Adam Wilson Falls Prey to an Ambush
(( This is the latest of several unlocked scenes detailing the affair between Adam Wilson and Persephone Callahan. It was written and takes place in late March - early April, about a week after the blizzard. Folks who were around in the spring may remember him limping around on an injured leg? This is how that happened.
Content warning for violence and language.))
After a long day looking at townhouses in Oakston, continuing the fruitless search for his sister's new home, Adam rode his horse back down the road to Tyrhampton. The sun hung low in the sky, peeking in deep golden rays through the branches of the trees along the wooded path. It had been over a week since the blizzard and the snow had just begun to melt.
Suddenly, a band of robbers appeared out of the brush. The three men surrounded him, demanding his purse. His horse, a loan from Lord Fillintheblank, started to rear, but Adam soothed the beast, stroking its mane. He set his jaw but tossed his purse to the apparent leader of the gang.
A henchman spied the hilt of Adam's sword, a fine piece of work with expert craftsmanship and a family crest engraved. They demanded that from him too, but this he refused. The men argued and made threats, but Adam held fast, hopping down from his mount so it didn’t spook. The matter escalated to the point he had to draw the blade in question, but he was outmatched. In a whirl of activity, Adam suddenly found himself deprived of both money and horse, bleeding into a snowbank.
Persephone rode on a borrowed horse of her own toward the Foxx’s Den in Oakston. She was glad that the snow had started to melt, but it was still rather cold. She turned the collar of her coat up against the wind and shivered lightly, humming to herself as she traveled. Her eye caught a trail of red creeping down a snowbank and followed it to a figure in the snow. She furrowed her brow and rode up to the man. Her eyes flew wide when she saw who the blood belonged to.
"Christ, Adam..." She hopped down before the horse had fully stopped, rushing over to him. She ripped open the fabric of his breeches, packing snow over the wound to try and halt the bleeding. "What the hell happened?"
He grunted a little, only half aware of who it was that spoke. "Mmm...ambush..." His eyelids started to flutter open and closed. The gash in his leg wasn’t dire on its own, but deep enough that it would surely need stitching. Without attention for a few minutes, he had managed to lose a fair amount of blood.
Persephone wrapped her arms around him and pulled him up. "C'mon English. We need to get yeh patched up..." She grunted as she used all of her forge-practiced strength to lift him and walk him to the horse. "Use yer good leg tah mount. I'll catch yer arm on the other side and help yeh over, alright?"
He smiled and sighed a little, willingly wrapping his arms around her neck to get himself upright. He stiffened a little as the movement started to stir him back to full consciousness. With a grimace, he managed to get himself in the saddle. He blinked and looked around a little, his voice coming out hoarse. "Where did you get a horse?"
"I know a guy..." She hopped up behind him and grabbed the reins, setting the horse off on an urgent gallop back in the direction she had come.
He slumped forward a little, prompting her to wrap an arm across his chest to steady him. "Is this guy wondering what happened to his horse?" He jested, but he was clearly growing woozy.
"Not yet I venture." She smirked as they rode back into town. She stopped for no one and jumped the horse over a passing cart, holding on tight to Adam so he wouldn’t fall. She halted the horse in front of number 10 Mill Lane and slid off the back. Tying the horse to the gate, she helped Adam down, before pushing the door open and closing it quickly behind them. She fixed his arm over her shoulder and caught her breath, before slowly and steadily making their way up the stairs and through her bedroom door.
It was a simple room with a cozy quilt on the end of the bed. There were a few small paintings on the wall, as well as three beautiful swords mounted above her bed. A small writing desk sat beside a form for fitting clothing, and various fabrics leaned against the wall near a basket full of thread and ribbon.
Persephone walked him past a dresser where a brush and some oils for perfume lay under a mirror. A simple wooden box displayed a crude dagger inside. As they passed, she snapped the box’s lid shut and set Adam into a chair.
She grabbed a few scraps of fabric and a pair of scissors to cut up the length of his leg, sending his eyes a little wide. “Thieves on the road...F***in' travesty here in this town," she muttered.
