1867-10-03: Wait and See
Wait and See
Summary: Esyld considers the aftermath of the recent clash with the Abara.
Date: Octobre 3rd, 1867 IA
Related: After Death and Destruction

"If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour."
- Henry V

The camp was quiet at this hour. With night long since having fallen and the area secured, with those wounded in the fray silenced either by drug-induced slumber or something more eternal, a grim lull had taken hold, permeating the very air as undeniably as the coppery tang of blood or the foul reek of death. The losses were great on both sides.. far greater, one might opine, than they ought to have been, on the side of the Couviere contingent. She'd helped, as one of those less injured, to load the sprawled bodies onto the carts to be hauled away. Burned, most likely, for the commoners. The nobility might warrant a grave. They were the faces of people she'd known. Men she'd broken bread with, women she'd traded jabs with, comrades all and now, in the blink of an eye.. just gone. Despite what some may believe, it never did get easier. Not for her, anyway. If the day came when she didn't feel the lurch of her guts and willed herself not to dry heave as she bundled mauled and crushed bones and flesh into tarps and onto pallets, when she didn't pause here and there under cover of shadow to thumb away a tear or two, that would likely be the day she laid down her sword.

Still.. some things needed to be done. And with so many occupying the healers, it fell to the likes of Esyld and the mercenaries to dispose of the dead. Not even Vorian, despite his protests - loud and expletive-riddled - could lend his aid. He'd wanted to, of course.. especially with two of his own precious fellows having met their end on the field. Matter of fact, it had taken his blue-eyed cousin to cow him into heeding the order to rest at all. Not many would dare go toe to toe with a t'Maren Knight… except another t'Maren Knight.

Pausing as she stared down at her barely visible silhouette in the surface of the water, waiting for the ripples to calm enough to at least make out that vibrant blue of her dark-lashed eyes, Esyld huffed a few droplets from her upper lip having sated her thirst and permitted herself the ghost of a smile. A Knight. A previously unthinkable, unattainable dream, made reality by the sword and word of Gabriel l'Corren, in the presence of those she cared for. Under other circumstances, she would have been rip-roaring drunk, by now.

Under other circumstances.

Palming away the last rivulets of water from her cheeks, having doused her features with a handful from the water-butt, the woman straightened, wincing at an almost audible creak in her back with the motion and bracing a hand there. The other fell, as habit, to the pommel at her hip. Gabriel was safe. Practically came through with nary a scratch, the damnable bugger. Vorian was hurt, but not grievously so. The Foxes had done well, as had the newer mercenaries. So there was that. Alina's husband would return to her triumphant and once again unscathed. But her brother…

It was the train of thought that Esyld had worked all night to keep at bay. But now, trembling with exhaustion, spent and with a mind full of sorrow, she had no distraction left. Her strides, unsteady and far from their usual straight, brisk manner, carried her toward the healer's pavilion. She halted by the door-flap, holding it aside as a pair of ashen-faced veterans carried out a makeshift stretcher; their burden tellingly still and with slow-running crimson dripping from the underside of the canvas. The t'Andalucci were unrivalled in their expertise… but some things simply can't be mended. What had gone wrong? Not just for Corvin, but Talia, too. The Wraiths were generally agreed to be a formidable entity… but today had seen their foremost members felled by supposed 'thugs'. No.. these were no mere pillagers. But they'd known that all along. And somewhere, in the back of her mind, Esyld hotly resented that the l'Saigner assassins had been out in the midst of the field in the first place. What chance did they have, really? Stealth or distance, those were key. Let the infantry charge in and make noise… the Wraiths were subtle killers.

She needed someone to blame. And it couldn't be Fremont, seeing as he remained unconscious and would no doubt defend to the bitter end his choices in supporting the general forces. Stubborn bastard. Nor could it be the healers, who were doing everything they could to stave off the icy grip of mortality. No.. she had to swallow her ire, recognise it for what it truly was. Desperation. And, much as it pained her to admit, even to herself: fear.

He didn't look any better. His pallor was tinged with gray, features unmoving, as Esyld approached his cot. She'd been there when the healer slipped a 'needle' - a laughable term given the size of the thing - through the Wraith Commander's chest. She'd been prepared to hold him down, had his instincts kicked in enough to fight off the invasion. But he hadn't flinched and that pained her even further than the gurgle of blood and air that followed. She hadn't even noticed her upset until some faceless figure handed her some mostly-clean gauze to clean her face up; tears streaking through the blood and grime across her skin. A glance now to the healer who had paused to check on the listless young man offered little in the way of comfort or counsel. Now it was just a matter of 'wait and see'.

Glancing sightlessly over her surroundings as she eased down to a seat on the ground by Corvin's cot, Esyld let her forearms come to rest upon her bended knees, leaning back against the frame. The wracking coughs and hawking, or the occasional teeth-gritting moan filtered into her mind as if from a far greater distance. But her eyes were heavy-lidded already as she cast an unthinking look down over herself. Quite the macabre sight; all ensanguined leather and tousled ebon locks to contrast the pallor of her skin. She must look a fright. But her duty out there was done, for now.

All she could do was wait.

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