This particular patch of forest is relatively unremarkable save for the path - wide enough for a good-sized wagon, though not smooth enough for the wheels of one - running through it; a skunk browses on low-hanging raspberries planted alongside the path while songbirds flit from branch to branch overhead, and there's the sound of underbrush being cut away somewhere in the middle distance.
Mabel can't see much beyond the chemical in her eyes and the pain in her face, and barely has the ability to string enough thoughts together to process what just happened. She focuses on the important bits: she's chemically burned her face, and it hurts more than anything she's ever felt before, she hasn't been eaten by whatever just hit her, and she is in the woods. Not in the library, or a place that's not her tower, or Anja's farm, but solidly in the woods.
She doesn't think her heart can beat much faster than it already is, but it makes a valiant effort.
The skunk looks up, considers the concerningly sneaky humanoid for a moment, and opts to lumber off into the undergrowth.
A crow flies overhead, loops back to get another look at her, and hurries off toward the underbrush-cutting sounds.
Okay, animals are here -- she has no idea whether or not that means water is nearby or not. Either way, she's not sure she can find a stream by touch alone, even if her immediate thought, drilled into her from years of lab safety lectures, is to find flowing water.
Cutting noises is probably people, and if it's not people and is, she doesn't know, a bear, she guesses she'll die faster. She's going to hold her hands out in front of her, take very small shuffling steps, and try her best not to fall as she heads towards the noise.
The cutting noise stops after another couple of seconds, and a tall thin medium-dark skinned man in grey and creme shorts with red trim comes hurrying up the path with a crow on his shoulder and a red walking stick in his hand. He's weirdly easy to see, or something like that; almost before she can differentiate him from the trees she has a clear sense that he's there, and worried about her. His alarm grows as he gets close enough to get a good look at her, and he pulls a few inches of material off of the top of his walking stick and looks at it for a moment before handing it to her with the clear intention for her to use it to wipe off her face.
The object he's given her is soft, barely firm enough to hold its shape at all, and not at all suitable for making a walking stick out of.
Wow, nonverbal spells! He must be skilled at magic. She can't discern his species, so she doesn't know whether or not to be surprised.
She takes the object and begins to wipe down her face immediately. She'll probably kick herself for this later, but she's desperate and his alarm feels very real.
It crumbles and falls away, taking the acid with it only a little less efficiently than water would. He'll keep offering chunks of the substance until she's satisfied; he thinks she's also definitely going to need to see the medic and she'll probably want him to do something for the pain before they go, that chemical burn really does look nasty. These thoughts of his are somehow obvious even when she's too busy cleaning her face to be looking at him at all.
When she's less panicked about getting the substance off, she realizes this is probably some sort of empathy or wordless telepathy magic. It's rare; she doesn't think she's met anyone who can use it well before.
She hopes he's either not deaf or can read her mind in return.
"Painkillers would be great," she says, in case he can hear her. Hopefully he can understand her under the way her voice cracks.
The noise startles him, just slightly, and he doesn't know why she's making it; it does confirm for him that she's in pain, though. If she's too stressed to communicate normally she can touch his hand, or try to, to give him permission to painkiller her; he's holding it right here in front of her.
That was weird, but she can't get her thoughts together enough to figure out what it means.
She'll take whatever's offered, though. She reaches out to find his hand and try to grab whatever pill or potion he's offering.
There's no pill to be found, but as she finds his hand with her own the pain recedes significantly anyway, and a moment later a couple of the most painful remaining spots go numb, as well.
Is there anything else she needs first aid for before he takes her to the medic?
She mostly just needs guidance, and someone to grab her if she falls. She's really worried about falling; she's not the most athletic or coordinated at the best of times and she really doesn't want to trip over things she can't see.
He keeps an eye on her as he sets out, and when she has trouble following he passes her his walking stick - she can ride in the cart when they get to it, it's not far.
There's a child of about six sitting in the cart when they get there; he sends him and the crow to go find the medic and tell her that they're on their way, and guides her onto the cart in his place, carefully avoiding touching her as he does so and offering her a seatbelt once she's settled into place. That done, he takes the walking stick back, grabs the handle sticking out from the front of the cart, and sets off at a much faster pace, up the side trail and back onto the main path. The cart moves oddly, and it doesn't take her long to conclude from the way it rocks that it seems to have a gait, and be walking rather than rolling; it's also rather larger than a single person should be able to pull at the speed he's going, so it must be self-propelled in some way. He doesn't explain any of this, though, or 'talk' to her further, just hurries down the path.
