The warrior clan matriarch and her older daughter applied herbs to refresh the living quarters. Despite the physical evacuations, the green-eyed acolyte remained clean enough to await the frame-healer’s arrival.
Warbling the tribal morning greeting, the blue-eyed younger daughter arrived, discussing with both healers what she had seen in her friend.
“Thank you for coming. This isn’t usual, so I appreciate your responsiveness. My daughters’ friend was found silent, disheveled, no communication skills. There is no desire for communication and no ability.”
As the two healers exchanged glances, something melted in the brown-eyed spirit-healer’s body.
“The frame-healer can start. When he’s done, he can bathe her under my supervision. Your protection and integrity, sir. Then we can compare notes and send the spirit-healer in. Sound reasonable?”
Again, the healers exchanged glances. Grabbing his leather sack, the blue-eyed frame-healer followed the warrior clan matriarch to the bed. The green-eyed acolyte curled like an early-born baby, clutching her legs to cover her midsection.
He sucked in air. Sighing, he muttered about being too old and too foreign to handle this.
Aloud he declared, “Hello, little one. Looks like you had some trouble. As a frame-healer, I need to examine you. You might forget what happened, or you might not speak; that’s okay. Something I do might remind you of your trouble. It’s not okay, but I have to. Your friends’ mom is here to watch me so I don’t add to your pain.”
He tousled her hair, looking for bruises. The warrior clan matriarch gently removed the blanket, loosened the child’s blouse, and left the trousers intact but pulled around her hips. He touched the child’s arms and observed her breasts. As he worked toward her abdomen and hips, the child began to shake convulsively.
“It’s okay. It’s an exam.” He stopped, wrung his hands, and covered the child.
“Thank you. For now I’m done. Please rest. You’re safe.”
Stepping around the corner and sinking to the floor, he started to hyperventilate. The blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch observed silently.
He made a final sigh. “I don’t know what to say. The bruising on her hips is not consistent with typical forced union, but I need to do some research.”
“Will there be proof?”
“There are similar scenarios in my homeland. If I’m right, she will look pregnant and but not act pregnant. In about 10 moon cycles, she’ll double over and deliver. But there are no guarantees. We just can’t see inside the body.”
The warrior-clan matriarch cocked her head, “Besides starting to cleanse the child’s heart and soul, could the spirit-healer tell?”
“Probably, but I don’t want to see her try. If she disappears, go to the berserker Life Spice bazaar stall on the edge of town. When the damage is bad, she takes the edge off there. Carefully and in full control of her mind, of course.” He popped up and left abruptly.
The blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch stared in stony silence.