Solo [Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Gemma tries to go to class and pretend that everything's fine... but it's not.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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[Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Postby Gemma Parker on March 29th, 2019, 5:50 pm

Spring 6th, 519av, 19 Bells

Gemma hopped out of the rain and into the shelter of the overhang in front of the Aluvion Academy. She took a moment to brush her hair out of her face and catch her breath before pushing open the door to go inside. This was where she spent her evenings just after the final nap period of the day. She had made it a habit of bringing a change of clothing and then getting dressed at the bathouse just down the street from the academy, and today had been no exception. She had also caught herself using her gnosis more than a few times to take away the budding pain in her shoulder. She kept telling herself that this was not a good idea, but time after time she found herself once more praying to her goddess without really thinking about it. She had even wrapped her right hand to cover the glow of the gnosis mark, but some of the light still shone through unless she covered her hand. It made her uncomfortable to think that people might see her healing herself when there was visibly nothing wrong with her, but maybe she could tell them she was only improving her connection to her goddess. In a spiritual city like Lhavit that was a great excuse, she reasoned.

Gemma walked into her Herbalism class wearing a simple green dress and wrapping green boots. She had her gloves on, of course, and her pendent with two winged serpents twining around the opalgloam stone in the center. She smiled and nodded at the receptionist, whose name she could never remember, and made her way to Izo's classroom. She was a few minutes early, which was perfect. She was hoping to get a few moments alone with Izo. Not for any kind of inappropriate activity, of course. At this stage in their relationship he would not allow something like that anyway. No, she just wanted to get to know him a little more, and maybe more importantly, she wanted him to get to know her outside of the restrictions and confines of the classroom.

Upon entering, however, she found that Izo had not yet arrived. Instead, she found three of her least favorite classmates already in attendance, setting up their work stations. Why did she have to have an unofficial rivalry with all the tryhards? She wouldn't have minded competing against one of her own teammates. She was sure they were in some way dragging her down, whereas all the kids on the other team, Team 1, were basically perfect when it came to herbalism. Sometimes Gemma wondered if they didn't take this class just to show off their higher level of learning. She couldn't believe that they were all so far ahead of her.

She nodded her obligatory greeting to all of them and made her way over to her desk, dropping her bag next to her chair. She figured the least she could do was to set up her station, too. She brought the mortar and pestle out from under the table and set it carefully in its place, doing her best not to make much noise. Why not? Because she didn't want to draw any more attention to herself than was necessary as she surreptitiously began another prayer for healing to wipe away the small stain of discomfort that was touching her shoulder.
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Gemma Parker
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[Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Postby Gemma Parker on March 29th, 2019, 7:00 pm

Gemma closed her eyes as she let the pain fade into the glowing bliss of her goddess' power. She only needed a little bit more. Just a little bit. After all, normally her gnosis worked for longer. It wasn't her fault that this particular injury was worse than she was used to healing. And she did plan to work on something to numb the pain without using her mark. She had only been using the mark frequently for the last few hours. She was sure her goddess wouldn't mind. After all, she was healing, right? That was what her goddess was all about. Maybe she was just overthinking all this. Maybe Rak'keli would be totally fine with her using her gnosis mark as a pain number. But she didn't ask in her prayers. She was afraid of being told no.

She tried to get her mind off of the pain in her shoulder and her questionable use of her gnosis mark. It was only a distraction, and during these lessons she could not let herself get distracted. Her other teammates trickled in, each showing up a little early. Izo was two chimes late, but who was counting, really? Gemma didn't mind waiting if it meant she got to keep having classes with Izo. He was dreamy. But she didn't intend to let her infatuation with her teacher cloud her judgement and interfere with her studies. She grabbed her notebook and flipped it open to a blank page, now ready for the class to begin.

"Good evening, everyone! I'm glad to see that no one has dropped out yet. I know it's only day three of classes, but I kind of expected someone to quit. Maybe today will be the day." He walked over to the center of the room and surveyed the class. Gemma's heart skipped a beat when his eyes fell on her, but she felt that they left her more quickly than they had the other students.

