Forged in Fire
The love of a good woman is worth the pleasure of ten.
Maeve held Gin in her arms as he passed out. He looked like hell. She laid him gently down and pulled Luna away from him. Maeve took her to a small outcropping of rock, telling her to stay put. If Gin was dying, Maeve didn't want Luna to see his final moments. Once Luna was settled Maeve returned to Gin's side. His face was raw, and he'd obviously hit his head pretty hard. The entire left side of his skull was swollen. She pulled up his shirt, hanging in tatters over his torso. She grimaced at the mess on his side. He'd been stabbed by something sharp and jagged. The wound was covered, but his movements had opened it and it was bleeding freely through the bandages. She peeled back the towels. It was a through-and-through wound, about three inches long. Under his arm she saw he'd managed to bring along his pack. She pulled it off his arm and opened it.
Inside she found some water bottles, and some dried food. She dug deeper, looking for something to close up the wound. She grinned when she found a tube of Meyerson Glue at the bottom of the bag. Meyerson was a staple for swords on deployment. They used it to hold together their boots, their weapons and whatever else needed mending. She'd even seen them use it to glue flash grenades to debris, making homemade bombs. It would do in a pinch to close up the wound.
She opened one of water bottles, grimacing. The water was already warm inside. The specialty plastics that Dinarans used would keep it from stagnating, but it might still grow bacteria. With no other option she liberally doused the wound. She ripped off a strip of Gin's shirt and dabbed it dry. Once the area was clean enough she squeezed a long line of the thick glue down the side of the skin. Carefully she pulled the open flap over the wound, pinching the sides together until the blood flow was next to none. She looked at Luna, whose eyes had never left them.
"Come on over here and help me roll him over, baby."
Luna nodded, walking quickly to them. She knelt by Gin's head, holding it steady as Maeve rolled him over.
The back of the wound was much worse. Whatever had stabbed him had torn through muscle and tendon, exposing it all. The bleeding was less, but the wound was much larger. Luna kept her eyes off the blood and held Gin's head in her lap as Maeve set to work gluing the edges of the big tear together.
"Will it help, Mama?"
Maeve looked up and smiled at Luna. "It will, baby. Daddy's hurt pretty bad, but this will help."
Luna stroked Gin's hair, her hand gentle.
"He finally came to get us, didn't he Mama?" Luna's eyes stayed on Gin's head as his face pressed into her legs.
Maeve nodded, tearing off the rest of his shirt and using it to bind the whole area. Once the glue set, usually two or three minutes, she'd be able to move him. "He sure did" She looked at Luna and zipped up Gin's bag, handing it to the little girl. "We're going to have to find a place to sleep tonight, Lu. It's going to be cold and we need a fire."
The little girl pulled the bag over her shoulders, and she grinned.
"I saw a cave, Mama. Over there." She pointed to a large group of rocks a few hundred yards to the west.
Maeve rubbed her hand over the little girl's dirt-smudged cheek. "Good job on sentinel, baby girl." she praised. Luna grinned proudly. They'd played this game a thousand times. Maeve would walk and Luna would play scout, her eyes on any potential hiding places. Maeve had known that someday the game would pay off.
"We have to drag Daddy." Maeve said, sitting down with her elbows on her knees. "We have to clear the path so we don't hurt him anymore. Can you move all the big rocks out of the way?"
Luna nodded and Maeve smiled at her.
"Okay, sweetie. You start on clearing the way. I'll bring Daddy."
Luna got up, placing Gin's head gently on the ground. She stood staring down at him for a while. She turned and started walking, stopping now and then to move the larger rocks off the path. Maeve sighed, her over-tired muscles already aching. She stood with a groan. Gin weighed nearly two hundred pounds, and he was completely unconscious. She rolled him over gently, grunting as she untangled his legs. She cursed his mother and father for producing such an ox as she grabbed him under his arms and started to drag him toward Luna's cave. She just hoped it wasn't too far.