[P] [m] Time Moves Slow
For Sólveig and Bellad! Sózalea, always <3

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: treatment of injuries sustained during rape.
”Are you sure about this?” Azalea asked, staying half a step behind Sólveig as they walked to their destination. Her partner had convinced her that it would be best if they visited her healing master, Bellad, and asked him to look her over. Azalea thought this was a terrible idea for many reasons, chiefly because she didn’t want anyone to know how injured she was. But as time passed since that night and her hurts began to truly set in, it became harder and harder to conceal them as she had done with Kamari and Krios.

She was stiff and sore, and it was difficult not to wince with discomfort when she moved, and this had not gone unnoticed by Sólveig. Her shoulder, which hadn’t hurt all that badly the day previously, was now aching, and her wrist was even harder to move. Even Azalea couldn’t dismiss her worries when it came to her wrist, which was becoming increasingly more immobile and painful. It had been her question to Sólveig, do you think it’s broken?, that had triggered this entire ordeal.

Now, as they reached the place where this Mister Bellad lived, Azalea was greatly regretting asking that question.

She could handle the pain, after all. And she could move her hand, she was sure it wasn't broken. The one thing she didn't want, though, was more people to know about this. Anger towards Aani and everyone around her burned in her for a second, surprising her. She was used to feeling nothing about what had happened. She was used to feeling confused about what had happened. She was used to feeling guilty for what happened (not that Sólveig would let her). Anger was a new emotion, one she hadn't felt in regards to Aani for some time. Even if the anger was partially misdirected, she relished it, letting it course through her in waves, pinching her brows together and turn her gaze cold. 

In the past she had looked forward to the day when she could meet Sólveig’s master and all her friends. Sólveig did, after all, speak so highly of him. Now, in this circumstance, a mistrustful glare was situated on her face and her free hand was wrapped around herself. Not that anyone could see that, covered as she was by her travelling cloak and her clothing.

Still, anyone looking on could see how uncomfortable Azalea was, her good hand holding tightly onto Sólveig’s own as she glanced around. It had been very difficult for her to leave her knives at home, but Sólveig had convinced her that she wouldn’t need them. Azalea was used to bearing them any time she left the house.

Then again, she supposed they hadn’t done her much good even in her own house.

She startled slightly when Sólveig knocked on the door and hurriedly smiled at her partner, trying to reassure her that she was alright, before her expression returned to its previous guarded gaze. Her eyes were uncharacteristically sharp as they wandered over the area, looking for something to latch onto. ”Sólveig, I don’t like this.” She whispered at the last minute, just as the door opened. Biting her lip, she glowered for a second before clearing her expression into one of careful and guarded blankness.
(568) | NPCs: | Optime | 
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Circle of Athelas clinic || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

"Of course!" she chirped cheerily back, glancing back at her partner with a smile that was quick to fade. Mindful of the difference in their pace, Sóli slowed and felt back in step with her partner. Gently, aware of what had happened to bring Azalea here, she shifted her arm to intertwine it in the other woman's. "Azalea, Mister Bellad is the best Healer we have in the Realm. And he's a good man. He won't share anything about you to anyone. Well," She flicked her eyes skyward a fleeting beat. "Except for the Valar, if they ask. But you need someone to look you over. Someone who knows more than I do."

She held Azalea's eye with an apologetic, compassionate expression. There was nothing that Sólveig could imagine that would be anywhere close to what her girlfriend had experienced, or what she was currently feeling, but she understood that whatever she had gone through was beyond horrible and that, mental wounds aside, there were physical injuries that needed tending to.

Leaning in towards the Eternity woman, Sóli looked up at her through her lashes. "And I'll be with you the whole time. Okay?" she offered her a sweet smile. "I'll be right here."

Before long, Bellad's scent grew stronger and they were outside the door separating the women from the next step in Azalea's healing process. With a final look at her girlfriend, Sóli stepped forward and rapped her knuckles on the door. She glanced back at the split-faced woman in time to see a strained smile on her face and gave her tail a swift, reassuring wag before falling back to stand by her side. She looked up when Azalea spoke but scarcely had time to register the meaning of her words before the door swung open.

