Closed And So They Go

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forums. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

Moderator: Regime

And So They Go

Postby Matthew on June 1st, 2014, 3:19 am



45th of Spring, 514 AV.


He had tried to swim earlier in the day, and it had kind of worked. He only knew of one place to swim anywhere around Sunberth that was safe and he wasn't so sure if it was even suited for swimming. Still, that morning when he had went for his daily run and then a quick bath at the hot springs, he lingered a bit longer than normal in his bathwater to try and wade in the water. It was an oddly difficult task. It wasn't exactly deep, leaving him to yank his feet up off the ground and then try to find a way to tread water while on his stomach. He didn't have much luck. He kicked up the steaming water and splashed it in his eyes, and when he did manage to successfully swim, he had nowhere to go. He couldn't tread water like he had learned back in Mura, as the water was much too shallow for that. In the end he had sort of practiced swimming, but really only in a way that showed him how to fail at it. He'd have to resort to swimming in the nearby ocean if he was to get in any more than a few chimes of hard practice.

The Harlot finished his jog, heading back to the city towards an appointment that he had made a few days ago. He was slowly getting used to the act of pumping his legs and churning his arms. He had started by alternating quick walks with steady jogging, allowing himself time to catch his breath while also still keeping his muscles awake and ready to work. After a few weeks Matthew had noticed that he was starting to jog more than he walked, when he had once been mostly walking and gasping for breath.

The appointment was with Kay, the old woman who apparently found it quite enjoyable to beat him at an endless array of card games. Her favorite was Crows and Crosses, but she had certainly taught Matthew that she had quite a few more up her sleeve. Every time that he felt like he was about to get the strategy of one game down, she seemingly picked up on it and decided that it was time to play another. Not that he minded. It gave him the opportunity to learn more and she had also started depending on him a bit more for the cooking. He still had to follow her instructions step by step, but it was an interesting skill that he was happy to slowly hone.

A familar sound reached his ears as he slowed to a walk and caught his breath, ragged gasps ringing in his ears as he approached the house. Sweat rolled down his flesh, the Harlot deciding to circle around the house toward the source of the noise. He was fairly certain he knew what it was, he just wasn't certain why it sounded different than normal. It was faster, that was one thing. But no, there was something else. The sound that it made when each blow landed... something clicked in the back of his mind and he quickened his pace, turning the corner to find Nate mercilessly pounding away on his training post with a frightening viciousness. Matthew didn't hesitate to interrupt, soft but professional voice ringing out firmly. "Hello, Nathaniel. Let me see your knuckles."

His tone was that of a command, a single slender hand extending to gesture for Nate to give him what he had demanded.

Image
User avatar
Matthew
Malfunctioning
 
Posts: 1208
Words: 1100328
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 6
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Guest Storyteller (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)

And So They Go

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 13th, 2014, 11:00 pm

Image

His mood was too ugly for anything but violence, yet nothing but the faceless, bloodless wooden training post was available to him. A dozen taverns or basements across the city - not to mention the Blood Pits or Tall Johnny's - would have gladly opened their doors to him and let the big man pound out his rage and his despair... but he would not.

He'd promised her. He'd broken it, of course, but doing so now, where all the reward would be his own battered flesh and limp corpses at his feet? No. That was too far.

And so the street in the Quarter played audience to his "exercise", blows and blasts like a steroid-crazed woodpecker smashing over and over again into the training post. Stripped down to his breeches, then down to his scarce undergarments, Nathaniel was still dripping with sweat after the first bell. Syna beat down on him and though stinging rivulets ran into his eyes, made his fists slippery, salt water stinging his bloody knuckles, he didn't pause. Barely slowed.

The fluid, grasping, unpredictable grapples and clawing brutality of brawling wouldn't do for the post; Nate used it sometimes for that purpose, but as well a tailor might use one model for a thousand fittings as a brawler use a single post. Every scrap he'd ever been in had been different, in it's way. You could learn the flow, the rhythm, and the signs, but the moves? You made them up as you went along.

