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Historical The Gentle Touch Of Courage ( Wolvenrogue And Nihilistia)

Discussion in 'General Original RolePlays' started by wolvenrogue, Oct 7, 2017.

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  1. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    Washington's troops had nearly starved and frozen to death that winter at Valley Forge but at least the extreme cold had meant little time spent fighting. However the following spring the warm weather saw renewed fighting and the colonial troops were anything but prepared. If it hadn't been for the use of ambush tactics, that the British saw as uncivilized, The war might have ended very quickly in a route. As it was there were more wounded that they had carts to carry away and so it was that the colonials set up medic tents near the front lines in an effort to stem at least the deaths that were occurring. With men not available for medical duty, women volunteered to care for the wounded despite being nearly in the line of fire.

    It was to one such aid station that Corporal Robert Hayes limped, having been shot through the thigh and carrying another man, gut shot and likely mortally wounded. Upon arrival he collapsed from loss of blood in from of the surgeon's tent under the weight of the man he was carrying and lay there for some minutes before he was even noticed.

    When he came to, and felt himself being lifted into a cot he was amazed to see that the lifting was being done by a young woman who despite a look of complete exhaustion was offering him care under the most horrific of conditions. To weak to lift his head he mouthed "Thank you!" in a weak and raspy voice.
     
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  2. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    It was a time of great progress for the women who sought it out. There were many who were thrilled with the opportunities that were being opened up, but many more who thought the battlefield was not a woman's place. Even if they were hardly at the front lines. And no matter what people might say, about a woman being able to do anything a man could, there were simply physical boundaries that no one could cross.

    For Cambria, she found it right away in having to move and manipulate large men. Somehow, she always found the strength though. In her arms, not always her stomach. Army hospitals were hardly the prettiest sight. There was always plenty of blood flowing, plenty of bodies moving in and out, some that never left.

    That summer was an especially hot one, or maybe it just seemed like that because of all the heavy lifting. But whatever the case, it had run long. It was like the autumn would never come. It only made the dying bodies seem more rancid. Cambria's dark hair stuck to her reddened cheeks and forehead with sweat as she helped a fallen soldier to the nearest cot when attention was drawn to him.

    The other he had carried in was lifted off of him by the doctor that was still there. With no others to tend to them, the brunt of the job was left to Augusta. She sighed when his weight fell off of her and against the musty cot. Somehow she found the strength to smile when the man found it in him to speak. "It's I who should be thanking you," she insisted, but her grey eyes didn't linger on his for long before scanning over him to make an assessment of his wounds.

    "Bullet wound," Cambria announced to the doctor on duty who was already busy digging the bullet from the other soldiers abdomen with a long pair of tongs. It was good that he was already unconscious from blood loss. They had run out of anesthetic days ago. Though the doctor was busy, there was no time to waste.

    Drugs ran out in no time at all, but alcohol was kept in good supply. It was one of the only things they had to offer those at the front lines for relief. "I'll be right back," Cambria promised gently before scurrying quickly away and digging through shelves of bottles and jars until finding a half emptied bottle of rum. She pulled the cork from it as she returned and offered it towards the man. "You'll need this," she warned apologetically.
     
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  3. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    "Save it for my wound" the corporal said. " the ball went clean through! tell the surgeon. he'll find a second ball in his chest. It went through my leg and caught him below his left shoulder. " ....He paused to catch his breath ....." Maam you can do me more good than the sawbones. I carried that poor fellow 3 mile. I aint got no broken bones and the bleeding is light. Just clean me up and pour some of that rum in the wound. My leg will heal."

    After a moment The corporal passed out from the pain.
     
  4. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    Before Cambria could take any actions to help the man, the blood loss took the better of him. Except for having to move dead weight, he was easier to help this way. She was able to better clean and tend to his wounds without having to worry about pain or the reluctance most men had to being treated and seen by women. Once his wounds had been bandaged or sewn, Cambria stripped the man, filthy from clothes to core, of his uniform. The rags could hardly be called a uniform any longer. They fed the fire rather than being sent to laundry.