"Hi Mister Bellad!" Sólveig greeted brightly. "I... sort of need some help. Could we come in?"

[WC -- 329]

Quote:Healer III: You once sought to be taught, but now it is your turn. Teach another pack-mate in the ways of a healer.

ooc [+658]
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healer was not far from his post and the rapping at the Circle’s door saw him answer it in person. He was aware it was Sólveig by scent before her voice. Just as he was aware she wasn’t alone. Surely enough, his sharp senses hadn’t tricked him and he got all the confirmation he could need when he opened the door to see her there together with a stranger.

“Sólveig.” A solemn nod, a calm voice. There was no smile on his face, but, to those who knew where to look, the trace of one rested in his eyes while his glance was on the young Dawnrunner. “You are of the Circle. You always have permission to enter.” He said matter-of-factly. “And the one with you seems like she needs more help than you do.” Added in a similar tone. Not a single shift that could hint at a joke.

He did not face them long enough for them to question how genuine this observation had been. Instead he turned around and marched straight towards the shelves holding supplies. “Lead her in. Sit her down.” He trusted his apprentice to be learned enough to accommodate her companion and not make her worse through some clumsy movement. Speaking of accommodation, for all the lack of quality refurnishing, the building slowly gained some improvements. The humble bedding, for one, was now separated from the rest of the room with a somewhat moth-eaten yet reliable curtain.

Though he didn’t speak while he rummaged, in his mind he’d already gone through a series of initial observations. The girl next to Sólveig was tense, body-language extremely reserved. She must have thought herself in hostile territory. She may well have been injured enough to exacerbate as much. He took this pause to sort through bandages, ointments and other such supplies as well as all the thoughts and preliminary diagnoses.

Placing what he’d taken from the shelves on a bedside table, he turned to look at the two girls. He had thought, at first, to send Sólveig to fetch something else for him, perhaps heat some water. Catching the girl’s aside glances towards Sólveig, he decided against it. Even if he couldn’t or didn’t choose to read much into the gesture, he could still assume his apprentice’s proximity would serve to make the stranger even a little more cooperative.

“Here.” He said first, handing the injured girl a cup that didn’t smell like anything. “It’s water. Your throat sounds dry.” Whether it would require passing through Sólveig’s hands or be taken out of his didn’t matter. Letting her speak after she’s had a drink did. Plus, even something as simple as accepting the mug could tell him much. A wince when trying to take it into one hand and not the other. A hint of awkwardness to the way she held it, as if having to consciously use a hand less used to gripping things.

While she partook of the contents of this roughly-hewn clay mug, he took the chance to introduce himself. “I am Bellad Songthorn. Healer of the pack.” There was also “and High Lord of New Caledonia”, but he omitted it. She needed his trade more than she needed his authority. Though he did consider bringing it up again were she to act unruly or doubt her safety in the hands of a humble healer. “In here, the Circle of Athelas, we tend to those in need of healing. Now you are here.”

There was something archaic to his speech. Formal. His tone was steady and calm, which, perhaps, was controlled with some degree of forethought. On the other hand his amber eyes were clearly examining her with great attention, though much focus fell on her face. She was telling him things even without opening her mouth. “I can see your right hand is hurt. I can’t say more unless I touch and examine more. Will you permit me?”
Sólveig’s comfort was welcome, and Azalea found herself unconsciously pulling her closer to her. Licking her lips nervously, she wanted to tell Sólveig that she hadn’t needed to tell her that Mister Bellad would tell the Valar, but she knew that her partner wouldn’t lie to her, or leave information out. It simply wasn’t a part of who she was. Azalea, who lied all the time out of necessity (at least, that’s what she liked to believe), admired this. A part of her realized that Sólveig wouldn’t do well in Salsola. She simply lacked the ability to weave a story. Those in Salsola who couldn’t lie didn’t last long.

”. . . Okay.” She conceded, though only because she knew that if Sólveig wasn’t there then Azalea wouldn’t be, either. It was also true that she did need treatment. She did not feel good and Sólveig knew it.

