The Weapon Makers
The sound of coughing penetrated Rera's concentration on the sword she was making, and she looked up from the outside forge she was working at. Scanning around the orderly clearing in front of entrance to home...
Well... okay, it looked more like controlled chaos at the moment.
There were several outdoor forges around her, although only two of the five were blazing with heat and light, having been going all night. Rera was in front of one, she had very little armor on at the moment other than the integrated base level to stay cool. Heat shields were attracted to the front of her torso as well as something like a welder's hat over the face and neck to further protect against the forge heat.
There was a long table set up to Rera's left, with the strips of unshaped metal and bones that she had collected the past week with Kiku. One at a time she was slowly joining and turning them into the assorted weapons Marok had assigned her as a test. The two forges where stationed on either side, spaced apart so not to interfere with each other. One was for the work and the other for cooling down the blades in sections.
Rera turned around to the only other person here that wasn't a raptor or Vorox. Somehow his faded green armor seemed to have lost more of its shade from earlier that morning. Perhaps it was only his visible hide as the man didn't have all his armor on in the first place. Marok looked more tired than ever before and he was sitting on top of a creature that was loosely curled up, the Sand Stalker craning its neck and head around to chirp worriedly at her master.
"Marok?" Rera asked, pulled back from the forge after setting the joined weapon aside on the table to start cooling. She reached up to lift her over-shield away from her face as Kiku started unburying himself on the far side of the clearing.
The Agori opened his mouth to assure his two family members that he was fine, but another set of wracking coughs didn't let him. Marok had to use the handle of his upside down hammer for more support, his body trembling from the force and gasping for air, any air at all. Hot hands caught his shoulders, hot but not unbearable. He squinted at the blurring forms of Rera, heard her voice yet not the words. Kiku's trilling alarm sound broke through and the old Agori finally drew in a ragged breath as the Glatorian gave his back a quick, forceful slap.
Another breath was dragged into his lungs, and another... along with the life giving air Marok's senses crawled back, but not completely.
"Marok?" Rera was asking again as she held the elder, using her body to support him partly, "Keep breathing like that, slow and deep. Marok? Father? ...Kiku," She whistled for attention, motioning the Vorox out of the way with her free arm as she lifted the Agori, half caring, half leading him back into their underground home, "Get some water for him."
Kiku murmured as he darted ahead and deeper into the natural cave system. When he came sliding back into the entry chamber, both Glatorian and Agori were missing, Kiku gave a protesting yelp, clasping a gourd container of water in his forepaws. The runted Vorox chattered before lifting up on his hind legs and sniffing, Kiku moved, fallowing the scent of his two favorite persons.
He tracked them to the closest of the sleeping chamber, a place costumers stayed while waiting. An off shoot 'bubble' in the earth, with two bunks carved into the lava rock, one on top of the other and mats that the Vorox himself regally re-stuffed with cave moss. Rera was pulling the last of the detachable armor off Marok where he was now laying on the bottom bunk, his underlying skin pale under its natural dark pigments. Kiku whistled softly as he came closer, holding the gourd out as he watched his pack-elder's short shallow breaths. A worried sound came out of his throat when Kiku found he couldn't see Marok's eyes open.
"Good boy Kiku." Rera said, taking the water container from the Vorox, giving that demanding 'command' whistle again for his attention. She grasped Kiku's oddly shaped head, the underside of his blunted muzzle, making him look at her and keep looking, "Go get the blue and green box now. Understand Kiku? The big blue and green box, in the medicine room, the big blue and green box."
Memory kicked in and Kiku clicked in an affirmative as he remembered where the requested box was. Once free he scrambled off on all fours to retrieve it with all the speed he could muster without crashing into any walls. Well, nor more than two walls.
Rera turned back to her mentor and father figure, taking a moment to catalog what was wrong with him. Shortened breath, cool to the touch in some spots and hot on others, it didn't make sense to her nor match up with anything Rera had read thus far in Marok's medical files or lectures.
"I'm a weapon maker not a healer..." Rera muttered looking up, hoping the Vorox wouldn't take too long as she rose to fetch a blanket. She paused and started at the carving in one wall, a basic outline of the area, with painted on smaller details. There was her shared home, the three bone yards beyond the avalanche, the different paths up to Iconox and down the mountain... and Tesara.
