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31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

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31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:40 am



Everywhere he looked, he saw the dark, huddled shapes of sleeping people. Wounded soldiers, or camp followers, or the odd Spanish muleteer. It was impossible to tell but Stéphane didn't care. All that mattered to him, the only important thing in the world right then, was reaching the surgeon. His whole body was nothing but pain. The worst of it radiated from his hands in constant, throbbing waves of agony. Being obliged to use his musket as a crutch did nothing to help.

That damned surgeon had to have his wagon around here somewhere. All the wagons looked the same to him in the predawn gloom, however, and after the fourth - or was it the fifth? - vehicle, Stéphane was beginning to lose the motivation to continue his search. He had not rested or even stopped moving for over a day and it was catching up to him. If he sat down, or even halted, he knew he was unlikely to find the strength in him to move again.

On the other hand, a halt was precisely what was coming. The simple truth was that he was exhausted from first following and now catching up with the regiment. His step faltered and he meandered a few more paces forward before catching his foot on the butt of his musket as he tried to swing the firelock forward to brace against the hard earth. Stéphane's fall was blessedly not a hard one, but this was only because he was able to partially catch himself with his good leg and one hand, though the instant that hand touched the dirt, he felt nothing but agony.

His musket rattled to the ground, followed a second later by a solid thump as Stéphane sank down hard onto his knees. That was it, then. How could he hope to get back to his feet when both his hands blazed like the fire that had scorched them so? At least his leg did not pain so badly, the wound in his right calf having long since gone numb. That had to be a bad thing but Stéphane could not bring himself to care. Not when his attempt to uncurl his damaged hands brought tears to his eyes.

Stop being weak, he told himself sternly. He had done pretty well to get this far under his own power. His shoulders slumped and he dropped his hands carefully into his lap. Maybe, once it got light enough and people began to stir, someone would bring the surgeon to him. That'd be nice.

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David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:23 am



She was typically the first to rise, relishing the quiet and sleepy stillness of the very early morning. Unfolding her blanket, Mathilde eased herself quietly onto her hands and knees and crawled out from under the wagon. The dew left her dress damp, but it would dry soon enough.

Blinking the sleep out of her eyes, she started towards the remains of their fire and stopped short. There was someone there. Not at their fire, but closer than any stranger had a right to be, and for a moment it felt as though her heart had stopped as well. But it was merely treacherous hope which made her imagine the resemblance; at second glance there was nothing of the familiar about the stranger, if stranger he was, for in the dull half-light she could not make out the face from where she stood. His attitude, moreover, was not one of idle restfulness, which seemed to make even less sense.

"Monsieur?" she called softly, inching forward until she was close, but not within reach.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:55 am



The voice drew him out of the blurry daze that had descended on him, just enough to awaken him to the possibility of some help. Even his pride was not so great as to prevent him from accepting aid when he knew he greatly needed it.

"Madame," he answered in a dull voice and willed his eyes to open. It took an effort to lift his head so he could see who had addressed him, such was the leaden cape of weariness. Lord God all he wanted to do was close his eyes again and sleep. Or die. Never mind that he had struggled so hard against death in the past days.

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Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:47 am



Even in the poor light, he did not look well at all. She recognized him now, the sailor, the one who had so frightened her that night by the river. But if he was injured, why was he here and now with M. Montreuil?

She edged a bit closer. "You are hurt?" she asked hesitantly and then with a quiet gasp, "Oh!" His hands. So he hadn't been to the surgeon's, but that meant-- She stepped back sharply, alarmed more for him than of him now. "Maman!"

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:55 am



If he'd had the energy for it, he might have rasped a brief chuckle at the question, but it had to be obvious that he was indeed hurt. Anyway, notice had been taken of him and that stirred a different feeling altogether.

"Where is the surgeon?" Stéphane asked, a bit of his old sense of purpose returning. "I could not find him."

