Eric had been so concentrated on parrying the blows that rained down on him that he didn't have the opportunity to look where he was walking to until his back collided with it.
He winced as he felt a sharp edge sinking into his back, letting his blade drop. Maurice stopped in his movement surprised, eyes wide.
"Are you okay?"
Eric nodded, pushing himself off the beam with the nail in it. "Just managed to get stuck on this nail." He muttered and bowed to retrieve his weapon.
Maurice took a short look at the nail that was plunged into the beam - they wanted to have it repaired weeks ago. Then his eyes wandered to Eric's back, causing him to wince in sympathy.
"You should the Doctor look at it. The nail is quite rusty, we don't want it getting infected."
Eric sighed. He really didn't want to bother the doctor with such a minor injury, otherwise he knew Tha Maurice was right.
"I will be back in ten." He assured and walked over to the infirmary.
Just now Eric noticed that he had never actually been in there. The door was closed most of the time to give the patients some peace and fortunately he had never been one of them.
He had seen the doctor a few times, when he had hurried out of the infirmary to help carrying a injured man inside or get some new supplies. Otherwise, he seemed to live in there - or at least Eric thought so.
He frowned as he knocked slightly. He didn't even know how the medic or was called. Everyone just called him 'Doctor'. Even the seasoned soldiers and Captain Rafael d'Artganan called him like this.
As far as Eric knew, the doctor had been in the regiment's infirmary longer than anyone of the serving men.
"Come in." The friendly soft voice called through the door, which screached over the floor as Eric opened it.
"Good morning, and doctor." Eric tried carefully as he took a step in.
The infirmarys windows had been shut, curtains closed. A lonely man lay in one of the many beds, sleeping soundly. Or Eric hoped that he just slept.
The doctor had been standing to his right, cleaning some of the gruesome looking tools. "Eric, right?" the doctor smiled, inviting him inside.
Eric nodded, surprised that the doctor already knew him. He closed the door behind him, careful to do it as quietly as possible.
And for the first time in all his time in the regiment he really looked at the doctor. He had to be in his early sixtys now, grey long hair graced his face, wrinkled by the age but still somehow youthful. His beard was kept orderly and in the fashion, which was modern a few decades ago.
Kind eyes looked at him, a smile on the lips, a scar stood out on his brow.
"What brought you in my humble infirmary, son?"
Eric shrugged, feeling the heat flushing into his cheeks. "A minor training accident."
"Let me see it then."
The doctor gestured towards a stool on which Eric sat down, his back towards the medic.
His shirt was lifted high enough for the doctor to get a good look at the wound. "Let me guess.. You ran in a rusty nail?"
Ashamed, with bright red cheeks, Eric nodded. He was glad the doctor couldn't see his face right now.
He heard a soft laugh before the doctor clapped him on the shoulder gently. "You will live, son."
"Tell that Maurice." Eric also tried a laugh, but even though he was still somewhat tensed.
He heard some rustling behind him before a liquid was put on his back, burning where the wound was.
"Don't be ashamed. Much more embarrassing things can happen to a soldier in his career."
"And that would be?" Curiosity what the doctor had experienced in his time with the regiment emerged.
"Choking on an apple, tripping over a stone and breaking a foot, passing out on guard duty because of the heat, almost drowning in a river not deeper that the waist.. Oh I could go on forever." The doctor laughed as he crunched some herbs in order to make a paste for the wound.
"That really happened to some men?" Eric asked amused, forgotten the embarrassment.
"Not to any men. To the best of the best. Athos choked on the apple, D'Artagnan passed out and Porthos almost drowned."
"Rafael D'Artagnan?" is Eric turned his head to see the doctor who shook his head.
"His father. Charles. He had been captain before his son took over."
"So... Athos, Porthos.. You mean the inseperables? You knew them?" Excitement laced his voice. Since he had been a boy Eric had heard the tales of these heroes. They were one of the reasons he wanted to become a musketeer.
The doctor nodded smiling, putting the paste on the wound and bandaging it." It should be fine now, son."
"And what about Aramis? He tripped and broke a bone?"
The doctor laughed at the memories and nod. "Yes. In front of some fine ladies. It was quite an embarrassment."
Eric smiled as he stood up. "You just have been here for quite some time if you knew them, doctor."
He turned around, ready to head out before he remembered something.
"Did you know them well?"
A sadness overtook the smile on the doctors lips. "Like brothers."
"I'm sorry... I've heard they have passed away some time ago." he suddenly felt bad for bringing up this theme.
But the doctor wasn't angry and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"As you said: It happened long ago. It's fine. Actually I liked to talk about them. Now get out before we wake him." He indicated towards the sleeping patient.
Eric mouthed a thank you, before he left the infirmary.
Before he could close the door again a woman hurried towards it and held it open to enter the infirmary.
He heard the happily surprised voice of the doctor greet the woman. "Constance. How are you?"
"Aramis. I've got news for you. "
With a thud, the door closed leaving Eric stunned as he puzzled the parts together.
"Maurice! I've got news for you!"