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Rosela visits Caelum at Alements for a much needed pick-me-up.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Rosela on November 20th, 2014, 4:34 pm

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Timestamp: 79th of Autumn, 514AV

Making it down to the third tier was a struggle, made worse by the weariness that forced her to stop and sit down every couple chimes. She’d thought the walk to her shop was long; no, this was a long walk. Where once she would have made this trip with ease, even enjoyed the fresh air, now she was bundled up in her cloak, trying to disguise the fact that she was gasping for breath. Since she’d left the healing center, the slightest chill seemed to cut right through her and every muscle seemed to reluctant to return to use.

She prayed Alements was warm.

The establishment still seemed so new to her, even though she logically knew it had started in the Spring. It was still unsettling to realize she’d missed almost two seasons in what seemed the blink of an eye. She remembered hearing about its grand opening – a colorful affair, though she’d been unable to attend herself.

Stopping for another rest on a bench not far from her destination, she attempted to collect herself. She would walk in with short steps. She would pause outside to slow her breath. Under no circumstances would she stumble in like a half-starved beggar. Hopefully she’d be better dressed, but the point remained.

Taking a moment to massage the throbbing muscles above her knees, a swift breeze sent shivers up her legs and she quickly stood and made her way to the front door.

By Akajia’s black panties, this place had better be warm.

Head held high, she pushed through the door while two hands swung off her cloak and the other four smoothed her dress. Straight back, slow breaths. Her black sweater dress was warm, but did nothing to hide her stomach without the cloak. Nevertheless, she tried to wear the pregnant look well and looked around, wondering if she should seat herself. The interior was rich in color and thankfully warm, making her feel oddly underdressed. Discreetly enjoying the scent of herbs and spices that hung in the air, she moved across the room and claimed a seat far from the door.


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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Caelum on November 21st, 2014, 1:04 am

Sunlight puddled into the infirmary through the bubbled glass window. It illuminated the pale grey stone of the walls and his counter top and softened the gentle blues and greens found in bottles and pots and bed blankets. The ethaefal moved through this light as one born to it, an extension of the day itself given greater animation and gifted with agency of his own. Autumn had spilled blood through his hair, darkening it to a rich auburn that tumbled constantly into his eyes. It paled his horns, shining them right back up to gold, a hue that was only somewhat more subdued in the tone of his skin. Tall and noble, hard and fluid, he folded freshly laundered blankets at the ends of beds and collected up the instruments and objects that constituted the daily debris of a busy clinic. Trash went into the bin and the rest was set at the corner of his desk before he ducked out the door and let long strides carry him down the short hallway and into the main room of Alements.


It was there that he paused, stopping just within as was his habit, to survey the room.


Caelum had spent a large portion of the last few years training himself mentally. This was done in a variety of ways and ultimately employed for a number of endeavors, but his primary motivation had been Nikali's divine gift (or curse) of ranuri. Without continued conditioning, he was all too easily ruled by the wine colored chains that coiled about his hip and lower. The needs and desires of any passing stranger could tug him around by the nose, and they still did. He was far from free of it, but he was still in possession of his sense of self.


And he held onto it with both desperate hands.


This was why Caelum took a minute to study his business, and more importantly his patrons. Before he took in their physical details, he was listening to the soft stir of their desires as they drifted through him. As he remained unbonded, terrified of falling into the wrong choice, it took no effort for him to feel the needs of those around him. Instead, he had to try not to.


As he possessed only one mark of Nikali, the desires came without a great deal of detail. This was where Caelum's other talents came into play. The highly honed observational skills needed for healing came first, and second was the processing and analyzing abilities he improved upon in his intelligence endeavors. A small collection of data and details heaped inside of him and he began to sift through through them while rolling on a loose hipped amble deeper into his bar. A dirty glass was collected from the edge of one table and he gave an absent kick to the leg of a chair, sending it neatly back up under another, and eventually the current grew into a river and his feet puzzled the path right to a halt beside the chair Rosela had chosen.


