Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some thirty minutes later, Adrian calls for Laila and Thea. While Thea summarizes Rowan's testimony, Adrian speaks with Laila - with Ramji looming in the doorway. Laila's story is a bit more elaborate than she told before, but it agrees in all the salient points with Rowan's. Then the lord of Deimos gestures. "May I see your hand?"

Laila places her hand in his. His touch is gentle, but his look grows grave as he probes the damaged tissues. "My dear, may I ask you to remove the dressing? I believe it is nearly time for it to be changed in any case."

Laila nods and begins awkwardly to unwrap the dressing. One-handed - and that her non-dominant hand - it takes her time, but Adrian waits and watches impassively. He must know how much it costs her to appear helpless before others, and he would not add to it by offering to help.

His expression doesn't change when Laila's hand is laid bare before him, save perhaps for a tightening of the corners of the mouth, or a very slight narrowing of the eyes. It is enough that Thea, who knows every line of his face, can tell how deeply he is affected.

As Rowan enters with fresh supplies, he speaks. "Healer… it is my wish to pay you for your efforts on Laila's behalf. Any expenses you have incurred, or seem likely to incur, send the bill to me." Here Thea proffers a printed card with the name and address of their hotel. "Also, do not fail to charge for your time and skill. I know the value of both, and I would not have you be cheated of your due."

With that, he turns to Thea. "I believe we have learned all we may here. It is time to speak with other witnesses." He turns back to Rowan and Laila. "Should you desire to accompany us, I pledge you my protection from Rath or his followers."

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