She watched the door as it opened with an impassive expression on her face, though in all honesty she felt like throwing up. The scars on his shoulder and hip made her blink in surprise, but having been raised in a culture where showing your true face was frowned upon, Azalea managed to suppress her shock. She’d never seen anyone with such extensive scars. "Hi."

His comment made her frown, she couldn’t tell whether he was joking or not from his flat tone and she wanted him to know she didn’t like it. From here Sólveig seemed to take over, guiding her to a bed and directing her to sit. Azalea let her, feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable in this strange place with this strange man. She didn’t appreciate the way he hadn’t addressed her at all.

Sólveig helped her take off her travelling cloak, revealing her bandaged hand, but the scrutinizing gaze of the healer made her want to throw the cloak back on and flee the building. Instead she leaned against her partner and seeked comfort in her gaze. ”Thanks.” She stated, reaching out for the mug with her left hand, the uninjured hand, awkwardly.

Her right hand lay still in her lap, useless. She didn’t even bother with it, already having dropped several items in her attempts to use both hands at once. Carefully, she took the mug from him, baring the tips of her teeth as she sucked in breath from the pain in her right shoulder. She only lapped at the water briefly before setting it back down, not being all that thirsty.

Mistrustful eyes met Bellad’s gaze as he introduced himself properly. She knew this already from Sólveig, but she didn’t say so. His request had her glancing at her partner, unsure. On one hand, every part of her was screaming NO! On the other hand, here was Sólveig, her reassuring eyes promising her that it was alright. That she was safe. Staring down at her hands, at the knot that Kamari had tied off, Azalea was silent for several long, long, seconds. Finally, she nodded and offered her arm to Bellad. ”Yes, alright.”
(531) | NPCs: | Optime | 
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Circle of Athelas clinic || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

She beamed up at a Bellad and canted her head to one side, allowing a cheery giggle to slip between her lips.

"Oh, I know," Sóli said sheepishly. "But I didn't want to intrude if you're working with someone else, she added brightly with a sweeping of her tail.

That was true. She always strived to be respectful and considerate of others who were under the care and sanctuary of the Circle of Athelas. Injury and illness, she had discovered, sometimes made people feel defensive or vulnerable; scared; ornery. Sólveig's desire to be honest, compassionate, and mindful of other patients meant that she oftentimes put herself second to their wellbeing.

But that wasn't everything. In all honesty, the young apprentice didn't see herself in the same light, never mind the same level, as her healing master. She was a Healer in her own right, of course, and an Apothecary as well. She had merits and talents in her trade, but Bellad and others were far more advanced in their knowledge, perceptions, and abilities than she. The fact remained that Sóli was still in training and, a member of the Circle she may well be, there was a lot she had yet to learn. Until Bellad released her from her apprenticeship, she would always defer to him.

Careful and close, Sólveig guided Azalea through their little clinic and helped her with her traveling cloak. When Bellad offered the cup of water, she whispered a gentle encouragement to her. She didn't know what perceived slights or annoyances were passing through her partner's mind, but the irritability and discomfort she sensed from Azalea on their walk over seemed worse now.

Azalea's eyes found hers, searching, and Sóli held her gaze with an expression of wholehearted warmth and promise. It's okay, her eyes tried to say. Mister Bellad is safe. And I'll be right here the whole time. To help convey her feelings, she lay her fingertips gently upon her partner's back.

Then, once Azalea had given him permission to examine her wrist, Sólveig turned her eyes to Bellad and watched how he proceeded carefully and with focused interest while remaining close at her partner's side.

[WC -- 380]

Quote:Healer III: You once sought to be taught, but now it is your turn. Teach another pack-mate in the ways of a healer.

ooc [+551]
“I am going to reach towards you. I will not touch – not at first. You are to tell me if somewhere hurts the most.” He spoke slowly, like an enchanter giving an order to a mesmerized listener. Furthermore, the specific way in which this particular procedure proceeded somewhat enhanced this comparison. Bellad in the midst of work was frequently a man clearly immersed, though also attentive. His hands reached towards Azalea slowly as permission was given. The usual, if outwardly mystifying, tactic of seeking out points of injury by seeing one instinctively tense up when said areas were threatened with touch. At times he wouldn’t even need actual contact to determine which limb or side needed more of his attention.

