I've finally been writing again, rather than editing or working on blog posts, etc. Here's a recent bit from "The Base of the World," the short story I'm now trying to finish about a healer dealing with a mysterious disease:
It was the second time she had been awakened from a sound sleep by shouting; she dreaded it before she even fully recovered to consciousness. She blinked her eyes open to see Viresi.
"Liva, why are you sleeping?" the girl persisted.
She drew herself up, stung. "I'm exhausted. I can only do so much. It will have to wait."
"What about Garra?"
She shook her head, irritated, about to snap at the child. The resemblance to - the memory of - Islu stopped her. "Garra? She's fine - not fine," she amended, "but she'll be my next target. She might complain even more when she's cured, but she will be."
"Did you really not look at her?" Viresi pressed.
Liva sank back on her heels. Though still bleary, she focused on the words rather than reacting. "Her cough was worse … almost overwhelming … I didn't look at her colors," she admitted. "I didn't have time." Though she offered the justification, she didn't focus on it as the first part of her statement sunk in. "I didn't look. I didn't see how badly off she was …"
"No," Viresi agreed. "You didn't."
How had the child known? She wasn't there … Liva pushed it off in the face of a sense of foreboding. She rose in a rush. "I should go."
"And I will come with you."
Healer and girl moved swiftly through the camp. This time, Liva didn't notice the eyes upon them, breaking into a sprint. She was stunned to find she had the energy.
She burst into the infirmary to find Delis and Nethin clustered at the dour woman's bedside, soothing her with words, conversing in wary whispers. She placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and nudged him aside with a strained smile for Nethin.
"We were just debating if we should send for you," Nethin said, "but we figured you knew her condition before you left."
Liva pressed down the stab of guilt as Garra turned her head to stare, eyes flitting back in her head. "You finally decided …" Another coughing spasm took her, a full-body shudder. She gripped the sheets to steady herself. Lina reached out to hold her shoulders and delved into her healer's sight. What she saw chilled her: the blue mire had spread out through the bulk of Garra's body, thinning only towards the extremities.Liva was not fully rested, but there was no time to build up her reserves - and as with the wounded man earlier, she could not begin with the subtle, delicate work, for the disease had twined thickest around Garra's lungs, twisting hard. At best, permanent damage that would make the woman's current occupation impossible; at worst …