Late night ruminations
The midnight autumn air is cool but pleasant around you. A misty rain comes down from the night sky.
The Infirmary is an area of clean floorboards and white walls. Not a speck of dust or dirt can be found here. Three beds are available for patient's use, each one with a small trunk at its foot for the patient's personal items and a place where a medical chart can be hung. Between the three beds, two curtains have been hung on poles creating a sense of privacy for each invalid, yet allowing the healer's an easy view in. A cabinet with bottles, pouches and scrolls can be seen toward the back of the room. A small chair rests beside it. A set of wooden shelves holds a wash basin, towels and extra blankets. The single window in the infirmary looks out over the front rose garden.
Curtain to Main Room
The Infirmary is, for the most part, peaceful. The air has cooled from the burning heat of summer, the midnight darkness soothing. A gentle rainfall pats outside, dancing with the rosebushes and the roof. The injured sleep.
Thari, however, is sleeping poorly. A low moaning, even whimpering sound she gives and her head tosses on the pillow. Her injured hand flies off of the bed and her fingertips pat on Frarin's mattress. She awakens with a gasp, eyes glimmering in the greytoned shadows.
[Frarin] Sleeping perhaps less fitfully in the bed beside Thari, Frarin lies as ever upon his back, as ever with his bound left arm resting against his chest. In the light of the single low candle still burning before the window, his face looks warm and full of colour, but it is in fact quite pale and sweat gathers at the brow and beneath the eyes. Small grimaces accompany every deep breath now, even as the silver merchant sleeps.
But though he may slumber with less disturbance than the healer to his right, Frarin does not rest deeply. As Thari moans and her injured hand touches softly his bed in the darkness, the shine of his eyes opening glimmers suddenly in the candlelight. For a moment the gaze does not move from the ceiling as his mind rearranges itself for the world of the waking, but then his head rolls to his right, where the strange memory of the unconscious recalls the the reason for his awakening. Slowly, Frarin's lips part and he says quietly, unsure if Thari has woken or not, "Thari?"
"I thought you were dead!" Thari's urgent whisper sounds absolutely terrified. She takes another deep breath through her nose and pulls her hand back with only a little grunt to rub at her mouth. "A dream. I was dreaming." She squeezes her eyes shut and, perhaps it is only the way that the shadows are cast upon her face, but for a moment she looks so sad.
[Frarin] The silver merchant' lips part again as he looks to Thari and her frightened whisper cracks the silence of the infirmary. In the pale light, Frarin looks neither stern nor kind, but when he speaks his voice is low still and gruff, but intended to comfort. "Well I'm not," he says quietly, still watching her. "You were only dreaming." His head remains turned to the right, but his dark eyes catch the light again as they move to observe the window and the darkness beyond.
"It is the last of this long summer preying upon your mind. We cannot go months with the certainty of death hanging above and expect that certainty to be banished in a day. How do you feel?" he asks last, looking again to the healer.
"I am better," Thari says with only a small tremble in her voice, already dying. She rubs at her eyes with both hands. "I can move my arm with some pain and grow restless to walk. I am ready to leave this room!" Her whispering is hard and her face remains hid by her hands.
[Frarin] This last comment elicits a small smile from Frarin and his head rolls back to look at the ceiling, though in the darkness it is barely visible. "Do not count on it. You are as much a prisoner now as I." And down his gaze flickers towards Thari again, adding more seriously, "You and I will be lucky if we are ever able to walk properly again."
Growing silent, Frarin continues his perusal of the dark ceiling for a time. Then he moves suddenly, as if uncomfortable by his long immobility. His good right arm presses against the sheets in an apparent effort to bring his head further up his pillow. The effort is successful, but the silver merchant collapses back into his lying position with a grunt and a stunted, audible exhalation. His good right arm crawls weakly across his stomach, as if tempted to hold his broken hip and thereby dispell all pain there. The sweat on his brow gleams in the pale night light.
