Kept Safe

Title: Kept Safe
Time Period: March 127, A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Jørn awakens to find himself less than whole in more than one sense.

It has been too deep of a state to see the world and make sense of it, much less remain so. Jorn has not been able to wake for some time now. If it seems he rouses, it is but for a few moments at a time; his brain may take its flickers of consciousness, but they are rare, and leave his mind's ether littered with flashes of things that may or may not actually be. Much of it is dreaming, or hazy memories of washing ashore that he may unconsciously dismiss as false. His closed eyes are in a state of consistent unrest.

When the time does come for Jorn to wake, it is as slowly and as fragmented as his dreams come. If one may judge by demeanor alone, it is possible that he believes himself still asleep. The breath in his chest whistles in his nose when the mercenary rumbles himself awake, and though his blue eyes slip open a crack, they seem less inclined to inspect hazy objects- and far more interested in finding movement.

There is a throbbing about his limbs, however, that manages to disconcert him. Pain is not a dreaming sensation.

"He smells of death," says a voice that is simultaneously very close but also very far away. "And not the kind that washes out."

A hand touches his shoulder, skin on skin, and a woman with long, fair hair and pale eyes comes into focus, perched on the edge of Jorn's bed. Dappled sunlight streams into the room from the open window at her back. Outside, seagulls are crying.

"Look now, he's coming 'round."

Standing at the window, but careful not to block out the light coming from it, is a woman with dark hair and dark eyes, her arms folded over her chest. "Lucky us," she murmurs in a low voice. She had been about to say that the only sort of death that doesn't wash out is usually the sort that claims you before too long, but it hardly seems polite with the man seemingly about to wake.

Pushing away from the wall, she gathers a pitcher to pour water into a short cup at the bedside table. "I suppose he'll be wanting this," she speculates, as though she expects the patient is unaware of their presence. It's likely this isn't the first time he's seemed to wake and remained wholly unaware of his surroundings. That she's seen.

The speckles of sun that light the room create even more of a haze, as they peek past his eyelids and sting his vision. It has been too dark for him during his rest. The sounds come less readily, if only because there is less expectation to process it. The hand on his shoulder, while far from startling him, causes his frame to shrink away at first. Seeing as he cannot go anywhere, however, the warm hand remains unmolested.

Jorn's head shifts, and the cavern of his chest rumbles again; it comes out of him a growl, throaty and reactionary to the figures, moreso to the one perched nearby. He comes to realize that he's in pain, of course, so it may be influenced.

There is one thing that Aislinn is correct about, and that linger of death on the berserker has a reason to be there. Goneril's expectations are not as accurate this time; Jorn finally flicks open his eyes, seemingly and suddenly aware of the two women. And when he does open them, they are wild, and as startingly blue as the crisp March sky.

"You're with friends," says Goneril's companion. "Better ones. I'm Aislinn." Ash-ling. "The man who pulled you from the water asked me here to look at you." Her hand moves from his shoulder to the side of his face, her touch ginger but kind. "Try not to move too much if you can help it. Bodies mend better when you keep them still."

She reaches out and takes the cup of water, small mouth curving into a smile. Her eyes convey her gratitude instead of words. Thank you, Goneril. "Would you like something to drink?" she asks. "It would be good if you did."

The tilt of dark head to one side is a similarly silent conveyance. You're welcome, Aislinn. "Goneril Ross," she supplies without much context. The names Rowntree and Ross both carry a lot of weight here in Dornie, and the woman is used to invoking both by now. Supplying her surname is just second nature, more often than not. Even if their patient will have no clue as to either woman's supposed importance beyond healer and assistant.

Jorn's fingers dig into the bed almost immediately, despite Aislinn's ministrations to his mood itself. She can't possibly mean him any harm, but defensiveness is worn on his invisible sleeve. He attempts to move up, though the pain in his back causes him to sink even further into the surface below. Despite anything, the tall man with the brooding face still reacts to gentler women as he always has. Like a little boy, honestly. The growling and wild-eyed look stumble over themselves by the time they offer him the water.

His left hand lifts, and he can see the blotch of bandages, and the tint of bruising; still, Jorn is aware that he has been in similar pain, and so he presses his lips closed before trying to take it himself. It does not pan out as well as he'd hoped, and the Nord's arm flinches as he tries.

Rather than draw attention to the difficulty Jorn is having, Aislinn adjusts her hand on the cup so her fingers rest in the gaps between his, and raises the vessel to his lips to give Goneril the impression that their patient is doing most of the work himself. "You're lucky Eadgar found you when he did," she says. "The water didn't have the strength to take you, but the cold—"

Well. She leaves that thought unfinished.

"You owe my husband your life," Goneril says gently. It sounds like an idle comment, the way she offers it. But like she knows Aislinn well enough to know that she's helping her patient appear to have the strength to bring a cup to his lips, and drink, Aislinn can tell that it's a subtle implication.

This man owes Clan Ross.

The stare that finds Aislinn is a suspicious one. Feasibly, he may not remember much about what happened after the actual attack, up until his waking. One can assume the worst, but seeing as Jorn has not uttered a word so far, it could be anything. He takes a draught from the cup, lifting his hand an inch more to all but shove it down his mouth. A strong thirst is good, yes? It is gone soon, the empty glass still under his hand when he turns his eyes to Goneril, now taking the time to inspect her more closely. Still, he says nothing-

-because his mind is suddenly nowhere near wondering who helped him, or who he owes what. The water, versus the cold. Calloused fingers curl around the healer's wrist past the grip of the cup, and Jorn is painfully aware of his broad shoulders being chill.