Tesara the twin village, one of the very few places that echoed Bara Magna that was with underground rivers to feed the trees and plants in the half jungle.
"Tesara, the village of healers," The Glatorian muttered, looking at her father and then down to her own hands. The pale green of her armor was already starting to wash out from the sun and heat of the forges, but from what Marok had said a few times after the evening meal, was that he used to be from Tasara. He had found her on the way back from his last trip there.
The gears turned as Rera moved to put the blanket on the Agori, folding a second one over his feet just the way Marok preferred normally. She had plenty of time to start up a fire in the cooking pit in the other wall, fetch a pot and water and started it simmering when Kiku pulled the semi large box from the medicine room. Opening the box, or maybe small crate would be more of an apt description for it, Rera took out the book inside while looking over the shelves of small glass bottles and jars that lifted with the lid. The girl may remember pretty much everything she learned by listening and reading, but it didn't hurt to double check what the book said, what the healer had printed in the book of what seed, leaf and sometimes liquid was and what it did and didn't do.
Kiku chirped a question, hovering by Marok as the old Agori seemed to finally drop in to true unconsciousness on the bed. The runt Vorox looked back to Rera, muttering his worry in his native language, not wanting to lose the thorny yet beloved elder.
"He's not going to die Kiku." Rera assured looking up and reading labels before picking two full jars, one with a black and white power mixure, the other with dried pieces of purple shaded leaves, "Not if I can help it." She added, measuring out the amount needed from both jars and put into the steaming water of the pot. Rera traded the jars out for others, repeating the action of adding things into the pot from the case.
The Vorox snorted, his tone taking a thoughtful inflection as he whistled.
"I know I'm not a full healer." Rera growled back as she held one last jar, staring with a heart-light that seemed to be cracking as she looked at the ten black seeds inside of the glass container. That wasn't enough, not in the slightest, the broth needed more like half to three quarters of a jar for this. The Glatorian closed her fingers over the small jar, holding it against her as Rera made up her mind, "But I'm going to get one up here."
Kiku's alarm trill was cut off as he all but chocked himself to keep from waking Marok. The Vorox grew more agitated as the only female of his pack closed the case before rising, looking back at the map on the wall. Hissing in displeasure the creature slid closer, tugging at Rera's nearer leg in protest at the idea, Kiku knew very well his girl had never gone farther than the bone yards from her home, and never alone.
"No Kiku," Rera said firmly with a sharp whistle and the Vorox hopped a little in turn, she leaned over to pull his head close enough to rest hers on it. "No... I'm going Kiku, Marok has favors owed him from near half the population. Or so he says," The woman knelt, still with her head against Kiku's, "But we only need one healer, I'm going to go through Marok's debt accounts to see what healers owe him, and who is actually in the top class."
The runted Vorox whined softly, slowly understanding, as well as something else even before Rera spoke her nest words.
"I need you to stay here Kiku," Rera chocked, took a deep breath and continued even as it scared her so much she was sure the Vorox could smell it, "Stay here with Marok, with father, and make sure he eats, drinks and makes it to the out-room and back. I'm taking one of the Sand Stalkers."
"Rera ra'ru ta." Reaching up at hearing a muffled sound from the Glatorian, Kiku wrapped his arms around his sweet-little, pulling her into a tight embrace to reassure her he would care for the pack elder. He chirped a half hearted comment, getting a soft chuckle in return.
"I know not to be stupid," Rera assured hugging the Vorox back, "I know I need to think of what to pack, and to shut down the forge." In fact she was already thinking of what to pack and what to start cooking for Marok, not wanting him to have nothing but Kiku's poor cooking while she was gone. It was easy enough to use the forges for that, and they had done that before by putting a large stew pot on the top of the smaller forges and on the front shelf of the larger ones.
Rera stood, ready to send all the raptors out hunting but found the whole pack, even the chicks were gone already to do just that. They had left as soon as they understood one of their extended family members was sick, to hunt of their own accord. That left Rera to pull out some of the desert melons and drops she had gathered not a week ago as well as the larger of the cooking pots.
I need to organize myself, Rera thought, stopping everything and stood, "Okay, first; I need to start the forges on their cool down. Second, food for Marok and Kiku, previsions for myself and the raptor. Third, go through the debt logs."
Taking another deep breath the woman stood more up right before heading outside.