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Chapter 39

Resigned to the fact that he was going to end up doing Derrl's work because he hadn't shown up and nor was likely to, as he was already two hours late, Mensk walked out to the shed to put away the stock that had been delivered that afternoon. Grumbling to himself about hard work and being a frail old man (even though he wasn't all that frail) he rounded the corner of the shed, not particularly paying attention to where he was walking. His lack of attention caused him to fall over the huddled, shaking mass that was Derrl and hit the ground with a thud. He swore, not something he usually did, at least, not without good reason. He turned himself over to get a good luck at the gibbering mass that was currently Derrl. Now on his feet, he reached out and tried to place one hand on Derrl's shoulder, but was unable to due to the violent reaction of his employee and essentially adopted family.

"We'll fix you up. Don't worry about it." He said, knowing full well that Derrl most likely hadn't heard him. Having said this, he left the shed to fetch someone to help him carry Derrl inside. As a result, he didn't notice that the youth was suddenly somewhat calmer having heard his words.

Mensk returned shortly with two large men who had been drinking in the tavern. He directed them into the shed, and as he spoke reassuring words to Derrl, he instructed them to carry him up to his room. As they made their way up the stairs, Mensk couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with the boy. As soon as he had Derrl comfortably installed, he would send someone to get Leylau and bring her here. If anyone could help him, she was probably that person. He was worried nearly out of his mind. He had no clue what to do, or even remotely what was wrong. As soon as Derrl was set down on the bed, he immediately assumed a fetal position and began to shake again, mumbling incoherently with only one word or two that were recognizable escaping his lips.

Leylau burst through the tavern doors, eyes wild, hair in disarray, nearly screaming, her voice almost shrill with the emotion that rocked her foundations at that very moment. She had never been so frightfully worried at any other time.

"Where is he? I need to see him now!" She ran to the bar reached over to grab Mensk by the collar of his tunic and practically hauled him bodily over the counter.

Now upstairs and sitting beside Derrl's huddled form, she was calmer but no less worried. She had tried everything she could think of and nothing had worked. She had attempted all the treatments she knew of that she thought would work in this situation. In desperation, she had tried those that she knew wouldn't do anything but that she hoped would. And having failed to succor him from his self imposed prison, she began to rack her brain to come up with new treatments in the hope that she would somehow think of something that would be able to retrieve him from wherever he was. As it was, she felt completely helpless. But still, she refused to give up. She sat, holding his hand, murmuring soothing words to him, and quickly forgot the time. She did not consciously notice anything until she woke to see Yerril standing over them both as she slept, curled around Derrl. He smiled sympathetically at her, and pulled up a stool so that he could sit near her as she sat on the bed.

"I had no clue." He spoke quietly, and sadly. He spoke almost as if he were already dead and gone. Oddly, his speech had altered. He no longer spoke with the accent of a seaman. "And to think that I had come here, looking for him, to tell him that we could do more work on the Pribe." He smiled sadly, "She'll wait until he's better, and if he doesn't get better, I don't think I'll ever let her sail again. Without him, she'd be a dead hull sitting on the beach. I'll see to that."

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