The Commander cursed. Twice. The uniforms flinched at his ire even though they weren’t its intended recipients. But Lord Worthington was worried. No. He felt terrible and terrified.
This blighted country was no place for a lady. Even one such as Lady Wellingham. But her father insisted she come along, and since he funded this venture, it was impossible to refuse him. He’d wondered briefly what other possible aim the Marquess pursed by trusting his widowed daughter to him but hadn’t worried too much about it, until now.
No matter, he delighted in her company during the sea voyage: he appreciated both her beauty and conversation. Women of the ton were usually dreary and silly – he would know – yet her ladyship wasn’t. Apparently she and her late husband entertained deep and meaningful conversations. The Earl was said to rarely make a decision about Parliament issues without discussing it with her. Something Lord Worthington willingly believed.
But the country wasn’t hospitable and the Lady had taken ill after a long trek in the wood precisely a week ago. She hadn’t complained at all, but the evening saw her ladyship’s body racked by shudders despite the camp fire. And she barely touched her ration of food. He chided her for it: a weak man or woman easily became a dead man or woman in a few days. She’d smiled at him, indicating her lack of appetite merely denoted her tiredness.
And now he was skulking around the edges of the camp fire where healers, or rather voodoo magicians, were trying to save the woman. Well they called it obeah but really… it was the same. Their doctor was at a loss. He had no idea what ailed Lady Wellingham. So there had been no choice.
The fire felt like a forge for its heat. Worthington stood at least 20 yards away from the fire but it was as if he sat right near it; and the torchwood surrounding Lady Wellingham had yet to be lit.
He wondered if she would survive the heat considering how feverish she’d been when he carried her to what might be her death bed. She’d looked so pale, her skin having caught a greyish tinge he was too familiar with. She’d been delirious too, moaning and speaking his first name – or maybe her late husband’s seeing as they shared the same monicker. She’d begged not to go yet. She wasn’t ready. Who would be at five-and-twenty? And yet, he knew too many lads in the navy who hadn’t seen their fifteenth birthday. Still… How could he have let it come to this? He was supposed to look after her.
In response to the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie prompt Wordle #125
1. Precise 2. Uniform 3. Delirious 4. Forge 5. Denote 6. Ration 7. Pneumatic (Of or relating to air, gases, or wind. Operated by air or by the pressure or exhaustion of air: a pneumatic drill. Filled with or containing compressed air, as a tire. Theology. of or relating to the spirit; spiritual. Zoology. containing air or air cavities.) 8. Shudder 9. Torchwood (Any of various resinous woods suitable for making torches, as the wood of the tree Amyris balsamifera, of the rue family, native to Florida and the West Indies. Any of the trees yielding these woods. Refer to Wikipedia for fictional fodder) 10. Terrible 11. Skulk 12. Lavation (Noun. The process of washing)