But Nate knew more than just brawling, in flesh and in memory. He stood before the post an unleashed combinations of punches, elbows, knees, foreleg kicks, roundhouses that made his thighs and groin burn, headbutts that dazzled his vision... every hard place on his limbs and a couple elsewhere were used.

Left hook, once, twice, third time a quick right jab, just to ring his bell-

-followed with a lunging knee to the stomach, another one, bend him over with his guard still up-

-twisting to his side and smashing a right elbow into where the post's temple would be-

An explosion of pain in the middle of his arm... or the memory of one. His body, by exertion or repetition, had long since began to numb up. Adrenaline was keeping him upright as much as his roiling slew of feelings, and he shrugged off the pain-

Right arm jabbing, twice, third time grabbing it's "throat"-

Left hand hooking, jabbing, straights, over and over, until he felt and saw the pillow wrapped around the "head" shudder more than it should-

"Nothing to be done, boy."

-once, twice, three times as his eyes widened and his lips twisted into a snarl of impotent rage-

"If it was me? End it quickly."

A burst of fury given voice exploded from Nate's throat as Matthew cleared the corner and his right arm - aching, groaning, tingling and numbing - hammered forward one last time, heedless of injury or consequence-

-and the training post's top all but cracked off the top. Nate fell against it, his physical target suddenly gone and his balance thrown, leaning heavy against it. His chest heaved and his breath came out in staggered bursts. All the woes and ills his body had endured and been forced to surpass crowded into his skin at once and he let the seat race down him...

A voice to his side. He knew the tone before he saw the face... and the politely insistent hand offered. For some mad reason, it made Nate's face curl into a shuddering, raspy chuckle. He flexed his hand and his chuckle suddenly had teeth.

"Might have... hit that last one a little... hard..."

They sat, next to the ruined post, and Nate was silent as Matthew ran his skilled hands over his own. He hadn't even bothered with gloves, for the gods' sakes. Just a few quick layers of plaster and tape. His eyes stared at nothing. His mind idly wondered if Matthew's experience as a whore leaned much to the ken of boxers and brawlers and broken hands... and then he gave voice to the fearful reality he didn't want to face.

Why not to Matthew, after all? Who else was he to tell? And how much longer could he keep it bottled in, with her coughing and wheezing in her bed not fifty feet away.

"She's dying, Matt," he said quietly, using the nickname he'd chosen for the harlot. His eyes were downcast. Every line on his faced seemed deeper; aged ten years in one afternoon. "Sawbones looked her over. Said there's... fluid, in her lungs. Like water from her body. She... She can't get rid of it. There'll just be more and more until..."

Nate couldn't manage that final admission. Instead he just shook his head and let the pain of his own foolishness seek back into his battered hands.

Image
User avatar
Nathaniel Ankah
Player
 
Posts: 120
Words: 186484
Joined roleplay: May 24th, 2014, 3:52 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Plotnotes

And So They Go

Postby Matthew on June 14th, 2014, 12:25 am



He stared at the hand as it was offered, intense gaze studying every inch of the broken flesh and mishaped knuckles. They had been beaten to a pulp many a time before and probably hadn't been properly cared for. The Harlot was light with his touch so that he wouldn't do any further damage or cause any un-needed pain. From what he could tell, the damage wasn't too bad. Auristics might be a good tool to use in order to get a bit more accurate of a reading, but in order to advance as a practitioner of medicine, he needed to get used to identifying wounds with just the tools that he had naturally been given. The wrist was fine and so was the arm, though it might feel a bit strained or pulled for awhile. No sprains, but the knuckles were bloodied raw. Two broken knuckle bones were the most severe of injuries, one on the pinky finger and one on the pointer finger. Realizing he had never really explained to Nate, Matthew absentmindedly let a few words softly echo out. "I was in school for medicine before I became a prostitute. I still volunteer a bit for a doctor here in the city." He would need bandages. He could use Nate's shirt and tear it into strips, which would probably be an appropriate punishment for being so careless. It didn't really matter though, in the end. No doubt Kay would have some bandages and alcohol somewhere in her cupboards. She had no doubt dealt with Nate and his passion many a time before.

