. There were armed men yp ahead. He was still too far away for them to be from the Band. Lord Finney was the only noble rich enough to have guards out here and he hadn’t sent any patrols out. He heard another impatient weight shift and the hint of a whisper, the vague impression of bodies up ahead.


Bandits. There was no other explanation. Arkin didn’t exactly look like he had much to steal, but he was wearing the usual wear from Lord Finney’s, and he had very lovely boots. Bandits rarely needed much more of a reason.


He stopped his body, still short of the ambush. Now that he knew what was up ahead, he had no intention of walking into it. He cursed. Should have taken the back route, he thought, reaching behind his back to loosen the knives resting there. He had been posing as a groundsman, not a guard, so he was in Finney’s colours and basically unarmed. Or so they thought.


He had a plethora of throwing knives, his usual knives concealed behind his back, and a blowdart with a few choice poisons. It was going to have to be enough. He crossed everything he had that he had just encountered an advance party, or very disorganised bandits. He was still half a day away from the Citadel. If he ran into trouble, he wasn’t getting any help from home.


He had come about level with the source of the shuffling noises. This was as good a place as any to have the fight that was sure to come. He wasn’t yet sure if it was inevitable or avoidable, so he started with words. He’d work up to knives if he had to. Cross that bridge when he came to it.


“Any chance of you gents letting me pass? I assure you I have nothing worth taking,” Arkin called.  Drawing one of his knives, he spun it around his hand. Just because he was being polite was no reason to be taken for vulnerable. He wanted them to know full well that he just wasn’t worth stealing from. Too few valuables, too much skill.


“Honestly, if you’re going to ambush a man, at least don’t whisper about it on the roadside,” he added.

There was a moment of conspicuous silence that confirmed his ideas of numbers-losing the noise from certain locations let him pinpoint the location of three men in the surrounding trees and hills.


Three. He might be able to handle three if they didn’t all come at him at once. And they weren’t very good. He spun his knife again.

“Not bloody likely,” a gruff voice called back. Arkin heard footsteps moving closer. “Now hand over your coat and boots and any money, or we take them off your corpse.” The two men from the left of the road came into view, and Arkin nodded. Right, there was going to be a fight. He slipped a throwing knife from his sleeve and whipped it to the right in one fluid movement, never breaking the spin of his other knife. There was a wet thud and a grunt as his knife slid between the ribs of the man on the right of the road. He wasn’t going to make it far out of those trees if he wanted to keep from bleeding out onto the road.


“I can understand why you might want a new outfit,” Arkin told the two thickset men who had crunched onto the road a few feet away from him. He used their moment of surprise at their companion’s fall and the distraction of his words to work another throwing knife to his hand. He doubted it would work the second time, but it was worth a shot. He’d really like his numbers to be cut down to a one on one fight. That, he could probably win. These two looked like they had seen fights and come out on top, losing only often enough to earn themselves scars to match the sort of intimidating aesthetic they appeared to be going for. Arkin was more intimidated by the bloody great axe swinging off the larger one’s belt. The other man, smaller, but still solid, had a sword. Arkin really didn’t want to deal with either of them.


“But I’m afraid I’m rather attached to mine.” He sprang forward, releasing another blade towards the swordsman. He hadn’t given them enough time to process his knife throwing skills, and they hadn’t backed away yet, so the man didn’t have enough time to deflect it. He did manage to dodge it a little-where it had been aimed for his throat, it hit his shoulder. Arkin hadn’t expected it to kill him, and any contact was better than none. Arkin heard it impact, but he didn’t have time to spare a glance for where it had landed while he rushed the axeman. He was hoping to get in and under his defence before he could pick up his weapon. It nearly worked.