The Eypharian beauty received a slow, incendiary smile. "Rosela," he greeted, low and warm. Amber eyes made their study, and the pallor of glimmering skin and the small but important signs of wear and change were noted. Something in the line of his shoulders gentled. "Welcome to Alements. We met over a year ago. Do you remember? At the Beauty Fest."


He tilted his head toward the chair opposite her. "Mind if I join you?"
Last edited by Caelum on January 5th, 2015, 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Rosela on November 21st, 2014, 4:22 pm

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Rosela surveyed the room from her vantage point and discreetly rubbed two hands together. Warmth was seeping back into her skin, but her muscles and joints resolutely remained stiff. Never in her life had she battled her own body as much as in the past few days. Soreness, weakness, the invader – no, child – growing in her belly… Even her mind had twisted against her will, keeping tears seemingly always at the ready and a complaint about her burdens at the front of her thoughts. In the quiet moments, she could remember the woman she was before, but if she took her mind off the beacon that was the Old Rosela, she dissolved into weakness.

She could overcome the usurpation of her body, but her mind, shivering and frail though it was, would not bow. So much of her wanted to blame the child for her current state, the Talvis that had taken advantage of her, the Eypharian who’d attacked her for still-unknown reasons, but these were all things that the Old Rosela could have conquered. The fact that the Old Rosela seemed to have vanished troubled her far more.

Caelum’s appearance startled her from her thoughts and a single hand fluttered to her chest for a moment. She returned a fragile smile and did her best to regain her composure; she’d come here for a reason, not to sit in a corner and wallow. If her mind could not be turned through force of will, perhaps she could fake it well enough through artificial measures. In her absence, Alements had apparently acquired a reputation for providing such.

”Caelum, of course I remember. How could I forget a sweetheart like you?” He was indeed a difficult man to forget, one of the unearthly beautiful Ethaefel in the city. He was handsomely matched to the season, all reds and golds, and seemed to fit in perfectly with the colorful establishment. ”This place is just lovely; I’m sad I haven’t been here before now.”

She was surprised he offered to sit with her and pleased color filled her cheeks. ”Please do, thank you. How are you? I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of a proper conversation with you.” Despite her usual desire to play her cards close to the vest, everything in her wanted to believe she could trust him. Somehow, she knew in her heart she could trust him to help her.


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Postby Caelum on December 4th, 2014, 11:53 pm

"I'm well." The confession came with a smile that in another season might have been apologetic, almost as if he ought to regret his obvious and radiant health. A hand drifted over the back of the armchair across from Rosela while he absorbed the intricacies of her desires. His mind snapped like bones, sharp and clean, as he forcibly directed the various pieces towards occasionally opposing goals.


First, Caelum speculated upon the sort of beverage Rosela might want versus the type she was in need of. It was in his rather expert experience a common irony of the living condition to have wants and desires in conflict. He knew that the time in which someone told him he could not was unerringly the hour of his greatest ambition to do. He was curious if the lovely Eypharian experienced the same contradictory personality.


He dropped down into the cushioned seat and sat forward, sliding his forearms to the table top and setting down the empty glass he had collected en route. Golden eyes made their study and his smile was deceptively easy, but genuinely warm. Caelum was many things, but uncaring wasn't one of them.


"Congratulations," he added with a nod, auburn hair spilling into his eyes as he made a polite if obvious reference to the clear fact of her pregnancy. "I'm glad you finally made it in. It's always good to see familiar faces and I am a doctor." He paused and his smile grew self deprecating. "As I'm sure you're already aware due to the reputation of this establishment and my association with Kavala Denusk. As a healer, I have an especial interest in your well being."


A hand rose, signaling wordlessly to Elise behind the bar. The dark eyed young woman had caught his eye and raised an eloquent eyebrow. Caelum held up two fingers and then returned his attention to Rosela. Strong shoulders pitched comfortably forward, slumping an otherwise noble carriage.


