On Chases and Chess

A settlement east of Rynmere across a stretch of water called 'the eastern trench' broken into three regions: Welles, Oakleigh, and Berwick.
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Faith Augustin Champion
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On Chases and Chess

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23rd Zi'da, Arc 716
following events here and here
The mission completed, they had returned to camp and the Warden and Captains had gone to the debriefing, or wherever they had to do in the aftermath of such an event as had just happened. Which meant that those who were of a military mind all knew exactly what they had to do, where they had to go. There was no doubting it, these people moved like a well oiled machine. It also meant, of course, that things were busy for a few bits. Busy, yes, but nonetheless possibly strange that Faith hadn't found Padraig. He heard, though, in open conversation as they all started to divest themselves of weapons and supplies, that there had been an encounter here. Scouts had been discovered, a swift fight but no casualties on our side was what he heard.

Until, of course, he caught sight of the guard assigned to protect Faith who was, in fact, carrying her and heading to the medical tent with her. She was obviously unconscious and as Padraig ran up to him, the guard kept walking, but started talking to him too. "Our lookouts found some scouts. It was being taken care of on the outskirts of the camp. I got her to take cover, which she did, and I was looking out, standing guard. I was looking for trouble out there, not looking at her." He sounded irritated with himself, as much as he knew that the worst way to guard someone was to stare at them. "I glanced to her, and she was running to the horse. I think she must have panicked at the thought of battle. I chased her. But she pushed the horse, too fast. It threw her." He didn't slow down, not at all, just kept moving to the medical tent.

Which was where he laid her down. She was paler than usual, but her breathing was normal. As the guard stepped back and Padraig took hold of her hand, Faith's eyes fluttered open and she frowned in confusion. "Padraig?" Her hand reached out and she turned to look at him with concern akin to desperation in her expression. Her pupils, he might note, were different sizes and she looked at Padraig like he was out of focus, which he was. When she spoke there were some long pauses between her words and her speech was slurred. "Padraig? Are you ... safe? I was playing chess with my friend. He always leads with the ... the same move and we were in a tree. Inside though, it was nice. What happened?"

The medic, a young woman, came over, quickly, and glanced at Padraig. It seemed that she might be considering whether to ask him to leave or not (she was) and she decided that there was no point having this argument. "Alright, I need to just examine you." She spoke to Faith who looked at her and really didn't seem to understand what she was saying. So, the medic briefly turned her attention to Padraig. "Keep her talking. Keep her awake, please. I'm going to just make sure that she's not hiding anything from us"

The medic started to examine her, mirroring the movements Faith had taught Padraig the night before. Checking her from head to foot to make sure that there was no hidden bleeding and so on. She was nowhere near rough, but she was quick and effective rather than gentle. Faith looked at Padraig with a frown, although when she spoke her speech was a little clearer and she seemed more focused. "Who's she? Why is she.. why is she doing that? Padraig? Did I catch him? He can't escape." Her hand held on to his tightly and she closed her eyes, against the pounding in her head. "My head hurts. I was so worried about you. Are you alright? Did I catch him?" She was tired and her head hurt. If she knew that she'd caught the man she'd been chasing, she could rest."Tell Malcolm I caught him"

The medic looked up and spoke, her tone businesslike "No major bleeding. I'd say we're looking at a bump to the head. Lets have a look. Keep her talking, please." Her request was accompanied by her moving Faith's head so that she was looking at Padraig, so that the medic, in turn, could start to examine her head in more detail.

The guard who had been with her had stepped back as the medic worked, but as Faith kept speaking about catching someone he stepped forward and spoke to Padraig, his expression intense. "Find out what she means about chasing, if you can. Was that why she ran from camp?"
word count: 817
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

~ Rharne HQ
Dust Quarter Satellite Clinic ~ Order of the Adunih~Soup Kitchen & Community Center
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Padraig
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He'd expected to see Faith as soon as they entered the camp. She'd have heard them coming, or one of the guards keeping watch would have alerted the rest. Padraig hadn't expected her to run to greet him, but the fact that he didn't see her at all, was curious.

But he had equipment to put away, and didn't think anything of it at first. She'd been left with a squire to watch over her after all, and he'd taken the man's word for it, that he'd guard her with his own life.