As Arkin ran in under his arm and aimed a slash at the big man’s stomach, he started to draw his axe. He spun just enough to catch the blow in the wood. Arkin spun out of his reach, leaving his knife embedded in the wood, and glancing quickly at the swordsman to see where his knife had landed. Shoulder. Good. Not his sword-arm, but still enough to slow him down. He still had a second to deal with the axeman. He completed his spin with his other knife slashing at his other side. This time it contacted, grazing across the man’s ribs. He hissed, but he’d had enough time to draw his weapon. Arkin danced out of reach his reach again, releasing another throwing knife at the swordsman, determined to keep his whirlwind momentum going. His speed was his biggest advantage. He needed to keep the pair from working together, from getting him into a position where either one of them could use their strength to defeat them. That meant constantly flitting in and out of their reach, hopefully staying too far inside it for them to touch him. The axe wouldn’t be much use in close quarters with his friend so close, and Arkin wanted to keep it that way.


The swordsman cursed and batted the knife away with his sword, leaving him open for Arkin to slam a fist into his bad shoulder. That time the man yelled his curse. Arkin needed his other knife back. They were starting to get their feet back under them. The axeman aimed a heavy blow at Arkin’s right flank, and Arkin just spun out of the way, staying close to the swordsman, who leveled a blow at him. Arkin caught some of the momentum on his one dagger, enough for him to duck underneath it. For a few moments, he was ducking and weaving between blows, his body reacting on instinct before his brain had time to make any real decisions. There were a few very near misses resulting in a few shallow cuts, instant bruises from vicious punches and kicks that he sometimes had to field in order to avoid blades and an axe blow that sheared one of his armbands in two as it trailed behind his retreating form. He needed to end this, now.


Slipping behind the swordsman, he slipped dangerously close and shadowed his every move for a moment, eyes fixed on the axeman, who was watching them, trying to find an opening into which he could shove his bloody monster of a weapon. Arkin earned an elbow to the stomach dodging a more vicious kick to the kneecap from the swordsman, but he let its momentum spin him away just in time to wrench his knife from the haft of the axe as it swung, using the new weapon that the axeman had forgotten he could use to slash at his throat. The man wrenched his head backwards to avoid the blow, but Arkin’s second knife slammed upwards into his gut, and he brought the first knife back down to slash a viciously deep cut into the man’s wrist as he grunted at the blood starting to stream from his stomach. He dropped his axe instantly, the hand falling limp for a moment.


Arkin forgot him as incapacitated, and whipped around to dodge the blow he sensed coming from behind him. The swordsman hadn’t been idle, but Arkin had needed to end the fight. He nearly made it, but the blow destined for his neck still made contact. He’d moved back far enough for it not to be lethal, but the tip of the sword fell in the follow through and slashed through the front of his thigh. Arkin bellowed a curse, but threw himself forward as the swordsman recovered and buried a knife between his ribs, slamming his newly recovered second knife into his back as his momentum carried him by and shoved the man towards the ground.


He stayed down. He wasn’t dead, but he was sure bleeding a lot. But so was Arkin. He let out a filthy stream of curses and spun around to face the two men on the ground. The axeman was coughing up blood. “If you flaming pieces of raken-bait live, and I sincerely hope you don’t, get your flaming, holey caracasses off Finney territory.” He stabbed a blood-soaked knife at the edge of the trees, where the first man he’d downed was hanging onto a branch. The man flinched. Arkin hissed at the movement, which pulled several cuts on his arm. He looked down at his arm. His sleeve was splotchy with red. He didn’t want to look at his thigh yet. “You. If you don’t want them to die, then get over here and do something, or run away like the chicken-hearted milksop you are and lick your bloody wounds in a whorehouse.”


Stalking over to the two men on the ground, Arkin let his mouth reel off curses on automatic as he took back his throwing knives and retreated into the forest. They wouldn’t be following him. Cursing somewhat more emphatically, he grabbed at his leg and bit out a few choice as he leaned against a tree. He had no clue about anything medical, but he knew enough to take a shredded part of his fake Finney uniform and tie it tightly over the deep cut on his thigh to try and stop the bleeding. It wasn’t bleeding too badly, but it still didn’t look great, and he was losing blood from the myriad of other cuts on his arms. That had been a terribly difficult fight, and while he had won, he hadn’t come out of it well. But at least he had come out alive.