"Will you have a drink with me? And perhaps a bite to eat? I'd like to hear how you have been doing and what you've been up to since we saw each other last. Frankly, I'm surprised we haven't run into each other at the market or otherwise around town." He met her eyes directly and his tone lowered with compassion. "What's been going on, Rosela?"
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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Rosela on December 10th, 2014, 7:29 pm

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As Caelum made reference to her pregnancy, an unconscious hand pressed to her belly. "Oh...thank you." She knew her belly was obvious, but this was the first time she’d received a comment on it from someone other than her Tavlis or a doctor. The action made it uncomfortably real.

She blinked in surprise at hearing of his own healing abilities. A wave of sadness washed over her at the memory of her time at the healing clinic. Instead of the cold and stiff healers there, why couldn’t she have been under his care? ”No, I didn’t know that about you. Did you help with her…” Rosela’s Common failed her and she searched for the correct word. ”The, ah…birth? The birthing? I hear it can…go…badly…?”

Her Common was just fine as she trailed off, but she struggled to ask something so burdening and still retain her composure. From everything she’d heard, and everything she knew now, ‘go badly’ was an understatement. She remembered seeing Kavala at the Ice Masquerade the winter prior – she’d looked stunning, but Rosela had heard Kontis had an easier time with Akalak pregnancies. Whether the rumor was true or not, Rosela briefly, wistfully, cursed her superior blood that wasn’t made to withstand such torment. The hand on her stomach began to worry at a fold in the wool of her dress. It was a familiar motion, developed when she’d dabbled in meditation and hypnotism. The habit was a calming remnant from her old life.

Caelum signaled to the woman behind the bar and Rosela followed his movement wordlessly. He was so at ease here, so comfortable, so fully trustable. ”I would love that, thank you. I want to hear about you as well, and this beautiful place you have here.” She didn’t consider for a second that he would order something she didn’t like. With effort, she stopped the motion of her fingers against her dress and mirrored Caelum’s posture, albeit less slumped. Four hands folded in front of her on the table and the other two crossed across her bust. She didn’t want to talk about herself; she wanted to forget everything that had happened and let it sink into the abyss of the forgotten. Forgetting would not change it, though.

”I’m…I’m…” She forced herself to speak without knowing what she would say, if only to break the lengthening silence. Where would she even begin? How much did she want him to know? ”I’m…okay,” she finished flatly. ”This was a little bit of a surprise for me, but I’m…okay. Keeping busy. Getting back into the routine of things.” Admittedly, it wasn’t a lie, but it was nowhere near the whole truth. To explain how it had been a surprise would be to explain all of it, and she wasn’t sure she could go that far in response to an innocent inquiry about herself. Deep down, she knew she wanted his pity and concern, but she couldn’t bring herself to practically ask for it. If Caelum wanted to know further, she wanted it to be on him to ask.


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Postby Caelum on January 4th, 2015, 7:54 pm

"I wasn't there for Kavala's labor," Caelum denied, and the smile that twisted his mouth did not look so haunted as the shadow that winged briefly through his eyes. Those were dark, cold hours of personal history he had no interest in ever repeating. "There was a particularly unfortunate series of events that prevented it. I was there shortly after, however, and it was a good thing. Kavala suffered from an incredibly rare condition called superfecundation, and it is highly unlikely that any such situation should occur for you."


The empty glass was caught by his fingers and reeled in to be twisted one way, and then the other in a slow, ponderous manner. Eyes low, he studied the rim while listening to the soft, familiar noises Elise made behind the bar and the more muffled but ever constant sound of running water. It had a certain music to it, and it filled Riverfall up from the bay.


"If you like," he offered finally. "I would be happy to examine you, and to monitor your pregnancy. It doesn't have to be today, but any time that would be most comfortable and convenient for you. Here, in my private infirmary, or at the Sanctuary. Even at your home if that would put you more at ease."


The smile he gave her was sudden and charming. "Have physician's bag, will travel."


Elise arrived with a tray that she began unloading on to their table with a smile. A ceramic teapot was set down in the middle and two cup and saucer sets followed. A small crock of honey, a miniature bowl of lemon slices, and a small pitcher of cream followed. The empty glass Caelum was bobbling between his hands Elise stole from him with an admonishing look and she shortly replaced it with a plate laden high with cheeses and fruits and an array of seasoned flat bread.