"Frarin!" Thari says, aghast. "What are you doing? Stop!" She reaches out for him again with her hurt arm, her face becoming tense. "By the forge!" she swears. "I'd give about anything to be well enough to tend you! What sort of watery medicine are they feeding you?"
[Frarin] "Oh hush," Frarin whispers through clenched teeth, perhaps sensing another scolding from the bedridden healer. When he has reassembled himself, he lies breathing with the exertion, silent for a time. His voice when he next speaks is stronger and steadier, but tempered by an occasional waver, as if talking is more painful now than before. "The healers here are just fine. You'll do yourself in if you keep insisting on helping. Be the patient for once."
The second question he does not immediately answer, perhaps hoping he might get away with failing to answer it at all. But Frarin, it seems, hardly expects Thari to play the part of a patient willingly, for he mutters, still looking at the ceiling, "And they give me only water as medicine now, so it is very watery, if you must know." His voice is still gruff, but perhaps a touch too nonchalant. After all, why /shouldn't/ the town's healers give him only water and food during his stay at the House? It isn't as if he would refuse medicine...or anything.
Thari's fingers trail across his sheet and then are withdrawn again. "Hm," she murmurs, not at all as indignant as he seems to expect. "Refusing your medicine now, are you?" Her hand covers her mouth as if in thought.
[Frarin] Frarin turns to look again at the healer as her fingers create a soft rustling sound over his sheets. His jaw is set, to ward away pain but also perhaps in anticipation of the scolding that fails to materialise. "Yes," he replies simply to Thari's question, stubbornly refusing to skirt around the issue. "It creates a fog in my head. And when I wake, I cannot remember what is dream and what is real. That is wrong." He speaks as if such medicine is a deep injustice that he will suffer no longer.
Thari's body shakes and quickly followed is the sound of her laughter. She cups her hand over her mouth to mask it and a moment later she releases a groan as her body is so shaken. "Oh Frarin!" she says in a hushed and fond tone. "I'm not taking it either! Not for two days! Oh it hurts like demons! Aren't we two alike?"
[Frarin] At first Frarin frowns at Thari, as if unaccustomed to the sound of laughter and unable to determine if it is genuine or if she means to launch into another berating monologue. But as her hand goes to her mouth to muffle the sound and she shakes then groans, Frarin's brows rise and he actually smiles at her in the darkness. The danger of another telling off seems delayed for awhile more.
"There is a thing now," he rumbles, voice still very low, but that ever-so-odd and so rare sense of humour of his peeking through. "I think we are all of us frustrating these Breelanders more than when we brought news of doom and gloom. They are not accustomed to mothering over unwilling patients, I think. I spoke with a young healer yesterday morning, but she would hear nothing of the fact that I had spent two weeks in the wild with a chest like gravel, and that a bed was of far greater value than any medicine."
"And ooh! a pillow, dear Frarin! To not have to lay your head down based on which bit of ground has the fewest rocks in it!" Thari's breath is a little short and tight, but her voice is still amused. Both hands go up and she rubs her face hard, scrubbing her cheeks and forehead with her palms. Suddenly she sounds angry in her fierce little whispers. "I would have all of the rocks back and keep my broken hip if only I could be out of this room!"
[Frarin] "Ah now," Frarin says gruffly, raising his right hand more seriously and pointing at Thari. "Look who is frustrated to be confined to a bed now. And this from the same healer who sent me packing to Bree to rest up." He gives a shallow sigh and the ends of his mustache blow out. "I like it no more than you, Thari. But we have no where to run off to now, no business other than getting home, which we are not likely to do before the onset of winter anyhow. You should count yourself fortunate, that you can lie here without worry of what goes on abroad."
There is no hint of bitterness in his tone, but certainly Frarin seems still wearied by his former confinement to this very room. Perhaps that experience makes this newest confinement easier to bear for the broken silver merchant.
