"I’VE. TRIED. EVERYTHING!"
Siscia's lower lip had been quivering for quite some time, but she had busied herself with preparing herbs, cleaning out the wound, burning small bundles of carefully-selected leaves from her pouch, and chanting for hours as something resembling an angel-squid hovered placidly above Eli, its translucent tentacles caressing his head until the physical trauma appeared to be healing well. Still, he was unresponsive. His eyes were glassy and blank. The healing spirit swept an ethereal arm across the druid's furrowed brow. She staggered back, exhausted, and fell clumsily into a wooden chair next to the hammock. Finally, she broke down.
"I don't understand! It's like… it's like… the bleeding is stopped, his brainy bits are going to take a while to heal up, I know, but… but… something is really really wrong! Not like 'oops that was NOT the flask I meant to grab' wrong or 'here kitty kitty oh wait nope you're definitely a skunk' wrong or even 'he just got shot in the head' wrong. I mean… WRONG. You know?"
Two small, shining eyes blinked sympathetically at her from a shadowed corner of the small room. The ship rocked gently, and a lantern swayed from the ceiling. Even so, a stillness gripped the tidy quarters. Sounds were muffled. Light was muted. Sweet-smelling smoke looped and curled gently through the air toward an almost-imperceptible crack in the round window. Everything was peaceful, except the sobbing druid.
Eli didn't move. He continued to stare into nothingness, as though he wasn’t present on the ship at all. His jaw was slack and his mouth hung open slightly. Drool trickled down his cheek. Siscia sighed with exasperation and grabbed the corner of her well-worn cloak to wipe it away.
The tiny figure in the corner scurried closer. Siscia dried her tears with the same corner of the cloak and then bent forward, reaching out toward the creature. A scrawny, three-legged rat with a crooked tail clambered into her hands. Siscia scritched behind its ears, which it seemed to appreciate greatly (probably because a missing foot meant less reach for clawing at fleas).
"Well, friend, I just don't think there's much else I can do. I suppose we just wait. Maybe Connah will have some idea how to fix this. It's like… it's just like he's not even in there anymore and how does that even happen?! Ugh! 'If he gets shot, you can heal him, right?' I TOLD Shaper that it wasn't always that easy. Especially right to the head…" she trailed off. Her shimmering, tear-filled green eyes focused on something invisible and far away. She replayed the moment she saw Eli's brains splatter onto the deck and his body go limp in the fake-Bathrobe-Cowboy's arms. If only they'd all known that wasn't really the Bathrobe Cowboy… maybe things would have gone differently. Or, maybe not?
It’s not like the party had a great track record lately. What had started as a jolly adventure that would take her to places she’d never seen and give her some experience with people outside the Greensingers had quickly taken a turn. Now, there were crazy concerns like assassin guilds, sham-trials, possessions, murderous plots, shadowy figures, kidnappings, politics…
Suddenly, Siscia felt like she was in way over her head. Navigating Thelanis while staying on the good side of notoriously-fickle fey was easier than all this. And that was far from easy.
The rat curled up in Siscia's lap and sighed as she patted him absently. Nobody ever wanted to talk to him, let alone cuddle him. This was a nice change, even if the druid was distracted and distraught. At least she didn't shoo him out or chase him with a meat cleaver like the cook. He liked this druid. He hoped that her friend would be okay. But then, maybe her friend would shoo him out… maybe he had a meat cleaver… so it was probably better that he was in his weird, still sleep.