"Yes, domine," Attis said, hiding a wince of his own at the words. And fuck you, too, he added in the privacy of his thoughts. Not that his value or lack of it generally bothered him, but no slave liked to be reminded of it, and how simple it would be for the master to sell him for whatever reason he chose.
"Yes, sir," he added for the medicus' benefit, though whether the mint tea was to be drunk by the patient or applied to the wound was anyone's guess. Attis thought Longinus would prefer wine. Hades, he'd prefer some wine himself, but that wasn't going to happen any time soon. He showed the medicus out once he'd packed his things up again.
"I thought you might like to boast about your scars, given the right audience, domine," he said, glancing at his master before returning to his self imposed task of cleaning off Longinus' military equipment.
Attis gave his owner a bland look and a full cup of wine. It was his opinion that someone needed to worry about Longinus because he sure as Hades wasn't going to worry about himself!
"Let me see, let me see - bring that bowl over here, boy," the medicus said, setting the now threaded needle to one side as he fumbled in his bag for some linen that Attis could only hope was clean. "No, I don't think so, sir, but let me clean that up and have a proper look."
'Boy'. It might be a suitable form of address for a slave (witness also slave names such as Marcipor and Lucipor) but at least Attis' master hadn't stooped to addressing him that way. He brought the basin over and held it steady as the medicus dabbed the blood away with - thank Apollo that the cloth did, in fact, look clean.
"No, it's not so deep that need worry you - you'll have a very nice scar to boast about later, sir," the medicus said, picking the needle back up as Attis busied himself with finding a cloth to clean his master's armour and sword with - he had no real stomach for medical things, and hoed that he would not be needed for the simple operation of sewing his master's arm up. It could not be as awkward as trying to set a broken leg, or something, and sure there was no need for Attis to hover.
"If you pass out from blood loss, I'm not carrying you back here," Attis grumbled. Mainly because he was shorter and slighter than his master. He'd get Ursus to do it instead; it'd give the other slave a reprieve from chopping firewood and fetching water for a moment.
He slipped out of the tent to fetch the medicus and a basin of water, blithely ignoring the medicus' comments that it could wait by informing him that this was a senior officer, even if he sent an assistant with Attis, that would be more medical skill than either Attis or Longinus possessed, and neither of them knew how serious or otherwise it was, and did he really want to risk a senior officer passing out or otherwise being incapacitated for any length of time because they'd been left to deal with something themselves?
"The medicus is here to see you, domine," he said cheerfully, ducking back into the tent with a steaming bowl of water in his hands, half expecting to see the tent in exactly the same state of disorder as it had been when Longinus left to go on his raid.
"Let me get the medicus, and some hot water - I didn't expect you back so soon, or I'd have that already," Attis said once he'd got his master down to his tunic and could see what was going on.
He resolutely did not think about what was happening to the prisoners - it didn't concern him but he'd never really liked the necessity of torture. Even if it was justified, which this was. Only five, though, from a camp of about twenty - were the others dead or had they escaped? It didn't concern Attis one way or the other, they were not his people and he'd never met them nor was he likely to.
"And once the medicus has seen you, you'll probably want some sleep, domine," he added, pouring a cup of wine for his master, who looked as though he could use it.
Attis startled, and rolled over, sitting up when he registered that his master had returned. Somehow he'd thought that Longinus would have returned much later but surely early was better?
"Yes, thank you, domine," he replied, throwing his blanket back and scrambling to his feet. "You're hurt - let me do that and then I'll get a medicus for your hand." If his master didn't want a medicus, Attis would deal with it himself, if it wasn't too bad.
"How did it go?" he asked, dexterously unfastening the straps of his master's armour and carefully removing it.
First things first! With his master gone, Attis could finally begin to restore order to the shambles the tent was in. It didn't require much effort, really, once he was no longer interrupted by his master, or reminded he'd been told not to. Attis conveniently assumed that that order had only applied before his master had left on this raid; if Longinus wanted to spend his life living in a tip, why have a slave with him at all?
He did not touch the things on the master's table; they were probably important documents or orders or something and it would be more than Attis' life was worth to tidy those up. He did pick up the master's empty cup and put it on the table out of the way.
Once all that was done, he looked around to make sure that the tent was as it should be, with everything in its proper place, then blew out the lamp and crawled into his own bedroll at the foot of his master's bed to sleep while he awaited Longinus' safe return.
There was no point worrying about what he had no influence over, his master would return or not and Attis could not help him by remaining awake and fretting - whatever happened, Attis could serve far better by being rested when Longinus did return.
"Oh," Attis replied quietly, and bit his tongue to keep from saying anything further, that would only serve to irritate his master or something. He did know how to shut up, astonishingly enough.
"Well, uh, Mars grant you success tonight, then, domine," he said, once the final piece was strapped into place. "You do pray to Mars about things like this?"
If it was some other god - Attis had heard things about Mithras being favoured by soldiers in the East - he'd have to plead for that god's aid from here in his master's tent. He might let his tongue run away with him at times, but he knew how to obey orders. Because if you were going to rile your master, it was far safer to only do it in one area rather than completely piss him off every time you moved.
Attis could hardly wait for his master to be dressed and gone so he could set the tent to rights again. He shifted tunics and other clothing into one heap, extracting a clean focale and his master's thigh scarlet cloak, before collecting together his armour and coming over to get his master into it.
"Have I done something wrong, domine?" he enquired, nervous at the uncharacteristic silence Longinus was treating him to. His master didn't like being woken at the best of times, so it could have something to do with that, notwithstanding that Attis had only been obeying an order when he'd woken his master.
"Would you believe me if I said the latrines, domine?" Attis enquired, fetching the required cup of water. He ran a hand through his damp hair and tried not to sigh. Why had he ended up with such an observant master - surely no other slave laboured under such circumstances?
"There's a clean tunic for you, as well - if the British had any sense, you'd strike fear into them regardless of your state of dress, but we can't all be so sensible."
Anyway, it would be the armour and squad of fully trained, battle ready legionaries who would do the striking of fear this time.
Attis gave a despairing look around the tent. He'd tried, and been thwarted, in his attempts to wreak a little tidiness on it, but his master was not to be gainsaid - even when he flatly accused Attis of not being able to keep it tidy (which was his master's prerogative, of course - though it was equally all his master's fault it was in such a mess in the first place).
He had an hour and then was not to set foot outside the tent until his master returned from the night's escapade. Well, he had preparations of his own to make in that hour - he was not about to end up fainting with hunger because his master was still away and he couldn't leave to get food, so laying in something to eat for the morning would be a good plan, plus leaving an offering to Mars for his master's safe return (if Longinus ever found out about that, Attis was pretty sure he wouldn't live it down!).
He wrapped his cloak around him and slipped out on his errand - what his master didn't know, wouldn't hurt him, but there were bound to be busybodies who'd gleefully let Longinus know of Attis' disobedience if he left the tent after his master did.
It was not long before he returned, offering left. He brought back a beaker of water and hunk of bread for his breakfast, which he stowed carefully out of sight before removing his cloak and putting it away. He located his master's military cloak in the wreckage and laid it over his chair before bending over his master's cot to wake him.
"Domine, time to get up!"