"Which one do you want?" Elise asked Caelum, tapping a fingertip lightly to the top of a pair of matching glass elixer bottles. One held a pale green solution and the other was clear as glass.


Caelum squinted at the jars and then reached out and selected the clear one. "Thanks, Ellie," he muttered at her, and the young woman gave her employer a warm smile before sharing it with Rosela and taking her leave. Caelum lifted the lid off of the tea pot, leaned over to sniff at its contents, and proceeded to pour half the contents of the vial inside before replacing the lid.


"We'll let that steep for a few minutes," he suggested, returning his attention to Rosela. It had already been there, though, as he turned over the strongest strands of the epharyians desires in his mind. "How was it a surprise, Rosela?" A hint of worry edged into his expression. There were a number of ways pregnancies could come as a surprise, and suddenly the ethaefal held hope in them that Rosela's was one of the less damaging methods. "Was the beginning of your pregnancy particularly rough? What's happened that's requiring you to recover?"


The question came out of him like coins tumbling through the dark, delving and pointed and coaxing. He was to upend this mystery, and he knew she wanted him to as well.
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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Rosela on January 22nd, 2015, 6:08 pm

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Somehow, Caelum having limited information on Kavala’s latest birth worried Rosela more than if he’d had the whole story. She wanted desperately to ask more about Kavala's strange condition, but didn’t want to pry. Caelum had been kind to her and the last thing she wanted was to push him away by gnawing for information. While she knew little about healers, she was pretty sure talking about their other patients was off-limits. Especially if it was a mutual friend – if Kavala wanted her to know, she’d tell her. She’d try to casually bring it up with the Oathmaster, if she could remember the strange-sounding name, that is.

There was a moment of silence as they both considered the empty glass shifting in Caelum’s hands. Rosela wondered if he was also thinking of the last time they met, Beautyfest of the previous year. She’d been so brash then – she’d given him a kiss on the cheek, if she remembered correctly – but it seemed much of the life had been sucked out of both of them.

He broke the silence first. His offer came so unexpectedly that a high, breathy laugh escaped. ”Oh, you don’t know how much I would appreciate that. I-I mean the healers at Gilia aren’t bad and the Oathmaster is so much nicer than I always heard he was, but….” She looked down at her belly, pressing gently against the edge of the table. It would only grow bigger, and siphon more life from her as it did. ”They didn’t know me before this…thing. Everything’s so different; I’m not the person I was before. They just keep telling me it’s, oh, it’s just mood swings, and fatigue, and a hundred other things.” She heaved a half-frustrated sigh, sending the small hairs hanging in front of her face fluttering.

Her complaints were interrupted by the arrival of food and drink and Caelum thankfully took care of the decisions. She returned the young woman’s smile, but did not speak. Caelum clearly knew what he was doing, and being a healer as well, she trusted implicitly that he’d chosen just what she needed. ”What is that, some new kind of tea?” She asked out of simple curiosity.

His inquiry into the origins of her pregnancy was not entirely unexpected, but still, she hesitated in telling him. ”I, um, I-“ Eyes focusing sightlessly on the dishware in the middle of the table, she dragged a hand through her limp hair and searched for where to start. ”I woke up, I mean…” No, she had to go further back. ”I…Summer. Early Summer. They said it was the 12th? I got hit; I was…attacked. I don’t remember it, but they said I was hit in the head and-“ Her voice broke and she swallowed dryly through her closing throat. When she spoke again, her voice was weak and high. Her eyes remained fixed on the teapot. ”I was d-dumped in the bay and whoever did it...left. A Charoda happened to see me and rescued me, but I was bleeding and I wouldn’t wake up and he didn’t know what to do… They took me to Gilia and they didn’t know if I’d ever wake up. The Kuvay’nas said they never found the man who did it.” Her lip trembled and she sniffled softly. She desperately wanted to stop there and not speak the true shame, her lowest, lowest point.