Matthew was a bit caught of guard by Nate's sudden confession. His hands paused and he glanced over, raising an eyebrow. Fluid? The woman was old so something was to be expected, but that was unique. Unlucky would be a better word. It had probably started in such a way that it seemed like a harmless cold. He chose not to respond at the moment, instead returning his attention to Nate's wounds. Pondering over how to react in such a situation, he eventually rose and motioned for Nate to stay put. "I'm going to fetch some bandages. I'll be back shortly. Rest there."

The Harlot checked on the woman, getting directions for bandages and explaining that Nate's knuckles had just been bleeding again. They were often damaged because of whatever work he did, so the woman seemed to accept Matthew's simple explaination at face value. She was noticably tired though, bedridden and seeming to have to gasp for every bit of air. He made a quick visual check of her and make a point to focus on her breathing, noting that it did have a certain sound to it. Her breathing sounded wet. Fetching the bandages, he turned to go, pausing as he heard the woman whisper out his name. He turned, fixing a blue eye on her. "I forgot about our game, I am sorry." Matthew shook his head, giving her a polite smile, not at all bothered by it. "It is quite alright. You can rest. I'll keep an eye on Nate for awhile." The old woman smiled, nodding, relaxing back into her pillow, coughing roughly as her eyes fluttered closed.

Matthew turned and headed back outside, her next words whispered in a tone that made him think she wasn't all that aware that she was speaking. "He could... use a friend. He'll need someone who can... be patient with him."

***

Returning to Nate, he carefully cleaned off the knuckles and rinsed them with a small bit of water he had brought along with him as well. Alcohol would be a last resort, he knew it was a rather valued resource. The knuckles were dried and then wrapped tightly in bandages, the dirty pieces of tape and plaster tossed aside. The broken knuckles were tied to the undamaged fingers that were next to them, bandages wrapped to turn a pair of fingers into a single one.

"People die." His words suddenly came out, offered slowly and carefully. He had never been one to mourn death, seeing it as a natural process. He didn't have the attachment that other people did, though. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I'm sorry." That didn't sound right either. He furrowed his brow and then just gave up on it, opting to ask what he considered to be the better question. "What are you going to do?"

Image
User avatar
Matthew
Malfunctioning
 
Posts: 1208
Words: 1100328
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 6
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Guest Storyteller (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)

And So They Go

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 14th, 2014, 1:12 am

Image
Matthew left him for a chime and Nate heard the rasping, murmured words from inside. They were enough to drag tears from his eyes. Just the sound of her, so fragile and weak and... and...

The world shouldn't be this way, he thought with a growing and terrible anger. It's not fair. A thousand murderers slip the noose every day, but she grows worse? She is given this... death sentence?

But the harsh, smirking whisper that was always at the back of his mind was quick to chime in, reminding him that fairness wasn't the issue: his tardiness had been. When that little bastard had worked her over with a frying pan, when she'd been trying to extend the kindness she had for Nate, years before, he was busy whoring or drinking it up. She'd lain their for bells before he'd come home, a battered and twisted wreck-

The door opened and Nate jerked his head to the side. He didn't want the harlot seeing his face so... womanly. He'd only trust Nov that far, perhaps, and only because he'd seen the same from the younger man. Instead he wiped a man over his face and forced his breathing back into obedience, concentrating on the pain.

Then on Matthew as he worked. It was undoubtedly an education. The harlot was clearly not just some jumped-up brat who'd learned to groom himself and patter out some cheesy lines for his clientele. He had a keen mind and he backed it up with his precise, measured actions. After he was done, Nate turned his hand and marveled at it, smile creasing his face.

"Gods, man... cost me a handful a' gold-rimmed to get healing like that from-"

Then Matthew spoke, and his smile vanished like it had been smashed with a hammer. A familiar mask of barely-restrained anger that widened Nate's eyes and seemed to get every muscle on his body tight, yearning, ready to spring...

But he didn't; not after he spoke again. Would he have attacked the closest thing he and Kay had to a friend? Maybe... he didn't even know anymore. His face fell and his gaze with it, one hand idly going back and forth through his short hair. Then Matthew asked the only question that mattered, and all he could do was shrug.

