Shame: Kachine found herself biting her lower lip as she strode through the corridors away from the Infirmary. Even though the stone hallways were well lit with glow baskets, it never kept the fear at bay. She resisted the urge to glance over her shoulder to ensure that no one was following, keeping her eyes on the opening of light that she could see before her. Almost there... Ah, she could breathe freely again, now that she was out in the Weyrbowl. The healer had been ordered out by her fellow craftsman, who had decided that two back-to-back shifts in the Infirmary were quite enough, and so the young Journeyman had been issued to take a break and a breath of fresh air before grabbing a meal. She was forbidden to return to the Infirmary for at least eight candlemarks, enough to grab a quick nap.
Neshomeh: And here M'gan was on his way to the Infirmary, one arm cradled against his bare chest. The bluerider had only himself to blame for the pain in his wrist, of course--it was his enthusiasm which had resulted in the tumble to the ground. He had put out his hand to catch himself and succeeded only too well. He would no doubt laugh about it as soon as the thing was bandaged, but at the moment he was too occupied keeping Genjith from doing something ridiculous in his anxiety. The dark blue even now settled in the Bowl, overseeing his rider's progress toward the tunnel and crooning fit to shake his head from his neck.
Shame: The light was bright after the dimness of the corridors, and Kachine paused in the mouth of the tunnel to let her eyes adjust to the southern sun, her fingers reaching out to touch the rough stone for support. It took a second to do so, and during this short lapse of time, a strange crooning reached her ears. Squinting as her vision returned to normal, the healer turned her head towards the sound. A large dragon was nearby, and even she, who had no experience with dragons, could see the anxiety and concern with which he watched his rider. The man was shirtless, one arm held to his chest with a tenderness that suggested injury. Immediately, Kachine forgot about her orders to grab a few candlemarks of sleep and a bite to eat, her healer instincts arising. She made a beeline straight towards the dragonrider. Not that she had to go more than a few steps to reach him. "Here, let me see your arm. What happened?" she asked, not even bothering to introduce herself, going straight into medical mode.
Neshomeh: M'gan blinked at the woman, surprised at being set upon before even setting foot in the tunnel. His light brown eyes were a little squinched at the corners, but otherwise open and curious. "Um?" was his intelligent response to the question. "Er, are you a healer, then? Oh, good." His face broke into a smile when he spotted the knots at her shoulders. He offered the tender left wrist for inspection.She will help you stop hurting? Genjith extended his muzzle toward the two humans, eyes whirling with deep yellow.
"Yes, you silly hen," the man replied, looking over his shoulder at the dragon. Then, in a softer tone, "You needn't hover quite so much, love."
Genjith stopped inching forward, but stayed right where he was.
Shame: Kachine reached out her fingers to grasp his forearm gently in order to get a better glimpse of the wrist. It was obviously swollen, and at first glance, the Healer did not think that it was broken. It did not seem to hang at an awkward angle, which spoke well. Probably only sprained. She glanced up, blue eyes meeting brown briefly. "I am going to prod your wrist a bit to find out if it might be fractured. It will probably hurt a bit." It was always best to give warning first. "And while I do this, you can tell me what happened?" Talking helped to give a patient something else to focus on, which would help when she examined the wrist. Kachine knew that it was odd to be doing this in the middle of the tunnel, but she had her reasons. She did not want to suggest going back to the Infimary quite yet, where she would only be ushered out and the bluerider would be left to the attentions of the healer-on-duty.
Neshomeh: M'gan nodded, causing a lock of dark hair to fall across his forehead. He let it stay there for the time being. "Well," he said, and found that he did have to laugh at the sheer foolishness of it even as he winced at Kachine's probing. "I fell. Out of bed, if you must know. Quite ridiculous of me." He ducked his head like a shamed puppy, but still he smiled as best he could. He felt quite certain this trim and businesslike woman wasn't interested in the details of how the fall had come about.
Shame: Her fingers examined his wrist as carefully as she could, searching for any cracks in the bones. Thankfully, there was nothing. If it had been fractured, the cracks were hairline thin and would heal on their own. "Wiggle your fingers for me," she instructed, eyes raising once more. The bluerider looked sheepish as he spoke of his accident, and as he did not offer an details, Kachine did not ask for them. And although she did not smile in return to his laugh, she did not have her usual cold and distant expression upon her face. She tried her best to be kind to her patients. "Looks like a sprain, nothing more. I can give you a bandage to wrap around it to provide some support and a bit of numbweed for the pain. I do not want you to use it at all in the next twenty-four hours, which means that you cannot participate in wing drills or any falls. I would suggest taking two, if not three days off of drills. The swelling should be gone in three days and if it isn't, I want you to come back to me, for it is then more serious than I thought. Once the swelling goes down, in two or three days, you can have limited mobility of your wrist. But do not overexert yourself, or you will do more damage than good."