    The few objects she had found in his pockets were stowed away, though she found nothing she could use to identify him. He was the first that she returned to once all crises were averted and the nurses were left to smaller tasks such as sponge baths. They rarely found the time with all the wounds that came in for such things, though they were much needed.

    For the first time all day, Cambria was given a chance to sit. She pulled a stool up beside the man's bed and rolled her sleeves up a few times before wringing out a square cloth. She brought it gently to the still sleeping man's shoulder. All the mud and soot was time consuming to clean and soon her bucket of water was brackish and grey.

    She finished only when the soldier was clean enough to dress in fresh clothes rather than leaving him covered only with the faded bed linens on his cot. Cambria carefully buttoned up a standard issue shirt that she had managed to dig up in about his size to offer him some decency to wake up to.
     
  5. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    Hayes awoke that morning with a start, followed by intense pain when he tried to sit-up. It was as if his thigh were on fire. He grimaced and moaned before falling back against the pillow. Only then did he remember where he was and realize that he was clean and wearing only a shirt. In a panic, he reached down to his thigh and sighed with relief when he found it was still there. Painful, but still attached. He wanted to roll over but he knew that based on what he had just felt, the pain would be intolerable. Now that the shock had worn off, his only comfort was in laying perfectly still.

    He was thirsty, oh so thirsty, and it was just at that moment that he spotted his angel of mercy flying by with linens in hand. "Nurse!?" he croaked unable to remember her name. " may I have some water?" He watched he as she continued her work and hoped she had heard his request. He didn't trouble her further, knowing that there were many there whose situation was far more desperate. It was then that he fully realized that he was naked from the waste down and that this woman had more than likely been the one who so compassionately had cleansed his filthy body. Such a thankless job. He could certainly afford to be patient.
     
  6. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    It was busy work, there wasn't a day since Cambria had started her service that she had found time for any real rest. Not that she could have rested knowing there were people in need of her care. She only slept long enough to ensure that she was capable of carrying out her duties. She rose with the sun and carried out her work by oil lamp into the night if necessary. If she did tire, Cambria never let the patients see. If she ever became overwhelmed, she gave nothing but smiles. "Don't move!" She quickly said after turning her head towards the voice calling for her to see the man who had been unconscious since coming in. "Don't move, I will help you," she insisted in a kinder and less urgent way before dropping down the linens and going to his bedside.

    "You've been asleep for hours, you ought to be thirsty," the nurse said with a dimpled smile and quickly poured water from a pitcher to a small glass. Cambria sat beside his bed and moved one hand behind his head to help him lift it to the correct angle while the other hand guided the glass. "Not too fast," she spoke in a voice scarcely above a whisper. "I'll see about finding you a broth... help give you some of your strength back," she said as she let him drink his fill.

    The nurse's grey eyes flickered to movement under his thin, threadbare bedding to see his hand at his wounded leg. "It's still there," Cambria said, in case he needed more reassurance than his senses could offer him. For most, the thought of loss of limb was more daunting than loss of life. It was not an easy time for cripples. "I can have a look and put our minds to ease, if you'd like. It's about time for a dressing change anyhow," she offered him empathetically and waited for some confirmation before standing to retrieve a tray with medicines, gauze and bandages. "I didn't find your name sewn into any of your belongings," Cambria said as she returned and laid out her instruments. "My name is Cambria. Do you have one?" She asked him kindly to keep his mind occupied from the pained groans and the smell of decay that surrounded them.
     