"I know what I should do," he said, though he couldn't meet the harlot's gaze when he did. Nathaniel still hadn't quite latched onto the idea that Matthew's thoughts on morality were about the same as his thoughts about the same-sex relations of Falyndar gibbons: indistinct and irrelevant, most of the time. "But what I will do?"

The big man didn't have anything left to say, and part of him was glad for the clatter he heard inside. Whatever angel or daemon watched over that man, the possibility in his mind of his beloved Kay in danger gave him speed beyond exhaustion, if only for a burst. Before Matthew had finished turning his head, Nate was halfway to the door and flinging it open-

"Oh stop... stop your fretting... just getting... some water..."

It was worse when she tried to pretend it was just a cold. Something she'd kick or lose or beat in a few days. She gave him a glossy smile that could have lit a stadium... but her eyes swam with the same grief as his. Nate returned it. They both played their role, and both knew they were counterfeit in their expressions...

"Don't break any more cups, right?"

"Oh... it was... just one..."

She can barely breath. Hardly even stand. And this in just ten days. What will she be like within twenty? Thirty? The season's end? Would you allow her to get so far along?

The image of Kay gasping and choking out her death onto her sheets, alone and without him there, her eyes bulging and terrified as she drowned on dry land... Nate felt his gorge rise and turned sharply away from her, fixing his eye hurriedly on the bubbling stove.

"I'll... ahem... I'll get the soup off the boil then... I have to run an errand." That suspicious gleam wasn't going anywhere, though, and so he sweetened it. "With Matthew."

Ah, well, that was fine by her. As far as Kay was concerned, Matthew was the best thing since diced carrots. Any friend that her boy had that wasn't a brawler, gambler, drunk or deviant (which encompassed about nine-tenths of Sunberth) was welcome in her house, her kitchen and her affections.

"Oh! Well, good." Another long throat-clearing. Another time he had to stop himself from steadying her as she gripped her crutches tight. "I'll... be resting up... see you when you get back..."

"You will."

She spoke one last time and Nate had to grind hit teeth so hard they nearly hurt. He couldn't let his body betray anything, least of all his grief. She was... she knew was what happening. She wasn't stupid, and never had been. But this was how she dealt with it, and he couldn't shatter even that illusion.

But you will have to. Soon.

"I'm... actually feeling... better..."

Nate fled with a final, choked "See you soon!" over his shoulder and grabbed Matthew on the way out the yard like he was a child, dragging him to the back gate, eyes fixed forward.

"We're going to see the doctor again."

Without adding "because if I stay here any longer, I'll fucking lose it".

Image
User avatar
Nathaniel Ankah
Player
 
Posts: 120
Words: 186484
Joined roleplay: May 24th, 2014, 3:52 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Plotnotes

And So They Go

Postby Matthew on June 17th, 2014, 9:29 pm



He continued the inspection of his work, not really noticing that there was a brief moment where his life was in danger. He hadn't practiced wrapping fingers like this in quite awhile, so he wanted to make sure his work had actually been neat. From what he could tell he had done a fine job. He hadn't been rushed or under any kind of stressful circumstance, so he had been able to take his time making sure that the job was done right. He needed to remember to keep his skills sharp, though. There would no doubt be a day when he had to work under pressure. While he wasn't normally the sort to even feel pressured, he didn't feel that was an excuse to let himself slack off when it came to his knowledge about a particular subject... especially one he was supposed to be particularly skilled in.

Nathaniel knew what to do? That certainly made things easier. Matthew couldn't help but cast a sideways glance toward the man, feeling a bit curious all over again. If Nate knew what to do then why was he acting so irrationally? Ah, wait, there was a clause. Matthew hadn't worded his question precisely enough. There was most definitely a difference between should and will.

