A dull prick penetrated the sweltering black haze that had been Faelash's consciousness for the past two days.
Ever since that damned bug bit her, she was too miserable to think up the many synonyms for "shit" she would use to describe her state. The only sleep she could get came in the form of flushed unconsciousness, the brief moments when she fully anticipated her expiration.
Another prick, sharper now, cut a searing hole into the muggy, enveloping shadow.
Before a third jab could come, Fae's eyelids fluttered open revealing her fevered, bloodshot pupils. She attempted to swat away the needle and hand in front of her - tunnel vision at full force - but failed. Her right arm, completely swollen and useless, barely responded to her requests to knock away the invader. Her left arm was bound to the bed by a cloth, and in her weakened state, Fae was powerless against it.
Sight beginning to broaden, Fae started taking in more of the room. She recognized the owner of the needling hand as her friend by commonality and circumstance, Laerra - standing and looking at her apologetically.
"Sorry, Fae," she said, checking the integrity of her collection vial, "We need to draw some more blood to test with. The more we get, the more quickly we can fix this."
Hearing, but unable to understand, Faelash struggled at her restraints until her disoriented mind recognized Elric, sitting next to Laerra with a concerned look on his face. With a glance to someone out of her sight, he put a fresh, wet cloth on Fae's forehead before clutching her bound hand and letting the ex-maester do her work.
Pacified by the cool, soothing texture and pleasant scent of witchhazel, Fae worked through what Laerra wanted. She unclenched her hand, grit her teeth, and exhaled as the needle punctured her skin, thin stream of blood trickling out into the vial. The jab of the needle sharpened her senses, cutting through the throbbing waves of pain coming from her shoulder and banishing the last of the clinging gloom. She was miserable, but awake.
"Last sample we'll need today. You're doing well," Laerra stated, terse as usual.
Fae laughed bitterly. "Then why does it feel like I'm dying?"
Elric's worried voice cut in as he stroked her non-swollen arm, "We've almost developed a cure, and you'll be the first person we treat. Laerra is an excellent researcher, and the two of us together will have it solved within the day."
As much as Fae wanted to believe him, his eyes betrayed his genuine concern. As she glanced around the room, she saw the same sentiment reflected in Balos and Kearen, both situated around a table and - for once - not arguing.
Laerra stood at a makeshift workbench, boiling some acidic concoction that made Fae's eyes water.