  7. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    "I'd be much obliged Mam if you'd look at my leg. Make sure thee's no red streak please Mam, I don't mean t'tell ye your business, but I've saved many a horse's leg so I know what t' watch for." He thanked her for the water, and when she approached with the dressings and ointments, he laid back and tried his best to relax. He knew this was going to hurt, and he didn't want to curse in front of a woman. "My name's Robert," he said "Was it you that cleaned me up Miss Cambria? You are a good woman. I know many a man that can't stomach what you must see every day. "Some day, HHHSSSSSSS! ( he winced in pain as the blood soaked bandage was removed) I shall find a way to repay your kindness." He gripped the side of the cot as tightly as he could and did his best to remain still as she worked on him, finally passing out yet again from the pain. When he came to what seemed only a moment later he looked up and the kind eyed woman was just tucking the linens in around him. "Thank You mam" he said politely. Their brief time together was soon interrupted by the urgent calls of the medics and the cries of freshly wounded soldiers arriveing. Robert did his best to close his eyes and sleep but between the cries of the wounded and his own pain sleep was illusive and fitful.

    What grieved Robert most though was when his comrade, whom he had carried so many miles and had been placed in the cot next to him cried out in the throws of death and succumbed to his injuries just before dawn. Robert was devastated, and found himself completely unable to stop weeping for the man, even though with each shuddering tear, his leg throbbed in response. A bit later, when he had suffered about all his body would take, the doctor ordered Cambria that he be given whiskey by force if need be when he heard that Robert had refused it earlier. The man must sleep! the doctor emphasized.
     
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  8. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    It was no use, trying to be gentle. No matter how careful Cambria was, there was going to be pain. Quite a bit of pain. And many weeks of discomfort. She did what she could, but still winced with the man when she heard the hissing air between his teeth. "I'm sorry, nearly over," she kept repeating to him as she pulled away the bandages, cleaned and redressed the wounds. She was speaking the words again when the man's body suddenly went limp, no longer straining against the pain. But perhaps it was better that way. She was able to do the work without so much concern, which also meant she could do a better job at it.

    Just as Cambria finished fastening the bandages in place and stood to cover the man once more, his eyes opened again. She smiled gently and tucked a stray red curl behind her ear. "I should be the one thanking you," she answered as she pulled the sheets over his body, tucking them around him just before she was called away to more pressing work.

    There was no time for a farewell or a 'I'll check on you later. Rather, Cambria lifted her many layers of heavy skirts before running as fast as her small frame could take her to the injured. There was no time for tears, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to take the display of mortality that night. The only shame was that it was no great outlier. There were many days just like it. And every one left her feeling a little more worn down. There was no peace at home either, not with everyone wondering why it was she did what she did. It wasn't a woman's place, they liked to tell her. Though she doubted anyone would feel at place tending the dying.

    It was Cambria who felt the soldier's thready pulse as it tapered to a complete stop. She who closed his eyes and covered him. Standard issue hospital linens never seemed like a good enough shrowd, but her other options were limited. She saw no shame in men crying for their fallen brothers, but brought no attention for embarrassment sake.

    When she returned later, it was with a bouquet of hand cut wildflowers in one hand and a dark bottle in the other. Cambria didn't say a word as she set the flowers at the bedside table. She pulled the cork from the bottle. "You won't get better if you don't sleep," she said as she sat beside him. "And I quite think the doctor means to wring my neck if I don't get you to take your medicine."
     
  9. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    By this time Robert had had about all his body could take, and there could not have been anyone from whom he would have sooner taken instruction. When she offered the cup of whiskey and lifted his head, he smiled weakly and swallowed. The liquor burned all the way down, but it warmed him and soon had him in a far more jovial mood. Seeing him still awake the doctor ordered yet another cup of the whiskey. "I want that man to sleep" was all he said to Cambria. By then the orderlies had taken way the body of his friend and Robert was getting groggy. "Yous sar a a-angla Cmbrilla " he said in a drunken stupor as he saw the bottle and cup in Cambria's hands.

    He dreamt that night of being home on his farm in Connecticut and the sweet summer breezes that blew across the green hills, of swimming of the pond of the bright sun. It was then that he woke up to the doctor reflecting lantern light in his eyes to be certain his mind had not been injured. He had been sleeping three days. Robert raised an arm and pushed the doctor and his mirror away. Well well! someone is back with the living. It was then that he saw Cambria and a smile crossed his face broadly. As if to show her that she had been of help, he raised his injured leg beneath the covers and though it hurt, the pain was bearable. "Thank you " he said looking straight at the young woman.
     