She tried not to let it get her down, though. Of course she was getting less attention, but maybe that was because he actually wanted to look at her, but didn't want people to notice his intention. Maybe he was waiting for the right moment to make his move. Or maybe it really did mean that he didn't notice her. Or perhaps it meant that rather than not noticing her, he felt that she was not worth his time in the class, so he spent more time on the others, while only calling on her to make her feel and seem included. If that was true, it probably meant she didn't have a shot. She would have to work harder in her classes to impress Izo with her progress.

"Today we will be creating a recipe concept." Izo said. "I want each of you to propose an effect or illness you want to treat, then work on combining resources until you have a solution to the problem. We will start with team one. What do you choose?" He asked. Again he picked the other team first. What could that mean? Was it a coincidence, or did he already have his eye on another student? Probably the prettier long haired human girl. Maybe he didn't like Gemma because she was a Konti and her scales were unattractive to him. She always thought Konti scales were pretty and wore hers proudly, but maybe he had different tastes.
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Gemma Parker
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Posts: 186
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[Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Postby Gemma Parker on March 29th, 2019, 7:05 pm

While the other team was scrambling for an idea, Gemma's team was talking about what effect they should choose. They asked Gemma while she was looking at Izo and she absent mindedly said something about long lasting pain management as she rolled her shoulder to get the stiffness out. That, of course, caused the pain to flare up again, which led to her once more uttering a prayer without even thinking about it. Her hand lit up a little, but she was pretty sure no one noticed. At least she hoped they didn't.

"You ok, Gemma?" The foreign student asked her.

"Fine! I'm fine. Are we decided, then?" She asked, deflecting.

"Yeah, your idea sounds like the best one we've got. It won't be simple, though. We're not allowed to use philtering techniques in class, and what you described will be tough to pull off with just natural herbs." The girl said.

"Well we start with Tulja seaweed and add Vyfox, obviously, but I don't know what else to add." She said, still a bit distracted by her hand as the glow faded.

"That makes sense. Do we have Tulja here?" The other girl asked to their third companion. He stooped to look in the cabinet while the others continued to talk.

"We can start by talking about what causes the pain." Gemma suggested. But just then, Izo turned to them.

"So which effect will you try to produce?"

Her classmates gestured to her to share the idea. Gemma breathed.

"Long term pain management." She said, trying to sound confident, but unable to help her voice from trembling a little.

"Unimaginative in concept, but nonetheless difficult to pull off. I approve." He said. "You all have thirty chimes to come up with a recipe to test. Go." He said, flipping a thirty chime sand glass.

The three of them got to work, but Gemma's eyes lingered on Izo for a moment, hoping he would look back to her. He didn't.

"Vyfox and Tulja seaweed. What else?" Their male companion asked. "We have both."

Gemma nodded. "Well let's think of a specific kind of pain to treat. Let's say a dislocated shoulder, just for developing the treatment." They all agreed. Gemma felt a little guilty for not sharing her personal connection and therefore bias, but she didn't think it would make a big difference.

“So a joint out of place would do what? Swell up?” The foreign student asked.

“Yeah, swelling, heat, soreness, shooting pain.” She started to list her own symptoms. The other students looked surprised.

She tried to laugh it off. “Guys, I’m a medic.” They both “oh”ed and they returned to their task.
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Gemma Parker
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[Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Postby Gemma Parker on March 29th, 2019, 9:39 pm

“So let’s go ahead and mix those two together to get started.” Gemma said.

“What, like right now?” Tori, the foreign girl, asked.

“Yeah, we’re going to make it anyway. This will give us more time to test it and make sure it works.” She said.

“Who are we going to test it on?” Tori asked.

“I have a, uh, a patient… at work… that I can test it on… and I’ll, uh, let you know how it goes.” She lied, but the two accepted her reasoning. When had she gotten good at lying? Or maybe she wasn’t good at lying. After all, she was her own patient, right?

“Fine, but you’re mixing it.” Tan said. He was the chubby one.

Gemma thought she might have paled. She’d been mixing herbs all day at work and was already having to use her gnosis to manage the pain. She didn’t know how much more she could take. She was already over her limit, and she had to work in a few bells. She raced to think of an excuse.

