After he applied a rinse of numbing clove (which burned worse than a demon’s breath), Lindara dealt with the stitching well, though she kept her gaze averted from the injury. Fortunately it was a clean, even cut and was closing up well, though the stitching took a long time because the wound was so deep.
While he stitched with great care, Pawl and Lindara spoke mostly of Joan and Perceval, and Pawl learned a good deal about knife-throwing, which was far more complex than he would have imagined.
“Are you going to continue on with it after this?” asked Pawl, tying off the final few stitches.
Lindara started at him with disbelief. “Of course. I won’t allow a clumsy accident to stop me. As a matter of fact, I planned to go back out tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” He finished up his work and dropped the needle and extra thread into the receptacle bowl. “That’s not a good idea. Your arm needs to heal. You need to wait at least until the stitches come out next week.”
“No, I don’t. I’ll throw left. I need more left-side practice anyway.”
Pawl sat back, collected salve, and spread it over her arm. “Stubborn as the knights, I see. Well, you’ll do as you wish, I gather.” He wrapped her injury in layers and layers of linen. “But I will need to see you each day this week so I can check on the wound healing. And you’ll need tincture to sleep, believe me, because that arm will hurt like death in the night. At least take some valerian tea with you.”
Pawl had the day off tomorrow, and could have just as easil...
... middle of paper ...
His request to learn to throw knives seemed so sudden and awkward. Maybe he was trying to be polite. Anyway, she wouldn’t hold it against him if he didn’t turn up.
During her injury treatment, she wanted to tell him she understood why he was the way he was: the avoidance, the gruffness, the extreme hesitation to get close to anyone. Why bother developing relationship or, gods forbid, falling in love, when at some point, friends and lovers would be gone? At first she’d felt that way, more than a year ago when her husband passed. But over time, she grew to understand the value of friendship and companionship.
But this Pawl had remained in a constant state of grief over his wife’s death for two decades. That was a new level of stubborn and unwillingness to change.
Prepared to move along, the sound of rustling brush down the path caught Lindara’s attention.
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