Brightening somewhat at the return of his usual optimism, Arkin took a deep breath, calming his heart rate, and drained a flask. The walk home was long, and he didn’t bother hiding from the scouts as he passed through, though he had found his humour again by that point. The cuts hurt, sweat stinging them as he walked, his clothes stained with blood, but there wasn’t a great deal he could do about it, and it certainly wasn’t as bad as Tanchico. There was always that.


He passed straight by the scouts, waving off attempts at help with a quip and a grin. The bleeding had all but stopped, and while it wasn’t comfortable, he didn’t think he was in danger of permanent injury. He certainly hoped not. He really needed to get some field training in medicine. Medics. That was definitely where he should be headed.


Changing the automatic course his feet had set towards the tavern, Arkin reported his findings and his scuffle, and approached the medic’s tent, brushing away memories of Jehryn as he walked into the tent. “I’m feeling like someone in here probably has a good chance of sewing me back together?” he asked as walked in. His leg was definitely his main concern, but he knew there was a long cut on his arm that needed tending to, and a sword that had nicked his collarbone had dug into his chest a little on the way down. Nothing life-threatening. Hopefully nothing that would keep him from training. He felt exhausted, but only as exhausted as he would expect after having a fight and walking for half a day. It was only just coming on evening. He’d made good time, considering.


He folded his hands behind his back and tried to bounce on the balls of his feet as he waited for someone to call for him, but winced as it shot pain through his thigh. Maybe standing still was the best call for a little while.


(OoC: Sorry this took so long, and sorry that it's so long haha, I didn't know where I was going when I started it, and then that happened XD)

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A splinter.

 

The archer had come to him requesting urgent treatment for a splinter.

 

Emrin stood up from his seat on the wooden consult stool and gave his head a slow shake. For a moment he stared blankly at the leather screen across from him.

 

Not even a deeply-embedded, broiling with infection, possibly-going-to-require-an-amputation-if-left-untreated type of splinter. Just a slither of wood on the inside of his index finger.

 

Emrin got it. Fingers were important to bowmen.He grinned.

 

And then he shook his head again and plastered his hands over his face, tugging slightly on the roots of his hair and letting out a low moan.

 

So bored! his mind wailed.

 

That had been the most interesting work he’d conducted all week. With a sigh, he walked around the screen towards the front of the tent, dragging his hands down his face, over his grimace as he walked.

 

And then he stopped. There was a man.

 

“I’m feeling like someone here probably has a good chance of sewing me back together?”

 

Fingers paused at the crease of his chin, mouth open and lower lip pulled down, Emrin stopped and stared.

 

And burst into smile.

 

The man was bleeding! Or at least had been. Considerably.

 

Almost gleefully, his brain bounced into action. Standing. Steady. Talking. Humour. Alert… possibly no injury to the head.

 

Pale. Not blue. Breathing ok. Full sentences … no respiratory distress, probably no significant injury to the chest.

 

Pale though. Covered in blood.

 

Quickly, the medic noted several bruises, scrapes and gashes on the fellow in front of him, hunting out what was likely to be most urgent. His eyes spotted a long gash on the man’s arm, and blood-soaked bandaging on the right thigh. Paleness was an indicator of blood loss, but there was more blood on this man than the wounds and his current level of alertness accounted for. Emrin raised an eyebrow and grinned, dropping his hands from his face.

 

"I believe last time we met, you were in better shape. I do ok stitching, dunno if it helps Lordling guards here though,” he made light of the scout’s manner of dress and walked forward to help Arkin around the partition for better assessment. “Though I see you’ve put the uniform to good use!” he nodded towards the thigh bandage and motioned for Arkin to take a seat on the stool.

 

Bells tinkled as the man walked around and took a seat. Emrin eyed him over more closely as he sat. The man’s pupils were equal and there was no trace or whiff of vomit - another good sign as far as injuries to the head were concerned, but there was the smell of alcohol, and it wasn’t coming from near the bandaged wound.

