Nightmare Burning, Part 6

The blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch shifted her position on her rock. Nothing was comfortable, but she knew any complaint would drive the green-eyed warrior into silence.

He sighed and began, “It’s not something I understand. It’s not something frame-healers around here seem to understand. We don’t know what causes camp diseases. When it happens, many people are beginning to live in the same general area. It could be temperature, it could be animals, it could be the gods and goddesses don’t like us all being friendly together.”

She snorted. “Not sure I buy the spiritual and metaphysical chasm lizard turds.”

He sighed and warned, “Don’t discount the discord of gods and goddesses. Anyway, it usually starts within two or three days of everyone getting together. Most of the people have the same problems depending on the specific disease. It can last five days up to two weeks depending on the type of disease.”

“Would you know one if you saw it?”

“If I’ve lived it, yes. If not, I might see a potential pattern.”

She sighed. As she started rubbing her wrists and knees, she observed, “I’ve seen a lot of us rubbing joints and walking slowly and stiffly. Some of the adults are actually sleeping while the moon hides and letting the little ones run wild without supervision. Myself, I’m turning red like I’ve been in the sun too long, and I’ve seen one or two others the same. For me, I never get sunred, ever. Are we starting with a problem?”

“With our luck, probably. It’s not one I’ve lived. It does have some similarities to one I’ve encountered on the other side of the lake. That one took five days. No one died, but it was annoying to be so sleepy.”

“What do we do?”

“Nothing. Some clans try to take herbs and odd remedies like chasm lizard turd pies. But the clans that survive and thrive are the ones that put themselves in a protected place and rest until the disease passes.”

“Are we in a good place? The lake is one boundary we won’t have to patrol, but that odd merchant group proved we weren’t as careful as we could be.”

“Woman, they’re not warriors. They and their littles have done the best they can. Let’s just let everyone rest and see what happens.”

She teased, “Should I add male crotchety cranky grumpiness to that list of problems?”

He snorted.

“Seriously, should we communicate anything to anyone? Leadership isn’t really my thing despite the DeadLife coalition appearances.”

He replied, “The more experienced warriors are already taking shifts to cover the forest boundaries. And you know we’re too stubborn to give up. But as for the normals, let them sleep and rest and be clueless. The less they know, the more relaxed they’ll be, and the more hotheaded won’t cause problems. The relaxation will be deeper, and maybe some of the spirit-healing can occur as the frame-healing occurs. They lost their homes, if you’ll remember.”

She sighed and tried once more to be comfortable despite hurting in body and soul.

“As for you,” he stated, “Go rest. Whatever you were up to before we all got here has drained you. Let us oldtimers lead. It will keep you out of everyone’s sight until the suspicion passes.”

She grunted as she pushed off the rock. As she was getting out of earshot, the green-eyed warrior cried, “And you still owe me that story about how you and the littles were here already.”

Despite the pain, she double-timed her pace as she went to her tent to rest.