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Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
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David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:43 pm

"The surgeon? He's a ways farther on. But we can fetch him," she added hastily.

"Well, now," Margo remarked mildly, looking them both over critically, "What have we here?"

Mathilde turned to look up at her mother, relief evident in her face. "He says he's looking for M. Montreuil. And his hands are hurt. And I think--"

"Mathilde," her mother cut in very gently, "I need you to bring me a canteen. And tell your brother to run and fetch the surgeon. Now then --" She dropped to her knees beside the newcomer. "What's your name, love?"

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:05 pm



They'd fetch the surgeon. That assurance took the legs out from under Stéphane's fledgling attempt to shift somehow to his feet. He could stay put. That this was a relief disgusted him, distantly, but he was too glad of the inertia to be honestly annoyed.

"Proulx," he replied in the same dull tone. It seemed like he wasn't capable of anything more. He tried, again, to ease open his half-curled hands but again met with agonising failure. And, he realised neutrally, the unpleasant warm feeling of something oozing over the burned skin of his left palm.

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Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:54 pm

"Proulx," she repeated. "I'm Margot." Turning her head, she called for Mathilde to bring a knife as well. "Just for cutting cloth, love," she assured Proulx. "Now," she said, speaking slowly, "Are you hurt anywhere besides your hands and your leg?"

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:00 pm



"Madame," Stéphane said automatically. He blinked and looked slowly down at his right leg. The white fabric was heavily stained with something dark from the mid-calf down, but he could feel nothing in that part of his leg. "I'm... no. I don't think so."

It was not much of an answer, but he was feeling increasingly muzzy-headed. Probably because he was so tired.

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Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Jérémie Blanchard on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:05 pm

Yet again, the kittens had chosen him as their preferred bed, which made it necessary to dislodge them before he was able to sit up. There was something happening outside the wagon. Raised voices and hurried movement were signs enough of something not being right. Jérémie hauled his pack out of the way and, ignoring the pain in his left arm and leg, shuffled awkwardly to the edge of the wagon.

"Everything square out here?"
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:11 pm



Mathilde checked her headlong scramble. "It's that man, the sailor. He must have been left behind, and he's wounded. Can you pass me one of the canteens?"

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Jérémie Blanchard on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:15 pm

This was a task easily enough managed. He held out a canteen, unable to keep a frown off his face.

"Proulx?"
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:22 pm

"Thank you!" she said, taking the canteen from him, calling over her shoulder as she hurried off, "Yes, I think that's his name."

She skittered to a halt beside her mother, holding out the requested items. With a quiet thanks, her mother took them, setting the knife on the ground and shifting closer to Proulx with the canteen. "I have some water here. I want you to drink it," she told him, holding the canteen to his mouth.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:35 pm



Water. He would never have thought it possible to be so glad for such a thing. The canteen was held up to him and all he had to do was gulp greedily from it. Drinking like that was unwise, as it turned out, for he could not swallow the water quickly enough. He coughed, then choked, and had to spit out the remaining mouthful of water onto the ground. It was more of a untidy dribble than anything else, however.

"I'm sorry," Stéphane wheezed.

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David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Jérémie Blanchard on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:40 pm

He was no use sitting in the wagon. That much was plain. The obvious solution was to get out of the wagon and help, but would his wounded leg support his weight? Jérémie gritted his teeth and steeled himself for the attempt to find out.

Standing outside the wagon, and leaning against it for support, seemed to go all right. He decided this was a successful test and let go of the wagon. His balance was not quite steady but he didn't pitch over, though walking was not easy or painless.

"How bad is he?"
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:36 am

Mathilde spun round, staring at him in horror. "Jérémie!"

Her mother tipped the canteen back from Proulx's mouth, but did not look up. "You take one more step Jérémie Blanchard and I'll box your ears. Sit. Down. I don't fancy tending both of you at once."