  10. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    The first day of sleep, it seemed to Cambria, was much needed. With the second day, the nurse began to grow worried. He didn't so much as stir when she spooned water into his mouth. She monitored him closely and by the third day, even in sleep he looked more rested. Her mind was put to ease when his eyes opened. For the first time in a long while, her smile reached her eyes when she met his glance.

    The doctor quickly moved on, as there was much to do. He wouldn't be pleased to find her dallying, but Cambria moved to the man's beside. "Robert, I was wondering if you might have family I could send for," she said as she poured him a water and handed it to him. "You won't be well enough to return to the fighting for quite a few weeks. I thought maybe it would do you good to return home, if at all possible," the young nurse explained, pulling a piece of parchment and an ink well from the apron she wore tied around her petite waist.

    There wasn't much time to waste before the doctor would notice that there was work to be done. "Write them a letter if you wish. I can see it sent," Cambria explained as she passed the items on before returning to work before her absence could be noticed. As always, there was plenty of work to be done. How she missed district work. At least there there were breaks between the suffering. Babies were born, wounds properly mended, sicknesses seen off.
     
  11. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    Cambria's question hit Robert almost as hard as if it had been another rifle ball. His face fell and it was all he could manage to keep his composure as the busy angel of mercy smiled at him, and leaving the ink well moved on to more urgent business as directed by the doctor. Robert laid there stunned for a moment while he considered what to do. It was not fair to Cambria to burden her with the troubles of his past . Finally, he decided he would simply write a letter as she had offered him the opportunity to do. Taking paper and pen in hand he began.


    Dearest Weena:
    I have not written in a very long time, but what with the battles, no rest, no supplies and finally a bullet in the thigh, I have been unable to do so. There is no need for me to inquire of your safety or that of baby Ellery as I know That both of you are safe in the hands of our Savior. Never has a women suffered so much or tried to hard to deliver a child into this life. You hbut the have well earned your rest.
    I thought that I might be joining you soon but the Angel you sent to me, Cambria, has delivered me from death's door. She works tirelessly and is as gentle and kind as any woman I have ever known. She has cared for me as only you did when you were still with me. Presently I am still in the field hospital, but the doctors have decided that I won't be able to fght again for some months and are recommending I go home to family. Unfortunately, they don't understand just what that would entail. Weena, I have loved you from afar these last five years, and will always do so, but in the confidence that you have sent her to me I find myself falling in love with Cambria. It seems impossible to do otherwise. I only hope and trust that she will welcome my affections.
    Hold our little girl close and remember me until we see each other again, as I will you.
    Your loving husband,
    Robert

    He folded the short letter in half and laid it on the bedside table with the inkwell and quill, and closing his eyes, fell asleep.
     
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  12. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    Without room for anything less than acute cases, most soldiers were sent home once they were stable if not well enough to return to battle. Aside from Robert, everyone cycled through fairly quickly. Though it was not Cambria's place to make assumptions, there were certain things she understood. He was an attractive and otherwise able bodied young man, though a few years her senior. Fathers and husbands were not spared the draft. There simply had to be something for him to return home to, so why hadn't he?

    That day was as slow as a field nurse could possibly hope for. That didn't make it any easier. At least being bush meant keeping her mind occupied. Cambria found other ways, though. She normally made regular stops to visit with Robert as he didn't seem to care to talk to anyone else and he never received visitors. That day, aside from bringing him his meals, she kept her distance. It wasn't until evening that she came to him with a stack of neatly folded clothes in hand. "You will be taking supper outside tonight, Robert," the nurse announced and set the clothes down. "You could use the fresh air and it's time we got you moving again. No one gets better lazing around on their behind all day," Cambria informed him in a much less ladylike manner than she usually did, leaving no room for arguments.