"Alright, hang on." She quickly exited the room and soon returned with a large tin box and a half-full bottle of whiskey, which she handed him. Another brief absence produced a pot of boiled water. She dipped a rag in and began to clean the blood, focusing intently on the task at hand.
The gash began an inch or two above his left knee and continued from there on a diagonal. He started to appreciate that this was no dream, no mistake. It really was Persephone come after him. He raised a brow and took a sip of the whiskey. He distracted himself from the fiery pain with a favorite game of hers: "Why not just leave me for dead?"
"Because I'm a massive p***k, but I'm not a psychopath," she murmured with a slight smirk. She pulled a bottle of witch hazel from the box and soaked a clean rag with it. "This will feel terrible..." she warned before pressing the rag against the wound and cleaning it all the way down.
He sat up out of the chair a little at the first sting but shortly sank back down with a low groan far back in his throat. His jaw set, though it didn’t seem to be simply from the physical pain.
She glanced up at him and furrowed her brow. "Yer gonna be fine Adam, yeh just need some stitches. That's all." She pulled a needle and thread from the tin box.
He looked away from her and continued sipping the whiskey.
She glanced up at him after the first stitch and seeing he was taking the pain well, she continued on.
His nostrils flared as he exhaled, controlling his reaction. He darted his eyes toward her. In between small winces, he said, "Well now I understand how you felt, all those times forced by your health into my care."
She chuckled and shook her head. "And now I know how it feels to have an ungrateful, stubborn charge. Drink yer whiskey." She rolled her eyes a bit and continued the stitches. She sighed gently and furrowed her brow, leaning in and taking special care to stitch neatly.
He let out a genuine smile to hear her laugh, but schooled his expression in a moment. He drank again and leaned his head back, eyes closed. The men had cut a good three inches at least and gone deep - he knew she might be at work a while. After a few moments, he spoke with his eyes still closed. "Soon as I can stand on my own, I'll be out of your way."
"Good luck makin' it down the stairs. Yeh can always try the tree outside the window but if yeh f**k up me work, I'm not fixin' it. Yeh can find another siren tah tend yer wounds."
He sniffed and took another swig of whiskey. In his injured state, it was going to his head rather quickly, and even then, he rarely drank at such a pace. "Siren...perfect. You'll almost certainly be the ruin of me, as you've apparently been for several."
"If yer lucky..." she mused quietly. She grabbed another rag and cleaned over what she had already stitched. "They got yeh good boyo… Did they take anythin'?"
He watched her work through dark eyelashes. "Mmm...nothing important." He paused. "My purse...my horse...well not /my/ horse, the one I was riding. But I can secure...a new one for Lord Fillintheblank." He took a deep breath.
She frowned a bit and shook her head. "I'm sorry...Yeh must’ve been outnumbered. I'm glad yer well at least." She was concentrating so hard she didn’t realize what she had said.
He frowned a little. "No need to lie on my account Irish. I'm a big boy. I can tolerate your disdain."
She furrowed her brow and looked up at him. "What're you talkin' about?"
He sleepily waved a dismissive hand.
She glared at him a moment before looking back down. "Did yeh use yer sword?"
He gave a little nod. "There were three of them."
She nodded and pulled the last stitch through. She sat back to observe her work, and with a proud smile grabbed another rag to soak in more witch hazel. "Yer lucky to have been found. The cut’s not bad but yeh could have bled out. I saw a man with a bullet wound right here.” She touched gently about two inches from a part of his cut. "He bled out in less than five minutes. There was nothin' we could do..." She glanced down and frowned a bit before wiping the now stitched wound with witch hazel.
He felt conflicted over her touch and was grateful for the sting of the witch hazel. He winced a little and smirked. "Well, you might have a stubborn ungrateful patient, but at least I can call you by the right name."
She got a clean dry rag and gave the wound one final cleaning. "Yeah, practice makes perfect, boyo." She set her jaw a bit and paused before turning and getting gauze to wrap his leg in.
He frowned a little at her. "You don't remember anything of that night, do you."
She arched her brow and glanced at him. "Of what night?"
His words were just beginning to slur a bit. "When I found you, deliriously ill."
"Oh, that." She shook her head. "No...No, I remember going to work two days before waking up in your bed, and that is all between those points." She slowly began to wrap his leg.
