1867-10-20: From Bad to Worse
From Bad to Worse
Summary: Duchess Mina oversees things as more in Highwater succumb to the illness…
Date: 1867-10-20
Related: Plague Plot

Duchess Mina sighs as she looks over the reports that had been brought to her in Duke James's private study.

It is midafternoon, only a couple of hours since Duke James had been found (by her, of course) passed out and mumbling feverishly on his desk. Corvin and Ivan had helped carry the Duke to their bedchambers and Lord Rober t'Andalucci, a minor cousin of the t'Andalucci line and the Master Healer of Highwater, was tending to him while one of his two assistants tended to Alina.

Leaving Mina to handle the duchy while both the Duke and the heir were too ill to even open their eyes.

She, herself, feels tired and slightly feverish. She suspects she, too, will be down with the plague within days, perhaps hours… she is no healer and is not so sure how quickly it will strike. So she is hurridly looking over reports that are being brought to her by various family members and servants. A mother doesn't get a sick day. A mother that was a Duchess less so.

Lord Enrique, James's older brother, could handle the books and much of the stewardship of the duchy for a time if needed. Assuming he doesn't succumb to the plague as well… Enrique had met with her less than an hour after James had been discovered. He knew his role, and was prepared to serve as the house needed, as always.

Gabriel would handle any military issues that came up, with Corvin at the head of the Wraiths and answering to Gabriel if needed. However, Corvin was in charge of the house guard and security.

She fretted about her grandchildren and Lucas. She wanted to send them away, but the reports she was reading on James's desk spoke of the plague in Rovilon, Ostvor… that it had taken the city of Pacitta in a wildfire, and that even many places in Murnord had it popping up. Where could she send her son and her grandchildren that they would be safe from it?

Several members of the household staff and servants had come down sick with the plague as well. Many others were doing their duties around the castle with cloths tied over their noses and mouths. The city itself was also succumbing to plague— several of the districts had reports of sick people. It would only get worse.

Mina looks over the report Ivan had brought her regarding the Wraiths. Three of those in the north tower were showing signs of the illness— feverish and one beginning to show the rash that Alina was covered in.

The master healer and his assistants were in over their heads. They needed help… Mina pens a hasty letter to the t'Andalucci to be sent via Faegate shortly, asking for another healer or two to be spared to Lonnaire. There were others in the city as well but she suspected they would be busy with the common folk of Lonnaire.

There comes a knock on the door. "Come in," Mina says, sealing the letter to Lord Marten t'Andalucci, heir to the house.

Rober t'Andalucci steps in, removing the plague mask he and his assistants have already begun to wear. The sweet smell of herbs wafts from it. "Your Grace," he begins. "Young Lady Carina is beginning to show signs of fever. I've had Tomas begin treating her bedroom with herbs. As well, a courtesan in the house employ, Mistress Ariana Fremont. I'm afraid this is a plague, and that things will get far worse before they get better."

Mina sighs deeply. "Is there anything you need of me?"

"More silver willow," Rober says quickly. "My stores are already running low. We'll need to get it from Duon. Also meadowsweet and peppermint, though those we should be able to acquire locally."

"I'll contact Lord t'Mallen to send some at once by Faegate." Mina pulls another sheet of parchment, quill scratching across the page quickly. She rings a bell, and a servant, face covered in a cloth, steps in. "Both these missives need to be sent at once, this one to the t'Andalucci and this to the t'Mallen."

"It will be done, Your Grace," the servant says, taking the letters and curtseying quickly before she leaves.

Rober grimaces. "Lady Alina's fever has been brought down some, but not completely. Even with a mixture of the silver willow and peppermint. Lord Gabriel has taken a room nearby in the Family Tower… he says he does not want to interfere with her healing. The Duke seems to be responding to the silver willow— I was able to awaken him enough to chew on it, rather than have to dribble tea down his throat. We need to dampen cloths and set them in the Truefrost chiller to get them cold to help… these fevers are quite high and I fear some may not make it."

Mina swallows. "How bad do you think it is?"

Rober shakes his head. "I cannot say yet, but…" he shrugs helplessly. "We will do what we can, save who we can. But I fear…"

Glancing to the report on the table with the number of dead in Pacitta so far, including one High Councillor, Mina shivers. "Do what you must."

"Yes, Your Grace." He bows. "If you'll excuse me, I need to return to my patients."

"Of course." Mina smiles weakly and waves him out.

After the door shuts, she lets out a long breath.

"One… save my family," she murmurs. She sighs, and returns to the reports…

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