This is about as frosty as you’ll ever see Fr’Nj when she’s among friends and relations. Doctors make the worst patients, but as we’ll see, that’s not all she’s concerned about.

I appreciate the little “!”… “!!”… “!!!” sequence that John adds to the last panel. From “how did he get IN here?” to “Greater than the REBELS, REALLY?” to “How DARE he, the AUDACITY.”

The dynamic between Syr’Nj and Ardaic is the main driving force here, and it’s a little demonstration of why they never would’ve worked as a couple, even in those hypotheticals where Byron isn’t an obstacle. (Guess I’m still thinking about that a bit after the Syr’Nj-Frigg pairing in the last story.)

Ardaic’s more broad-minded than many of his fellows, enough to appreciate Syr’Nj on many levels. But when he sees her on a sickbed, his impulse is to massage his report to protect her from the worst. He may not yet have a full count, but he could probably give an estimate. But Syr’Nj wants facts. She derives comfort from knowing facts, even when they’re discouraging ones. What’s more, she can sense he’s holding back, so his holding back actually serves no useful purpose. In the final analysis, he’s a little too chivalry-bound, too medieval, to be a proper partner for someone so Renaissance.