”While I was there - I don’t know why, I guess people just talked about me – a man,” she angrily ground the word out through a closed throat. She was shaking now. ”An Akalak talked to the Oathmaster and convinced them to pay for my medical treatment to keep me alive in exchange for making…me…his...Nakivak. While I was…” A hand rose unsteadily to hide her face and her shame. Why had she ever wanted to tell him this? Why did she ever want another soul to know? The mark of Akajia on the back of her neck prickled – she should have buried this secret along with all of her others. She should have made up some sweet lie; she should have never come in the first place. Despite her growing, desperate desire to dash out the door at that very moment, something forced her mouth open to continue speaking and finish it.

”I woke up on the 70th. They told me what happened. I re-“ She struggled briefly with the Common. ”Re-rehabilitated. I went home. I met the man who…” A brief sob escaped and she choked it back with a gasp. Her hand dropped from her eyes to wipe away the tears. Her makeup was probably ruined. ”He’s so…I hate him, but he’s so…” She struggled to put into words the essence of the man who was so sweetly trying to take care of her, in spite of what he’d done. After a moment’s consideration, she realized Caelum didn’t need to know and after all she'd already said, probably didn't want to.

”Anyway,” her voice cracked as she tried to recover. ”That’s it. I guess. I have this,” She gestured dismissively, almost contemptuously, at her stomach. ”And I’m always cold, and tired, but…I’m alive?” She almost descended once again into tears, but she sniffed them back with effort. She shrugged uselessly.


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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Caelum on March 22nd, 2015, 11:31 pm




"You're my patient now," Caelum informed Rosela, his voice low but decided. He was stating a fact and it was done in the warmest, most reassuring fashion that he probably could have used that tone to say something terrible and it would take a minute to register. "Gilia is excellent, but their motives and mine are not always aligned."


As if the universe was attempting to prove Caelum's point for him, Rosela's tale unfolded. He was an active listener, nodding now and again and at one point his mouth curved so sharply down that it threatened to scowl. Shadows started to clutch at his eyes, dimming their brilliance as the bright side of his curiosity performed a languid flip into the black. The shadows of him were so much more evident and clear this fall when the curse they did not yet know or understand still held Riverfall under siege. The colors of him seemed more like carnage.


Eventually, he decided the tea had steeped long enough. The pot was lifted and he poured Rosela and he both out a cup. It was a deep, rich mahogany, clear but almost dark enough to mistaken for the more exotic coffee. The scent that wafted off of it smelled faintly of raspberries. He added a dollop of milk and goodly portion of honey before stirring it up and placing it in front of Rosela. The entire concoction was one that held a variety of nutrients desperately needed by any pregnant woman, let alone one who had recently woken from a coma. It would also help ease her nerves, and help her sleep when the time came for that. The heat alone would assist with the chill, though Alements itself was cozy and warm. Pregnant women often felt temperatures differently.


As Rosela settled into a sniffling sort of silence, Caelum lowered his own tea cup from a sip. Nothing in the tea would hurt him, and it did taste particularly lovely. Of course, with the sun still in the sky he wasn't in the least bit thirsty. That was neither here nor there. He met his fellow kuvan's eyes over the short length of the table and his expression was no longer gentle. What it held was usually unseen, revealing that there was something hard in Caelum that had never been softened and never been really dislodged. It sat in him like a stone in the stomach a dead woman, forcibly swallowed and some piece of him not having survived long enough to spit it back out. He had come across such a girl once, her corpse beneath his butcher's hands.


"Let's be honest, Rosela," he said quietly. There was no one sitting near enough them to over hear. "I understand that the words may be difficult for you to form. You are still in shock. But I know well enough what's happened here and we'll call it what it is -- you were assaulted, then you were raped. And it was rape regardless of whether or not permission was given by the Oathmaster. That only makes it city sanctioned rape. And the fact that it was done to a kuvan, an acknowledged citizen of Riverfall who contributes readily to the economy of the city with her business acumen and expertise, only makes it worse. You were in no condition to even be imagined capable of consent, let alone to actually give it of your own free will."