The healer was not satisfied. Whether his own remaining exhaustion or some lingering distrust among the two of them, the readings were muddled. Yes, she was tense. But he couldn’t tell if it was specifically pain, an ailment, or just the fact that he was attempting diagnosis. What was it that Ierian would do? He’d talk, wouldn’t he? Be gentler? Establish a point of connection?

Bellad lowered his hands to his own lap as though dissatisfied that a spell didn’t work. He would snort at best were the comparison to be verbalized. More importantly, he had a solution contrary to what his gentler brother will have done.

“Would you prefer Sólveig to treat you? She is my apprentice and a talented healer of the Circle.” To be fair, his tone did lose some of the overly professional edge as he made the suggestion. This was no attempt to shame her for not submitting to his ministrations with eagerness. Instead the suggestion was a thing of earnest faith in his apprentice and a genuine offer of greater comfort. So he hoped, at least. His eyes quite pointedly focused on the girl in his care, for as long as she had something to say on the matter. Having given her priority, he turned to the young Dawnrunner.

“Sólveig, this you know. Injury. You need to find where it lies, and where one is to embrace stillness to heal.” He spoke with confidence, but did not divulge more than the very general idea of the treatment and his preliminary thoughts. He rose to his feet. “I will assist.” And, for the next couple minutes they would be left alone in the room as he went elsewhere in the building. He gave them the time to come to grips with this slight alteration of roles, and of course gave himself time to look for a specific object. He’d not used it much, but this seemed a decent enough occasion for an experiment.

The healer returned holding a rough, somewhat frayed gray pillow. The dreary-looking thing was certainly unassuming in terms of appearance, but the closer he came with it, the clearer it became that it had a fragrance. Lavender. The pillow had been stuffed with soothing herbs. Bellad had only made a few together with Ierian. This humble early version he placed it on the bed where, supposedly, Azalea would lay down. “It is my hope that the scent would be a welcome distraction… Now then, Sólveig.”

And that was it. The black wolf surrendered his power and stood ready to provide the promised assistance.
Azalea gritted her teeth as Bellad got up, only relaxing marginally when Sólveig placed a calming hand on her back. Leaning into her side, Azalea felt almost like a child hiding its face from a stranger in its mother’s neck. This all just felt like it was happening very fast, and as Bellad reached out to run his hands just above her shoulder, Azalea felt the bizarre and alarming urge to bite him.

He didn’t seem to be pleased with whatever it was that he saw.

After all, every part of her was tense and distrusting. Surely he could tell, from taking one look at the guarded expression on her face, that she wasn’t comfortable? Azalea didn’t exactly care, in this moment, whether he knew how she felt about him and this situation. In fact, she wanted him to know how aggravated she was. An intense feeling of anger swelled from within and she realized that she wanted him to be careful around her, she wanted him to know that if he stepped off the right path she’d defend herself.

His suggestion caught her by surprise, and she glanced up at her partner in question before nodding in affirmation. She trusted Sólveig. She knew Sólveig. His instructions went over her head, but already she felt some of the tension leave her body as she turned to Sóli. When he left she reached for her hand with her good one. ”Sóli. . . what is going on?”

His return was welcomed with raised hackles, and try as she might she couldn’t seem to get them to settle. The pillow was accepted with some trepidation, and she sniffed it hesitantly, as if she were suspicious there may be something besides lavender stuffed in it. Hugging it tight to her chest, she breathed in the sweet scent once she’d determined it was safe, her eyes half-closing (though they remained fixed on Bellad even in this state) as she took several deep breaths to calm herself. Her hackles fell once more, albeit slowly.
(350) | NPCs: | Optime | 
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Circle of Athelas clinic || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

Despite her presence and the promise of safety, there was palpable tension and mistrust in the room. Sólveig remained at Azalea's side, intent on quelling her worries with soothing sounds and a relaxed posture. She held her ears neutrally and hung her tail, tip out, loosely. With every fiber of her being, from her scent to her expression to her body language, she wished to exude comfort and security for her partner's benefit.