There was a clatter inside, Matthew's slow tilt of the head quite the contrast to the sudden movement of Nate, who was up and in the house at such a speed that his vanished presence almost didn't register with the Harlot. Matthew was much more casual with his pace, checking his clothes and body for any dust or dirt before gathering up what supplies he had left and following Nate into the house. Kay and Nate shared looks and words while Matthew gracefully moved around and between them, quiet and elegant in his motions. He was the calm core in a silent storm of grief, not that he was being such a thing to provide any sort of comfort to the others in the room. It was merely who he was. He collected the pieces of the cup and took a few ticks to rub the sharp edges together in an effort to dull them, then tossed them out the nearby window. No need for anyone to accidentally cut their fingers or toes. He also tasted the soup as he passed it, snatching a spoon and taking a small sip. Kay was quite talented at what she made and Matthew had learned to expand his range of tastes by simply sampling just about everything she made. It order to expand his knowledge of cooking, he made it a little game to try and identify every ingredient in whatever it was that he tasted. There was potato, that was obvious-

Oh, he was going on an errand? He blinked up at Nate and then offered Kay a polite smile as she glanced his way. "Make sure to drink what I made for you. It will help ease your throat. It is no doubt sore with all of the coughing, and you need to stay hydrated. Keep yourself elevated, put some pillows behind your back." He gave her a cute little wave and then turned to Nate as he was grabbed, feeling himself get pulled along and not really having the ability to put up any sort of fight. Once they were out to the gate, he managed to get his feet about him, starting to stride alongside Nate and hopefully causing the man to realize that the Harlot was quite capable of walking with his own strength.

"I know a doctor, if you like." He didn't have much to offer but still offered that, sensing it was best to do what he could to help. He wasn't sure if his doctor would be a help exactly. It really depended on what Nate was wanting to do. The place that Matthew volunteered could be very... unique.

Image
User avatar
Matthew
Malfunctioning
 
Posts: 1208
Words: 1100328
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 6
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Guest Storyteller (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)

And So They Go

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 17th, 2014, 10:09 pm

Image
It would have been a little much to call him a friend - "mate" was certainly right out - but Nate did spare enough in him to soften his opinion of Matthew after hearing him aid Kay further.

Followed almost immediately by a sharp, hot well of childish anger.

Oh, yes, he can help her. The whore. The outsider. Mister Too Smooth And Fu king Smart. But you? Just another scrote who knows shite about shite.

He didn't drag him long. Just around the corner and then he let go, barely aware the harlot was there, bent forward with his arms crossed over his face, leaning against a wall and panting at the cobbles. He didn't care how he looked; didn't care for the whispers, murmurs and jeers (though they came from a distance).

These weren't the street daemon days. Nate could give a fuck about his "star" on the streets. His mother was dying by inches and he couldn't help.

No... but the sawbones can. Now just to-

Matthew's offer was so prompt and pertinent that Nate has to give him an odd, piercing look. Was reading thoughts another of the whore's gifts? Nate wouldn't have doubted it... but at this point, even his inbred Sunberth djed hate didn't sway him. If Matthew knew a doc, he was bound to be a good one.

"Aye? Well, then..."

Nate straightened up go his full height: not quite towering but certaintly enough to loom.
A few deep breaths and he wiped the sweat from his red face. Odd... he didn't even care that Matthew had seen him stumble in his soul like that.

He didn't know whether that was because he counted the man as a fr... as someone trusted, or because he suspected the haelot had no idea what had happened, anyway.

"Lead the way..."

Matthew did, and as Nate followed and the roads and lanes and buildings became familiar to him, his mind began to filter through memories. A sawbones? Around here? Only man even close to that ilk would be...

The heavy footsteps paused for a moment behind Matthew... but the hesitation lasted only a tick before they resumed.

This is Sunberth Nate thought stoically, reciting the age-old boast and excuse for the joys and horrors of the city, and if that sick sod's the one to cure her, so bloody be it...

Image
User avatar
Nathaniel Ankah
Player
 
Posts: 120
Words: 186484
Joined roleplay: May 24th, 2014, 3:52 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Plotnotes

And So They Go

Postby Matthew on June 19th, 2014, 9:23 pm



Matthew stood there with hands folded behind his back, knowing enough not to stare directly at Nate while he took a moment for himself, instead deciding to observe all those who were giving them pointed glances and whispers. He had never really understood mockery. Had they not experienced moments like the one Nate was having? All of them shared the same sort of range of emotions. While Matthew was distanced from his own, he was certainly still capable. He could remember sadness, though faintly. Why would they mock something they no doubt had experienced themselves?