"Easy enough for you to say! Another winter before even crossing the pass!" Thari says with a hint of bitterness in contrast to his compacent tone. "Right. Now I'm calming down. Calm. Should go back to sleep." She smooths one side of her sheet. "Never you mind me, Frarin, a week or two more of this and I'll be out of your hair." She whispers this last bit in a brisk tone.
[Frarin] Frarin gives a look that suggests he would shrug if he were not lying down and were his shoulder not bound is a swath of bandages. "Yes, another winter. But it is better to be fully ready to travel before we brave the High Pass again. The host of Moria has been driven from Eriador, but I would not be so bold as to say they are defeated in their own mountains. You are right, though, I have spent many winters away from Erebor."
At Thari's last comment, however, the silver merchant shakes his head as best he can, laid as it is upon the pillow. "A week or two? Dear Thari, you would be lucky to stand with the aid of others in a week or two. And do not think for a moment that I believe you would leave me be even if you could walk." There is a hint of humour in his tone, but he grows slightly more serious, as if not wishing to be misunderstood. "But I am glad of the company, do not misjudge that. Rhifaroth visited me once when I was here before, but otherwise my only visitor was a curious lad from the town."
Thari drops her hands and turns to look into the blackness of the window, to watch the rain against candlelight. She is silent for a while. "I'd look after you if I were well, it's true," she says in a low voice, almost bitter still. "It's kind of you to want my company."
[Frarin] Another small smile works its way into Frarin's face, but in the shadowed room it is more obvious in his voice than in his expression. "I do not doubt you would, and I would not begrudge you the right. But do not be bitter over your predicament, Thari. Your care in the wild was more than enough to earn you a rest of your own."
Now his own gaze goes to the window, where the glimmer of raindrops makes the glass shimmer like crystal. "We may clash, Thari, you and I, but the company of a friend is ever cherished," he says quietly, thoughtfully. Another moment of silence and he continues. "It is my nature to dislike the attentions of others. I do not shun company, understand, but I cannot abide being fussed over. You know this, I hope?" he says, a hint of concern in his tone as he glances at Thari across the darkness. "When my frustration awakens rash words, it is not you against whom I rage, but my condition."
"Never once have I minded your rash words or when you have raged against me," Thari says, still looking away, voice low and thick. The room seems so quiet but for the rain and the soft words of these two dwarves-- which makes the words somehow louder for that.
"I like that you do not like to be fussed over, and I like that you do not take your medicine, and I like that you are sensible and stand up to me. You are a good dwarf, Frarin. I'll not have it said otherwise." Her right hand lifts to her unseen face again and rubs her brow.
[Frarin] In the darkness Frarin can be seen nodding in thought. "Thank you, Thari. I do not like to be misunderstood. I make a point of keeping my temper reigned in because I do not like rash decisions, but this summer has been...difficult. Uncertainty does not bode well with me." He shifts slightly and grimaces, but he looks to the healer as she rubs her face.
"I'm sorry, I'm keeping you awake," he says softly, interpreting Thari's actions as a sign of weariness. "But we have not talked a great deal since I awoke, and I feared you thought me angry with you. I am not, know that. You are a good dwarf too, Thari, and your aid and friendship has been appreciated. You should try to sleep again."
"Well, I'm fine and glad that you're not angry with me," Thari says, her voice gentling. "I did, indeed, worry that you were. I just-- haven't felt like talking very much, that's all. I thank you for your patience." She releases a slow breath and tucks a hand under her right cheek. Her breathing does not yet deepen but her eyes do close.
[Frarin] Frarin nods again as if understanding Thari's words. "Aye, it can be frustrating, confined to such a place. But it does the heart good to talk, I think. If ever you awake and want company other than these persistant healers, give me a prod." And again there is a hint of his odd little sense of humour. If Thari were to open her eyes, she might even see a smile working its way into his beard.
"Sleep well, Thari," he says gently. His right hand goes behind his head as he turns again to face the ceiling and his eyes close. Slowly, the quiet of the room is broken only by his deepening breathing.