Before Lady Miriam could ask how, the tirug door opened and six women emerged, one of them being Alithana Alara. Alara stopped when she saw them and nodded to the Princess before barring the next group from entering. Saying something in Skathain, she nodded in their direction. After a moment of silence, the other women moved back.
“Go on in Your Highness,” Alara gestured to the door. “It is built to bathe six, so your group is welcome to use it now.”
“Thank you.” Princess Allmarah smiled. “But we may take a while, so if your women wish to bathe before us...” She gestured for the Skathain women to enter.
The women looked questioningly at Alara and she spoke again in Skathain. One woman responded and Alara turned back to them.
“How long do you think it will take?”
Princess Allmarah looked to Mistress Laura, who looked to Miriam. “I cannot say Alithana, her wounds are deep and the tea takes time to steep.”
“She does not look to be injured.” Alara’s eyes looked over Lady Miriam, causing the girl to shy and hide behind Sarah.
“She was forced,” Sarah stated when Mistress Laura seemed to be fumbling for words, “by Wholawski or Chester, probably both.” A quick glance to Miriam indicated her last guess was correct. “There is a ritual bathing that needs to be done to help her begin the healing process.”
Alara nodded and conferred with the other women. They talked for a moment until one laughed and pointed over to the men. Sarah could see nothing funny, but apparently, whatever it was amused them all for they began to smile. Alara too was grinning. She turned back to the Princess's group.
“They will go take over the men’s bathing tirug; seeing as it’s not being taken full advantage of,” she chuckled. “Please, go on in. All we request is that you refill the tubs when you are done.” She smiled kindly at Lady Miriam and then Mistress Laura. “Take all the time you need.”
“Injured first,” Princess Allmarah, indicated Sarah go through.
“But you were injured too,” Sarah states gesturing at the Princess’s shoulder.
“I know,” she let out a sad sigh, “but it is nothing compared to yours.”
Sarah decided it’d probably be better if she didn’t argue. It was cold out here and warm in there and she really did want a bath. So she entered, with Lady Miriam clinging to her like a child. As soon as Mistress Laura was inside she set the Cammy tea to brew.
Talking softly to Miriam, Sarah explained the ritual and how it had helped her. A fact she had just realized, because she’d never been able to talk so freely about her experience before. When Mistress Laura had finished examining the Princess’s shoulder wound she politely interrupted them.
“The Cammy tea,” she told Lady Miriam, “will be ready shortly, but first I need to check Sarah’s wounds.”
“Do you have many?” Lady Miriam asked Sarah.
“Well two new ones to join my others,” Sarah laughed as she began to strip.
“How many do you have?” Mistress Laura exclaimed as she examined Sarah.
“About five from the Nigiris I think.” Sarah thought for a moment. “One from when I rescued Prince Hermanus and another from when I was assassinated at Griffon’s. One from protecting Prince Theodoso at the Scouting Trials...” Sarah stopped for a moment and looked to the Princess.
“He was always irrational,” Allmarah spoke with a bowed head. “I do not think even our mother, had she lived, would have been able to save him from himself. May the Gods rest their souls.”
Sarah reached out and the Princess took her hand and Sarah squeezed it in sympathy. Allmarah smiled slightly at her through her tears.
“That was three,” Lady Miriam interrupted, “I see four more.”
Sarah looked back at Miriam who was studying her body intently. “One more from when Chester tried to force me and the last two are from yesterday.”
“And they are healing remarkably well,” Mistress Laura stated. “Cammy tea ought to be...”
“But what about that one?” Lady Miriam interrupted, pointing to the scar upon Sarah’s belly.
Sarah sighed. “That is the aftermath from my forcing years ago.” She touched the scar, feeling tears in her eyes. “And the reason I can’t have children.”
There was an audible gasp in the room, followed by silence.
“Come Lady Miriam,” Mistress Laura said quietly, “let Sarah bathe and we will set you on the path to healing.”
“But I want her to listen,” Lady Miriam pouted.
Sarah touched the young woman’s hand. “When I am clean, I will. Just sit and soak in the Cammy tea until I get there, okay?”
Lady Miriam nodded and Mistress Laura led her to the other side of the tirug to bathe. Once Sarah was clean, she joined them. Taking Lady Miriam’s hand, she encouraged the girl to tell her tale.
“I know it is hard to do,” Sarah stated, “but it does help.”