Part of the Thy Kingdom Come Arc
Part of the Rise of Larket Arc
Summary: The night following the attack in Xalious, Kelovath looks after Josleen and spends the night in the guest room at her parent’s house. The following morning Hildegarde arrives and is distraught (and a bit rattled) by the death of Mikhael. Kelovath leaves the women alone and Josleen sets about tending to Hildegarde’s emotional and physical wounds then getting the dragon to submit to some much needed sleep--via cuddles, baby.
Josleen is glad no one was home during the attack on the camp. Her father left last week to study the five-horned thimble lizard, a tiny lizard that lives in the southern jungles of Venturil and mates once every 17 years — in an orgy, because of course. This is one of those orgy years, and her father, the world-renowned naturalist, would not miss it. Her mother went with him for moral support and general tomfoolery which Josleen prefers not to think about. Not thinking about it comes easy these days, as she has yet to hear the final death count and learn who among her friends had their names added to that morbid roster. She heard through the grapevine that Hildegarde survived, but what of Linn? Aira? Mikael? Lisbeth? Even Orikahn, who she has grudgingly come to accept as an ally of her allies, but not a friend, what of him? And the dead, who will bury them, and when? She sent a message late last night to Hildegarde but has no way of knowing if the Silver received it. It read like a military missive: Pulling bodies from the camp. Recovering salvageable supplies, cleaning and washing. Triage in Destrier. I’m alright. - Jos. Alright may be inaccurate, but it is also kind. No need to worry the dragon needlessly. The downside to being home alone are numerous. Getting up to wash or fetch water is a limping chore. Her injury is on her back, and attempts to treat herself with ointment are frustrated by inflexibility. A patch at the center of her back is simply beyond reach. She has no one left to nurse her. Isn’t she usually the nurse? The kindness of strangers will see her through this, she hopes. Maybe. On the brightside, at least she isn’t completely an invalid. She can move, painfully and slowly. Throbbing along her spine yanks her out of fitful sleep. She attempts to leave the bed now, holding onto its poster, then the bedside table, then armoire and wall as a crutch. She moves like a mouse along the perimeter, too vulnerable to cross rooms or command her space.
Kelovath still couldn’t understand the aftermath of what happened at the camp. It was disrespectful and brutal. Evil, really. Being witness to something like that reminded the paladin of what still lurked within the lands of Hollow. Since returning, there have been subtle showings of that very evil, but it was only now that it all clicked together for him. Whether it be in Larket or elsewhere, he was needed to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Right now, Josleen seemed to be that focus after the battle. He had stayed close to the bard during their time within the tavern. It may have been the sight of seeing the woman sent skidding against the ground after being struck with an already dead body, but there was constant worry spread across the paladin’s features. The shock had mostly worn off and even Cobalt was mostly clean from the blood that earlier drenched the weasel. Cobalt was outside somewhere during the night, and still is, and Kelovath had stayed in the guest room. When he should have been sleeping, like he assumed Josleen was, the man instead prayed the entire night. It wasn’t the first time he’d done so and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. As much as he wanted to be helping the injured bard, Arkhen, as always, came first. And the paladin needed his guidance. The next day, Kelovath attempted to help Josleen when possible. His own magic could only do so much and he wasn’t much of an –actual- healer. Potions and bandages and such were a mystery most of the time. Hearing the bard getting out of bed, the still armored man waited outside of her room, ready to help however possible.
Hildegarde had received Josleen’s note and, oddly, did not stir for a while. Typically, whenever Josleen sent such notes or anything at all, the knight would make a mad dash to her if she was able and reach out to her. She wanted to always be sure of the health of the nurse, but today her response was slow. She had remained in a wooden chair at that manse, waiting in a sort of daze before finally rousing herself into action. But when she had roused herself into motion, it was as though she were in some kind of fury. She left the manse in a black mood, storming down to Josleen’s family house where she would rap her knuckles upon the door before being permitted entry to the house. “Jos?” she calls out, her voice tight yet laced with that typical worry she had. Tight, perhaps, with anger or weariness. She glances around the house before catching sight of Kelovath. No smile was offered to him this day and she herself looks to be in some state. Bruised, cut and looking as though she hasn’t slept a wink, the knight is certainly in a state. “Do you know where the Lady Josleen is?”
