Everyone needed someone who didn’t count, who they could trust to ask to help on something without ever a word being breathed about again. And Cremsden had Cuylar. Thank Faranth he’d asked K’ren to schedule them together on shifts.
Not too hard to seek him out without being too obvious about it, lingering until Cuylar had finished with his current patient. “Quick consult in my office when you’ve got a minute?” And ‘consult’ meant work-related, rather than just a chat.
Cuylar looked for a moment at the clipboard in his hand and then nodded. He had time. He rarely could not make time for Cremsden, especially if it was work related.
"I've got a minute," he said.
“C’mon then.” And Cremsden didn’t even pause to grab klah on the way, keeping his mouth shut until they were safely in his office, door closed, away from any ears other than those of a dozen or so firelizards.
“There’s a..situation,” he said, and hesitated. Where to start? “Okay. So. Shells. You know Dytha? Little dot of a thing, DragonHealer side, got that tiny little green?”
"I don't know her personally, but yes, I know who you're talking about," said Cuylar. He raised an eyebrow. What could this be about?
“Right, first thing - she’s got a touch of an infection,” Cremsden said. “Doesn’t really want it more public than it needs to be. She’s only down the corridor from the Infirmary so I’ve sent her home to bed and if she stays as she is now she can stay there no problems, but-- at least for tonight, someone needs to be checking in on her every few hours. Can you share with me? K’ren’s going to make faces if I try doing all 3 hourly checks overnight on my own.”
"Of course," said Cuylar. After all, he knew he could count on Cremsden to do the same for him. And Cuylar had very recent experience in dealing with infections.
“If it suddenly goes crazy on us you can get Elphith to call Zlorenth and Margana can give me a shake, but I’m hoping we caught it early enough.” He was quiet a minute, rolling around in his head the question that needed to be asked “Cuylar, listen -- on the record, I’m not asking you this question -- how bad are flights meant to get? I don’t mean at Fort where everything was fecked up anyway, I mean.. generally.”
Cuylar's other eyebrow rose to match the other.
"Well," he said. "When both parties are men, things can get a little dicey if there's no lubrication handy… or if they're too far gone to use enough of it. But usually, when women are involved, they shouldn't get bad at all. Not, uh… not when it comes to injuries from the act itself. The arousal from the flight should provide ample natural lubricant."
“And -- I can’t believe I’m having to ask this, because it should be fecking obvious but -- are there often other injuries?” Because he just needed to know. That he hadn’t lost his mind, that his thinking wasn’t just out of touch, that this was not okay.
"A bit of bump and tumble isn't beyond the pale," said Cuylar. "Things can get rough, and it can be difficult to navigate obstacles on the ground when your mind is half in the sky. But anything beyond a few bruises and soreness would be rare." A look of concern was plain on his face now.
"Unless one flier or the other was out for more. Something a little rougher than tumble."
“Mmm. From what’s been said, it wasn’t a case of tripping over furniture.” Cremsden sighed, and reached absent-mindedly to pet Bitey, needing something to occupy his hands. “Remember, you don’t know this.”
"Know what?" asked Cuylar, though he maintained his eye contact with that look that said he knew what Cremsden meant. "Is there anything else I should not know?"
Cremsden raised his chin, staring at the ceiling for a moment with a far-away brooding look for a minute or two. “Facial bruising,” he said finally. “Neck bruising. A bite that broke skin. She’s trying to be okay but she’s put a new lock on her door. Says his dragon was rough with her green as well. Doesn’t think it was a case of just getting carried away in the heat of things, but she’s telling herself bad flights happen.”
"Bad flights like this don't just happen," said Cuylar. "Hypothetically. Someone makes them happen." And hypothetically, Cuylar was wondering just how hard it would be to convince a wingleader that someone needed to have a bit of a bad Fall, but he had two rough times on that front – he had only recently begun to forge a camaraderie with his wingmates, and he did not know who the man was. Which might have been for the best.