But it seemed that her efforts were falling short and, unexpectedly, Bellad seemed to give up. No, she corrected herself quickly when her teacher spoke again. Mister Bellad wasn't giving up. He was compromising. And, what was more, he was allowing her an opportunity to get some practical training as well!

With her surprise plain on her face, Sóli looked from Bellad to Azalea. She nodded, silent but affirming, and the young apprentice looked at her master once more.

"Oh! Yes, I do." She turned to Azalea again, wagging her tail. "And I promise to be gentle."

She sounded confident in her abilities despite the slight trepidation that she felt. Of course Mister Bellad would be there, guiding and instructing her, but it was still going to be her hands that palpated Azalea's body and felt for the telltale evidence and severity of her injuries.

Curiously, her teacher left them then without any indication or explanation why. Sólveig followed him as he passed through the clinic into an adjacent area. Although she didn't have an answer for Azalea's question, she smiled at her with confidence and squeezed her hand gently.

"I think that Mister Bellad is just getting some supplies," she assured her. "Should we start with your wrist like Mister Bellad wanted to? Or is there somewhere else...?"

The sounds of movement suggested that the Healer was returning and she brightened at the scent of lavender.

"Oh, what a good idea!" she chirped, turning to Azalea as she sniffed it suspiciously, allowing her to determine its safety for herself. "Lavender is a soothing herb. Maybe it will help you feel a little calmer and comfortable." She hoped that it would, anyway.

With Azalea's hackles smoothed again and Mister Bellad ready to begin his instruction, Sólveig shifted so she was facing her girlfriend and, with light ministrations and only at Azalea's behest, began her examination.

[WC -- 400]
OOC: Both of you are free to PP Sóli as needed during the exam!
ooc [+389]
Sólveig’s attitude seemed to go a long way to put those treated by the Circle at ease. Quietly, Bellad marveled at the quality, all the while directing what he could and felt he needed to direct. “Yes, good. You found the dislocation here. You know what to do with this kind…” He kept his voice low, as though in an attempt to help Azalea forget about his involvement in this affair altogether. An unlikely prospect of course, not to mention it would have been a rather blatant lie even as he strove to leave the absolute majority of the work to his apprentice.

He did wait for her to request certain supplies, like the herbs for a compress to place against the bruises. Every time Azalea needed to be touched, he waited for Sólveig to ask him to hold or support her anywhere in particular. He’d expected to step in if she were to stall too much, or be hesitant about a specific instance of injury. For the overwhelming majority of time, he didn’t need to and received prompt if tentative instructions, ones given with room for him to make adjustments or corrections.

Sometimes Sólveig would question him, occasionally using nothing but a motion of her eyes from an item in close vicinity back to the woman in their care. He would agree at times, or else pause and wait for her to amend the solution. Then often followed a quiet nod, and continued assistance with the rest.

Azalea, as the two healers discovered, was bruised, though of course the shoulder and wrist of her right hand were by far the worst offenders. The injured woman would find, at times, she didn’t have to actually say she was hurt somewhere for the healers to discern it. But where Bellad mostly chose to be a quiet source of wisdom and competent help, Sólveig added to it her manner of reassurance, and was given room to be more vocal about what it was they were doing.

“Yes, good. Immobilize the injured hand. Any time the angle changes brings more pain. Recovery will come from stillness.” He was, in effect, informing that Azalea would make no use of her dominant hand in most of the coming weeks, and guided Sólveig through the choice of an appropriate splint to pair with the bandaging.
Their moment alone gave Azalea a second to relax and listen to Sólveig. Nervously, she nodded, deciding then and there to simply let them do their thing no matter how uncomfortable it was. If it was Sólveig. . . she trusted Sólveig. ”The wrist is fine.” She refrained from mentioning her other pains, though she knew that she would have to. Better to start with the low-hanging fruit.

Squeezing the pillow with her good arm, Azalea found comfort in the sensation and the smell and used it as a distraction from their work. Even as Sólveig ever so gently placed her fingertips on Azalea’s wrist and Azalea winced in pain (less so because it hurt and more in anticipation of the pain), Azalea managed to keep herself from snapping. Mister Bellad’s instructions were ignored. He was not speaking to her, after all. Azalea had little patience for him.