 

Drink, not applied to fight infection… possible impact on the amount of blood lost... Emrin cocked his head to the side.

 

“Is that your biggest problem?” he pointed at the bandaged thigh and dropped down to take a look, reaching for the man’s wrist and feeling for a pulse. Blood soaked the entirety of the uniform covering the wound, and there was evidence of a considerable stream having run down the leg too. The pulse however, was not quite faint enough for instant concern, for all it was a little rapid.

 

“Onto the bench with you for cleanup, lad. Dress down to your undergarments and we’ll see what’s what. Don’t worry, I’ll get you something to drink before the action.” Emrin wiggled his eyebrows exaggeratedly and turned to the chest where he kept dried herbs, poultices and potions.

 

He added several scoops to a large cup - feverfew, ground ivy and coren root to fight infection and replenish blood. And just enough crimsonthorn root to dull any niggling pain before he started clearing out the wounds. He filled the cup with boiled water almost to the top. Won’t taste great...But the more fluid he gets, the better.

 

“Here son, drink up! And then lie down before exhaustion and blood loss make you faint.” He handed the cup over with an even bigger grin.

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Arkin couldn't help the bemused grin that stuck to his features at the medic's approach. The man was familiar, even if Arkin hadn't officially met him before. Most of the Band members tended to be fairly familiar with the medics in one way or another. His smile slipped slightly as the man looked over him with critical eyes, as it always did when he remembered Jehryn. But Tanchico was long ago. That was why Arkin didn't particularly mind his current wounds. He'd had worse before. Well, that and also the alcohol he'd had. That certainly helped.

 

Knowing better than to argue with medics, Arkin allowed himself to be walked around the partition. He grinned at Emrin's jab, and shrugged. "Lordling guards know nothing of stitching. That's why we need people like you around."

Glad to accept Emrin's judgement of his use of the uniform as a blood rag, he hoisted himself onto the stool, setting his bells ringing. He pulled out a flask, allowing himself to be prodded and shifted by his medic while he took a sip and vanished it back into his clothes.

Arkin winced as Emrin got close to his thigh. "Yeah, that's the main issue there. It was either that or let them have my flaming head, so I guess it isn't too bad."

He let Emrin poke around a little longer, before the medic ordered him to strip down and hop onto the table. "At least buy me dinner first," he shot back automatically, but did as he was told. He pulled off his shirt one armed so he didn't jostle his injured one, before gingerly stepping out of his breeches. Climbing up onto the table wasn't the most fun experience Arkin had had in his time at the Band, but he managed it. His thigh was complaining, and his normal athleticism that would have helped him avoid using it was hampered somewhat by his injured arm, though that wasn't as bad. He manoeuvred his way onto the table in his underclothes. He glanced down at the multitude of scars and nicks he'd accumulated in the last few years, but the worst damage from Tanchico was on his back and out of sight, so he mostly ignored it.  By the time he'd settled, Emrin had a funky smelling drink all ready for him, which Arkin downed in one. He'd done his time at the tavern-he could drink fumes if he wanted to. He suspected his alcohol consumption might not mix with this, so he thought regretfully of his flask lying in his clothes in a messy pile on the floor, but ignored it. Lying down as he was bid, he handed back the cup and looked at Emrin curiously as he prepared whatever it was he was about to do. "Am I actually likely to do that? Faint from blood loss, I mean?" He wondered idly what would have happened if he'd done that in the forest. Surely one of his scouts would have found him eventually.

 

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Fast drinker. On both counts. Emrin noted, mildly impressed.  Steady but guarding. Arm. Sternum. Leg.

 

The medic cocked his head to the side at the man's question, pulling the stool closer to the bench and taking the empty cup.

 

"My coppers are on no, but I'd say yes if all of that was yours," he gestured to the blood soaked uniform piled on the floor, flashing a grin. "Or if you drink too much more from yer flask before the wounds are properly sealed, since it can ecourage you to keep bleeding more with every bump."

