Carmichael Mine Settlement
Western Archenland

The chamber in which you stand was apparently, at one time, a fairly well-
populated dwarven settlement. Neat little huts have been built into the
north wall, with ladders leading up to them. At this point, however, most of
the huts appear to be abandoned, and several are already falling into a state
of disrepair as a result. There is also a fair amount of detritus lying
around — old tools, broken lanterns, discarded household items — suggesting
that a once fairly bustling settlement has now dwindled considerably.

There are, however, a few huts that are still occupied, evidenced by the fact
that they remain in decent repair and have seen recent upkeep. A community
cookfire here continues to be tended, and voices can be heard echoing
somewhere nearby.

A path leads south toward the entrance of the mine.

Lanisen knocks tentatively on Freya’s front door.

Inside, Freya hums a dwarvish marching tune until the knock. “Come in!”

Freya’s Quarters
Carmichael Mine

You find yourself standing in a small-but-cozy little one-room hut, made of hard-baked mud fortified with wood. It isn’t fancy, but it is warm and dry, with the light scent of vanilla tobacco. A few shelves hold bottles of concoctions and a few dried herbs hang from the rafters. There is a cot here, but very few other accoutrements. Nonetheless, it’s a good home for Freya.

Lanisen ducks through the door and stands on the threshold, awkward and uncertain. He casts a quick glance around the hut, taking note of the exits, then bobs a little half-bow toward Freya. “Evening, ma’am.”

Freya nods politely and gestures for him to enter further in. “Good eve, Lad. Come in. I dinnae bite.”

Lanisen does so obediently, agreeing, “No, ma’am.” Nevertheless, there is a faint sheen of perspiration on his forehead, and he glances briefly at the ceiling.

Freya finishes washing dandelion salad in a bowl, moves bacon from the skillet to plates, removes her homespun apron, and brings the plates over to a small table.

Lanisen stays where he is, his hands clasped awkwardly in front of him. “Hope you’re well?” he ventures after a pause.

Freya gestures that he should join her at table. She takes a small tri-legged stool for herself. “I’ve been hearty and hale. And ye?”

Lanisen says, “Well enough, thanks.” He sits carefully at the other stool, taking a minute to figure out how to situate himself on the dwarf-sized seat, trying to take up as little space as possible.

Freya watches the lad try to sit with some amusement. “I ought t’ get human sized stools fer human visitors, but not too many come t’ visit me. I mostly go top-side.”

Lanisen, after a couple of cautious shifts, seems to decide the chair isn’t going to crumple beneath him and relaxes. “No, it’s all right,” he says, finding a more comfortable angle for his bad leg. “I mean, we sit on logs and such all the time, they’re about the same height.”

Freya grins, relaxing a little as well. She takes some bacon, crumbling it over her dandelion salad. “Eat heartily, laddie. Ye have plenty room t’ fill out.”

Lanisen looks startled. “Ahh… oh!” He looks from Freya to the salad and back, then seems to decide it would be rude to argue. “Um. Thank you, ma’am.”

Freya nods, eating her own salad. “So tell me, have you been sleeping well?”

Lanisen says, “Um.” He shifts a little and shakes his head. “I been– it gets to hurtin’, is all, then I can’t get to sleep. Or I get to sleep and it’s all fine until I roll over, and then I wake up and can’t sleep again. Just since I ran out of the stuff they gave me in Anvard, I mean…” He glances at her sidelong, hoping.

Freya listens, nodding at certain points. “Aye. T’is true that pain will wake ye and ye would most likely take things fer pain all yer life just t’ sleep. But is that what ye want, t’ be fore’er dependent on herbs?”. She leans in, ” I think there be another way. Let’s fix t’ wound iffen we can and let ye sleep.”

Lanisen shifts again, fidgeting uncomfortably and not looking directly at Freya. “Is it– I don’t know if it’s– Can you?”

Freya gestures to his plate, “Iffen yer done, I can look at ye and tell ye fer certain.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, um.” He looks at his plate and nods, a little jerkily. After a pause, he takes a small breath as if to say something, but doesn’t, and only sits looking nervous and miserably doubtful.