But as he sorted out his gear, word of what had happened began to spread. And immediately he left the rest to the others in order to go look for her. He was worried already by the time he spotted her in the arms of the squire, headed towards the medical tent. He broke into a sprint to catch up with them, his dread growing with every trill.

"What happened to her?" he asked before they got there, and looked over every inch of her that he could see. Though he didn't spot any obvious injuries, she was much paler than her norm. "Faith?" The sense of dread wasn't helped by seeing how limply she lay in the guard's arms.

His jaw tightened in response to the man's explanation. It was someone else's job to keep watch outward, he wanted to bark at the squire, and his job to watch her. He'd have let the impulse get the better of him, had his immediate concern be other than it was. And if he was angry at the guard, he was just as angry with himself for agreeing to leave her behind when he'd sworn he wouldn't.

When the guard set her down, Padraig sat down beside her and took her hand, not letting go even when the healer rushed over. When she opened her eyes, a wave of relief washed over him, and he searched her face again. "I'm here, right here," he said. "Safe and sound, just like I told you I'd be." But her words were slurred and she seemed confused. Chess. Yes, very confused. Imagining things, maybe hallucinating. He remembered their conversation the trial before and he could only come to one conclusion before the healer herself did. A head injury. "You fell from a horse, Faith. Just a bump," he said, trying to reassure her.

So he kept her talking best that he could, trying to get her to focus on him while the healer did her work. "I'm fine, Faith. I'm not injured. Were you chasing someone?" Running to get the warden to tell him what was going on, was the last thing on his mind. And he wasn't particularly interested in the guard's questions either. But at the least, the line of questioning would keep her talking, whether she was talking sense or not. "Was that what you were doing? Chasing someone away from camp? Trying to catch them?"
word count: 531
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On Chases and Chess

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"There wasn't a horse, I was in a tree with my friend. He had manacles and fruit and chess." Whatever she had seen, or was still seeing when they first laid her down, it was persistent. At least, in terms of the chess. But the medic worked and Faith started to wake in a slow process. "I was wearing a white dress. Because I'm free. Not black any more, Padraig, it was white. Isn't that silly? Like chess. Black or white." Her head was thumping and her vision was blurred, but more than that, it was just confusing. She was confused and muddled; not something which happened to her often. So she turned her bleary gaze to Padraig and tried her best to smile, to let him know that it was all alright.

"I was wrong." She whispered as she lifted her hand. Pulling his hand towards her, she laid her face against it. "I'd rather watch than not watch. Don't leave again, I'll go with you. Together or not at all. Toes to dimples" With a quiet murmer she closed her eyes, just for a trill or two, trying to stop the pain in her head. When she spoke, her voice was barely a whisper. "Why am I shouting? It hurts." The medic was quick, effiicient and smiled a slight smile at Padraig, trying to reassure him as Faith lapsed into silence for a brief time.

"She's awake. She's talking. She's mostly lucid although she's confused. All good things." The soldier had certainly seen worse, and a lot worse but she didn't see the point in telling him that. Her hands were quickly moving, examining Faith's head. "I'd say that, all in all, she's lucky." A sudden smile came over the medic's face and she held out her spare hand to Padraig. "Give me your hand?" Assuming that he did, she took hold of his hand and guided it to a spot on the back of Faith's head where a beautiful egg-sized lump was. "It may seem scary, but that is a very very good thing." The medic explained, even as Faith grumbled and complained about it hurting. The medic moved her hand away and stroked Faith's hair from her face, trying to soothe her and actually managing to provoke a deep frown. "Much better that the swelling is from the inside, moving out. Not the other way. I'm going to get a cold compress to keep that swelling down, but I think we're fine here. She'll be fine after a few breaks of being awake and then some rest." With a nod at Padraig, the medic moved to go and get said cold compress.

By now, Faith was feeling more awake than when she came in, though her head was pounding and there were strange dots here and there in her vision. She looked up at Padraig and focused on him. Just on him. "People attacked, but too much fuss, too loud. Scouts. They were just scouts, why did they fight not surrender or run away?" She was already frowning in pain and it deepened as she explained. "Its because they think they're just rebels. But they nearly overthrew the king. I was there. They think they're just rebels and I'm just a slave. They're stupid for thinking that. It was too much noise, too much fuss. Distraction. It was a distraction and they fell for it. Did your explosives work?" Her hand in his clung tightly to him and she let out a noise which was half sigh, half moan of pain. "I think that's why, you know. Why I fell in love with you. I was never just a slave to you. Not even when I was, I wasn't." The medic returned and put a rag against Faith's head, the spot with the swelling and Faith sighed, contentment evident as the pain started to ease.

