Of Fish and Witch Hazel

Title: Of Fish and Witch Hazel
Time Period: December 23, 134
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A fledgling physician gives a newcomer some roadside assistance when she finds a wounded fisherman out on the road to town.

The roads into town often find people walking along them, even as the light snows trace the ground. No fresh snow being added from the sky this moment, nor is it as cold as it has been some nights. The sun actually breaks through the clouds in a few places, catching on the trees, bare and evergreen, making the snow shimmer faintly where it slides across it.

A set of worn boots grind the rocks and dirt that make up one of the back roads, almost upon the edge of town, but still a small walk away. The young man in multiple layers that walks toward the town looks as if he may have seen better days. One of his sleeves is more torn than the other, and stained with still drying wetness, possibly ripped on a rock of some kind. A walking stick rests in the hand of his other arm, the same shoulder which supports a leather pack. Dark hair is ruffled, sticking up in various directions, with a dusting of stubble on his cheeks.

From the way Cas carries unburdened arm, that tear may have done more than rip and dampen his clothes.

Returning from an errand to one of Aislinn's patients, Cordelia turns the corner of the road that joins with the main one. A lanky gray deerhound lopes along at her heels, the dog's long legs awkward at the sedate walking pace set by its mistress. The dog notices the man first, sniffing the air once but neither alarmed nor eager to meet the stranger. Cordie's gaze follows the dog's, and she tips her head curiously as she watches Cas for a moment.

There are very few people in this town she doesn't recognize… and yet she's never seen the young man before.

"Are you injured?" she calls, though she keeps her distance. She's still in yelling distance of the cottage she'd left. Cordie glances over her shoulder down the side road, before turning back to Cas. The dog tips its head and huffs a soft bark as if to echo Cordelia's question.

The voice of a girl draws Cas' dark eyes over, stopping with some tension wrinkling his forehead, but he relaxes even as he sees just the girl and her dog. A dog of that size may not make him completely at ease, but it's better than other things. "I— I'm okay. It only really hurts when…" he shifts his arm, grimaces, making kind of an 'ow' sound under his breath.

Even then, he shakes his head, "It's not that bad. I just scratched my arm up trying to pull a fish out of a stream. There's some sharp rocks up here," he says with a dimpled smile, that almost hides the grimaces. Not only is he unfamiliar, his accent has textures of elsewhere.

"That's easily solved. Just don't do that," Cordelia says with a smile but she takes a step closer. Her head tilts as she peers at the arm, though of course she can't tell how injured it is through fabric or at several yards' distance.

She squints, then frowns and moves forward. "I can look at it, if you like…" is offered a little shyly. "I work with the doctor. Aislinn?" The name is a question as she studies his face for recognition of her mentor.

A couple more steps are taken and then she gives up the attempt to be cautious and moves toward him. "Do you not use nets or a pole or something? You might catch more fish and less rocks that way."

"Aislinn Rowntree?" Cas repeats the name, definitely showing recognition, based on the additional surname and the genuine smile that appears. "She's m'boss' lady-wife— I work over at the stables." For a moment he looks as if he wants to gesture in the direction, but from the frown and the lack of gesturing— He's not sure which way it is from here.

Shaking his head, he just lifts the stick instead. "I use this. It's easier, and I can replace it faster if something happens to it. Netting takes a long time to make, and… This works just fine, most the time." Except when it doesn't.

He doesn't try to get closer, watching her and the dog both, instead.

"Lady-wife…" Cordelia repeats with a smirk and a shake of her head. "Well, she's my boss, and her man-husband," why, yes, she is teasing him, "is my uncle Edmund."

Noticing the glance to the dog, Cordie lifts a finger and the dog sits, tail wagging. "That's Argyle. I'm Cordie," she says easily enough, now that he's identified himself as an employee of her uncle.

"It might be easy to replace the stick, but it's not so easy to replace your arm if you lose it," Cordelia points out, and gestures to his. "Can I see? I have a kit with me, since I was here to chane a dressing of ol' lady Abernathy."

