The knife dropped from her fingers and clattered into her camp bowl. Bits of hot stew splattered her face, turning cold in the open night air. Chesa gritted her teeth and squinted at her offending hand through the dark. She could feel too sharp bones beneath her skin.
“Forget how to eat Captain?”
Chesa tucked her left hand into her lap before turning to her second with a short laugh. “If that’s a ploy to get my portion, it’s not going to work. Who told Javoc he was in charge of entertainment?”
Her second looked towards the center camp where a few of the company was drunk and trying to start up a song. The attempt was laughably poor and just distracting enough. Chesa stood, taking her bowl in her good right hand, and slipped back towards her tent.
She abandoned her dinner in the dirt outside. Her appetite was gone. Inside the canvas walls, Chesa flicked up the lantern light until her small cot and foldable desk were bathed in steady pale light. Then she looked at her hand.
The wound was healed, nothing left of the damned shard but a pale red line in her palm. It wasn’t gone through; she knew that somehow that sliver had wriggled under her skin and done …something. Since she’d cut herself the bones of her left hand were wrong. It was if they didn’t fit together anymore, constantly grating and catching when she moved it.
And now, Chesa sucked in her breath. Her wrist was knobbed, the skin red and stretched over the too large and sharply angled joint. Chesa swallowed, holding her jaw tight at the sight of the growth.
“You’re missing out Captain, it got better.” Someone outside the tent laughed, the shape of a hand pressing against the flap.
“Its like you haven’t seen a thrice-damned drunk before!” Chesa snapped before she took a breath and fumbled around for a glove. The someone grumbled outside, but their footsteps stomped off a moment later.
Chesa closed her eyes in short-lived relief. There was no place for weakness in the wilds. A captain could not ask her company to do anything she herself would not. With her hand, and now her wrist as the affliction spread, she could not climb, swing a sword, or pick a door. She couldn’t even manage a steak knife. They’d find out soon enough.
She could cut the whole damn hand off and hope whatever it was wasn’t deep in her bones already. But that didn’t keep her place in the company much better. Chesa took a deep breath, forcing herself to think calmly.
Twenty minutes later, her horse’s hooves kicked up sand as she raced away from the camp. The company was still hers, and she wasn’t ready to lose it, but her second would have to manage while she found a cure. With the moon high over the desert dunes, Chesa leaned over her horse’s neck and spurred the beast faster.
This week’s (early) Legal Theft comes to you with a stolen tough decision from Bek.