A Very Cold Fever

Perhaps I should consider a career change.  These days, it seems that the infirmary is busier than the tavern.  I only popped in to see how the kids were getting along, having finally persuaded them to go see Anna yesterday.  Seven was there, but sleeping soundly. Marida was, as might be expected, hovering nearby.  She still seemed unsteady on her feet and when I asked, it turned out that she had not admitted her problem to Anna.  I did my best to persuade her that it would be better if she did.  I am beginning to get the impression that being sick is a bad thing where she comes from. They both seem to have a fear of not being useful, making me wonder if children who aren’t useful get thrown out or possibly put to sleep, much as we might with an injured farm animal or sick pet.  I cannot see how that is possible, not with reasoning, intelligent creatures as these children seem to be.  Marida was worried because of her poor balance, which she implied was a long-term problem, which was wrong because her species is supposed to be good with balance. I have yet to learn what that species is. I must admit, I find it baffling. At times, I am tempted to think something feline, as their tails, with the tuft on the end, remind me somewhat of that of a lion. On the other hand, the way they climbed the tree in the tavern, I was almost thinking something related to monkeys.  I am sure she will say when she is ready.

Then a voice came from the other bed, saying something about running.  When I looked closely, it was Gwyn.  She was sleeping, or unconscious, but occasionally would stir and just say “Run, run, run.”  There was a most curious device above the head of the bed, on the wall. It was a glass screen of some sort, with moving pictures on it.  I wondered if this was perhaps something to do with the teevee that Gwyn and Lalla have told me about. Mostly, there seemed to be a stylised picture of a human body and assorted information, one of which seemed to be indicating body temperature.  At least, that is what is said, but the temperature it was showing was around 38 degrees.  Now I am no physician, but that temperature was surely wrong, being so close to freezing.  When I put my hand on Gwyn’s head, if anything, she seemed to be running a slight fever.  Even worse, there was another infernal device in the room.  When I walked near what I had assumed to be some kind of heating stove in the corner, it made some strange chiming noises and suddenly sprouted glowing numbers and letters that seemed to hang in mid-air in front of it. I could not tell what they were for, and my fingers seemed to pass right through them. Some of the information shown on these ghostly patterns looked like they were related to the device above the bed, but I could not fathom any further what it was for.  Certainly, my waving my fingers through it seemed to do nothing, and when I stepped away from it, the displays vanished.

Mitternacht turned up next, having apparently been told she needed to come and see Anna, presumably for more medicine.  She still had a cough, but being upright and moving was a definite improvement on when I had last seen her.  Seeing the other patients in the room, she offered her services at half price, should we need them.  I had heard her mention some ability with herbs before, but when I said she should speak to Anna about that, it turned out that she was actually a mortician!  Now I am not greatly familiar with the world of horses and ponies, but I had always assumed that when they died, they were buried, cremated, or possibly made into pet food.  I had not imagined they would have need of a mortician.  Ah well, you live and learn.  I assured her that we would prefer not to have to make use of those services just yet. After a while, she got bored waiting for Anna and wandered off.

Aoibheann came along to see how the children were doing.  I don’t know if she is just tired, or if she is angry with me about something, but she seemed somewhat snappy with me, even over something as simple as asking how she was.  I had been trying to learn something about Marida’s condition, wondering if it was some ear problem with her balance, or maybe just a problem with her eyesight, like my old school friend, Marty, who displayed similar clumsiness until his parents finally got his eyes tested and some spectacles made for him. Aoibheann was quite brusque with me, telling me I should leave such questions to Anna.  I really must try to catch her at a good moment and find out what it is that is bothering her.  Is she still annoyed at the teasing about Damion, or is she still worried about my domestic arrangements?  I really don’t know. She went back to the tavern eventually while I stayed with Gywn and the children for a while.

On the writing front, I must confess I am stuck.  I have some ideas of what is going to happen in the early part of the evening, but have yet to decide what, if anything, Edmund should learn about the island over dinner, or perhaps in the bar afterwards. Maybe I should have Françoise come by and make a play for him.

 

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