Neshomeh: He did as she asked and found that he could move his fingers, though the shifting tendons protested. "That's about what I expected," he told her, cheered to hear that it was no worse. "Though I really don't know what poor old O'ma will do without me for three days. Have you met my esteemed Wingleader? Well, no, you wouldn't. The man is a rock. I suppose he'll manage somehow." He turned again to look at Genjith, who was still watching them intently even though his eyes had cooled to a more green shade. "Hear that? I'll be right as rain in a few days."
The blue nodded in response, offering an unusual acknowledgment to the healer.
Shame: Kachine had not met the wingleader O'ma. Indeed, she spent all of her time on her craft, so the only people she ever came in contact with her patients and fellow healers. "If your wingleader has a problem letting you go for a few days, let me know and I will make him understand the necessity." She said this grimly, though it was almost amusing to think of this tiny girl standing up to anyone, let alone the leader of a wing. She tended to be overprotective of her patients, and had no problems confronting anyone if she felt that they stood in the way of her patients recovery.
Neshomeh: "Oh, no, nothing like that. Don't get the wrong impression, I'd throw myself in front of a raging wher for the man--"
Don't! Genjith interjected.
"--Well. You get the point. How about that bandage?"
Shame: Kachine gave a sharp nod, saying nothing more about O'ma. The bluerider's words were assurance enough that he would have no trouble with his wingleader. "Come with me and I will grab you one from the Infirmary." She turned on her heel, dark blonde hair whipping around her waist as she turned back to enter the darkness. She steeled herself, muscles tensing and a frown knitting her brow as she entered the tunnel once more. She resembled a weyrling heading into his first fall, showing nothing but determination on her face, but there was nothing but anxiety fluttering across her mind.
Neshomeh: M'gan followed along after her, holding his wrist against his chest again to keep from jostling it too much on the stairs. He was glad there weren't many rooms between the Bowl and the Infirmary. He could just imagine someone walking out onto a landing and bumping into him, all unawares. Ow.
After the heat in the Bowl, the rocky cliff interior seemed chilly. M'gan felt the hair on his arms rise and hoped the bandaging wouldn't take very long.
Shame: It took only a few moments to reach the Infirmary, and Kachine was grateful to enter the familiar rooms. All anxiety was driven away by the comforting scents of the herbs that were constantly being used here. But as they entered, the older woman who was currently healer-on-duty, rose to her feet in protest. "Kachine, I told you, your shift is over. I can't have you working all night and day. People need sleep and food, whether you would like to admit it or not, and a healer who can't take care of themselves is no use to the injured and sick. You aren't the only one who is trained in healercraft, you know?" the words were said kindly, but sternly.
Kachine resisted the urge to flush at the scolding, not even darting in M'gan's direction to see his reaction. "I found a dragonrider on his way here," she said calmly. "Sprained wrist. Let me bandage it up and grab him some numbweed, and I will be out of your hair. I swear!" she said hurriedly, when she saw the older woman about to protest again. "Then I'll be grab some supper and I'll go straight to sleep, okay?" She felt like a child trying to bargain with her mother, but the older woman sighed in agreement. When the young Journeywoman was given a nod of approval, Kachine actually flashed a sunny smile in thanks. "Sit here," she told the bluerider as she headed towards the supply rooms, disappearing for a second and returning with a bandage and a small pot of numbweed in hand.
It took only a moment to grab a small paddle and scoop out some numbweed. The healer was a firm believer in not feeling pain when one didn't have too, and so she spread some upon the swollen wrist of the bluerider. A thin layer, just enough to take away the worst of the tenderness. Then came the bandage, a nicely woven length of fabric that she began wrapping over the numbweed. Kachine had done enough bandages to make a quick job of it, and was finished in a matter of moments. "There," she said, stepping back. "Finished."
Neshomeh: M'gan rotated his forearm experimentally, testing the confines of the bandage. It didn't seem too loose or too tight and the numbweed was kicking in, so he grinned at Kachine. "Thank you. I appreciate it, especially if you were off-duty. Genjith thanks you, too," he added after a listening pause.