Freya stands and approaches Lanisen. “I want t’ test range an’ motion. I want t’ see t’ wound. Iffen I may?”

Lanisen hesitates, then nods. He pulls his collar down and to the side enough to show the scar, a small ropy purple mark in his shoulder just under his collarbone.

Freya examines it. “Does it hurt to touch?”

Lanisen shakes his head. “Not like before, only if you push on it or somethin’.”

Freya nods and bracing his arm, tests in growing circles how he is able to move his shoulder. “Say something when it starts to hurt.”

Lanisen nods quickly, fixing his eyes on the top of the table as she begins to move his arm. He is quiet for the first few rotations, but as his arm is lifted a little above the height of his shoulder he pulls a quick breath, his face twisting, and says, “Oh oh oh–there, that’s, that’s–”

Freya stops, gently lowering his arm again. “Are ye willing t’ suffer a little pain? I think ye could work beyond this pain. Much could be repaired.”

Lanisen pulls into himself, folding his right arm across his body and rubbing his shoulder. “How’s that– What do you mean?”

Freya says, “Most pain warns ye to stop. Some pain is needed to improve like when ye learn t’ axe.”

Lanisen says, “I’m not gonna learn the axe.”

Freya appears rather amused by this as she strokes her beard. “No yer not. But ye are going t’ learn t’ use yer shoulder again.”

Lanisen asks, “How?”

Freya smiles wryly. “Very carefully.”

Lanisen makes a small doubtful face and looks down. “It ain’t–” he begins, then shakes his head a little. “Um. It don’t bother me so much, it don’t stop me from sleepin as much as– it’s just when my arm starts crampin’ up or my hand gets to …buzzin’.”

Freya crosses her arms in front of her chest. “And would ye feel right iffen ye couldn’t defend yer lord iffen he fell wounded t’ bandits.”

Lanisen gives her a startled look. He doesn’t seem to know how to respond.

Freya sighs and runs a hand through her red hair. “Look, laddie. Ye are responsible fer yer lord as he be t’ ye. And ye sister, surely she’d be needing her brother t’ defend her. Ye be needing yer shoulder.”

Lanisen doesn’t say anything for a minute. “If… If I had my shoulder, I couldn’t hold a blade. If I had a blade I wouldn’t know what to do with it, I ain’t– it’s been– I ain’t used a blade all this time except to open parcels. I’m a rotten squire but my lord knew that when he took me on and he took me on anyway.” He darts a glance at Freya.

Freya shakes her head. “I dinnae say anythin’ about wielding well, only that ye can hold it and poke yer enemies. Or use yer fists.”. She shrugs. ” As ye like. But there be many reasons t’ get better rather than merely dullin’ the pain.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t know what you want me to do.”

Freya stares at him boldly. “I want ye t’ want t’ get well,.

Lanisen says, “I do want to get well.”

Freya says, “Then ye should want t’ get t’ be t’ best ye can be, not jes’ good enough.”

Lanisen looks down, absently fidgeting with the useless part of his right hand. “Right.”

Freya walks to a shelf and pulls down a tincture, handing it to him. “Iffen ye merely want t’ sleep, this will do ye fer now. Come back tomorrow with yer courage and we’ll work on it. Iffen not, I’ll see ye in a week t’ refill t’ tincture, even sooner iffen ye get used t’ it over time.”

Lanisen draws out his money pouch as she gets the tincture. “Thank you,” he says, relieved. “But I’m… going back to Anvard. Tomorrow, we’re leavin’, prob’ly.”

Freya frowns, clearly displeased. “As ye be. Safe travels and iffen ye come back here, I’ll make t’ same offer.”

Lanisen looks uncomfortably away, nodding slightly. He makes a small, questioning gesture with the coinpurse.

Freya shakes her head, gathering up the dishes.

Lanisen says, “Please. I don’t want to be beholden.”
Lanisen hesitates, then removes enough coin from his wallet to more than cover the cost of the little bottle. “Thank you,” he repeats, and sets it on the table. He gets to his feet and limps out the door.


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