Anger was in him. It bit bitterly against the back of his throat and his chair creaked as he leaned back in it, something in him as restless and cagey as the night lion at the menagerie. One got the impression that he was ready to rise up and pace, snarling the whole while.


"It's bad enough that women are tasked to pay in this fashion for their saving and health care, but you? You are known. You are supposed to be one of our city's protected."


In another season, Caelum might have hesitated before being so vocal about his opinions regarding the nakivak system. Oh, he had stood up in public and denounced it at least once before the Council of Elders itself; but that had been in a formal setting, and his speech had been carefully worded, couched in understanding and respect.


This was different. His mask was slipping.


"Who is he? This coward of a Talvis who must prey upon the comatose rather than petching try to court your when you were up and able."

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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Rosela on March 31st, 2015, 7:56 pm

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“You’re my patient now.”

Hearing the words so firmly said made Rosela sag in relief. Caelum would take care of her. She could trust in him. The horror that would grow inside of her for the next two seasons, and then some, seemed a little easier to bear.

She did not see his fine face distorted with anger until her woes were finally laid bare and she looked up at the sound of the cup being placed in front of her. ”Thank you,” she said quietly, reaching out to wrap her thin fingers around the porcelain. He looked unpleasant in the grip of such darkness, his unearthly beauty tainted by something fearsome.

She shrank from his rhetoric against the Nakivak system, the arguments familiar but the words carrying no comfort. Again, she wondered if she had paid more attention the year before, when so many women were uniting against the system, would she have been spared this fate? She had so utterly not cared at the time, preferring to focus on the flow of mizas from hands rather than what their attached mouths were saying about the city's system of rape-breeding.

Rape, rape, rape. It made her sick to hear the word. In her lap, one hand pulled at the wrist that was trapped by her gold undan, placed directly over her powerless Kuvan mark.

More out of politeness than thirst, she took a small sip of the sweet-smelling tea he had brewed, not questioning for a moment what was in it. The warmth was so profound, she could distinctly feel it slowly move down the back of her throat and pool in her stomach. Goosebumps of pleasure broke out over her arms. Her focus was intently on the cup in front of her, not wanting to see the restless, agitated man sitting across from her. She hated that she’d upset him.

”He’s…he’s…” Rosela hesitated, thinking of Likhren. ”He’s not like that. He’s sorry, I mean. He hates what he did, and he wants to take care of me. I just can’t hate him; I really can’t. I was so afraid when I woke up, and I didn’t think I’d ever want to meet him. But he really wants to take care of me, and-and-“ One hand raised shakily to cover her mouth and she finally met Caelum’s eyes again, matching his anger with the desperate, gnawing fear she felt in her belly. ”I’m not strong enough to do this alone. I need him. I know the whole Nakivak mess is just stupid and awful, but I-“

Her voice dropped to a whisper, barely audible through her fingers. ”I can’t get out of it now. They won’t let me. I’ll lose everything, everything I’ve built, everything I’ve made. All gone. I need to make it through this somehow. Please, just leave him be.”


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Rosela
Bring me pretty things.
 
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Location: Riverfall
Race: Eypharian
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Only Treatment, No Cures Here

Postby Kiva on January 31st, 2016, 7:12 am

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Such a Beautiful Thread . . .

An emotional thread to read. Seeing the Nakivak system affect PC's and Riverfall's ugly side makes this a tragically beautiful thread. I only wish I could have seen it go further. :(


 
Rosela
XP
  • Socialization | 3
  • Endurance | 2
  • Subterfuge | 1
  • Persuasion | 1
  • Debate | 1
  • Massage | 1
Lores
  • Caelum: Angered by the Nakivak System
  • Sharing Difficult Memories
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    N/A


 
Caelum
XP
  • Leadership | 2
  • Interrogation | 2
  • Socialization | 2
  • Rhetoric | 1
  • Cleaning | 1
  • Hosting | 1
  • Business | 1
Lores
  • Rosela: Was Raped
  • Rosela: Victim to Riverfall
Miscellaneous
    N/A


. . . I brought it a Treat.
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Kiva
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