Nate hesitantly agreed to Matthew's offer and off they went. The Harlot couldn't help but note the effect that his new associate had on the crowd around them. He was apparently known by some, random thugs both clearing out of his way and shooting him threatening stares. It was an odd mix. He was respected, feared, and apparently even despised by some. What a wide range of impressions he had on people. Matthew continued to lead the way as his eyes darted about, soaking everything in with those quiet and sharp little glances of his. Nate's episode was already forgotten, the man more accurate in his analysis than he probably realized. Matthew really didn't have a true idea of what had happened, but he knew enough not try and explore it right then and there. It would be discarded, tucked away somewhere deep just in case it ever became available for further exploration.

Soon, it was Matthew who was apparently recognized by the patrons of this particular area. Dangerous-looking sorts would step around corners or even out of the Wolf's Den, sizing Nate up before spying Matthew and giving him a little wave or a grunt in greeting. He gave polite nods in return, apparently not put off. "I volunteer at the Clinic nearby. I've helped tend to a lot of the wounds these people find on themselves. Most of it from fighting for sport, as I understand it. The Blood Pits, I believe they call it?" He gave a slow shrug of his shoulders, turning the corner and making a patient line straight toward what Nate had probably started to suspect.

Doctor Petrious. Matthew didn't hesitate, striding up to the door and giving it a soft knock to signal his presence before opening the door and holding it for Nate. He would soon follow, soft voice calling out. "Doctor? I have someone to see you."

The Doctor didn't turn, long thick black cloak shrouding his figure, working on something that was making rather squishy noises from atop a table against the far end. He grunted in response but didn't quite react, leaving it mostly up to Nate to decide how he wanted to approach this, or if he even wanted to approach it at all. The Doctor had a reputation, Matthew was well-aware of that.

Image
User avatar
Matthew
Malfunctioning
 
Posts: 1208
Words: 1100328
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 6
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Guest Storyteller (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)

And So They Go

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 21st, 2014, 1:27 am

Image
Nate felt dirty just standing in that empty air, not touching a thing but what his eyes rested on. Things with faces still twisted in agony stared at him from jars filled with piss-colored fluid. Immaculate surgical tools were lined and arrayed in neat rows on one wall, reeking of cleaning alcohol and lingering torture. Something gratefully indescribable to his simple senses assailed him from the grate under the main operating table, where all the effluence of the Doctor's insanity ran into the sewers.

All of it was a spring bouquet compared to the man himself. Tall, thin as a glass skeleton under his robes, the Doctor turned to them and closed the curtain at the same time, hiding the table.

Not fast enough. Nate made out a foot as the curtain swished, manacled and trembling.

Doctor. That he would call himself that... only in this town...

"Do I know you?"

"Nathaniel Ankah, of Sunset Quarters," Nate finally managed to say, once his voice had returned and he'd battered down the urge to just end this monster once and for all, "I come... seeking your... skills."

"Ah." Petricious sounded like a man being offered a candy, clapping his gloved hands together lightly. "Well, I do so enjoy chances to further my craft. By the looks of you..." He walked over with an unhurried pace, gait erect as if his spine was of steel, and Nate could feel eyes cold and hungry sizing him up. "Hmm... someone you want... words with? Certain words? Words you need pried from unwilling lips, hmm? Standard fare, for sure, but-"

"The opposite," Nate bit out, forcing his hands to remain open and not as fists, "Your skills as a healer. Matt tells me you're skilled in healing as well as... other things. More skilled that other sawbones."

Petricious grunted in undisguised disdain, hand waving dismissively with a rubbery rustle. Under the low light Nate could see stains fresh and vivid dancing on his robes. Something moaned behind the curtain, and Petricious ignored it.

"'Sawbones'. Well, that inelegant term says it all, doesn't it? Little more than... butchers and husbandry practitioners, the lot of them..."

The dread master of the Clinic marched slowly up and down his shelves of trophies, relishing the glimpse into each one. Nate thought he heard a few muffled sighs and chuckles of amusement, memories of past atrocities shimmering before those mad eyes.

