Mesiande worked the hole that Alador had found his large bloodstone in for the rest of the day. She had found some fairly nice pieces and some jewelry pieces. Her small pouch was filling nicely. Despite her success, she could not help but feel anxious for Alador. When she moved the shade for him, he did not even seem to notice. She had let him continue to sleep but he had been so warm to the touch. So it was with a sigh of relief, when she heard Potre call an end to the day's dig.
Sometimes they stayed the night but all of them had been a bit anxious on this particular dig. The other miners had found little and there was a sense that something here was not as it should be. Even Mesiande had felt watched throughout the day. She glanced around the surrounding hills as if hoping to spot whatever it was and then returned to packing up her tools.
When she was done packing, she looked over to see that Potre had gotten Alador up on his feet but was moving off to leave him to fend for himself. She shouldered her pack and hurried over to him. “I found four others of good weight and several small jewelry pieces. I will have earned my keep this trip.” She hugged Alador again. “Thank you…you didn’t have to share your claim.”
“I honestly didn’t feel well enough to have dug more,” Alador muttered.
Mesiande eyed him. He still seemed to be in somewhat of a daze. She took his hand and smiled with reassurance. She led him down the path carefully. It was steep and they had to slip and slide a bit to get down to where the great beatles they used as pack animals were picketed. Korpen were resilient and could carry a great deal of weight.
She glanced at Alador often. He was unsteady on his feet and his face was still a deepened color of red. When at last they were down to the korpen, she worked swiftly securing their packs and equipment to back spikes. She then vaulted up into the space that was safe to sit and scooted back to let him move in front of her.
Alador looked up at her, puzzled. “I...I thought you said a lady should always ride in front.”
Mesiande felt a bit guilty about that but forced a grin.. “I felt you squirming all the way here. Besides, with that egg on your head, I don’t want you falling off and taking me with you.” She didn't want him to know how horrible he looked or how worried she was. She just wanted to get him down to the healer. Something was not right. He looked different and not just ill.
Alador just nodded once and accepted her hand. She helped him up and to settle in front of her and then signaled the korpen to fall into line with the others. Being herd beasts, if you got one moving, they all would follow so it didn't take much effort.
Usually the two of them bantered as they rode, but this afternoon, Alador was silent. It was not long before she felt him slump against her and her arms were hard pressed to hold him in place. "Alador?" She shook him as he was leaning sideways and she found his weight hard to hold. She moved the korpen off the path so others could pass and shook him again. "Alador." She hissed in his ear but he didn't even groan.
Termet moved his korpen next to her. "He responding?" He asked eyeing the middlin.
"No, I can't wake him and he is going to fall." Mesiande looked at Termet, her fear was evident and her eyes filled with tears. "He isn't going to die is he?" She looked at the adult.
Termet frowned. "Head wounds be tricky business. I will ride with him. You take mine." Termet slid off his korpen and handed the reins to Mesiande. He then reached up to take her reins and steady Alador so she could work free from behind him.
"Watch that back spike. I have padded it but it is a bit tight for the two of us. It will be more so for you." She eyed the larger man with concern as she moved out of his way.
"Well the boy is not going to notice if I push him a bit forward in his current condition." He gave the second set of reins back to Mesiande so he could work his way up. Using the spikes for footholds and leverage, Termet managed to work his way behind Alador as the two worked together to keep him from following off.
Once Termet was safely in place, she gave him back the reins and then crawled up onto the other korpen. Termet led the way, as the back of the line had passed them. The two korpen did not like being left behind and swiftly scrabbled across the rocks to catch up. The rest of the way down, Mesiande could do nothing but fret and follow the line of korpen down to the village. It was a three hour ride down and the light was failing as they were hitting the outer fields. She followed Termet as he headed the korpen straight for the healer's hut. It took some doing as neither of the beasts wanted to be peeled off from the others. She was first to the healer's hut and slid off the korpen not bothering to tie it. It would find the nearest grass.
"Mistress.. Mistress. Come quick. Alador is hurt." She called as she ran to the hut's door.
The healer came hurrying out, drying her hands on her apron. Termet was carefully slipping down off the korpen and bringing Alador down with him. "What happened?" The healer was a soft round woman that lived on the outskirts of the village. Her sharp eyes roved over Alador.
Termet scooped Alador up in his great arms. "Hit his head. Boy has been fretting the entire ride but can't wake him."
"That is bad, right?" Mesiande wrung her hands with genuine concern.
"It is not good." The healer stated quietly. "Take the boy in and put him on my bed."
Termet nodded and headed for the healer's door. When Mesiande went to follow, the healer stopped her by grabbing her harm. "Child. Go find his mother. There is nothing you can do here but she will need to know."
Mesiande glanced to where Termet was disappearing and then back to the healer. She wanted nothing more then to go with Alador. He was her best friend. She didn't care that he was half-Lerdenian, he had always been her friend. Her eyes filled with tears as she bit her lip. The healer's words sank in at the severity of the situation, if she wanted Alador's mother, it could not be good.
"Alright." she whispered. She turned and ran for the korpen, who true to form, was munching grass nearby. When it wouldn't be swayed from its munching, she gave up and ran for the village proper.