With Honor, part 9

With Honor

by Leigh Townsend

Part 9

His world felt muddled as he struggled through the fog that filled his mind.  Groping for consciousness, a sharp stab of pain filled his head and was echoed by a second in his thigh.  He paused for a moment to breathe before both flares subsided to a manageable ache.  Awareness grew slowly, his eyes opening a bit to see sunshine gently filling the room.  The unfamiliar surroundings made his mind come fully awake in an instant. 

Matthew remembered the fight, and his injury, but nothing past the moment when he saw blood dripping from his boot.  He could feel a tiny grain of panic growing; he carefully raised his hands to confirm that he wasn’t confined.  The sound of the door opening made him jolt.  Suddenly fully aware of the pain in his head, Matthew blinked a few times and brought his hand to his temple.

“Oh, you’re awake!”

He looked up to see green, green eyes looking down at his.  His earlier panic faded to nothing; he knew where he was.  He tried to nod in response to her statement, but it only brought the pain back again.  “My head…”

Charlotte reached for something as she spoke.  “Here, I have some willow bark tea that should help with the pain.  I’ve also brought you some water; you’ve been asleep for over a day now, so you’re probably thirsty.”

She carefully helped him to sit up, the ache in his head making him groan.  He drained the whole cup of the tea, realizing when he did that she was right, he was incredibly thirsty.  The big clay mug she passed to him was cool to the touch and the water soothed his throat as he emptied it too. 

“What happened?” Matthew asked, groggily, as Charlotte helped him to lie down once more. 

She fussed with a collection of items on a small table near the bed.  “You were injured in the big attack on the bandit camp.  They needed someplace to let you recover, and my father told the captain that we had an extra room, now that Granny passed on.  They brought you here, unconscious, and I’ve been tending to you ever since.”

The pain in his head and its twin in his leg were beginning to fade as the willow bark took effect.  He could feel himself sliding back into sleep, but he needed to know more.  “What happened… attack…  anyone lost?  Wolf caught?”

He heard Charlotte cluck her tongue at him.  “You need to sleep some more.  This time it should be good, healing sleep.  I can tell you more when you waken again.”

The slide into darkness was gradual this time.

** 

The next time Matthew awoke, the process was gentler on his body.  The pain in his head had subsided, though the throb in his leg hadn’t decreased.  Before his eyes opened, he remembered where he was.  The sunlight was different this time, the sun outside at a different angle, but the room was unchanged.  When Charlotte came in and smiled at him, he was ready with more coherent questions.

“What happened with my company?  Was anyone lost?  Did they capture the Golden Wolf?”

Charlotte grinned at him as she helped him sit up and replied, “You’re clearly feeling better!  Here, drink this broth and I’ll get the note Captain Harlan left for you.”

Matthew greedily drained the bowl, his body craving both the liquid and the nourishment to help him heal.  He was pleased that he could sit on his own; other than the wound in his leg and lingering exhaustion, his body was healthy and whole.  Charlotte sat patiently on a stool near the bed.  When he finished the broth, she traded him a piece of paper for the bowl.

Lieutenant Lewis scanned the note.  It was characteristically brief. 

Campaign was mostly successful, thanks to you.  Most of the bandits were captured, injured, or killed, and the camp was scattered. None of our soldiers were killed, although several were injured.  Golden Wolf is being tracked – will discuss plan for capture when you return.  Take some time to recover.  You are a hero, and you deserve it.  

Relief flooded him.  None of his fighters had been killed, and Golden Wolf, while still free, was being tracked by their scouts.  With a sigh, Matthew sank back to the pillows.

“Good news, Lieutenant Lewis?” Charlotte asked.

Matthew smiled at her.  “Excellent news,” he said, before adding, “and please, call me Matthew.”

The grin on her face lit her green eyes beautifully.  “Matthew, then,” she said.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. amkuska
    Apr 10, 2011 @ 16:08:42

    Aww, LOVE INTEREST!!! I can’t wait to find out what happens next! ^^

    Reply

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