 

Alert. Pupils unchanged; nil effect from the crimsonthorn root. Yet. Still pale.

 

Clicking his tongue and humming to himself, Emrin refilled the cup, adding more coren root. He turned to hand it to the Scout, weighing up the risks of introducing more crimsonthorn. It was tempting, but he decided against it for the moment. No need to go complicate things with the possibility of paralysis just yet.

 

"Here Lad, bottom's up! This one will offend your tastebuds again, but it will sure as Light make things easier for you tomorrow." The medic grinned yet again and then looked sharply at the patient in front of him.

 

"Not gonna lie, it looks like it's been long enough since your scrap that the cleanout of these wounds is probably going to be about as comfortable as repeated kicks in the crotch from a goat."

 

He reached underneath the bench to pull out a tub filled with a variety of stiff-bristled brushes. 

 

"Do you need something else for the pain?"

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Arkin forced down the second cup with a grimace before handing it back. He didn't ask what he was being fed. He realised he'd said he needed to learn some healing, but he wouldn't have this stuff in the field anyway. Unless he learnt what it was and decided to start taking some out with him. Could he do that? Should he do that? It would probably be more practical than his third flask.

 

He shrugged. At least he wasn't about to pass out. Though by the sounds of it, that could have made the next however long a little easier. No drinking though? That could get interesting. Arkin shot another longing look at his flask on the floor, then heaved a put upon sigh. "I suppose I can save up my drinking for a grand recovery party. My old master never let me drink while I was on the mend anyway." It was true. His old master hadn't let him drink period. Except on a few memorable occasions where they'd both gotten spectacularly drunk in some tavern. Arkin had never figured out why then, but he was thankful.

 

His leg burnt now that his edge was wearing off, and while his arm didn't hurt as much, it was still constantly reminding him he'd managed to get it sliced open as well. Ah well. He still preferred that to his head. He assumed there was something in the drinks that would kick in soon, but it didn't sound as though this was going to be a short ride, so he settled back after wincing at Emrin's tub of brushes. "Well that looks like it's going to be fun," he groaned, but waved off the offer of pain relief. As long as Emrin had put something in the drink, he was sure he'd be fine. "Just some conversation," he told him, folding his good arm behind his head and cocking his good leg up as though he were on the forest floor pointing out the shapes in the clouds with some dish girl, not in a medic's tent bleeding all over the floor. "Am I your first customer today?" he asked.

 

 

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"First dinner, now conversation?" Emrin wiggled his eyebrows before continuing. "No, Lad. There have been a couple more customers today... Though all but one fellow was tidier than you... and it wasn't blood soaking into his uniform either. I had to rescue a finger from a splinter before you sauntered in, but you're the first needs stitching!"

 

The medic sat down on the stool and pulled his little wheeled table with polished tray up alongside him, his eyes ranging over the scout's confident, alert pose, the lack of change in respiration, the muscle control of the unaffected leg. 

 

... Still no effect ... Why? With a click of his tongue he ran through a mental checklist.

 

Right herb? Yes. The jar was still out and clearly marked.

Right dose? Yes. He could clearly remember measuring out the tiny scoops.

Right preparation, unspoiled? Yes... most likely. It had only been a week since the batch had been last used effectively, and the stopper had been tight when he'd opened the jar.

 

...Why? Personal tolerance? Alcohol? Is it going to kick in, or just have no effect?

 

His brain wrestled with the riddle even whilst he outwardly acknowledged the conversation with the scout. The last thought jogged him into action and he reached into one of the open chests below for the large bottle of alcohol he liked to use for cleaning. There was surprisingly little visible dirt and grit in most of the fresh lacerations and nicks across the scout's skin, but they still needed a wash and that leg needed stitching.


Gentle might be better than rough, he mused. He slid the tub of brushes back under the bench and pulled out a softly wrapped square package and a small wooden box instead. He placed both items on the polished tray and carefully opened them, making sure not to touch the contents with his hands. Boiled skins and scraps of cloth were folded neatly inside the square pack, and a collection of pre-threaded, curved needles winked to him from inside the box. 
 

