Hin was laying on her back staring at the perfect corner shaped by the two walls and the ceiling. It was perfect, like any illustration made with a ruler. Then she thought of the corner she would stare at, at home. Not quite so perfect, but still it was hers, or used to be. She wondered if home was still there. Her husband, or her other children. She felt the tears leak but paid them no attention. She didn't want anyone to notice. She turned onto her side. She heard the breathing of those next to her. She was afraid to sleep herself. Dreams were dangerous here and she wanted less to do with the world she was in now. She held back a sob, and it hurt her chest. Then she heard Faris cry out. She sat up quickly then raised to her knees, to look at him. He was fitful. She got up trying not to disturb Iowan, Hector's father. Hector who died for her, and she was not worth it. She wasn't worth any of the effort on her behalf. She shook her head of the memories and went to the pump outside to get water bringing the bucket in with her and then found a cloth. Faris had a fever and she felt helpless and started trying to cool his face with the wet cloth. Faris moaned. Iowan sat up and looked over at them. He had a question on his face but said nothing as Hin wiped Faris' brow.
"Fever," Iowan said looking at her.
They both knew it wasn't good. Faris had never gained consciousnesses. Hin nodded slightly. He did not need her affirmation, but she gave it out of habit. He got up and went rummaging in his kitchen and she heard him take the kettle out to put water in. He grudgingly came back in and went into the kitchen. Hin stared at the leaf on her hand. Useless, she said to herself. She sighed and kept dipping the cloth into the bucket to make it cool once again. She could hear Iowan making something in the kitchen. The rattling and discord bothered her, distracted her. She set her mouth in a scowl and kept working to cool Faris.
"Here," Iowan thrust a warm cup into her hand.
She felt the steam on her face as she took it from him. She raised up onto her knees and then stood to get closer as Iowan moved to bring Faris to a sitting position. Hin tipped the cup to his lips gently and put a small amount into his mouth. Some he swallowed a bit leaked from his lips. She kept on until most of the cup was empty. Iowan set Faris down and then took the cup from her. She inhaled and was about to ask what it was.
Iowan must have seen the question on her face he said only,"Kipu."
Hin recognized that as the analgesic Hector had offered for her headache. At least there was some kind of traditional healing on this planet that relied on magic too much for her comfort. She sat on the edge of the bed now and looked down at Faris he seemed to settle but the fever had not broken yet. Sweat dripped from him and soaked the pillow.
"I need some air," She said loudly and did not wait for any indication that Iowan had heard her.
She stood outside in the cool night air. Cooler than the last couple of nights, she noticed. Was winter coming? Did this planet have a winter? How long would it last? How cold did it really get? She sighed and stopped asking questions she didn't really want the answers to. She looked at the moons that were high in the night sky. She wondered again about the names of the moons. She laughed and thought how absurd this all was. All the novels she had read couldn't prepare her for the real thing. She thought about her backpack that was left behind. Everything she was holding onto, to feel prepared. To be ready. She laughed and realized how ridiculous it was to feel prepared, but not be prepared.
She felt Iowan walk up and stand beside her. He wasn't so gruff as she thought he was when they had first arrived on his doorstep. Country living had agreed with him, though. He just stood next to her silently. Then without being asked he pointed to the small moon.
"That is the beautiful Cadence, daughter of Aran, the large moon in the middle, with Bader, her lover, behind him. Aran does not think Bader worthy of his daughter's love so he keeps them apart always except for two nights in the spring when Aran is late to rise, and the lovers look like they almost touch." Iowan had whispered this into her ear while pointing at the moons in the sky. It tickled her to have the story. It was lovely, she thought.
"Thank you," She said and she looked at her feet, after staring at the moons, she was afraid to look straight at him. He sighed and went back in. She regretted the awkwardness but she smiled to herself and wondered if Aran was the king of the night sky, and Cadence the beautiful headstrong princess pursued by a lowly Bader who was brave and strong but deemed unworthy. The stories, when he shared them, always delighted her. She still searched the stars for something familiar. Finding nothing she went back in to check on Faris. As she sat on the edge of the bed, Faris' hand grasped her wrist tightly. She gasped but held her composure, even when startled.
"You mustn't go Elara, you can't," Faris murmured then let go. She looked to Iowan, but he shook his head and shrugged. So many questions Hin thought. If only he would wake up.