This is her savior?

"None of them could find the valves of the heart. Could tell you the weight of a lung, nor the density its membranes should have. None could deduce by bumps and leisions Yellow Scratch, Scratching Fever, Dira's Call... none of them. Because none of them possess the will to dig deeper than a mere prod and a glance into archaic tomes long discredited."

He reached out and stroked something that might have been a fetus. Beholden to his reverence in that dungeon, Nate cast a glance at the implacable Matthew.

"Only I. Only I..."

Nate would have dearly loved to flee from that place and never return, but the fresh specter of Kay kept him there. He cleared his throat and that ghastly hood flicked back to him, as if the "good" doctor had forgotten he was there.

"She is old. Infirm. She was beaten five years back and it rendered her bedridden. But now she is coughing longer and harder .Her strength fails her daily. This... state, she is in, continues and worsens. I seek your skills. Your..." Say it. Choke it out and pander to him if you must. "... wisdom."

That monster looked at him a long time. Then an eerie chuckle made positively daemonic by that hood preceded a short nod.

"Well... 'seek and ye shall find', as they say. And what have you to offer by way of compensation?"

Nate relaxed a fraction. Money. Rates. Quibbling and haggling. One thread of normalcy that he could grab onto here.

"Hmm... fifty mizas. Gold-rimmed, naturally."

"Fifty?! I want to know what's wrong with her, not-"

"And with my aid and ability, dear boy, you will know. No better diagnosis is available in this city, I believe. Matt..." An odd little chuckle, as if he were amused by the nickname. "... would not have bought you here otherwise... is that not so?"

Now Petricious turned his faceless gaze to the harlot, walking over to him, a little closer, since they were business relations. The harlot was... an oddity, to the doctor. He appreciated the man's intelligence and the knowledge he had acquired in Syliras, Zeltiva... he was a fine aid to his work in Sunberth.

But some ravenous part of him still yearned to fasten him to that table behind the curtain. What a challenge he would be! Not like the piece of boring filth he was entertaining at the moment: all mundane pleas and simple responses to his minsitrations.

No... Matthew was special. Touched by the djed, perhaps, and almost separate from his own... no. Not his mind, per se. His soul. His emotions, the frantic whirl of feelings that truly fueled human strife. In all his years carving at meat and exploring their mysteries, Petricious had never seen the like.

He yearned to see what it would take to see real, naked, dribbling fear in those flawless eyes; despair writ large on that face that could have seduced Cheva herself...

One day, perhaps. When his use is expended... and does not that day come to us all?

"Tell him, Matthew."

Image
User avatar
Nathaniel Ankah
Player
 
Posts: 120
Words: 186484
Joined roleplay: May 24th, 2014, 3:52 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Plotnotes

And So They Go

Postby Matthew on June 24th, 2014, 4:49 am



The Harlot was once again the picture-perfect essence of politeness and properness, a clean spot within an otherwise filthy place. While Nate slowly got around to discussing his business with the Doctor, Matthew meandered off to keep himself busy. He managed to find a small rag somewhere and slowly started to stalk around the area, apparently not disturbed by any of the more morbid offerings on show. No, he was seemingly more disturbed by dirt. Every now and then he would find a smudge or streak of mud, and with a quick and skillful twist of his wrist he would deftly clean it off and leave the surface sparkling. Petricious seemed a mixture of bemused and annoyed, glancing at Matthew every now and then to make sure he wasn't overstepping some invisible line, but mostly letting the Harlot do whatever it was he felt needed doing.

"To be fair, I sometimes wonder if they would fair much better if they just cleaned their patients. A quick wash would expose the bumps and the leisions, and then anyone who knew anything about medicine could probably identify Yellow Scratch. The others though, you are probably right." Matthew spoke up out of nowhere, his head having lifted for a brief moment to let his polite voice join the conversation. The Doctor shrugged and made an odd giggling noise, his words dropping in tone to reach a somewhat throaty sort of volume. "I do admit, I love my patients to be sparkling clean." Matthew nodded, apparently satisfied with this answer, going right back to his work.