He reached for the alcohol and spilled a good serve of the contents onto both hands, and over the entirety of the bottle itself.  He rubbed his hands together vigorously in a practiced pattern, covering every inch of skin before shaking them dry. Then he picked up the bottle again, and the topmost scrap of cloth, turning back round to face the scout directly. 

 

"I'll start at the top and work down so you're properly clean before I stitch anything, ok? I don't see much dirt in your scrap-wounds though, so you must've held your own in this fight?"

 

He grinned and lifted the bottle as if to toast, and then at the go ahead from his patient, prepared to talk and splash and scrub on repeat until every cut was clean. 

 

"If it stings too much, let me know and we'll see about some other options for pain relief, ok?"

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Arkin shrugged. "I live to serve." As he finally stopped running about and finally stayed still, he felt his muscles starting to relax, starting to ache with the familiar tension that followed a fight. He groaned, releasing all the urges to hold his body up and stay ready for a fight, sinking back into the table. 

Emrin made it pretty comfortable, all things considered. Even as Arkin let himself relax, he felt the pain in his leg start to dim. Well, it didn't dim, but it felt like he was further away from it. Like it couldn't quite break through to his mind that he was in pain. It was a strange feeling, accompanied by a certain cotton-headed dizziness, like he was thinking through a fog. Like he'd had too much to drink, frankly. That was strangely comforting. At least he knew how that worked. 

Relaxing into the feeling-too late to stop it now-Arkin watched the medic pull out skins and swabs and alcohol. He didn't try to drink that, knowing it was being put to better use. And those swabs looked far more comfortable than the brushes he'd had out a second ago. 

"Well I'm still here and the other two guys went running with their tails between their legs, so I'd say I held my own pretty flaming well, yeah. I typically try to put Arinth between me and people with swords, but it's good to know I rely on him for no good reason." 

Arkin nodded to the medic's gesture of starting. 

Hissing through his teeth as Emrin made contact more on instinct than anything, Arkin watched Emrin work for a second before his eyes drifted lazily closed. 

"Of course, one of them did stick an axe in my thigh, so that bit wasn't as fun."

His limbs were heavy, and his mind was quiet. That was new. Quiet wasn't a word people often applied to Arkin. He was either noisy or inaudible. There wasn't really an in-between.

Eyes slipping fully closed, Arkin felt the weight of his body holding him down against the table, the dragging weight of his limbs. Blood-bathed streets flared across his vision. He couldn't move.

His eyes snapped open, breath hissing out through his teeth as he jerked upwards, tight as a bowstring. He tamped down the instinct as soon as it began, barely getting his back off the table. His body had moved on its own, without his permission, but it couldn't get very far like that. Groaning at the dull ache as his muscles protested his sudden movement, he released all the tension that had jolted through him. Whatever Emrin had given him made it flaming difficult to stay tense. He hadn't even lifted off the table at all. He didn't doubt Emrin would have noticed his sudden tense jerk though. He held up a warding hand as he relaxed back into that cottony feeling. But he didn't close his eyes. 

Instead, he glanced down at his good arm, where a burning tree was flanked by a bear and a fox. His hand relaxed down onto the table as well, and the tightness in his chest floated quickly away. 

"Sorry about that, Emrin. I'm not hating our date that much, don't worry. My body just doesn't take too well to not being ready for action, you know? Continue on, good sir." 

 

Edited by The Bard Babe

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Aahh, there it is! the medic noted. A personal tolerance to depressants Arkin may have had, but finally his eyes fluttered shut and the tension left his muscles. His breathing slowed. 

 

That is, until he spasmed, a sudden jerking that was unrelated to the strokes of the cleaning cloth and decidedly not a side-effect of the crimsonthorn. Emrin raised an eyebrow and lifted his hands away from the shallow scrape he'd been cleaning. What little grit had been there was gone, anyway.

 

"... I'm not hating our date that much, don't worry. My body just doesn't take too well to not being ready for action, you know? Continue on, good sir," the Scout settled back to the table, body lax, eyes open, despite a glassy wash.