“I came up with the idea. We should share the work.” She tried.

“Nu-uh, you’re the one who thinks we should make the thing now. If you don’t wanna mix it up yourself, we’re both happy just writing down the recipe like he said.” Tori came back. Drat.

“Fine, if you want me to look like I’m doing all the work, I’ll probably just get more credit.” She gave one last effort at manipulating her classmates, but they weren’t biting.

She was about to reach for the healing power of her gnosis in preparation of the work ahead of her, but her heart felt like it was beating at twice its strength, about to burst. She felt the guilt claw at her heart. True, it had only been a few hours, but she had used her gnosis mark several times to keep herself out of pain. She couldn’t think of any teaching about Rak’keli that said that what she was doing was wrong, but it just felt… cheap. She was blocking pain to function, but what was that leading to? She had just lied to and tried to manipulate her classmates. That couldn’t be making her goddess proud, and it certainly didn’t speak to the purity she so desperately sought.

Gemma wanted to study magic, but she had been turned away from the towers. At the time, she had thought it unfair and had complained about the elitist system. But when she saw Ponrose over giving last season, she had seen the whole matter from another side. That was what happened to people who went after magic without purity in their heart, she was sure of it. It didn’t matter if you were basically a good person. What mattered was the resoluteness of your conviction. And right now, Gemma was showing herself and her goddess that she was not resolute. She was only exchanging one weakness for another.

“Forgive me, my goddess.” She whispered in Kontinese. “Forgive me.”
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[Weekend Challenge] Obsession and Denial

Postby Gemma Parker on March 29th, 2019, 9:56 pm

“Uh, Gemma?” Tori said as Gemma just started at the mortar and pestle. She had a decision before her. Should she come clean and tell them that she shouldn’t be grinding herbs while she was resting? Her pride protested to that idea, but she knew that if she wasn’t going to heal herself to stop the pain, she would have to either grin and bear it or tell the truth. She briefly considered making another excuse, but her lies had been hit or miss and she didn’t want to be lying anyway. That wasn’t who she wanted to be. But still, her arm…

“The truth is, I messed up my arm a few days back and I’m supposed to be letting it heal, but I’ve already overworked it today.” She blurted out, trying not to let herself second guess her attempt at coming clean. “I can do it if you want, but I’d rather not.” She said.

“That’s fine, then let’s just not do that part.” Tan said. “That’s not even part of the assignment.”

Gemma sighed. The whole lie was coming back to haunt her.

“I was hoping to make the remedy now so I could use it on myself.” She confessed. “I wasn’t going to use it on a patient at work, I was going to use it on myself.” She looked down, unable to meet her teammates’ eyes.

“Oh. I mean you should probably ask for permission first, but if that’s the case, sure. I can mix it up for you.” Tan said. “It’s really not that big a deal, and now we’ve been talking about it for like five chimes. Here, give me the kit.” He reached for the mortar and pestle, and Gemma didn’t stop him. She still felt bad, though. Had she wanted them to be angry? It would have justified her trying to keep it all a secret. Knowing that they hadn’t cared one way or the other made her realize how unclear her thinking was right now. It was scary.

“So yeah, let’s just make what you need.” Tan said. “You cool with that, Tori?”

Tori nodded. “But in that case, we should check your wound to treat you specifically.” She said. “I assume those symptoms you said before were your own?” She asked. Gemma nodded.

“All right, so we need something to pull away the heat and suppress the swelling. Both components already help with swelling, but for the heat…” The Tori and Tan got to work theorizing different remedies that they would be able to use to help Gemma, but while Gemma tried to be involved, she couldn’t help but feel horrible for deceiving these two. They were so cool about it, and they barely knew her.

Gemma left early that night. She needed some time to pray.
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Gemma Parker
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Posts: 186
Words: 219699
Joined roleplay: February 12th, 2019, 5:22 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Konti
Character sheet
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Medals: 3
Overlored (1) Donor (1)
Lhavit Seasonal Challenge (1)


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