Josleen hears Hildegarde’s voice and tries to hurry. She wants answers too. She too is sick of war and death and being injured, or nursing the injured. With a barely audible yelp she sways from vanity desk to coat rack, one made top-heavy by more scarves, coats, and hats (all floral-print and perfumed) than any woman could possibly ever need. The rack crashes down against the door. Bang! Wood on wood. Thud! More clothes than Delisha’s closet slapping on the floor. Josleen yelps in surprise then pain. She can be heard wincing and breathing sharply through her teeth before letting out a tight, frustrated, “Dang it.” The frustration mounts, stress knotting in her back which cannot withstand anymore knocks. She attempts to pull open the door only to have it jam against a rose-and-lillies print scarf and dark pink knit hat with, yes, another red rose, knitted on top. The door won’t budge for her. She’s too weak to plow through -clothes- for Sven’s sake. Peak frustration. She slams the door back shut, then kicks it and stomps on the hat, immediately regretting that as she gasps in pain that scrapes up her back like a cheese grater on bone. She rattles the doorknob in anger and shouts to Hildegarde in a voice so tense she sounds she’s biting down on iron, “I’m here! I’m fine! Be right out!” Just have to conquer, you know, knitwear.
Kelovath looks to Hildegarde as she enters and motions toward the bedroom. "In there." Hearing all the noise though, it didn't take long for the paladin to decide to open the door himself. It took little effort for him to push most of the clothing out of the way and hopefully not into the bard. Stepping over some of the clothing, the man went toward Josleen and carefully wrapped an armored arm around her for support. "You should be more careful, Josleen."
Hildegarde doesn’t like the noise she can hear on the other side of the door and if it weren’t for Kelovath’s opening of the door, the knight might have torn it from its hinges to get to Josleen all the quicker. “Jos,” the knight says tightly, taking a few steps towards Kelovath and Josleen. It seems as though the nurse is in good hands, what with Kelovath’s strong arm wrapped about her for support. But Hildegarde is clearly none too pleased – whether that’s just in general or at the touch, it’s not clear – as she stands there looking ready for a fight; eye flicking towards the shadows as if waiting for some mystery opponent to emerge. Josleen had seen this behaviour before and not just in Hildegarde. The warrior’s malady was no strange sight to an experienced nurse.
Josleen backs away from the door to give Kelovath room. Normally she’d be wary of strange men wrapping their arms around her, for purportedly noble intentions or not, but his armor seems to give him a free pass with her. Or maybe it’s how much he looks like someone else. Josleen hasn’t the spare energy for introspection and --wait, armor? She realizes he’s still wearing his armor, likely went to bed in it, and her eyes pinch into critical slits. What. Did he sleep in his armor? No time for questions. On some subconscious level she can sense Hildegarde’s jealousy, though if you asked Josleen outright if she thought Hildegarde had a crush on her she would say, ‘Of course not! We’re friends!’ and be telling the truth. Denial is potent, especially in Josleen. Their relationship is strange. “Thank you, Kelovath.” She gently pulls away from him to limp towards Hildegarde, though she holds onto his hand until the absolute last second when she doesn’t need it anymore, then transfer her grip onto Hildegarde’s hand. “Kelovath pulled me out of the camp,” she says by way of explanation for Kelovath’s presence. “If it weren’t for him…” Hildegarde can fill in the blanks. The bard’s weight shuffles a few times between feet until she finds the least painful way to stand. “Oh Hilde…” She can tell by the dragon’s expression that whatever happened in the pass was as bad as the late night whispers in the tavern suggested. She positions herself to block Hildegarde’s view of whatever shadow haunts her. “Let’s go into the living room. Tell me what happened.” With her back to Kelovath her eyes dart and communicate a second message to Hildegarde, for Josleen is a master of non-verbal communication. Her flitting glance says, ‘If you need privacy, he can go.’