 

Emrin grinned at the humour Arkin held despite his subtle torment, dropped the used cloth to the pile on the floor and reached for another, larger this time. He gave a good-natured squeeze to the Scout's uninjured shoulder, and leant forward, "I like your style, lad, but careful what yeh wish for - it's the stitching that's coming next." With that, he applied a generous over-wash of alcohol and dabbed at the leaking thigh gash. His attention flitted across the shape and lie of the wound across the muscle - Gaping. High tension - and he waited for any reflex reactions from the Scout - none, despite the alertness to the eyes.

 

Clicking his tongue, Emrin debated internally whether or not Arkin could do with further sedation before the stitching began. Not, he decided. The axe-mark was deep, but the man's body told stories of worse wounds, and for all the humour, his eyes betrayed a wariness of total relaxation. The little pain that would be felt at this stage would be more comforting to the Scout than the sensation of being completely drugged out, Emrin was sure. And the day hadn't been so boring that the medic would wish for any sort of reemergence phenomenon, nor would he wish that experience on his patient.  He reached to the tray beside him for the threaded needle.

 

"Don't hit me when it stings," he grinned, and with deft stitches began to suture, horizontal-mattress style, from the middle of the wound. A small hiss sounded at insertion of the first stitch - needles jabbed at ninety-degrees to the skin and then twisted tended to have that effect - but otherwise Arkin was still and the job was over quickly. Emrin looped the thread into a knot and snipped the excess away with a knife before standing back to check his work. Neat as ever. The bleeding had stopped and the wound was well closed. Though there would undoubtedly be a scar, it would be tidy and there was little chance of it re-opening whilst the Scout walked. Or limped. Or danced or jaunted, or whatever the case might be, in the near future. He pressed his way around the stitched skin, giving a small nod as colour return to the pressured areas as soon as his fingers lifted. 

 

"You should go alright there, lad, now let's see about this arm," he scooted his stool to the other side and looked at the line drawn through the flesh. "Longish, isn't it?" With a little more clicking and stitching, that too was sutured nicely. Now the chest, Emrin stood, turning to pluck a jar with a light greenish moss from the shelf. "You're lucky this one didn't break a bone on the way down, I'll wager," he nodded towards the slash on the Scout's collarbone and the slice in the chest which followed. "Sword, not axe?" with a smooth-bowl and pestle he began grinding the moss into a packing paste, adding a sprinkle of feverfew as he went. "I do wonder at the messes you lot get into, even when you're not at a bar or in the middle of a battle," he chuckled and then checked himself. 

 

"Still, I'm glad you all know what you're doing. Best I can likely do in a scrap is wave a scalpel and threaten a well-placed punch," the medic wiggled his eyebrows and then paused, looking pensively at Arkin. "I should really do something about that, times being what they are, shouldn't I? Pretty sure none of those trollocs or other shadowspawn are going to be stopped by scalpels or punches, however well-placed they are!" 

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Arkin took a few deep breaths, relaxing back into the feeling as much as he could. It wasn't hard to, all things told. It was hard to get himself riled up. More and more, he didn't enjoy this feeling of helplessness, but the good company he was in made it a lot easier to bear. A drink would help even more, but he couldn't reach his flask from here. That could wait. That had to wait. 

Instead, he focused on the slight pokes and pains of the needle as it dipped in and out of his skin. He was no stranger to being stitched up, though, and Emrin was good at it. This was no rough job that would leave horrid scars, no rush to tie him back together and get the next person on the table before they died too. It was actually quite nice, all things considered. As long as he didn't forget where he was, what he was doing there. Still, the stitching made it easy to focus, and Emrin made it easier still. 

Arkin laughed. "You don't have to worry about a hit from me, good sir," he said. "You'd barely notice it, I'd wager." It was true. Arkin could certainly hold his own in combat, as his recent scrap showed. But he did better at the beginning of a fight, preferably from somewhere far away, before his foes knew he was there. And with a weapon. That part was utterly essential. Unarmed, the best Arkin could do was run away. Though he was a champion at that. 