She tilted the canteen again, though not as much. "Slowly, now," she told Proulx.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Jérémie Blanchard on Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:05 am

He halted at once, his face instantly flushing dark. "What?" It was a stupid question when he knew very well why they reacted so. He had to spread his arms out a little for balance as he lowered himself to the ground, however, and the resulting graceless flop served to remind him why this was in fact a bad idea.

But he was sitting down now - and neither of them had said anything against him shuffling forward on his backside, had they?
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:10 am



The only thing worth paying attention to was the water. It had been days since he'd had anything to drink and it was devilish hard not to gulp at the slightly too-warm water. But Stéphane had enough presence of mind left to recognise the wisdom in taking measured sips and did an admirable job at sticking to that.

Presently, feeling suitably hydrated, he tried, unthinkingly, to swipe a stray trickle of water from his chin.

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Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:05 am

Stop, Mathilde mouthed at Jeremie, unwilling to give him away to her mother, but nonetheless distressed by his determination to keep moving.

As long as he was sitting, however, Margot not terribly concerned. She shook her head. Heaven preserve her from senseless males.

She drew the canteen away, but had to reach immediately for Proulx's arm, guiding it gently back to his lap. "Keep still," she told him, taking a corner of her apron and wiping the water from his chin, as she'd done countless times with her own little ones.

"Mathilde? Do we have more water?"

"I think so!" She was gone almost instantly, hurrying back to the wagon.

Picking up the knife, Margot bent over Proulx's leg. "I'm going to cut open your trouser leg to get a look at the wound," she told him, lifting the fabric away from the skin and using the knife to widen the hole made in the cloth by the ball.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Jérémie Blanchard on Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:20 am

He obligingly ceased his awkward forward movement, still too far away to be any real use. Damn it. The thought that he should have stayed in the wagon never occurred to him.

~



Keep still. He could do that. Right then he did not feel like he had the energy to move anyway.

"I don't think that one is very bad," Stéphane remarked indifferently.
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:53 pm

Margot ignored him, glad of the waxing daylight which, though hardly ideal, allowed her to roughly inspect the wound. It was ugly looking, but was not freshly bleeding which was, at the moment, her primary concern. And the poor lad had been walking on it for three days? Nom de Dieu...

Mathilde was back by then, a half full bucket of water swinging awkwardly from her hands.

"Thank you, p'tite," she said, refilling the canteen from it. "I need to rinse your hands," she continued, taking hold of one of Proulx's wrists. "It will hurt." And so saying, she began to pour the water over the damaged skin.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  sans nom on Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:38 pm



"What happened?" Marie-Eve gasped quietly, kneeling beside Margot.

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  Keiju on Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:15 am



Despite the warning, Stéphane was not prepared for the great blaze of pain in his hands the instant the water touched them. His whole body stiffened, more taut than a fishing line, and it was only with a supreme effort that he did not jerk his hands away. He had, however, bitten down hard on his tongue and now tasted blood in his mouth. It was all he could do to neither spit out that blood nor swear till the air turned blue.

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James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Pip Mayfield, Drummer, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Lily Connors, camp follower, 27th Regiment of Foot
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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  sans nom on Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:41 am



"Easy, easy, man! Oh, poor hands! Stop, Margot, he needs something to bite on or he'll go through his tongue." And possibly break his teeth as well. She looked around for something that would serve. A rag would not be strong enough, and he might bite clean through a stick or even the handle of her wooden spoon. "Something leather? His crossbelts?"

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Re: 31st July, early morning; Walking wounded

Post  outis on Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:15 am

Margot stopped and looked up. Ah. The rinsing was essentially complete, but what would follow would be worse. "P'tite, could you bring my bag and my tonnelet, please, and a cooking spoon, the one your father made."

Mathilde went scrambling off and was back a minute later, setting down the supplies between the two women.

"If you could give him some brandy, and then the spoon?" Margot said, nodding to Marie-Eve.

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