He paused, wondering if he was being unkind. "You kept calling me Tom."
She stopped. She sat there frozen in her action for a long moment before slowly looking up at him. Her face was pale and her blue eyes were wide with a mix of mortification and anger. Her cheeks finally reddened a bit, and she shook her head through gritted teeth and looked back down to work. "Never...ever...say that name again."
His eyes were a little sad. "Funny, I was about to ask you the same thing." He let a few moments go by, but in his drunkenness, he needled her again. "When I put you to bed, you begged me to lie next to you, pled."
"So why didn't you?" she snapped back, tying off the gauze. "Can we stop talkin' about the silly delusions of a sick woman and focus on now? Because /now/ it's been over a week since yeh yelled at me fer leavin' and /then/ just let me leave. It's not like setting aside every expectation of myself is an easy thing tah do, but I did! I put in real effort, Adam." She huffed as she got another bit of gauze to worked her way up a second layer over his wound. "Infuriatin' man."
He sniffed with a hint of derision. "Effort, please. Don't take me for one of your fools. If you wanted to stay you could have." He didn’t quite meet her eye, but his voice quietly burned. "I refuse to oblige someone who never really wanted /me./"
"Are yeh mad, Adam! I know yer not a stupid man, so I have tah assume the ignorance is of a willful nature." She glared at him and tied off the gauze rather aggressively. "I don't bring men to me house even when they're dying. We were halfway tah Oakston, I coulda just taken yeh to a doctor, ya daft fool!"
She started cleaning up her supplies. "I don’t-- s***e." She cursed as she knocked over the bottle of witch hazel, which she caught and corked before too much spilt. "I don’t....express meself tah anyone. Happiness, sadness, it's all the same, but not only did I /go/ tah you after I learned about me brother, I /told/ yeh about it."
She started sounding a bit frantic. Her laundry list of reasons he was a moron was starting to sound like she was coming clean to herself just as much as she was to him. "AND I WOULD NEVER BLOODY WALTZ. ITS A F***IN STUPID DANCE!" She rose and went for the door. "But... yeh’ve got big hands and kind eyes and yer a decent fencer and....I just.....I just..." She took a deep breath.
"He had green eyes. And long curly red hair. Even in a stage show, yeh couldn't look like ‘im." She opened the door. "So leave if yeh wanna leave yeh hurtful, blind man." She held the door and stood with a hand on her hip, trying to manage her breathing.
He lifted a brow and placed his hands on either side of the chair to slowly, painfully lift himself to standing. He faltered in his stance at first, but righted himself, taking up his sabre and using it as a cane to get to the door, glowering all the while. At the threshold, he grasped the door frame and tossed the blade back onto her bed. "/That's/ what they wanted, what my refusal to cede led to my injury. Clearly I don't deserve it." He took one final, furious look at her and limped out the door, already dreading the stairs, but he'd find a way.
She stared at the sabre on the bed and turned to watch him head for the stairs. She frowned a bit and makes her way to to the bed, lifting it in her palms and looking it over before clasping her hands around it. She turned and set the blade on her dresser and quietly made her way out to him. Wordlessly she slipped under his arm to support him. "Do you /want/ to leave, Adam?" she said quietly, almost a whisper.
His jaw twinged with hurt pride, but at length, he managed a quiet, simple "no.”
She glanced down and nodded gently before turning him around and helping him back to her room. She closed the door behind her and grabbed the key on the dresser, locking it with a click. She led him to the bed and set him down, looking down at him with a sigh.
He sank into the bed with relief, but couldn’t yet meet her eye.
She ran her fingers through his hair on either side of his head and leaned down, lighting a gentle kiss on the top is his head. He closed his eyes and drew a shaky breath, and she turned to tidy the space.
She moved silently around the room, fixing her fabric corner and moving the first aid kit to the dresser. She rested her hands on the smooth wood and looked down at the sabre, bringing one hand up to run her fingers along the hilt where she had hidden her initials, before going to lie beside him.
She let out a low chuckle and sighed, rolling onto her back. "I'm gonna destroy you, yeh know..."
He stared at the ceiling, his expression darkening and his tone a little somber. "I know."