    "I'll help you get dressed," she said in a kinder manner and reached for the clean breeches she had set on his bedside table. As Cambria took them, the folded parchment fell. She quickly went to retrieve it. "Weena?" She asked as she folded it back along the crease. "What a lovely name. Is that your wife?" She inquired and placed the letter down before taking the trousers to his bedside so that she could help him dress without too much of a strain.
     
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  13. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    It was the last straw. All day long it had seemed as though Cambria was avoiding him. It almost seemed to him that she was pushing him away. Hearing his wife's name on her lips pierced his heart. As he sat half naked on the cot he handed her the letter, before burying his head in his lap. "You better read it, I had hoped I had made a better impression. Thank you for helping me." He never looked up. "They should send me to the front,. Perhaps I'll get shot and be able to go home." he groaned a bit as he stood, but forced through the aches and pulled on his clothes. "I'll be out of your hair by supper" he said.
     
  14. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    The man's demeanor changed very suddenly, leaving Cambria at a loss for words. She delicately took the letter he extended towards her and opened it along the crease. Her blue-grey eyes scanned quickly over it the first time. When she read it a second time it was slower. And even slower on the third round. The letter fell from her fingers and to the floor when the man suddenly pushed himself up to his feet. At his full height, Cambria reached just beneath his chin. But she was used to this and men who were far more stubborn than Robert was.

    The nurse quickly put a hand to his chest before he could take so much as a single step. "I don't know who you're used to taking orders from, Robert, but in my ward, you take orders from me. You are not well, now sit back down," Cambria rose her voice slightly, pushing on his chest until he returned to the bed. She took up the shirt she had brought him as well and held it up so he could slide on the sleeves. She pulled it around him and began fastening the front. "I didn't know you were a widower," she said, keeping her eyes down as she worked over the front of the shirt. "You so rarely talk about yourself," Cambria explained. "I was so sure that soon you'd be going back home to your wife. And then I would just be the nurse who cared for you once," she spoke softly and retracted slightly.

    The nurse swiftly used the back of her hand to wipe beneath her eyes before lifting her head. "Come, let's have that walk," Cambria said and took each of his hands to carefully help him from the bed. Once he found his feet, she offered him a cane so that he wouldn't have to put all of his weight on his leg just yet. She walked on his opposite side, one of her hands curled around his forearm to lead him.
     
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  15. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    Robert took a ginger step forward leaning hard on the cane. His hips were stiff and would barely move, but moving felt good, everywhere that was except his thigh which simply screamed to be left alone. However, Robert knew that the only way to loosen the muscles was to work them, and that would come with some pain. As they slowly walked out of the tent and into the sun, Robert asked, "Weren't you about to send me home? I don't want to take up a place from a badly injured man. I'll get by. " He looked down at the tiny woman, rather astonished. "Don't you have a family?" he asked. After he asked the question, he felt rather foolish. The young woman spent every waking moment in the tent with the wounded. No family could ever put up with that. Still he kept quiet and waited for her to answer.
     
  16. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    Cambria only gently guided. Otherwise, she let the man lead the way at a pace he was comfortable with. She lifted her face to the warm sun as they stepped outside and sighed as they met the warm air. "That's because I thought you had somewhere to go home to," she admitted gently. "But going a place where you'll be alone won't help anyone. We have enough beds here. You'll just have to make yourself useful," Cambria said and slowly retraced her hand from the bend of his elbow when she decided he was managing well enough on his own.

    Laughter was so rarely heard around field hospitals, but she couldn't help it as the man inquired about her family. "My parents live upstate, and my sister near them with her husband and their daughters," Cambria answered, allowing herself to walk out slightly ahead of him as they neared a wooden picnic table beneath a large tree. "I was engaged once," she said, reaching up to tuck some loose red curls up into her white bonnet. "But I've never been the type to be content with making the home and that didn't sit well with him," Cambria said and seated herself, smoothing out her skirts. "But if I had a family to care for, I couldn't possibly be any help here."
     
