The Savior – Snippet 23
Loreilei Jacobson did not heal easily. The shot had hit her lower rib and broken it. Mahaut suspected that it had then been deflected into her small intestines and done damage there. There was no exit wound. Controlling the bleeding was very difficult. The wound was large — the ball seemed to have entered at an angle — and she had to apply bandages and pressure to a large area until the servants came with a board made into a stretcher.
It’s the same board they used to carry Edgar in, she reflected.
It had been scrubbed, but there were still bloodstains within the willow wood grain. Getting Loreilei onto the board had provided its own difficulty. Mahaut was determined not to move her very much, and she’d had to make the servants understand this and not jostle her.
Meanwhile poor Frel sat nearby looking on worriedly with his one unswollen eye. He was hurt, and maybe hurt badly, but someone else would have to tend to him. Later she learned that the someone else was Bronson, the stable master, and his wife. Frel had recovered for a day in the feedloft while the couple attended him between their duties. A day later, Josiah Weldletter had come to take his son home in a padded wagon bed.
By the time Loreilei was in a bed, shock had set in. There was little Mahaut could do but keep the girl in clean bandages and alternately warm or cool her as her body shuddered with fever and chills. She did not regain consciousness for three days. During that time, she had occasionally stopped breathing, and Mahaut had pushed her own breath into the girl’s lungs to keep her alive.
Always Loreilei’s breath came back within moments. Her niece was tough.
Deep sepsis had set in, and with it great pain. Mahaut allowed Loreilei to eat and drink only broth of wheat, strained dak soup, and water for many days. She was afraid that whatever healing might be going on in Loreilei’s gut would be undone by food passing through it. The wound healed slowly, but within a month new skin and scar tissue had covered it.
It’s a very pretty little scar in comparison to mine, Mahaut reflected. Of course, she’ll never think so. If she lives.
Yet slowly the girl recovered. After three weeks, Mahaut believed her niece fit enough to leave her side for several hours to take exercise and weapons practice. Loreilei’s parents and uncles and aunts came by frequently after Mahaut permitted them in her rooms.
Even in the early evening, when she went through the main sitting room to get to the latrine, she did not find him in his usual spot in the large chair he adored.
“Has he left the house?” she asked one of the servants coming by on his rounds.
“No, Land-heiress, he is still sleeping here. But he takes his meals alone and comes and goes like a ghost.”
After two weeks had passed, Frel and his stepfather, Josiah Weldletter, had appeared at the door one afternoon. They would never have been allowed to come unless Benjamin had known of it and approved. Loreilei had immediately brightened. The two sat and talked while Weldletter, who was a captain in the Regulars and a cartographer working full time in the office of the district military command, told Mahaut what news there was of the wider world.
After the first visit, Frel came often. It seemed that Benjamin had resigned himself to the match. He’d spoken before of marrying Loreilei to a powerful First Family in Lindron who had expressed interest in establishing a connection to House Jacobson. Solon had four daughters, however, and Loreilei had a sister who was now a toddler. Benjamin might get his wish for the union of alliance sooner or later without Loreilei. He usually did.
Finally, after ten rises of the three-day moon, Levot, Loreilei was well enough to walk, gingerly, to her own quarters and begin her life anew. Mahaut doubted she would ever be able to run and gambol again. Any jarring movement brought her pain. Being alive at all would have to be consolation.