She looked away as Sólveig splinted her wrist, only wincing slightly as it was put on her. It was hard not to associate the pressure of the splint with the feeling of Aani’s hand. Instead of thinking about it, however, she pressed her nose into the pillow and inhaled deeply.

Sólveig’s hands travelled up her arm, hovering above Azalea’s shoulder, and Azalea nodded slightly to her partner. Her hands touched her shoulder gently and Azalea furrowed her brows. ”That hurts.” She whispered, barely loud enough for Sólveig to hear. ”I can’t lift it up.”

When Sólveig’s hands traveled down to search for injuries along Azalea’s torso Azalea leaned away from her and curled her lips up into a snarl of warning. She knew she was hurt there and she knew there was nothing they could do about it, unlike her wrist, so they may as well not go there. Her ears pressed back flat against her skull, first defensively and then apologetically once Sólveig moved her hands away from her. Licking her lips and wagging her tail, she glanced up at her girlfriend to see whether she was upset with her. ”It’s too much, Sólveig. I don’t like it.”
(366) | NPCs: | Optime | Let me know if anything needs changing! I wanted to clue Sólveig and Bellad in to her injuries and then we can move from there.
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Location: Circle of Athelas clinic || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

And so they started with Azalea's wrist. Judging by her Salsolan partner's winces, it was tender to the touch and lacked proper range of motion. She worried that it could be broken and looked at Bellad for guidance. Whatever Azalea felt towards him, his steady, low voice was reassuring and she nodded firmly with her brows fiercely furrowed.

"Yes," she said with confidence, and carefully let her wrist back down.

She would need supplies: firm strips of wood, batting for cushion, twine to hold it all in place. The wrist, she was quick to discover, was a difficult place to immobilize. Unlike a longbone or fingers, the ability for the wrist to both rotate and flex meant that she had to consider all angles while forming the splint. The opposable thumb, at least, made for a useful hook to hold the sling in place, though she worried that it would dig in and irritate her skin before too long. She hoped that it wouldn't be too uncomfortable.

Once the wrist was immobilized, Sóli moved on to Azalea's shoulder.

"Okay," she said, quickly releasing her fingers from the injured joint. She pursed her lips and glanced at Bellad. "If we kept her shoulder still, too, that would help, right Mister Bellad? Would you recommend a sling? That would also keep her from trying to use her wrist too much."

After they had done what needed doing with Azalea's shoulder, she moved on. Sólveig relied heavily on Bellad's guidance, using her own limited experience to continue her exam but looking to him often for reassurance and confirmation that she was doing all the right things. When he corrected her, she was quick to make the necessary changes, and she was always receptive to his critiques and the challenges he made her ponder if she happened to be on the wrong track.

When she traveled down her girlfriend's torso and Azalea snarled a warning at her, Sóli immediately stopped her palpations and again lifted her fingers up and away. She lowered her ears in apology and licked the air, her tail giving a low wag.

"Azalea..." she whined softly. "But if there's something that needs treated..." She flicked a glance at Bellad and then leaned in close to her partner, seeking out her good hand to hold. "Would it help if Mister Bellad stepped away again? Will you allow me to finish the exam if it's just the two of us?"

She didn't want to pressure her, but she also didn't want to miss something that could be detrimental to her healing process. Again, she looked at Bellad, her eyes questioning whether or not he felt it was worth checking knowing Azalea's discomfort or if he thought she would be okay if they left whatever was hurting her in that spot unexamined.

[WC -- 484]

My final post for the thread! I suggest we wrap it up with Azalea's next one [+525]
A man who sang, even as infrequently as Bellad, couldn’t possibly have been tone-deaf. And as aloof as he seemed, even more so when he separated himself mostly from the treatment and left it to his reliable apprentice, it was not that he wasn’t invested. Though perhaps, to an extent, he did have a degree of desensitization to Azalea’s seemingly low opinion of him for the time being. A vessel of life, worth mending, even if the order in which he addressed her will have left her without a name.