"Hvor er det?" The stranger's voice croaks and flexes, thanks to the water having gone down. There is also something disturbing about the frantic gesture of his hand to Aislinn's wrist. "Huden min? Gi det til meg…"

It finally occurs to him that he is not speaking correctly- halfway into this minor fit.

"Where is my pelt?"

This is not a question that Aislinn feels qualified to answer, and so she remains silent and still, tolerant of the hand clutching at her wrist but hesitant to place the cup back down again until Goneril resolves the matter. The palm at his cheek, supporting his head, has not moved — and like the rest of her, won't.

"It's not been stolen." Goneril could stand to be more reassuring, but she'd have to be interested in doing so first. "You manage to survive - and Aislinn assures me you will - and we'll see about returning it to you." Then her dark eyes narrow ever so slightly. "Now let go of the nice lady."

The look that the darker woman gets is rather murderous. Jorn lets go of Aislinn's wrist afterwards; he was hardly holding on, and the whisper of his rough hand on her softer skin is as gentle as his grip. Despite his not actually doing a thing to threaten her, he feels, quite frankly, wanting to threaten her friend- or whoever this is- instead.

"If he is not around my shoulders, he has been stolen from me." Jorn's tone is accusatory, yes, though it is also as politely level as one in such a mood can manage. "Forgive me, Frue Ross, if I do not seem grateful of my care."

"No harm done," Aislinn assures Goneril, or maybe Jorn. "What she means to say is that it's being kept in a safe place until you're well enough to stand on two feet. If people knew that Jorn Wartooth still lived and where he lay, then they'd come to take what belongs to him while he's still too weak to protect it.

"Eadgar means well."

Assured or not, Ross takes the cup back from Aislinn and sets it aside, less then amused by the entire situation. She debates offering to release Jorn back into the wild, as it were. Deposit him face down right back where he was found in the first place. "Edgar always means well," is what she settles on instead.

If they do know who Wartooth is, rather than his tale, then his next decision likely does not come as a total shock. Unfortunately for his health, it isn't so good; Jorn finds something in his gut and grabs on, heaving himself upright to clutch at the table beside the bed. It rocks under the press of his weight, and it is obvious that he is pressing himself to try and leap out of the bed. Thusly, 'to stand on two feet'. It feels like such a thing to him, however it looks like a half-crippled man trying to roll himself away via table-leverage.

"Edgar kan ga spise rotte mokk."

Aislinn suspects that their patient has some less-than-kind things to say about Goneril's husband. The only thing she can be glad for is that neither of them speak Jorn's language, however, because he's about to undo all her hard work.

Not that Aislinn's work matters to her right now. She's more concerned for the man she performed it on. Her arms reach across the bed, trying to steady him rather than wrestle him back down to the mattress. "Please," she stresses, an abrupt tightess and urgency in her voice that wasn't there before. "You'll hurt yourself."

Goneril is unimpressed by the display, fixing the man with a flat look as he attempts to prove his might. "Shall I send for my brother?" she asks of Aislinn. Presumably she doesn't mean the brother the healer is married to. Or maybe she does. It's almost good sport watching to see what invokes Edmund's temper.

Aislinn would not even need to push him down. Jorn folds down onto the bed again, though now he falls wheezing onto his side rather than his back. The healer, with her kind hands, can tell that much more readily that under the heave of his ribcage, the warrior's heart is mourning as thickly as it is beating.

"We are as a magi and his sjelevenn." Nothing up until now sounded as pitiful, to be true. The worst part is that he feels it is a lost cause, at least for this day. His face digs uncomfortably into the bedding, and the light blue eyes scowl vaguely up at anything they can find. His heart hurts too much physically to want to put up that existential fight. "So you had best keep your word." To keep it safe.

Aislinn gives Jorn space again, empty cup on the table and hands smoothing his blankets. She would ask Goneril for a little more compassion and kindness, but it is not her place to ask for anything — just having needed to raise her voice and plead with Jorn leaves her cheeks flushed pink with what might be embarrassment, and she presses out a slow breath through her nose, steadying herself.

"I think you should send for your husband," she suggests quietly. "Eadgar must speak for himself."

Goneril doesn't profess to know about the business of magic, beyond making it a point to know what will prove useful to her. This has merit. "Then I shall return with my husband." The tone she uses for her delivery is neutral. It doesn't convey annoyance at the situation, or an eagerness to flee. It is what it is.

If nothing else, Goneril realises her presence is an antagonising one. Wouldn't be the first time. In the interest of ensuring her sister-in-law's work isn't in vain, she lets herself out into the hall, bootfalls swiftly fading.

The ex-warlord watches the woman depart, the view from the surface of the bed a terrible one, though he stares after Goneril all the same. Jorn's breath rattles as he shifts again, turning over with a grunt of air to find Aislinn. He lays still, abruptly cooperative and at the same time, there is shame on his face and in his thickening voice. "I fear that I am a terrible patient."

"Thank you, Aislinn." Even if he cannot suffer to be a good creature to sit for- Jorn Wartooth has not yet lost his manners as well as his dignity.

"You are also forgiven," Aislinn says, rising from the bed. She too is looking after Goneril's retreating figure, lips pursed in an expression that betrays her worry. "And very welcome. We've not told anyone that you're here, but I'll ask Goneril if she can convince Donagh to spare Eadgar a few of his men. You have many enemies, my lord.

"I'll do everything I can to see that you live long enough to learn how much easier it is to make friends."