Kelovath doesn't take notice of the look Hildegarde was giving him. Even if he did, it would have been ignored. He supports the bard until she no longer requires him to do so. When they move toward the living room, Kelovath started behind them, but stopped a few feet into his movement. Obviously, there was a loop here and Kelovath was not in it. And he knew it. His gaze lowered, thoughts rushing to his mind, before he suddenly turned back toward the guest room. A minute or two passes before the paladin reemerges and starts toward the exit. Passing by the living room, his eyes find Josleen first, then Hildegarde. He smiled, thankful that they both survived the night. There would be chatter about what happened in the pass, but he'd not hear it from Hildegarde first. His first stop after leaving Josleen's home would be the nearby tavern. Not for a drink. But for information. In the guest room, however, a note was left behind, addressed to the bard. The paladin did not know when she'd actually find it, but it didn't matter right now.
Hildegarde does not look upon Kelovath with jealousy, but she certainly looks upon him with concern. She is protective of Josleen and in such a state as this, that feeling has near enough trebled. As Josleen tried to take hold of Hildegarde’s trembling hands, the knight shook her head and tried to keep them out of her grasp. She did not trust herself to not crush Josleen’s smaller and more delicate hands. “I… No,” she shook her head again as if to emphasise that her trembling hands were not to be held. She hadn’t wanted Kelovath to be told to head off, but the lack of armoured presence is certainly a weight off of her trauma ridden mind. It’s one less possible enemy to think of amongst an army of laughing shadows. Hilde is more than happy to let Josleen take the lead towards the living room, however, leaving the bard in charge. “Mikael. He’s dead.”
Josleen waves goodbye to Kelovath, smile and all. She has a hunch she’ll be seeing him again; call it a woman’s intuition/the magnetic pull Josleen has to all armor, apparently. Josleen has her back to Hildegarde and is slowly padding down the walls when the dragon breaks the big news. She leans heavily on one arm against the wall and cranes her neck, wincing at the eyes at the pain this causes, to gaze upon Hildegarde’s face. “What? No. How?” Mikael has always seemed as invincible to Josleen as Hildegarde is. The question of ‘how’ is a dumb one, an unnecessary one, but it’s a reflexive. “You don’t need to answer that,” she blurts out quickly as she realizes her mistake. “I’m…” She shakes her head lightly and leads Hildegarde the rest of the way to the living room. She talks as she limps, “This is… reprehensible… I…” In the living room she chooses the end of the couch nearest their entry. Her eyes begin to water as she thinks of all of her good, fun, meaningful moments with Mikael, more so recently here in Xalious at the camp. “He was a good man. I am so sorry.” She shakes her head again. “I’m at a loss.”
Hildegarde would answer the question, not because she wanted to, but because her mind was not going to let her avoid it. It was seared into her mind, just as Mikael’s flesh had been seared. “I… I was a fool. In my haste, I ran ahead,” she gulps down a breath, “and was caught by a net.” That feeling, the suffocating feeling of being caught in the ghrondium weave net; that cutting of her flesh and intolerable weight, it felt oppressive even now. “Mikael…” her voice wavers. “Mikael covered my body as they… they poured pitch and boiling… b-boiling oil,” her voice breaks; her vision is obscured entirely by the tears flowing from her sole eye, “he boiled to death. For my worthless hide, he boiled,” she hissed the words, her fingers clenching into a tight fist only to unclench; her body heaving with a raggedy breath of anger. “I’ll End them for this, I swear it, I’ll End them!” she roared the words furiously, quivering in her rage.