From his smile, Cas doesn't mind being made fun of about that. In fact for a moment he looks like he might laugh, but man-husband being her uncle draws him up. He actually seems to be standing straighter once he's heard that. "I don't think it's that bad. I've given worse to myself climbing down from threes," he adds as he moves so his arm is more visible. His clothing already has sign of patching or sewing, appearing to have been through tough times in more ways than one. And always repaired, rather than replaced. By a sloppy seamstress, from the stitching. His hand has a glove on, but the fabric doesn't cover his fingers, leaving them exposed to the cold. Probably not the best idea.

"Argyle— like the socks. I had a set of Argyle socks once. The diamond pattern. Course I bet your dog is warmer than the socks were. They had holes in the toes."

The cut is shallow enough it can go without sticthings, but it could use cleaning and a bandage. Apparently he hasn't gotten around to that, yet.

The sight of the cut doesn't make her flinch; instead, she draws her brows together and reaches for it, carefully touching the areas around to see how much blood wells up, to determine how deep it is. "It could get stitched," she says thoughtfully. "It'll probably leave a scar if you don't, but you're not going to bleed to death and if you keep it clean, you shouldn't stand too bad a chance of getting an infection."

She chews her lower lip as she muses, then looks up. "I think, anyway. You might want to ask Aislinn." Aislinn usually has her make her assessment and then either approves or gently teaches where she went wrong, but she is alone on this road.

"Either way, I can clean it now and wrap it up for you, and you can have her take a look at it later, maybe. It'd be a bit of a makeshift job, but it'll keep it clean." Cordelia shrugs her shoulders, and reaches to shove a wisp of hair out of her eyes.

"Wouldn't be the first scar on that arm," Cas admits, with a grin, looking down at said arm and the girl holding it. The cold has probably kept the bleeding down, but from his face if the pain was lessened he wouldn't show it. Each pokes makes him look like he wants to say 'ow' again. Perhaps he's just not good with pain.

"I can ask her about it, though— later tonight or tomorrow. I heard she did that sort of thing, taking care of hurts." Men who don't like getting hurt tend to find out who to go to when he does. Though it hasn't really come up lately. Yet.

"Do— you need me to take off my jacket or anything?" he asks, looking around for a place on the side of the road where they could sit down or something, spotting a tree trunk that could function, and gestures to it, "Mind if I sit down? Probably be easier for you, too."

She realizes they are standing still at the side of a public road, and smiles. "By all means," Cordie says, gesturing to the stump. "Go ahead and take it off but keep it around your shoulders so you don't get cold."

As he sits, she kneels, slinging the bag she carries off of her shoulder to rummage through it, pulling out some gauze and a little bottle of clear liquid. Once he's situated, she looks up at him. "This will sting a little," she says solemnly. "I won't tell if you yell. It's just witch hazel water. It'll clean it and make the swelling go down a little."

Uncapping the bottle, Cordelia waits for him to ready himself. "Tell me when you're ready."

The jacket is one of his few that still has it's sleeves, for the colder days, but the sleeve didn't protect him from the rock so much. The cut may have been deeper without it. Settling down by the stump, Cas lets the bag drop, the walking stick beside it, and then shrugs out of the coat with one arm. His sleeve of his second layer rolls up easily, revealing the fingerless gloves that cover his palm and wrist.

As he settles down, his unburdened right hand with a matching set of fingerless gloves reaches into his coat pocket to pull out a small piece of wrapping. Inside the wrapping, which he sets on his leg, he pulls out a strip of salted and dried meat, which instead of eating himself, he holds out as if to offer it to the young lady's dog.

"I don't have much to trade besides fish with me, but I do have some of these, if you or your dog want them. It was going to be my on the road snack." He looks back at her, nodding down toward his arm, indicating he's ready. But then keeps talking. Talking is how he handles … a lot of things, really. "How long you been doing this sort of thing? Helping the Lady Aislinn?"