Within a very short space of time, she was looking at him more clearly, seeing him better. "Padraig? Did I catch him?" Her eyes searched his face and she frowned more deeply than before. "Are you alright? I was so worried about you, I felt like it would burst out. When I saw him I knew it was why they were making so much noise" Like any of what she said made sense, Faith was completely unaware that her words would take some deciphering and so, with just the vaguest hint of the expression she wore when she was about to get snippy, she asked for what seemed to her to be the tenth time. "Padraig. Did I catch him? Why aren't you telling me?"
word count: 810
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

~ Rharne HQ
Dust Quarter Satellite Clinic ~ Order of the Adunih~Soup Kitchen & Community Center
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Horses, trees and friends. Manacles, fruit and chess. Padraig was sure that somewhere in there, there must be some meaning at work. Imagery, maybe, connected to what had happened. No matter that she seemed to be speaking gibberish, and he was at a loss to decipher it.

Imagery, innuendo, the meaning of life, deep meanings and deeper thinking: The sorts of things that rattled around in a philosopher's toolbox. Those men back at university who called themselves scientists. Padraig maintained, they were not. They'd simply taken too many brain berry leaves in their tea.

The important thing was that she was talking, if she wasn't entirely lucid. He was grateful for that. "You can be sure that I won't be leaving you behind again. Not for a minute." It wasn't just an effort to reassure her. It was fact. He was as sure as he could be that if he hadn't gone this time, it wouldn't have happened. If she wasn't hurt so badly, so weak and didn't need time to heal, he'd have bundled her up then and taken her home.

He tried to take the medic at her word, that Faith would be alright. But he also knew the woman would have tried to reassure him no matter the case. He gave her his hand though, and winced, a sinking feeling in his stomach when he felt the lump on the back of Faith's head. He'd have to take her word for it. Gathering his wits again, he helped to shift her so that her head was more elevated, put down in his lap.

But then there was sense wrapped up in nonsense, and he listed closely, trying to identify which was which. He glanced at the guard, who he was sure was still listening. "I think this is as much sense as we'll make of it," he said. "The camp was attacked, maybe as a distraction, and the one she was pursuing got away. Which means they'll know where the camp is, and how it's equipped. You should probably inform the warden." Then he turned back to Faith.

"You were never a slave. Not to me. But no, I think he must have gotten away. But all that matters now is you're safe. The explosives work fine, and I'm fine. I promise. You should get some rest now, and stop worrying," he told her. And as promised he wouldn't be leaving her side, whether the medic asked him to or not.
word count: 442
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On Chases and Chess

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Padraig:
  • Knowledge:
    • Faith: A Magnet for Trouble
    • Medicine: Treating a Concussion


    Loot: None
    Injuries: None
    Fame: None

    Story: 5/5
    Collaboration: 3/5
    Structure: 5/5

    Magic Points: None

- - -

Faith:

  • Knowledge:
    • Tactics: Leave the Chasing to the Militants
    • Concussion: Causes Delirium Initially
    • Padraig: Never Considered You a Slave


    Loot: None
    Injuries: Concussions can be fatal if not monitored. Give it three trials for the swelling to go completely down and the pain to go away. Intermittent headaches may occur up to 7 trials post injury.
    Fame: None

    Story: 5/5
    Collaboration: 3/5
    Structure: 5/5

    Magic Points: None

- - -

Comments: I could only give you each three points in collaboration due to the rules for collaboration. Despite being a short thread, it was a sweet one. I must say, every time a read another story with the two of you, it makes me more sure that the Ship Award was given appropriately. It was a strange little thread, but Padraig's concern was clearly genuine. Would have liked to see more, but I do not think there were many avenues for you to go except for maybe a time skip to a more coherent state for Faith. Sincere there were few options for continuation, I did not dock you for story points.

If you feel I've missed anything or if you have questions about your review, please don't hesitate to send me a quick PM. Thank you!
word count: 248
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I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be then me.
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