He watched the medic work. He was swift, and focused, and practised. Arkin could see it in those hands. They weren't made for punching either. Made for delicate work. Maybe stitching hunks of meat like Arinth and Arkin back together wasn't quite so delicate, but Arkin saw the clever fingers at work. He worked through Arkin's wounds with a calm efficiency. It reminded Arkin of Jehryn, just a little, but Arkin shoved that thought away. He'd been back in Tanchico enough for one day, he thought. Instead, he watched Emrin tend to the cut on his chest. "Yeah, I'm usually pretty lucky with broken bones," Arkin said. "I think I may have been smacked around the head and fallen off enough walls as a child that I just learned to bounce."

He wrinkled his nose at the concoction Emrin slathered over him, staring at it curiously. "What is in that?" he asked. How did plants make you whole and hearty again? It had never made much sense to Arkin. He had never really thought about it before. But he saw plants all the time. Were any of them these plants that could heal wounds? Was that something useful he possibly should have been bringing back to camp for years now? He sniffed again. He was sure he recognised that smell. Maybe it had just been put on him before. "Mmm, yes, there was a sword and an axe and some other milksop in the trees. Just glad they got the non-essentials." He grinned. "All in the service of our glorious leader and good old fashioned fun," he added to Emrin's wonderment of soldiers' mishaps. He had a point. But this was what they were getting paid for, right? 

"Oh, there's plenty you can do with a scalpel," Arkin said. "Particularly if you drug us up first, looks like. You'd make a fine assassin, I'd wager." He pursed his lips. "Suppose that wouldn't work on a trolloc though, you're right. Think you could handle something a little bigger than a scalpel?" he asked. He gestured vaguely at his belt, trying not to interrupt Emrin's work too much. His brain felt a little fuzzy still, so he wasn't too bothered about the slight laziness in his actions and his tone. "My knives aren't that much bigger I s'pose., and they can handle trollocs alright." 

 

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Emrin grinned to himself, unable to get a word in edgewise for a moment, for all the scout's words were woozy.  Oh yes, the crimsonthorn is working full-force now!  He snipped the tail of excess thread from the last stitch and shook his head, slightly bemused. Perfect timing, clearly. 

 

 "Assassin I am not, friend, but..." he trailed off, studying what he could see of the knives on the scout's belt. "Perhaps handling something bigger than a scalpel is something I should learn to do, sooner rather than later!" He stroked his beard for a moment and then began to clean away the herbs and instruments left on his tray.

 

"Mostly common moss, this one," he lifted both the original jar and the smooth-bowl containing the remnants of the packing mixture so that Arkin could study both versions of the plant he referenced. "Almost any moss - dry or fresh - will do the job. Many jobs, really - including most of mine!" the medic chuckled. "Like this it'll prevent infection, reduce inflammation, encourage faster healing. Light willing. Does the same in a dry powder mixed with honey. Can be used as a bandage also - many times more absorbent than any lordling guard's uniform, too!" Emrin winked and gave the bloody pile of clothes on the floor a pointed nod.


"Speaking of which!" the medic stood and walked to the cupboard of spare clothes, sifting through to find a shirt and breeches that appeared about Arkin"size. "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm afraid it looks like we don't have any spares to match your previous attire! You'll just have to make do with these!"

He gave a dramatic flourish and placed the finds on the stool by the bed and pushed that within easy reach of Arkin. 

 

"It'll take about another half an hour until for you to be able to think more clearly again, dress and continue on with your merry way, I should think." Emrin eyed the scout over, checking for any changes in his overall condition. Heart rate still up some. Colour a bit improved. Still alert. Good. 

 

"Don't suppose you'd be willing to teach me how to actually use those overgrown scalpels of yours some time? I tell you what, when you're recovered, and if you agree and are interested, I'll take you out and show you some more useful plants in the field in exchange for some of your skills?"

 

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