Though by now he picked up on it second-hand. Azalea. Someone in his tribe could have had that name. She didn’t need to know that and he didn’t need to give it more than a passing thought to do what he needed.

“A sling is a fine idea. I will bring some sturdy cloth.”

While he walked to their storage, he considered Sólveig’s performance. Her suggestions, her actions and the amount of pointers she required from him still. From his observations it was becoming clear that even if by some degree he knew more of injuries and ways to treat them, the knowledge of Azalea – this he could leave only to Sólveig. With how fast she was catching up, then perhaps she’d soon come to know plenty of both. Visitors to the Circle could find comfort in her. She could even heal hearts as a Heartward if she so desired.

He re-emerged soon. The fabric was only slightly broader than that used for the bandages, but the wider strip was better suited for a sling to comfortably hold the weight of her arm in place and assist the task of keeping. A fine idea indeed. But he had those he would voice, even if so far his connection to the patient had been strenuous at best.

Returned to Azalea’s bedside, he handed his apprentice and her concerned friend the fabric for the sling, still entrusting the procedure to the fast growing young healer. His assistance was fleeting, much like the hovering not-touch he’d used to test out the aching parts of a patient in need of healing. Not too much pressure on the shoulder. Broad as it could reasonably be at the elbow and wrist.

“How is it?” He asked Azalea, showing some of his investment. Whether the answer would be curt, it did not matter. As he helped Sólveig with treatment, so too did he open his mouth to enhance her suggestion, if only a little. “If you are still in pain it would pay to treat it while you are here. You stand to lose nothing.” He softened his tone. The best he could do. Less brevity to his statements – speech that was closer to that of other New Caledonians. Certainly closer to Sólveig’s as though he was picking up a skill from her as well.

“Consider. I will ask no more of you.” A promise fulfilling which would force him to step over his principles as a healer, leaving a job only partially done. Likely worth it if it would lead to her consent, whether shared between both healers or only Azalea.
The two healers, though really, it was mostly Sólveig, quickly outfitted Azalea in a sling, which actually helped make Azalea feel better. Physically, at least. The entire time Azalea took long and deep breaths of the pillow that had been given her and tried to keep herself from paying any attention at all to what they were doing. Every once and a while her heart would start pounding and even just breathing in the scent of the pillow would become hard, and it took everything Azalea had not to tear herself away from Sólveig and go curl up in the corner away from everyone.

This was an appealing thought, and she imagined that this was what she was going instead of putting herself though their examination and treatment. How wonderful it would be to growl at them whenever they came near. To show her teeth and know that they would not dare come close. At the end of the day, though, this was simply a fantasy. Not only was Azalea terribly afraid of what New Caledonian leadership would do if they found out that she’d gone wild on their healers, but Azalea did not truly wish to growl and snarl and bare her teeth at Sólveig.

It was nice to pretend that she had some control, though, every once and a while.

When she did, in fact, end up snarling at her girlfriend, Azalea felt the regret come quickly. It always did when she lashed out at Sólveig, which she seemed to do a lot in the past day. Azalea had to stop doing that, had to get herself under control, or else she’d hurt Sólveig and that was the very last thing she wanted to do.

That all being said. Azalea doubted that either would be able to help her bruises, and as she hugged the pillow to herself protectively and gazed down at the floor, thinking hard, she what the best option was. They had helped her thus far. At the cost of nearly driving her mad. Azalea shook her head, pressing her head against Sólveig’s shoulder. ”They’re just bruises. You wouldn’t be able to do anything, I’m sure.”

The tension that had filled her since Sólveig had suggested this trip and Azalea had reluctantly agreed seemed to melt away now that Azalea knew that they were finished treating her worst injuries. This was all that she needed of them, everything else she could deal with on her own. Taking a few more minutes with the lavender pillow to finish calming down before handing it back, Azalea reluctantly returned it to Bellad. ”Thank you. I’m sorry. I was scared.”

He seemed unperturbed by this, and Azalea supposed that he must be used to scared injured canines needing treatment. Accepting Sólveig’s help off the bed, she gave Sóli a tiny smile as they finally exited the clinic after what felt like days.
(499) | NPCs: | Optime |
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

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