So. We spent some time this weekend fixing up my mother-in-law's bathroom. More time actually running back and forth between the house and her apartment because the water was shut off. One forgets how much one depends on running water until it's not there. A basic. Life takes on a whole new complexity when you have to think about that one simple little thing.
First draft. Please don't quote or repost anywhere, thanks!
Shortly after the snippet before last. Teo is the Barr-Thorn estate's foreman, Randa is its healer, and Solly is its resident alchemist.
Teo could feel his heart breaking.
Minna lay so still that he couldn’t tell if she still lived. A distressing amount of blood pooled around his knees, and his tears mingled with the rain on his face. He angled his body to deflect as much of the rain from her as he could.
Behind him, he could still hear Bevley raging as several field hands held him down. He wanted to get up and smash the man’s face until it was unrecognizable, but right now his place was at Minna’s side.
Teo didn’t look up but he recognized Randa, Barr-Thorn’s healer, by her voice. With a rustle of skirts, Randa came up beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Teo. Let Solly and me try to help her.”
Her voice was rough with sympathy, and Teo heaved a great sigh. He gently reached out and smoothed back a soaked strand of black hair from Minna’s pale face. Moving like an old man, he got out of the way and let Randa and Solly kneel at her side.
“We need to get that bleeding stopped,” Randa said to Solly.
The two had slit into Minna’s clothing and peeled the blood-soaked material back from her skin. Solly formed a ball of mud, rolling it back and forth in the palm of his hand. As he did so, the ball of mud changed color and consistency. Teo watched, fascinated, as Solly placed the mud over the wound in Minna’s side, where it blended into her skin, nearly invisible.
“That should hold so we can get her moved to the house,” Solly said. “She needs to get warm and dry as soon as possible.”
“I swear to God it wasn’t me!” Bevley howled. “I didn’t do anything!”
Murder in his eyes, Teo whirled and strode to where the man knelt in the mud, his arms held out at an uncomfortable angle from his body by his captors.
“Let go of him,” he told the fieldworkers.
“Now, Mr. Teo--”
“Let him go!”
The fieldworkers let go of Bevley’s arms.
Teo grabbed Bevley by his collar and twisted, ignoring the man’s flailing fists as they thudded against his face and shoulders. His air shut off, Bevley hung in the air, face turning purple, his blows becoming more feeble.
Solly’s voice rang out sharply behind him. Teo hesitated, glaring into Bevley’s congested face.
“I know you want him dead, but we need him alive, Teo,” Solly said. “We need to know why he would do this. But later. Right now Minna is our main concern.”
Teo let go and Bevley sagged between the two fieldhands, taking great, whooping breaths and coughing as his lungs filled with air. Teo turned his back on him, contemptuous.
“Take him to the cellars and shackle him,” Teo said to the fieldhands. “I’ll be along later.”
The field hands hauled Bevley to his feet and marched him away. Teo swiped at his mouth, surprised when his hand came away bloody.
More fieldhands arrived with a makeshift travois. Teo and Solly lifted Minna with gentle hands and placed her on the travois. Randa securely tucked blankets around her. Willing hands grabbed the poles and swiftly drew the travois toward the main house.
Teo started to follow when he saw two kneeling women out of the corner of his eye. He looked and saw the women tended to someone else who lay in the mud.
“Who is that?” he asked, voice sharp.
“One of the indentured servants, sir. Her name is Guia. That pig slashed her across the face when she tried to help Miss Minna,” the woman said, and spat into a mud puddle.
Teo stared at the moaning girl. The women had wrapped bandages around her face until he could see little of it, but he noted the name. “Do what’s necessary to help her, on my authority, and let me know how she fares,” he told them. The woman who had spoken nodded her head at him.
Teo moved. His foot struck something. He looked down and saw a glint of steel in the mud. He bent over and picked up a knife with a long blade, still stained with red. He shuddered, and his fingers closed convulsively over the hilt.