Jarant is sweating profusely as he uses his legs to kick down the villa door, the boy’s body is covered in blood and it drips off his clothing onto the floor of the main hall. It is late and he has run with the boy in his arms to reach the villa.
Where the fates is Bear or Marianne? The hall is empty except for a frightened house servant who is backing away from the black warden. Mordin knows that the boy looks half dead. Jarant worries she may bolt and begins to issue instructions in what he hopes is a commanding voice.
“Clear this table, move the candles, we need to lay him out and then fetch the Lady Ranaya.”
The woman considers this and in shock starts to lift the candle-sticks, one at a time. Jarant feels his patience wearing and forces her to take the boy in her arms whilst he swipes the content on the table to the floor.
“Get Marianne, Now!”
He lays, Mordin out on the table, and starts to remove some of the bloody clothing, gently, to check his injuries. There is a lot of blood, but Jarant is unable to work out whether it belongs to the beggar from the alley or Mordin? Purplish bruises are rising all over the boy’s body, they need to clean him up, the blood is obscuring everything. His injuries seem excessive for a mugging in a back street and Jarants natural suspicions are already bubbling. Why kill the beggar unless there was something distinctive about whoever had done this?
He feels guilty about doubting the boy and decides that these thoughts can wait, he needs to focus on ensuring the boy lives. He hears an intake of breath from behind and knows Marianne has arrived.
“Jarant, has he fallen? Is he, oh please my gods he’s not..”
“No he’s alive, mugged I think.” Now is not the time to give his suspicions voice. He needs to galvanise Marianne. He remembers her healing touch from the war, “Prepare some cloths and hot water, can you stitch, there are some bad cuts. I don’t think most of the blood is his. There was a beggar..”
Marianne, launches herself into tasks directing the servants who have gathered. They fetch hot water, clean cloths and she calls for the sewing kit and asks for Mordins bed to be remade with clean sheets.
She wrings out the linen in the bowl of hot water and begins to wipe Mordins body and face, revealing large clusters of bruises. He is almost un-recognisable as the handsome boy who left the house excited and vibrant with life this morning. His face is lumpy with the swelling, both eyes swollen shut and the cuts are bleeding steadily on his face. The water in the bowl as she works, quickly turns from pink to red.
Marianne, starts to check each part of her son, softly touching and prodding trying to assess if there are any broken bones. Jarant watches her and assumes that the boys ribs are broken. There is no gurgling in the breath sounds so none of the ribs have pierced a lung. The worry is the boys silence, not a single whimper has issued, since he found him in the alley.
The breaths the boy takes are shallow. So much for a time supporting Bear in the training of his son. He could support Marianne, he knows a lot about medicine yet he knows she needs to do something, holding the pieces together. The hair in her braid has started to come loose. He wants to run his fingers through it. He puts the thoughts of many years ago from his mind. The choice was made and he loves his friend.
“Jarant, I don’t understand why is he not talking or crying, was he awake when you found him?”
“No. I think he is in the slumber. I am not sure what we can do except dress the wounds and set him to bed with a nurse”.
“I’ll need to dress these cuts, this one will need stitches” She points to a nasty cut by Mordins left eye.
Marianne asks for her sewing kit and begins to close up the small wounds, she works diligently yet quickly and he admires the purpose of her movements, she climbs up on the table to work closer and the dress she is wearing gathers by her knees exposing pretty feet and calves, her shoes discarded. Fates help him, he wants to lift her off the table and gather her in his arms, the urge to smother her in kisses and release those curls almost unbearable.
“I shall fetch Bear.” Jarant doesn’t trust himself to stay, yet glances again at the beauty of his friend’s wife, storing it with a thousand other pictures, before turning and heading towards the castle.