"Are you sure – hypothetically – that there wouldn't be grounds to report something like this? I know Kassia is busy with the clutch, but… shells."
“Oh, there’s grounds, and I’m going to note the blue’s name in case we get a sudden rash of flight injuries,” Cremsden said. “But she doesn’t want to report and-- she’s an adult, and I’m not pushing it. That’s how you stop her coming to tell you next time she’s hurt.” He scratched Bitey’s back lightly, face set. “Not that I didn’t at least think it might be nice if he tripped down some stairs, but that’s probably leftover Fort right there. Or Bitra. One of the two.”
"Probably Fort," said Cuylar, "because I might have been thinking it, too. Hypothetically." He folded his arms and grumbled. "Well. It is what it is, I suppose. If she doesn't want to report it. But I'll be keeping my eye out for a pattern, too. Is there anyone I should be…" He sighed. "Anyone I might want to have Elphith flirt with?"
"I don't suppose whoever this is is likely to treat me the same way he treats a tiny woman…"
((I am not bait. And neither are you.))
“Like shards are you letting your lady near him.” And Cremsden sounded quite aghast by the idea. “Feck, Cuylar, I’ve just about got my head around the idea that you can handle yourself in flights and you’re quite all right with the whole thing. Don’t you dare.” Because the fact Cuylar stood head and shoulders above him had never ever meant he couldn’t get protective. Not after the amount of bad flights he’d seen come through Fort.
"Elphith said much the same thing," Cuylar admitted sheepishly. "But it's probably for the best now even more before that I don't know who this is. It's been a while since she's tried it, but I think she's going to try to solve this on her own if she knows." Not that Cuylar would know anything about that kind of urge.
“I’ll keep my mouth shut on the name then. Though thank her for me,” Cremsden added. “Good to know one of you two is working on keeping you safe.”
"I'm lucky like that," said Cuylar, and a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "She says you're welcome, by the way. And thanks you for the same."
“Almost like we don’t need to be able to talk to each other to gang up on you,” Cremsden observed. “Listen though, without giving you a name, could you just keep an eye open? Dytha should get to know you if we’re sharing check-ins and.. Not being funny, but someone out for trouble is probably more likely to see you and stay away than they are me.” Not that Cremsden hadn’t in his time been quite ready to use his fists when the occasion called for it, but sometimes appearances mattered. “And -- I don’t know, is there anything that can be done for next time her green rises?” This was where knowing a rider who knew how these things worked could be helpful.
"I'll be sure to look as intimidating as I can while going in and as cuddly while I'm there," said Cuylar, and he, too, was not being funny. "I told you about how I took Bl'by away to fly me when Elphith rose, yeah? She needs an escape route like that. Someone she trusts, a dragon, uh…"
"A dragon Ponth trusts to fly her. And then she should be good. Maybe a woman would be best."
“Unfortunately I’m not meant to know enough about flights to suggest it, and you’re not meant to know enough about what’s happened. Unless Elphith can manage a little gossip between girls to Ponth direct,” Cremsden suggested.
((That, I can most definitely do,)) said Elphith, as though she were not already planning to do so unbidden.
"Elphith is on top of it," said Cuylar. He nodded. "I'm sure she'll be very tactful," he added, mostly for her benefit.
“Good,” Cremsden said with satisfaction. “I’ve seen her cuddle up to dragons enough before when their riders were sickening that it won’t look off if she makes friends with Ponth. And anything Ponth tells her is information you didn’t get from me.”
"She's probably cuddling with her right now," Cuylar mused. She had moved when she heard what he was talking to Cremsden about… "And I didn't hear a word from you," he confirmed.
“Thanks.” The smile didn’t quite remove the worry from Cremsden’s face. “Hopefully we’ll get her through this infection and he’ll leave her alone. But just in case..”
"Just in case," Cuylar agreed. And he meant to keep a very close eye out for that contingency.