Shame: Kachine was startled. She had been thanked by many people before, but never by a dragon. "You are welcome, bluerider. Tell your Genjith that I was glad to help out." The moment that the words had left her mouth, the healer-on-duty stepped forward with arms crossed over her chest, one eyebrow arched coolly. The younger healer caught the expression upon her face, and gave a sigh, heading towards the door. "And this is our cue to leave. I would recommend that you be more careful in the future when stepping from your bed."
Neshomeh: M'gan swallowed a laugh as he got up to follow Kachine out. "I promise I'll use more discretion in the future. Say, what's your name, anyway? I'm M'gan... the enthusiastic klutz." He moved well enough, though, sure of his step even if his gait was a little uneven. The man clearly had enough energy for at least two people.
Shame: It was good to have name to put to the face, instead of mentally referring to him as bluerider or the sprained-wrist case. "Well met, M'gan. I am Kachine. The overly-dedicated Journeyman Healer." She said this in a dead-pan fashion, as she wasn't one to easily joke around. She was too restrained for that. But it was nice to have a conversation to concentrate on when going through the hallways. A matter of moments and they were out of the tunnel, once more in the Weyrbowl.
Neshomeh: M'gan chuckled anyway. The two were met by Genjith, who insisted on bending down to gently nose his rider's arm. M'gan patted his friend's head and scratched his eye ridges. The blue kept one eye on Kachine the whole time. Finally, the rider turned back to her.
"Odd question, but were you transfered here just as a Healer?"
Shame: Kachine was watching the exchange between dragon and rider, feeling a momentarily wave of happiness. How many people on Pern had the opportunity to see such special bonds, see the love between lifemates? As it was, she was watching the pair so carefully that it took her a moment to register M'gan's question. A slight frown of puzzlement crossed her features as she nodded. "Yes. I transferred here from the Healer Hall just three days ago." She paused before asking, "Why?"
Neshomeh: "Well... Genjith says that whoever gave you a lift here must have been both blind and adle-brained. Ever considered being a dragonrider?" He smiled again. He'd been told more than a few times that his smile was his best feature, with his straight teeth and boyish dimples. Being a Searchrider was something he enjoyed immensely. People's reactions to the news were always interesting.
Shame: "No," Kachine said flatly, but her eyes were locked on Genjith. It was hard to look away when a blue dragon was staring at your form. "I am a Healer, and that is all I have ever wanted to do. Some people wanted to be a dragonrider as a child. I always wanted to be a Healer, and I've worked hard to become one. Thread fighting is not in my future, and I thank Faranth for that."
Neshomeh: ... Not the typical response. M'gan blinked, shrugged. "No one will force you to stand if you don't want to. But, you've been invited. If Genjith says you're rider material, you can bet on it. You don't have to give up healing, either."
Shame: It was Kachine's turn to blink, silently processing his words. For an intelligent girl, it took several moments for it to register that she had been searched. And for a brief second, surprise broke down the shields that were always carefully constructed, and her emotions were all too visible upon her face. Shock at being searched, doubt that a hatchling would ever find her worthy, a yearning for someone to be a constant source of comfort, but overriding all of thse, was the fear that a dragon would see into her mind and see everything in her past, see the past turn and know that everything had been her fault, take one look and recoil with disgust for the broken and used girl. It took a long moment for her to gather up the emotions and clamp down, placing a blank expression upon her face instead. "If I was dragonrider material, wouldn't they have told me sooner?" Those were the only words that she could find to say.
Neshomeh: M'gan watched the changes that came over her expression and frowned. He'd never seen anyone take it so hard. "Well, usually the grays, blues and greens are best at Searching, but it's a talent some are better at. A brown might not have noticed at all."
Shame: That made sense. Humans had their own special talents. Not everyone was good at the same things. She had talent with Healing, but when it came to something like the weaver craft, she knew absolutely nothing. So it made sense to think that dragons were the same way. Kachine's eyes flickered from the frowning expression of M'gan towards Genjith. She was hesitant. To refuse would be an offense, to say that she would rather put her craft before the protection of Pern. She had been raised with respect towards dragonriders, and too many people would have gladly had the opportunity that was just handed to her. "Does Genjith honestly think that I have the possibility of Impressing?" she asked quietly, feeling like a child searching for reassurance. She was torn between too many emotions and thoughts to possibly give voice to.