Josleen‘s eyes go wide and she gasps at the manner of death. Few fates worse than being boiled alive, and while Josleen doesn’t believe for a second this is Hildegarde’s fault, she can easily see how Hildegarde may believe that and how it would be hard to dissuade her from that. “Oh Hilde…” She leans towards the dragon, arms outstretched, to hold her much taller and wider friend. Words aren’t the right thing here, touch is. But moments ago Hildegarde refused to hold her hand. What was that about? Josleen has a vague clue, but no specifics. She tries again. Touch is important. Even dragons are social creatures; this one definitely is. “We will end them. You will. I’ll help how I can.” She’s still going for the hug, maybe she’s there already, maybe not. Hildegarde’s call. “They must pay for what they have done. To Mikhael, and so many others.”
Hildegarde was a social and affectionate creature, that much was true. But Hildegarde was far away from the here and now; her hearing was perpetually haunted by the echoed screams of Mikael as he burned and boiled to death before her, she was sure she could see someone lurking in the shadows of the household. Everything about her was on edge. Not the prepared for everything sort of on edge that she could handle gracefully and with expert ease, but the overwhelming edge. As Josleen leans forward to try and hold the taller woman, she takes an ungraceful step backwards, “No!” she cried out, as her backside bumped into the small desk with the writing papers and inkwell. The inkwell toppled over to spill its contents on the papers before tumbling over the edge and dropping to the floor below where it promptly smashed. The shattering of the inkwell was not a disastrous thing and worse things surely did happen, but Hildegarde stood there groaning like a beast of burden: her hands firmly clamped to her ears and her face the absolute picture of distress. As Josleen tries once again, the knight’s groaning had escalated to a sort of incomprehensible yelling.
Josleen immediately backs off, takes a limping step backwards and holds up her hands, palms forward in a show of surrender and good will. “Hildegarde. Stop. Shhh, it’s okay.” Her word are firm but tone is kind. “It’s me, Josleen. It’s Jos. We’re in a safe place.” Probably? Josleen doesn’t know what safe is anymore, but it’s the right thing to say in her soothing, comforting bardic voice. “We’re alright. Please…” Josleen moves over to the couch again and sits down. She pats the seat near her. “Please sit.”
Hildegarde, at any other time, would have been terribly conscious of Josleen’s limp and how pained she must be. But sadly she was not in the right state of mind to take real notice of the limp. She had never quite lost it like this in front of Josleen before, she had always had careful control over her wits and her sense of self until last night. Until that awful night. Her lungs felt so tiny, they felt like those weak and pitiful human lungs. How did those humans breathe with those tiny lungs?! The yelling subsided after that ‘please’, decreasing from that yell to just a panicked sort of panting. With Josleen sitting on the couch, the knight took a slow and heavy step forward before her knees buckled beneath her and she crumbled to the floor: half-kneeling, half-slumped against a chair, she whispers a chant to the tune of ‘I’m sorry’.
Josleen slowly lowers herself from the couch to floor to kneel before Hildegarde too without touching her. “You don’t need to apologize, Hilde. I want to be the person with whom nothing is expected of you. You can just be. Cry if you need to. And scream, but only a little,” she jokes with a weak smile. “Don’t want to scare the neighbors. But you won’t scare me.” Even though she is a dragon, and one can never really know with dragons, but Josleen means it. She isn’t scared of Hildegarde, even in this state. “...I know you don’t like to medicate… but...You’ve been through a traumatizing experience and the sleepless night isn’t helping. What if you drank a tea to help with sleep?” There will likely be nightmares, this Josleen knows, but the brain needs sleep to keep itself moored in reality.
Hildegarde surely did not deserve the friendship of Josleen, nor her compassion. “I… I cannot stop seeing it whenever I close my eye,” she said, in that all too familiar voice of a person who is prepared to cry at the drop of a hat. She was vulnerable. “I… The shadows keep enemies hidden, there is the threat of danger everywhere. You… You were hurt!” she huffed the latter, the flat of her hand coming up to strike at her own head quickly and in a short repeated burst as if to reprimand herself for Josleen’s injury, for the death of Mikael, for the ambush in its entirety. How could she have let it happen?
