Monday, 30 September 2013

Encyclopaedia Azaria #1: The Iasometer

Welcome to a new feature of the blog: Encyclopaedia Azaria! Each edition has Eliza and her friends tell you something about the vast and ancient kingdom of Azaria...

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The iasometer in action...(chapter seven, The Binding)

“Ryan?” No response. Frowning, I pressed my knuckle against his breastbone, the way Father did when he assessed someone unconscious. Ryan groaned, but didn’t waken. Sighing, I laid him onto his side, so his back faced me. A dark patch of blood stained his coat on the left side. I frowned. Whatever missile had hit him had fallen out. That would make identifying the toxin more difficult. No simple projectile would have turned him so stuperous so quickly.

I reached for his buttons, unable to stop my wry smile, but as my fingers neared I hesitated. I needed to see the wound, but that meant I’d have to remove his shirt. Just the thought of it made my heart rumble. A momentary glance and the Binding would drown me with its false desire. And I was exhausted. Even if Ryan was so out of it that he’d probably not remember anything, the curse wouldn’t be so lenient with my memory.

Maybe I could compromise…

My hands fumbled with Ryan’s coat, pulling his arms from the sleeves. I began to tremble as I loosened his shirt from his trousers. My gaze lingered on his belt for longer than I was comfortable with, before I turned to lift the fabric to his shoulders.

A bloody pinprick at the edge of his shoulder-blade marked the entry point into the skin, and a bluish-purple substance oozed from it. I wiped it with my finger, and the odd hot-cold sensation made my eyes widen.

He’d been hit with tranquilliser serum.

I exhaled slowly. I was expecting poison, or worse. This was simple enough—I’d dealt with it many times myself. Ryan’s own body would vanquish the toxin, and by morning he would be back to normal, save for this little inconvenience. Lucky for him, I was a healer’s daughter.  But I still had to take this seriously.

First, I unbuckled the iasometer and strapped it around the front of his elbow, so the brass pin sat above the major artery. It clicked and whirred, and the dials began to flicker. Moments later, they settled on their final readings. His pulse was in the amber, but his blood pressure and temperature remained stable.

Relieved, I reached for the hunting knife in Ryan’s belt, making sure I didn’t look too closely. I grabbed the spare shirt and sliced off the collar and a sleeve. The former I folded into a square, while the latter I ripped the seams, making a long band of fabric. Hoisting up the bloody shirt, I tipped some water onto the wound. Ryan hissed at the cold, but didn’t otherwise move. Once I’d washed out most of the serum, I took the skin balm from the medical pack, and rubbed a generous amount over the cut. Then I placed the folded collar on it, before I bound it tight with the opened sleeves.

Once done, I pulled down his shirt, and checked the iasometer again. His pulse had settled into the green, and I wiped my brow. That had taken a lot out of me. I was shivering, too, and not just because of the Binding. We might’ve been out of the snow storm, but we may as well have been in an ice cavern. It wasn’t long before Ryan started trembling, too. I had to keep him warm.

I closed my eyes for a long while, gathering my strength, then unfastened the iasometer and tied it back to my forearm. He didn’t need to see that in the morning. Then I staggered to the packs. Cielo had retreated from the entrance as far as he would dare, sheltered between a pair of stalagmites. He was shaking, too. I groaned. I would have to clean the sweat off him, otherwise he’d freeze.

Night owl, indeed.

Encyclopaedia Azaria #2: The Tale of the Binding

Encyclopaedia Azaria #3: The Gladier-Farrontine Feud

Encyclopaedia Azaria #4: The Binding Spell

Encyclopaedia Azaria #5: The Noble Houses of Azaria

Encyclopaedia Azaria #6: The Goddess Shrines

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