But not for long. As if sensing that Matthew was trying to find a moment of solitude in a rather social day, the Doctor was soon pacing over to the Harlot. If Matthew could sense the brief surge of need from the Doctor, he gave no sign of it. He walked a dangerous line. He could stare pristine good in the face and not be able to tell it apart from pure evil. Before him now stood a demented monster of a man who would experiment on the Harlot just as quickly as he would have him sweep the floor. Matthew had no idea. He had an impression that the man was certainly different, and most certainly the man was dangerous. Did he know he was evil? Matthew would be hard pressed to know what evil was. That was perhaps the only thing that enabled Matthew to lift his head once more and tilt it to the side, distant blue eyes gazing directly into the endless back pools that made up the eyes on the Doctor's mask.

"You are very skilled. Your position in the town allows you to get more experience than any of the others. Perhaps that is why you are bored." The Doctor tilted his head opposite of the way that Matthew had tilted his, the two of them mirroring each other in a mildly creepy fashion. "Her condition is different. Uncommon for these parts. Nate can explain more, if he decides to pay."

Both men stared at each other for a few more precious moments and then simultaneously turned to face Nate. Matthew had managed to find a spoon somewhere and was patiently polishing the head of it while he awaited the scene to progress further along.

Image
User avatar
Matthew
Malfunctioning
 
Posts: 1208
Words: 1100328
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 6
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Guest Storyteller (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)

And So They Go

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 28th, 2014, 6:31 pm

Image
Usually, Nate liked how lack of options focused his thinking. When the only path you have is the one before you, there's no room for hesitation or second-guessing: all you can do is walk it and devote your energies to the journey.

But he never thought the path would be to this pristine pit.

"I can bring her over today," Nate said, a little louder than he'd intended, more than a little uneasy at having two so pedantic faces turn his way, "With the money after you... look at her."

"A bell or two will be all I would need, but..."

Oh, no. He didn't like that tone at all. Petricious' voice slid into it like a man about to haggle over a rug. His hands rubbed together and there was a sickening sound like lips of leather kissing as they did. Nate could feel the smile under that mask, tongue licking its lips.

"If something should happen to your... friend, after the visit... I would consider forgoing, say... half my fee, if I was allowed to use her body-"

"No."

"Young man, this is quite a generous-"

"I said 'no', and I don't want to say again." He held up his purse as a sort of clinking visual aid, shaking it just so the Doctor could hear the multitudes of tinkling metal circles inside. "You look her over, you give us your opinion, we pay you. That's it."

Petricious' robes undulated and bristled as if he were some annoyed snake that had been disturbed, but his masked face remained inscrutable. Finally, there was a raspy sigh and a shrug.

"As you wish. Some people have so little imagination..."

"As you see it, Doctor. When shall we come back?"

Something that wouldn't be recognizable as human for much longer moaned pitifully from behind the curtain. Petricious' head turned slightly in that direction and Nate could hear the leer in his voice.

"Oh... no more than a bell or two, I think..."

Nathaniel grabbed Matthew by the shoulder and once again dragged him on his way. Once they were around the corner he pushed the harlot against the wall and glared fiercely into those utterly unintimidated eyes.

"You vouched for him, means you're responsible, Matt. I'll leave it at that..."

A Sunberth rat would have understood the threat there before it had been uttered. You vouched for a man, you're fate would be the same as his, should he turn out to be unreliable or treacherous. There were no excuses or pleas to hide behind: your word mattered, in as far as failure could prove it worthless. Once it was, you were dead.

Nate had mete out that punishment before. He hoped Matthew would understand what that meant, but... he doubted it.

"Anyway..." he said a little uncomfortably, unused to trying to scare someone who simply didn't feel fear "... that was the easy part, my friend. Now comes the real challenge..."

Talking Kay into hobbling her arse all the way to the Clinic of "that nasty piece of work" and then let him work on her... and have her know that Nate's coin was paying for it... and explaining to her that it couldn't have all come from legit work.

Oh, joy...

Image
User avatar
Nathaniel Ankah
Player
 
Posts: 120
Words: 186484
Joined roleplay: May 24th, 2014, 3:52 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Plotnotes

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests