Recoil. Now she was awake, eyes wide, sweating, gasping for
breath. It was moonlight dark, her mind was a confusion of images, her
mother, a table, herself, a breaking rod. Breaking who?
"I think you're sickening for something." Roween was sitting up, leaning against a weatherworn column, braced against it almost.
Conley laughed, sharply. It hurt. "Just the dream again, Ro, sorry I disturbed you."
"Haven't had much rest anyway, bad cramps; something I was expecting, though, normal. What about your cough?" She peered across the half-illuminated cloister. "You got a temperature?"
"A slight flush, that's all, often happens after a nightmare."
Roween half-rolled to her knees, made her way to the mage. Gems of perspiration glistened in the semi-gloom, and no cosmetic spells could entirely mask her red-rimmed eyes. Roween touched her own forehead with the back of her hand, then felt Conley's. The difference was startling. "You're burning up, Con! What have you got that'll help?"
"Don't worry, I'll be - " she strangled the end of the sentence, cleared her throat, tried to suppress a coughing fit, failed.
" - a wreck if you don't get treatment. Riding around for weeks in the rain and the wind, wouldn't surprise me if you had pneumonia. Shall I fetch your notebook?"
"Blue cover, twine-bound," she emphasised the `twine' involuntarily, a nasal hum as she fought back more wracks. "It's an in- house MedSpell librar - " phlegm.
"A blue book, yes." Roween was on her feet, over at the saddlebags within moments. She found it alongside Conley's other booklets, wondered how many of them listed spells, what other transcriptions she was carrying. There was a sudden, thudding crack from behind her; she froze, listened. What was that? Silence, now, except for Con's wheezing. Probably masonry falling, forget it, no time to worry about that at the moment. She returned to her stricken friend. "It's not very thick," she stated, apprehensive, holding out the notebook. Conley didn't take it.
"Ro, I can't gesture, I'm so cold." She was shivering, aglow with fever, almost whining between the chest-freeing explosions that were now rising every few seconds. Roween hurried back to the horses, fetched her greatcoat, draped it about Conley's shoulders.
"Try and keep warm, these things come in waves, it'll ease off soon, you'll stop shaking for long enough to cast a cure." If there is one.
Lying back, Conley drew herself into a huddle. "My head's aching, too," she murmured, softly so as not to provoke a further attack. "This has come so quickly, can you find, in the book?"
"Everything will be alright, just try and rest. Trust me."
21st January 1999: isif30.htm