Josleen hands twitch forward as if to grab Hildegarde’s slapping hand, but she stops herself short of contact. “This,” she points towards her back, “Mikael, neither is your fault. It’s Balgruuf’s fault. He did this. He is to blame.” Although Josleen thinks sleep is what Hildegarde needs, what Hildegarde wants is to talk it through. The debate will be circular and time consuming, but this is what friends do, this is how they support each other. “Mikael, myself, others, we follow you not because you force us to, but because we believe in your cause--our cause. If you weren’t there, another leader for the cause would have emerged, and the end result would have been the same. Balgruuf would have attacked. People would get hurt. War is bigger than its pawns. It’s a force that animates people on both sides, and hurts them too, yes. I knew this coming in, as did Mikael.” She shakes her head ruefully at his name, frowns severely. “A major loss. He was of noble stock.”
Hildegarde had lapsed into a sort of whimpering silence. Beyond the sound of her own quiet crying, she was silent and rapt in her listening to Josleen. A nurse of wounds of all sorts, this one was. The knight finally spoke after a long moment, “I am no Queen. I’m just a knight. I’m reaching for something that I cannot handle. This is fire I play with and I have been burned,” she muttered gloomily. “If I am to sleep, if your herbs and alchemical devices are to make me sleep, then you will need a draught fit for a beast,” she reminded the bard.
Josleen shakes her head gently. “What is a Queen if not a leader of her knights? Who leads you? Aramoth, your conviction, like a Queen. And who follows? An army. It’s normal to doubt after tragedies such as these, but I have faith you’ll overcome this and become the Queen Frostmaw deserves.” She may have pulled that last line from a classic Cenrili serial play about a black-caped vigilante merchant, but isn’t it also true? And what are bards if not weavers of words, their owns and of those before them? “I’ll need a moment to source the dose, but I’m sure I can find it. Do you want to rest here or at the camp?”
Hildegarde had many doubts about taking the crown, but she was certain that regardless of what she said, Josleen would have some kind of witty and motivational counter to it. But the Silver had no desire to trek back through that pass. That pass where the ambush had struck. “I… I do not wish to endanger you,” she said quietly, knowing full well that in such a state she was hardly trustworthy.
Josleen shakes her head as she rises slowly to cross to the desk and write down an order of the necessary drugs. She then rings a small lever. Somewhere far away a bell rings and soon a courier that works for the Mage’s guild will come. Privileges of being the daughter of a long-time and respected member of The Guild. “You would never. And if you lost a little control,” the bard casually shrugs. “I can call you back.” A pixie appears at the window behind the desk and Josleen hands off the note that is instantly shrunk to pixie size. The tiny creature flits away. “I believe that with Kelovath gone now, you can use the guest room. The same you used some months ago.” In a few minutes the drowsy tea will arrive.
Hildegarde sighed softly as Josleen claimed she could call Hildegarde back from the edge of catastrophe. Perhaps she could. “Not that we would wish to risk it,” she murmured softly. “I am sorry I chased Kelovath away,” she said quietly. “He seems… fond of you,” was that disdain? Was that uncertainty? “You charm all those armoured lads.”
Josleen just barely shakes her head for shaking her head fully would hurt her back too much. “Kelovath likely had things to tend to, being a paladin and all that comes with that. And is he? I’ve been so preoccupied with the war and my back… I’ve hardly noticed.” She grins a little when Hildegarde says she charms all the armored lads. “Not all, but there is something about knights and damsels.” This is good. They’re talking about things that directly related to what happened in the pass. The dragon needs this break. Josleen keeps going, “Did you know I called him Collin? I came to, and he just struck me so much like Collin, the name just rolled off my tongue. But he is uncannily similar to Collin isn’t he? Eliason,” she says, calling the paladin by the name Hildegarde used with him.
