Not much to report about this week as most of the week was recovery. Setting up and packing up the garage sale we had last weekend ruined my hands, so not a lot of anything was happening for me during the past seven days. Just lots of nothing (ie: rest).
If you've never dealt with repetitive strain injuries, I really hope you never have to. Especially in the chronically recurring way I'm stuck with which has spanned the past 27 years for me. If you're recently dealing with a new repetitive strain injury, treat the symptoms and rest the injury, then stretch and strengthen the injured area under the guidance of a good physiotherapist so the injury doesn't come back.
My latest round of setback pain was from straight-up overuse. Too much lifting / grabbing using hands and fingers, and then extra computer work for making up a website, so both wrists were over-fatigued. Cue up the ouch. Rest for every day since Monday consisted of no typing, no knitting, minimal lifting (I'm still a mom, life provides lifting requirements), wearing support braces, regular pain meds, and crushing anxiety about All The Things I'm Not Doing.
Sounds super fun, right?
My physiotherapist noted the positive that this setback pain required a lot more aggravation than previous, similar pain levels. Inside my brain that was definitely a spiral-snuffing thought. Behold! The wisdom of progress monitoring! She was absolutely right, the past six months of physio are providing strength improvements which in turn provide less pain and this setback pain proves the point, but it still hurts and feels like back-sliding. Good thing to remember as my reminder to self this weekend: "feels like" and "actually is" are two different things.
Hope you're staying safe and well this weekend!
3. Disappearing Acts
The visit from her father and then thinking about everything after her mother died; her father disappearing and leaving her as a child Liege, leaving home to live with Uncle Mazzo when her father returned, the politics and games … she needed some fresh air. In a rash tempt to fate and the assassin apparently coming for her, she took off her armor and decided only to carry her sword. A heavy cloak would keep off the physical symptoms of tonight’s drizzle, and a warm fire combined with some laughs and pleasant conversation should get rid of the worst of the coldness inside her.
The ground was soft and her footsteps barely rustled the sparse grasses. Her camp had been here a week. It was a long enough time to have packed trails in the common routes between tents but not long enough for the grass to give up completely and leave everyone walking in mud. Her sword rattled in its scabbard as she shivered and pulled her cloak tighter closed, then it vibrated like laughter before humming happily about being immune to feeling the damp chill in the evening air. In each direction she looked, fires and conversations were warmly shared at common junctions and the smells of leather, horses, spiced teas, and thick soups infused the dark along with light and laughter.
At the nearest fire were her two top commanders, Daratno and Natta. Daratno saw her first and smiled. Her stomach flipped and her knees wobbled like she was a girl. Gabryhn quickly reminded herself about how annoying she’d thought his awkward and adoring attentions were after first moving to these territories with Uncle Mazzo, her mother’s brother, and that a fluttering stomach had no place inside her now she was the Liege.
The untasted mug of tea he stole from Natta spilled and burned his fingers as he held it out in invitation for Gabby to join them for a hot drink on a cold evening. Natta’s quick laugh at the instant revenge his tea had wrought helped her smile. These two as her top commanders… they were good choices but both were utter goofs in the rare moments they weren’t being commanders.
Natta was strong and tall, his skin browned by years in the sun and his eyes and hair a dark compliment to his rugged features. He possessed a fast, steady hand and a calm mind both in combat and in training. In contrast to Natta’s handsome bearing, Daratno’s nose was a half-size too small for his face, and his teeth a size to large. He was leanly muscled and – at least in training and battle – possessed the most grace of motion Gabby had ever seen a person control. His eyes and hair were almost the same color of dark brown, nearly black, and he had a smattering of sun-born freckles across both cheeks that looked like someone had flicked a wet paintbrush at him.
Gabby returned his smile and opened her mouth to wonder aloud how he managed to be so skilled with his sword and simultaneously so clumsy without it. Her ears popped and she stumbled to a stop, boot heels clicking on polished flagstones. A sharp inhalation proved the air was suddenly sharp and crisply dry.
Back in the camp, her sword thumped to the trail she’d just been walking on. Daratno dropped both mugs of tea and leapt to his feet, looking around for the Liege who suddenly wasn’t there before being the first to raise the alarm.
Gabby’s gaze swept the change in surroundings. Tall, wide windows paned with clear glass were set at even intervals around each wall, the view outside of mountain peaks in each direction above clouds lit gold and purple from below by the last of the sunset. A high, domed ceiling arched overhead. The impressive stonework to support it was open to see and bathed in light by a multitude of white-lit chandeliers which didn’t have any candles in them. The chandeliers were glowing brightly. A railing emerged in a gentle curve up from the floor near the wall to her left side and Gabby could see the first few polished stone steps leading down.
She was in the middle of what looked like, from here, some kind of sky-built… ballroom? A low stage where musicians would be expected to sit was centered at the long end of the oblong room, opposite the railing for the stairs. One person stood at the front of the stage; a stranger, wearing clothing identical to what Dorgand had worn the night he’d murdered her mother.
Gabby snarled and reached for her sword. Her hand closed on empty air where the hilt should have been. The person nodded and sighed, then sat down on the edge of the stage while making a spiral gesture with one hand to encompass the entire ballroom.
“No weapons allowed. It’s a thing my grandfather set up and my dad kept charged so I keep it going, too. Great fun when you forget to take off a dagger on the way up the stairs and it clatters around your feet like a cat trying to trip you. I’m… um… I’m Edden Dorgand’s son, Lydo,” he said. He was fidgeting with his sleeves. His face looked no older than her brother’s, but the similarity to the man who’d killed her mother was there in the shape of his cheeks and the lines of his nose.
“Dorgand’s… son?” Gabby forced out the question. Her brain was reeling from both the sudden change in surroundings and the thundering information that an immortal sorcerer had a son… and a father? And a stone ballroom built on the clouds?
Lydo cleared his throat and opened his mouth, apparently changed his mind about speaking before even uttering a sound, and then his teeth clicked shut and he nodded a silent, positive response to her question. His shoulders drooped on the third head motion and he sighed, head staying bowed. After a moment, he inhaled as if he was going to speak, then glanced at her and dropped head again to stare at his feet. He scoffed and kicked at an invisible rock instead. Lightning sparked and crackled around the toe of his boot, reflecting in the polished flagstones.
“I’ve been practicing what to say for nearly an hour,” he said, looking across at her, completely at ease with lightning fizzling to a stop around his foot yet visibly uncomfortable holding her gaze. “I was going to explain everything really well. But then… you look so much angrier than I expected and… and…” His words ended haltingly and he scoffed at himself. “Of course you’re really angry. You must think I kidnapped you,” he muttered. He slapped the stage with his hand. His bare palm striking the stone rang out like steel and yellow sparks skittered across what would be the woodwind’s section, in a standard orchestra arrangement.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!