Once again in the morning Einar ran the trapline, finding nothing--one can’t always expect to find something--but pleased at the greater speed of which he was seeming capable each day, ribs apparently continuing slowly to heal and allow him more normal breathing. Every little bit made a difference, and though the found himself still dealing with a constant and fairly significant ache around the injured area and pain that could at times become rather sharp and intense depending on how he moved--or how much weight he was attempting to carry--the fact that his breathing had returned nearly to normal at least while at rest allowed him to realistically hope for the first time that he might be able to get through the healing stage without acquiring pneumonia from all the restricted and shallow breathing. That was the thing he’d really been afraid of, that, and having his lung punctured by a loose fragment of bone--perhaps he ought to have been more concerned still about what mistakes he might make while in the oxygen-deprived half-stupor that marked his existence during the first weeks after the injury, but of course he had been unable at the time to realize the potential seriousness of the situation--but no such had happened, and now it appeared he was on the mend. Good. Somewhat surprising, but good.
Muninn joined Einar on his circuit of the trapline, skimming timber tops and swooping down here and there to take a closer look at a bit of fur or feather--bait for the traps, usually--or a wind-blown leaf that caught his attention, and Einar watched him carefully, alert for any unusual behavior on the bird’s part that might indicate the proximity of danger, the source, perhaps, of the cloth scrap that had been brought--message, warning, or simply a curiosity on the part of a very curious creature?--the night before. Muninn seemed undisturbed, though, carrying out his daily activities in what appeared to Einar a fairly normal manner, and search as Einar might, scanning the skyline, tilting his head and cupping hands around ears for any distant sound, testing the morning breezes for smoke, he could find no evidence of a human presence other than their own. Perhaps the bird had, indeed, taken the scrap of cloth from some hunter’s camp many miles distant. Made sense, but still the incident bothered Einar, left him on edge and in a hurry to return to the cabin, and Liz. Needed to check on her, anyway, see if she was awake and how she might be feeling, Stable, he hoped, with no further sign of the baby’s attempting to put in an early appearance. While he was--and always had been-fairly confident in the ability of the three of them to handle the challenges of a “normal” birth up there in the basin, the prospect of the child coming into the world with badly under-developed lungs and other potential problems gave him pause. Well. Shook his head, started walking again, heading for the next trap in the circuit, the last one before returning home. All we can do is try our best to be ready, try and see to it that Liz doesn’t have to do things that seem to threaten to bring on early labor…gonna have to watch real carefully for a few days and see what that may involve, but she’s pretty aware of what’s going on with her situation and so am I, I think, so between us we ought to be able to get it figured out.
Empty. That last trap, a deadfall, was empty too, and Einar turned to head up the slope, glad of the climb ahead of him, as he badly needed to warm up a bit. Guessed he probably ought to have borrowed Liz’s parka for the morning, which seemed to him the coldest yet by far, but he had wanted it there for her should she decide to venture out while he was away. Time to make another, then, so you don’t have to go through the entire winter freezing and barely able to use your hands, which is definitely what you’ve got going on right now. Gonna end up with frostbite again if you do that, and besides, there’s just no sense in going through your day as clumsy and slow as you are right now, if there’s a choice. With which he doubled the pace of his climbing, making it to the cabin clearing in well under the ten minutes it had for the past several days been taking him to cover that distance. Liz was up, had a fire going and the smell of breakfast was finding its way most insistently out through the cracks around the door, filling the clearing and leaving Einar somewhat surprised that half a dozen hungry creatures, martens, ermines, foxes, perhaps even a late-hibernating bear or two, had not already congregated in front of the cabin, awaiting their share. Announcing his presence to Liz so as not to catch her unawares Einar eased open the door and was met by a wave of warmth that set his body to tingling as he began to thaw. Liz handed him a pot of something hot, and he drank.
“Nothing in the traps today?”
“Nope. Guess everything must have spent the night all holed up and cozy, from the looks of it. Better tomorrow I expect. We know the traps produce, in those locations. Got an entire two days’ precedent!”
“Yes, we do! I’m sure they’ll be back to producing soon. And in the meantime, we’ve still got a fresh rabbit and two martens to be thinking about, and some of that leftover goat roast you made. That was pretty incredible stuff.”
While Liz worked on breakfast Einar got more water heating in the pot he’d just finished draining of tea, adding dried nettles and stirring them until they began warming, cooking slightly and turning the water a bright, lively green. Adding a bit of honey to improve the taste--not that it tasted bad; the nettles had a wonderful “alive” flavor to them as far as he was concerned, even dried--he took the concoction off the heat, satisfied that it was finished and not wanting to over-heat it, as too much heat would begin to reduce the chlorophyll content. High concentrations of both chlorophyll and iron were his aims in making the broth; that past night as he’d lain in the bed too cold to sleep with his mind working too fast to have allowed for such, anyway, the thought had come to him that they’d better be taking appropriate steps in the very near future, should Liz’s apparently false labor pains turn out not to have been so false. Broth ready, he handed her the pot.
“Here. Figured it was time to start doing this, just in case. Lots of iron and vitamin K to build up your blood, help get you ready.”
“Yes. That’s a good idea, and I’ll start doing this every day, since we’ve got so many nettle greens dried and set aside. But you need to have some, too. I know you’re not about to have a baby or anything, but you are anemic, I can see it, and there’s no way you’re going to be able to keep warm this winter if you don’t do something about that.”
“Aw,“ he dismissed her concern with a shrug and a shake of his head, “I’m pretty warm so long as I don’t sit still. I’ll just keep moving all winter. Get more done that way, anyhow. And if I do happen to sit still by accident, the shivering will take care of things for me.”
Liz rolled her eyes at him, said something about that certainly not sounding like the best plan she’d ever heard, but as he seemed entirely serious she let the matter drop for the moment, sipping at the brilliantly green beverage he’d made for her. Though apparently unable to see his own needs at times he was correct about hers, she knew. The stronger and more iron-rich her blood prior to the birth, the better she’d do recovering from any bleeding that might take place after, and the nettles were rich vitamin K-containing chlorophyll, too, which would increase her blood’s readiness to clot and perhaps prevent serious bleeding. Not that she wanted to have to worry about such matters, not just yet. For the time, things seemed to have calmed down and she hoped and prayed they might stay that way. Wished Einar would calm down, too, but he appeared busy as ever, determined to go out by himself and place at least one more cache that day, and as both of them had agreed on the urgency of the project, she could hardly make any attempt to dissuade him.