Hildegarde and Eliason had never been the greatest of friends. In fact, the paladin had once considered killing Hildegarde and the knight never liked his dishonourable ways and Lothario antics. “I should hope he is more honourable than Eliason,” she said, with only a hint of disdain. She never liked to be too harsh on Eliason, given he was Aela’s brother and she had a soft spot for the long dead Aela. “He’s an interesting one, though, that Kelovath. Wants to be King.”
Josleen never fully understood Hildegarde’s disdain for Eliason but her memory is imperfect. News that Kelovath wants to be king suddenly reminds Josleen that Kelovath, actually pretty handsome, now that Hilde mentions it (it being the crown). “Does he? I thought you had to be born a King.”
Hildegarde seems to have calmed down in Josleen’s presence and with their rather banal chat. “You can become King through right of conquest,” she said gently. “Much like I am doing, I am fighting to take the throne. I will be Queen through the right of conquest, rather than being born one. Anyone can rule, providing they play the game and go about it right.”
Josleen smirks at Hildegarde’s example and says, “You were appointed custodian by a Queen. Your claim is strong. But Kelovath…” She cants her head slowly to the side. Her brows furrow. “So would Kelovath then have to—” A knock at the door. “That must be the medicine.” She crosses to the door and thanks the courier, a teenage boy, pays him with daddy’s IOU’s. Turning back to Hildegarde she says, “Follow me to the kitchen while I brew the tea?” Then picks up the previous conversation as if she never dropped off. “So would Kelovath have to wage war against Larket?”
Hildegarde nodded her head in agreement in regards to her claim. It was strong, but that didn’t always matter in Frostmaw. “In Frostmaw, it is only the strongest who may rule. In appointing me as Steward, Satoshi was seen to either… well, name me the second strongest or to push away from the tradition of Frostmaw. Balgruuf and others see it as the latter, not the former,” she explained. As the door was knocked, the knight tensed for but a moment until Josleen explained it away as the medicine. Rising to her feet with a grunt, she follows Josleen dutifully into the kitchen. In the light of the kitchen, those bruises and criss-cross cuts across her face are a bit more visible. “He could do, yes. Or he can repel the invading force of the fermin, call the council out for its weak organisation and cite it as a slew of other things before proclaiming himself King.”
Josleen heats the water over a hearth. It takes a while to get the coal hot enough. “Any giant who thinks they are stronger than a dragon has another surprise coming,” she taunts on Hildegarde’s behalf. “I hope Kelovath chooses the second route, for Larket’s sake. I tire of war. I can’t remember the last time I lived in peace.” She limps over to the table to sit while the water boils. “Has anyone seen to your face yet?”
Hildegarde elects to remain standing as the water boils. "He likely will. He'd gain no love through conquest," she said thoughtfully. "Larket is not quite like Frostmaw, after all." As Josleen asks whether or not anyone has seen to her face, she shakes her head. "No. It's always been this ugly." A joke, hooray!
Josleen chortles at her joke and shakes her head. “You’re beautiful, Hildegarde. Here, while the water boils, let me clean the cuts. None look like they require stitches.” She hobbles over to a closet in the hallway and pulls out a first aid kit. She waits for Hildegarde to give her permission to touch her. If she does, the nurse wipes wiping at the scrapes, cuts, and burns with a little alcohol poured over cotton balls. Her gentle dabbing feels like a bird come to nuzzle Hildegarde’s face. “I’ll just bandage this one,” she says pointing to a cut that extends from Hildegarde’s cheekbone to her ear. “Don’t want to put too many bandages on your face if it isn’t necessary. It feels uncomfortable.” The water boils and Josleen steeps the medicinal tea while she finishes with Hildegarde’s face. Silence is deadly. Silence lets the mind brood on the darkness. Josleen continues with the banal chatter as it has worked so well so far. “I never thought I would be a nurse, but I like it. Makes me feel useful to you.”