The dog stands up and takes the meat in a way that seems like he might snap off part of the man's hands, yet is still inches away. Cordie laughs and shakes her head. "Just that one for him'll do. I already ate, and don't need anything for this," she says, nodding to the things she's laid out.

She looks more nervous than him perhaps as she lifts the bottle, eyes squinting as if she could wince away the pain to come for him. "A few months now. Not very long," she answers honestly as she tips her hand, letting the clear and biting liquid stream over the cut and bracing herself for his reaction.

"Are you sure— I don't want to add nipped fingers to my list of scars," Cas says, watching the dog after the seeming snapping bite from inches away. Good thing he'd been holding it out on one end, and let it go quickly.

"I rather like my fingers— and my arm too, and all of me, really," he says with a laugh, trying to keep his arm still while she works. The grimaces still come through occassionally. Mostly in his voice. "And it seems you've been working with her just a bit longer than I've been working for her— man…husband. Seems like an tough job. Especially if you do this often— come across hurt people on the road."

Dark eyes glance up as he speaks, and Cordie looks impressed with the fact he didn't yell. She would have. "He won't bite you unless you try to hurt me," she says pleasantly enough of Argyle, though it might serve as a warning as well.

The witch hazel is allowed to seep in, stinging as it does its work, before she picks up a spare scrap of gauze to dab the wound dry as gently as she can. "Rocks are better than some things, and the water is clean, at least," she murmurs as she works. "I don't do a lot of this, no. Mostly I do house calls with Aislinn or help her in the shop."

As she speaks, she winds the gauze around his arm, finally coming to an end and tucking it into the wound strip. "That should do you for a few hours anyway. If it starts to bleed through and doesn't stop, come to Aislinn's and we'll stitch you up. Better her than me, though. Mine are still a tiny bit crooked." The last has a confessional tone.

"Good thing the absolute last thing on my mind is hurting such a nice young lady, then," Cas says with a relieved laugh, looking mostly at the dog for the moment. Almost as if he's saying it to the dog, instead of the nice young lady.

"The stream was clean. Tasted really clean at least. And the fish seemed healthy, if all slow and stuff from the cold, which is generally a good sign of decent water I've found." Oh his travels. Good water means good fish, and vice versa.

With the bandage done, he flexes his fingers and hand, finding that it doesn't hurt quite as bad as it did before, or at least he avoids saying ow, this time. "I'm thankful you happened to be on the road, Cordie. I wouldn't have made it back to the stables until later tonight, and it likely would've waited that long if you hadn't been here. Thank you." His smile is genuine and boyish, as he looks back at her.

She caps the bottle and tucks it back in her bag along with the gauze, then stands up and steps back. "At least cover it in dry cloth if it happens again. The wet clothing won't do it any favors."

There's a moment before she seems to realize he had thanked her, and she nods. "No problem at all. And thanks for Argyle's snack, um…" Cordelia looks up, waiting for Cas to supply a name and tipping her head to wait for him to fill it in the pause of silence.

The silence drags out for a few moments before Cas realizes why that 'um' was said at all. "Oh! Right. Sorry. Cas. That's my name." The words are punctuated by gestures of his hand. "Cas Blackburn. And I work for your uncle, as— I already said before… saying my name or anything." His smile is sheepish, flashing teeth. He'd gotten a little distracted finding out she was the niece of the man he works for. But he doesn't run over that excuse.

With that somewhat awkward introduction done, he slides his coat sleeve back on and stands, picking up his bag full of fish and other things and the stick. Back on his feet, he almost seems to rock, as if he's not sure if it's appropriate to walk yet, but he holds his arm a lot easier than he was walking before.

"Nice to meet you, Cas. Welcome to Dornie, I guess a few months late, anyway, if you've been working here that long," Cordelia says. She bends to pick up her own bag, slinging it over her shoulder and then whistling to Argyle who leaps to his feet once again.

She looks amused at his stasis, and steps forward onto the road. "It's a nice day," she says amiably to continue the conversation, implying that he'll continue to talk to her as they both walk toward town.