The second his eyes fell shut her forehead started to crinkle again.
I have to get that fever down.
She left her utensils next to his bed and exited the tent.
The fever was raging in him and boosting his immune system, which was a good thing, but if the temperature stayed this elevated she had to do something more drastic to get it down.
Learning as a healer was a tedious process, and as she quickened her step she had one destination in mind.
The tent she sought out was a bit bigger than the rest and had its own spot in the middle of the village.
As she entered the tent a bunch of hollow wooden tubes dangled and clashed against each other to sound out her entrance.
“Lemsa”, the calm voice of the chief resounded in the tent, as she drew away from her work and approached the young healer.
“I need help”, her fingers danced in the air and the chief nodded encouragingly.
Her hands kept moving with a clear urgency, explaining her situation.
The chief held her slender fingers to her chin on thought, her stance idle and mysterious.
“I’ll have to notify this evening’s search troupe to get us some willowbark. The rest we should have here”, she moved into the edge of her bed and pulled out a punch seemingly filled with something precious.
Evening? Evening was too late. His fever was still raging in his body.
This is bad, if I can’t control it now it will all get out of hand. I have to do something I have to try!
She took a couple steps towards the chief and the latter eyed her suspiciously.
“I need it now”, her lips pressed together in earnest, “I’ll go”, she concluded.
“You want to go alone? Now?”
Lemsa nodded vigorously.
“I mean you can, but you have other duties. It can wait until the evening and you-”
“No!”, the second her voice rose she clasped her hands on her mouth.
Gulping and pinning her eyes to the floor in shame she took a step back.
Her hands formed an apology without looking up and her gaze slowly trailed up to her sovereign.
The chief’s eyes were a stern and the typical cold grey colour pooled with a glint of fascination.
Lemsas hands shook, may it be from the sudden outburst or the turmoil in her head she didn’t know.
“Go”, the chief whispered.
Her gaze was now encouraging almost, but she knew that this would have repercussions.
The healer slowly walked backwards and turned around in a swift motion, picking up her pace.
Her whistle was short and dense and she ran toward the end of the village where the sound of stomping feet got louder.
Aztak was ready as ever, running towards her and skidding to a halt when she grabbed the fur around his neck to climb on top of him.
As if he felt her urgency he started dashing forwards into the outskirts of the village and towards the forest.
Come on big boy, we gotta save him.
Her breath was labored and every inhale stung in her lungs, her feet thrumming on the earth as she fought the time.
An almost inaudible grunt escaped her throat as she practically jumped into his tent, the slight pain in her arms to be ignored.
Catching her breath and focusing on the matter at hand she started observing the man in front of her.
No time to be flustered.
Her hand was quickly on his forehead and she almost had to retract it out of shock.
It got worse.
Pulling herself together as she started wrapping up her sleeves to start her work.
Her hands were quick and yet they had a stillness to them, no mistake to be allowed.
She heated hot coals in a small fire outside and put them in a bowl. Placing a smaller bowl with water on top of it she waited for it to boil.
The pouch from ye chief was heavy on her belt, as was the wild willow bark she extracted from trees in the woods.
Her fingers were scratched and almost bloody from the work of the knife and her nails gripping at the tree bark, but it was worth it. The healing properties of all of these would save him.
They had to.
Her hand slowly pressed on his forehead, moving down to his shoulders.
She gently moved his shoulder back and forth to wake him, starting slowly and increasing a bit until he groaned.
She tapped his shoulders to keep him conscious and his eyes shot open.
There was a cloudiness in his eyes, almost too evident. His pupils took away too much space from his iris, his eyes darting from place to place.
Soothingly she pushed another pillow under him to prop his head up.
“Whah-“, his speech was slurred and incoherent and there was a hint of panic in his tone.
He was probably unaware of his situation, confused and out of control.
Lemsa hummed, and caught his eyes from darting around.
Her eyes spoke volumes.
It’s okay. It’s me. I’m here.
“Hmm”, he responded, his torso heaving in a breath.
Behind her the mixture of sage and citrus subsided from bubbling, so she moved the bowl to his mouth and nudged his head up.
Her hand placed on his neck to help not spill the tea, she helped him down it all in one go.
Sage and citrus would help him sweat it out, and would surely help his body recover quickly.
She stripped the hard part of the bark away and gave him the soft insides to chew on.
He was slightly confused, but in this haze of the fever he was more compliant than anything.
She opened the pouch and dipped her hand in it.
They were a rare item in the village, and this was probably the stash of the chief.
Poppy seeds had an almost sedating function, letting even the most injured patient sleep free of pain.
And as sure as it was, the second he gulped down the last heave of seeds his eyes slowly clasped shut.
Sighing and dropping the pouch to the floor, the young woman only hoped for it to work.
It just had to.