Hildegarde smiled ever so slightly when Josleen laughed. Making other people laughed always did lift her spirits, even if it were at her own expense. “You sit,” the knight insists, “I know where your kit is,” she had been in the house enough and wounded enough times to know where Josleen skulked off to find the first aid kit. So with Josleen presumably sitting, the knight heads off to the closet in the hallway and promptly fetches the kit before returning to Josleen’s side. She places the kit upon the table before slowly lowering onto one knee. No need for Josleen to reach awkwardly for her. Kneeling would keep Josleen comfortable but bring Hilde’s face well into her reach. Of course, the alcohol stings and the knight makes but the smallest of grunts in response to the burning sting of alcohol. She’s felt worse, but it always stings. “You are a good nurse,” the knight murmured in reply, not wanting to move her face too much due to the bandage. “And you are useful to me beyond that, Jos.”
Josleen is more than happy to let Hildegarde fetch the supplies. Her back hurts, constantly, but she doesn’t complain. What she’s endured is the least of what Hildegarde and the rest of the combatants suffered through. “I’m glad you think so,” she replies, a soft smile on her lips. “There. You’re all set.” She slides the tea on the table closer to Hildegarde. It doesn’t snag on any warped wood or imperfect plank. The table is smooth, varnished, denoting a certain class and peace in this home and village, so recently disrupted and displaced. “Bed?” she lilts.
Hildegarde stands upright only once Josleen tells her she is set to do so. In all that time, she had remained kneeling and uncomplaining. She was, more often than not, a good patient. Grasping the cup of tea, she holds it carefully in her large and brutish hands. She knows that if she holds it with one, her trembling hands will spill its contents. But holding it in two really makes her feel it is awfully tiny. She quietly wonders if it will be potent enough to do the trick, but she has confidence in Josleen's abilities. She trusted her over so many. As Josleen says 'bed', the knight glances up from the teacup to the nurse and swiftly drinks its contents. "You are..." she sighs, as if briefly losing the courage to speak, "You are not afraid I will... I will harm you?" she asked abashedly. After all, a little woman like Josleen would snap like a twig under Hildegarde's grip.
Josleen watches the way Hildegarde holds the cup and laughs. “Should have poured it in a bowl.” She laughs then taps the pot with her nails so it doesn’t burn her. “Need to drink the whole pot to feel the effects.” Josleen had actually not meant they share a bed this time, simply because she assumed Hildegarde needed the space, but come to think of it, it is a good idea. The dragon should not be left to her thoughts, and she too is a social creature, and needs to feel comforted and supported physically as well. Healing by cuddling. It wouldn’t be a first for these two, anyway. She chuckles at Hildegarde’s concern. “If you keep insisting…”she jokes, but still shakes her head. “Come, I could use the rest too.” She nods at the pot for Hildegarde to bring that with, please. The guest bedroom has the larger bed. It’s helpful Kelovath left for that purpose. They can rest, and feel a little safer in the company of a loyal, trusted friend.
Hildegarde blushes for only a moment when realises that she is meant to drink the entire pot in order to feel the effect. Sheepishly, she sets the little cup down and leans forward until she is almost bowing at the table: her face only a few inches away from the pot. While Josleen had touched it with her nails to prevent burning, the knight merely blows against it to chill the pot and the tea within. She preferred to eat and drink things cold if she could, but was always too polite to say otherwise. With the contents cooled, the knight grasps the pot with both hands (though she could likely manage it with just one) and impolitely drains the lot from the pot itself. It's a quick way of dealing with it and it saves them both the trouble of awkwardly muddling through conversation while Hilde slowly drinks. Grasping both the pot and teacup, the knight wanders until she finds a basin to put them in. "I would not wish you to go to the trouble," she murmured sheepishly, evidently a tad embarrassed she hadn't realised it had to be the entire pot. "But yes. Let us rest."