She thinks that probably she should be making plans -- how to get home, what to do if this goes bad -- but she's still trying very hard not to panic. The rocking of the cart is making her nauseated, anyway; best to try not to think too much about it.
She's been crying ever since the accident. If she's maybe crying from more than just pain and the natural reflex to flush the acid out of her eye, nobody has to know that.
They come to a wider, smoother path after a few minutes, and her mysterious benefactor starts properly running, which fortunately spurs the cart into a somewhat smoother gait. Ten minutes later, he turns onto another side path, slowing again, but it's not long after that that they stop altogether, at what seems to be a large signboard. He hands her a pair of headphones from a nook on the side of it - she needs to put them on so he can trigger the alarm without damaging her hearing - and puts a second pair on himself.
She does this! She's not quite sure what they are, and also seem to not be designed for elves' ear lengths, but that's fine. They also press kind of painfully on her burned face and ears, especially on her left side.
They're noise-dampening, and quite good at it, though the poor fit over her ears makes them not quite as good as they'd normally be: she hears the drumming sound, though not at a painful volume, when he sets the alarm off. He only leaves it running for a few seconds before turning it back off and offering to take the headphones back.
A few minutes later, a ...person... comes up the path toward them; she's roughly human shaped, and moves like a human, but she's a peachy orange color, perhaps furred - Mabel's vision is too bad right now to be sure that she's not wearing clothes, but she doesn't appear to be - and she has a pair of tentacles sprouting from behind her shoulders, in addition to the somewhat more familiar backswept antlers on top of her head. She winces at the burn, and brings one of her tentacles up near Mabel's face, checking what the chemical is with the scenting pad on the underside of it - there'll be time for pleasantries when she's sure she hasn't been poisoned or anything in addition to the obvious damage.
Oh, good -- she may not be an elf but she's visibly not like Mabel's new forest friend -- sometimes medicine works differently in different species and Mabel is more confident than before that she'll know what's best for her.
She says "Hello," because she's still hoping maybe they'll speak the same language, and also she figures she should be polite.
Okay that seems to just be acid, good, and.... um, what?
No response... but they can clearly both hear her. Strange. At least she doesn't have to worry about saying the wrong thing?
She tries very hard to project "don't worry about it" at the healer, mostly by thinking it very hard, but isn't sure she succeeds. She's an artificer, okay, this is not her type of magic.
...she will worry about the medical relevance of that if it happens again or Mabel asks her to. For now, she'd like to get that chemical burn cleared up and make sure there's no long-term damage to her eyes; she requests permission to touch her for that.
Go ahead, it's definitely necessary. Mabel tries to show her appreciation for being asked first and again isn't sure if that comes across.
She'd also really like to go inside, which she also tries to think very loudly. She'd point but she doesn't know where she'd be pointing to. She makes a little hut with one hand and walks her other fingers into it just to see if that works.
Okay, if something's happening where she can't communicate normally she probably should stay with the medic until they figure it out.
If she wants to go to the guest house first... no, that might be a result of the communication problem. The medic takes a moment to recolor the ends of her tentacles, one yellow, one blue, positions them where they'll be easy to point to, and suggests that she point to the one that corresponds to what what would she like to do: blue for 'get her face healed now', yellow for 'go to the medic's guest house now', ground for 'do something else now'.
Her physical needs are still very pressing, Mabel admits, but her brain is screaming very loudly at her. She'll point to yellow.
All right. The medic asks the tall man if he can bring her to the guest house, and offers to print up some books for him in exchange when he proves to be reluctant; that settled, they set off down the path again. They pass a set of tall, wide plant-filled cages in a clearing beside the path after a few minutes, then make a turn and come to an open area with a sprawling lumpy pastel-rainbow-splattered peach-colored building at the end of it and a row of similarly colored cottage-sized buildings set a bit back from the path leading up to it. The medic guides them to the second of these and offers Mabel her hand to help her down from the cart, while the tall man undoes the seatbelt holding her there.
She takes her hand. Without as much adrenaline from pain she's very shaky and wobbly, but she's able to climb down from the cart herself with some help.
She can't really see the buildings but she knows they're there, and she feels a lot more calm at the prospect. It's not going to be as soothing as her own tower, but it's better than this wide open space.