Neshomeh: "Yes, he does." M'gan lowered his own voice in response, speaking low and smooth. "He wouldn't lie to me and I wouldn't lie to you. ... And it's wonderful."
Shame: Kachine lowered her eyes towards the ground, raising a thumb to her mouth to nibble on her nail while she thought. Surely, this was not a major decision. If she stood for this hatching, the chances were likely that she wouldn't Impress. It was said that this clutch was small. So her chances were low. And if that happened, she could go on with her life. Return to healing, taking care of Galen's people while the turns went by, eventually achieving her mastery and reaching all of the goals that she had had since childhood. And if, by the minuscule chance that she did Impress... Well... She raised her gaze to regard the blue and his rider... Perhaps Impressing wouldn't be too terrible. "Okay," she said at last. "I mean, I guess I accept."
Neshomeh: Genjith crooned. The smile appeared again on M'gan's face. "Lovely! So, you're officially Searched for Galen Weyr, clutch of Amaranth by Tavarth if I remember right. You'll want to check in with E'mizil--that's the Candidate Master--later, but don't worry about that right away."
Shame: Officially searched... It was enough to make her head spin. Kachine was trying to concentrate on M'gan's words. "E'mizil? All right, but where do I find him? You said that I do not have to give up healing, right? Will I have extra duties to do as a candidate?" She felt overwhelmed. The only thing that the healer knew about dragons was what she had learned from the lore that filtered through the holds. In the few days that she had lived at the Weyr, Kachine had learned a lot about weyrlife, but she knew that there was much more to learn. She had no idea what a candidate actually did, what to expect at a hatching, and yet here she was, accepting the offer to stand when the eggs began to hatch!
Neshomeh: M'gan looked her over, hoping it wasn't going too much to her head. Shock could make people pass out, he knew that much. He half-extended his good hand as a precaution. "I'll introduce you to E'mizil, if you like. He's a fellow bluerider. I'm sure you can persuade him that healer's duties are duty enough for one person, too."
Shame: Aware that M'gan was looking at her with concern, Kachine gave herself a little shake. Being numb with shock was not the best way to begin life as a candidate! She drew a long breath into her lungs, held it for a moment and released it. Just that movement was enough to bring a calmness to her mind, shake away the anxiety and leave a much more stable girl in its place. "Forgive me," she told M'gan in an attempt to erase the concern upon his face. "I am fine, I assure you. I was just shocked for a moment... But I would appreciate it if you could introduce me to E'mizil, when you have a free moment and he does as well."
Neshomeh: He waved her apology off. "Nothing to forgive. And it seems I have three days of free moments, so any time you're interested is fine with me." All this was said in good humor, his natural state of being. He could pull off a massive sulk if he really felt like it, but mostly he considered such things a waste of time and energy.
Shame: "All right," Kachine said with a soft nod. "I am under strict orders to only work one shift for the next few days, so I suppose I will have plenty of free time as well. When do you think it would be good to approach E'mizil? I would not wish to interrupt him from any important duties, of course."
Neshomeh: "Mealtimes are always good times," he replied with a smile. "Shall I find you in the dining cavern tomorrow? Lunch, perhaps?"
Shame: A slight hesitation, but Kachine nodded once more. "All right. I'll find you during the noon-day meal, and we can find the candidate master." Speaking of food, her stomach began demanding to be filled. She had not eaten since the night before, so it was probably best to see to it immediately. "Well, I should be heading off. It was nice to meet you." The healer turned to move away, but paused, then turned to face M'gan once more. "Thank you," she said softly, feeling awkward. She wasn't used to thank anyone for anything. "And thank you as well, Genjith," she said to the blue behind the man.
Neshomeh: The blue crooned at her again.
"He says, and I agree," M'gan translated, "that it was only right to speak up for you, so that's what he did. You're welcome. We also thank you again for helping with this." He indicated the bandaged wrist. "... Though, what I'm going to do with myself for three days, I haven't the faintest idea." The thought hadn't even crossed his mind before. It was amusing. "Well! I'll see you tomorrow, then."
Shame: "You need not thank me for your wrist. It was only right for me to help you," Kachine said told M'gan, though the corners of her lips tilted into the barest of smiles that she cast towards the rider and his dragon. "And I shall see you tomorrow." With those last words and a nod of good-bye, the healer began her trek across the bowl. Before she grabbed a bite to eat, she wanted to take a long walk around the Weyr. There was a lot that she needed to think about.
"Kachine's Search" by Neshomeh and Shame, March 25, 2006.