Josleen moves slowly towards the guest room and climbs into bed first to find the perfect sleeping position for her bad back. The bed is hardly undone. Kelovath didn’t sleep a wink. There are wrinkles in the sheets from where his elbows rested during his prayer. “Armor off, please.” She teases lightly. Josleen’s hero worship is at odds with her distaste for their need to wear armor often. A practical need, but so impersonal. Still wanting to keep Hildegarde’s mind off Mikhael, she continues talking, her tone gentle. “I remember when this was Skylei’s room. She’s doing so much better now. It’s impressive how well she recovered. I think we all have that ability.” Hint,hint.
Hildegarde dutifully follows Josleen towards the guest room and recognises it as Skylei's place of rest. Those had been worrying times. But since the scholar had recovered, Hildegarde hadn't seen her... but she felt that she would certainly know if something had gone truly awry for the scholar. The knight can smell that the paladin had been in this room. If it were not for the fact she had just drained the pot, she would have doubted her ability to sleep in that bed. Her saurian sensibilities - feline as they often seemed - would have demanded that she try to replace that fragrant paladin stench with her own. Of course, there'd be little 'stench' to any other nose. A feline, a lycan or a dragon might dub it a stench. It's only Josleen's words that bring her out of that train of thought and she nods in quiet obedience, fingers moving for the buckles and straps of her heavy mithril plate armour. Clinks and clanks signal its removal, followed by the heavy thud of it reaching the floor. The chainmail she pulled up over her own head jingled with the motion before accompanying the breastplate on the floor. Her thick shirt was sweat and bloodstained, with impressions of chainmail and armour alike. The burden of armour was no light one. The greaves and boots followed suit, socks too. "I'm glad that Skylei is doing better. I haven't seen her since, though," she said quietly. Aware that Josleen's back had been stiff and sore, the knight waited - or was it hesitation? - for a few moments before asking politely, "Are you comfortable? I can sleep on the floor, it's fine," she suggests. She didn't wish to make Josleen uncomfortable.
Josleen gestures towards the closet. “I believe two shirts and a pair of pants, of yours, are still in there. I had taken them to launder just before your trip. If you wish to change.” If Hildegarde wants to freshen up in the bathroom, she is free to do so, of course. The dragon is now stranger to this house, and need not ask for permission. “I am very comfortable, and you should be too. There’s plenty of space. I can already feel sleep calling to me. I’m exhausted too. I couldn’t fall asleep alone. Was too scared,” she admits. “Less scared now.”
Hildegarde would not subject Josleen to sleep by her in these sweat and blood stained clothes, so she does indeed meander over to the closet and selects a clean shirt and a pair of pants to slip into in the bathroom; where she also quickly scrubs her face with some water. The knight then returns to the bed and carefully slips into it, doing her best not to disturb Josleen's resting position. She wouldn't want to hurt her back, after all. "Less scared because I am here? M'lady, you always make a knight feel ten times their worth."
Josleen grins at Hildegarde’s humility. She’s a dragon, a creature so powerful its might eludes even Josleen’s eloquent description, but this is why Josleen likes Hildegarde so. The bard curls an arm over Hildegarde’s middle, feeling in no way bashful or too intimate. The women have been through three wars together, mourned friends, entrusted each other with their lives. It feels natural, and perhaps to some extent the fact that Hildegarde is a dragon helps. It seems less strange, not more, to lie beside her. She bard promptly falls asleep.
Hildegarde lays on her back but she keeps her arm nearest Josleen open, so that the bard can draw closer if she so wishes, which she promptly does. After all, they had shared a bed before and Hildegarde had come to expect this; she fully intends to remain as still as possible for the sake of the bard's comfort. With Josleen promptly falling asleep, the knight is left to lay there in relative silence: the sound of Josleen's sleepy breathing and her own breathing the only sounds she can hear. Yet she is not left to think about the noise or lack thereof for too long, as the concoction Josleen had brewed for her is working perfectly. The knight is drowsy and eventually, she is asleep and still.