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  17. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    Robert walked gingerly but his hips loosened with every step. "Well, I will do what I'm able to. I have a little bit of practical training. I'm a vet of sorts. I used to care for all the livestock in the valley. People aren't too much different really. They're more like pigs than the other farm animals, but anyway, I'll do my best, even if its just cleaning bed pans. Lord knows you cleaned enough of them for me. He sat down across the table from her and extended his huge hand to her. "Its been a long long time since I felt a woman's hand in mine. Would you mind?" A tear escaped the corner of his eye and splashed on the table top before he could catch it. "I do miss Weena so." He looked up at her and asked "Are you ever lonely? I'm sorry about how presumptuous my letter was. I just didn't know what to do when you asked me to write. Sometimes I talk to Weena in my sleep or when I am scared. It brings me peace. She tried so hard to save Ellery, in the end it cost her her life. That was a true mother's love. She really knew what it meant. "

    With that his voice just drifted off and he just stared out across the field as the waited for the next wagon load of injured to arrive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  18. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    With hands folded in her lap, Cambria kept her eyes lifted to the sky. The clouds overhead blew swiftly, making streaks across the sky. When she lowered her gaze, it was to find the man extending his hand out across the table towards her. She hesitated a moment, a hesitation she perhaps wouldn't have had if she hadn't just read his declaration of love. However, Cambria slowly lifted a petite hand and reached out towards his. Her hand was soft in comparison to his, and dwarfed by his size. His touch was warm, gentle, a thought that brought a blush across the young woman's cheeks.

    "I never have time to feel lonely," Cambria answered with a sheepish laugh. "I work from dawn to dusk and i live with the other nurses. They keep me company," she said and watched the man's face as he stared past her. She didn't say anything right away and instead she squeezed his hand and let the pad of her thumb brush against his skin. An innocent enough act. When she finally found her voice, it was small. "I'm so very sorry, but I'm sure she left this world knowing that she was loved. That's really all anyone can ask for, isn't it?" Cambria asked, though she didn't expect him to have the answer.
     
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  19. wolvenrogue

    wolvenrogue Well-Known Member Platinum Pleasures

    Local Time:
    8:09 AM
    "I guess that's true" he said. "I want you to have that he said quietly as he slowly enclosed her tiny soft hand in his. You show men love when all around them is pain and death, but then they leave and go home or leave in a pine box. Who show's you love. Let me be he first!" He looked deep into her eyes as he gazed across the table. The field had been quiet near an hour without the sound of wagon or gunfire. It was eerie but peaceful. "What will you do after the war?" he asked as he looked into her eyes. The question was interrupted by clash of tin plates as the cook brought each a plate of stew. It wasn't fancy but it was warm and filling. He released her hand reluctantly so that they could eat. If he was honest he drew more sustenance from her tough than a whole pot of stew.

    When they had finished eating he again extended his hand , He wanted to hold her as much as he was able.
     
  20. nihilistia

    nihilistia Active Member Member

    Local Time:
    5:09 AM
    Her own words had Cambria lost in thought. It was a question no one could really answer, but before she could ponder it too much longer, she felt the tightening of his fingers around her hand. His words came out in a rush and left the woman's cheeks red, though she didn't retract, only lowered her head. She was glad the cook came to interrupt their conversation as she had no way to answer that. He was heartbroken, of course he would fall for a woman who nursed him back to health. But that didn't make it a bad pairing.

    "Find other work, I suppose," Cambria said as she picked up her spoon. "I did some nursing before. Midwifery, mostly. But now I have more experience. I always figure something out," she said with a small smile. She was a woman who was very used to hard work, that much was clear. She was mostly quiet for the rest of their meal. She ate slower than the man and it seemed he was waiting for the moment she set her spoon down, his hand was being extended towards her.

    Cambria couldn't help smiling and reached out once more. "I do believe the fresh air was just what we needed," she said as her hand landed in his. "It'll be cooling down now. Let's get you back to bed, Robert," she said and pulled her hand from his so that she could stand.
     
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