Solo [Hall of Bones] So Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Part 2

Kaie gets her feet wet in forensic anthropology

(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!)

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]

Moderator: Gossamer

[Hall of Bones] So Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Part 2

Postby Kaie on November 26th, 2015, 3:31 am

Image
87th of Fall, 515 AV
Mid-day


It was the most beautifully haunting thing she'd ever seen. Each piece systematically laid out upon the table according to anatomical position. Her fingers itched to touch, to grasp even the tiniest white building block that constructed a much more complex being. One might've commented on how morbid the collection's superior organization was. Not Kaie. The enchanted Myrian couldn't hide the awe that embraced her expression. The curator's lips offered a most subtle crooked smile as he watched her, cold hands lingering in his pants pockets. "He was a donation, and a good man. I remember him well," Niko narrated from behind with a voice as smooth as he was professional.
"You mean someone gave up their burial to be a part of your...collection?" Kaie inquired with a furrowed brow, hands pausing in their careful hovering. The curator glided to the opposite side of the table. The heels of his palms pressed against the edge of the table for support when he leaned upon it.

"It's not about being a part of a collection. It's knowledge. You can guess all you want about the remains you find, but how can you be sure you've a clue you're not just making wild assumptions? You need to compare the bones of a person whose characteristics you already know to the ones you don't. Kurt knew that." His dark eyes cast themselves back over the skeletal remains before him. They moved meticulously from Kurt's head to his toes as if his memories could paint flesh back onto the bones. Kaie followed his gaze. She took a step back, arms crossed over her chest.
"No offense...but what the petch does it matter? The dead are gone."
"Your race above all knows there is power in bones." His smug grin was smothered by a solemn pragmatism that was far from human. Niko slipped around to put himself behind the skull, letting both his pale hands rest upon its sides. "It matters to the living. I'm sure you've lost someone in your jungle. Someone who wandered away and simply never came back? Haven't you ever wondered what happened to that missing person?"

Niko lifted the skull from the table as if it were the most fragile thing he'd ever held. He turned it around in his hands so that he might gaze into the empty orbits where eyes used to gaze back. "I once stopped in Sunberth before I made it to Riverfall. On my way to an inn I saw a group arguing, a woman, her brother-in-law, and a few other neighbors. Apparently when the floor boards were torn up to be replaced in the brother-in-law's home, the neighbors found a skeleton beneath them. It didn't seem to have been there too remarkably long, but the tissue had been stripped clean. Anyway, it just so happened that the woman's sister had gone missing suddenly years ago. Another addict wandered away into the dark, her brother-in-law had ensured them at the time. Except now the woman believed the body to be her sister's and her brother-in-law the murderer. For whatever reason, he changed his story. Swore that he'd only killed his wife in self-defense, that she'd come at him high and with a knife demanding coin to score her next fix." He smiled privately to himself before placing the skull back where it belonged on the table.

"I couldn't help but overhear, and when I'd explained to the group what I had studied, the woman practically begged me to dive into that basement and look for myself."

"Out with it then. What did you find that's got you so smug?"
"A lie."

"How so?"
"Clearly human remains. Characteristics pointed to a female. Broken hyoid. Signs of previously healed fractures near the left orbit. Cutting trauma on the right ulna. Multiple cutting trauma along the ribs." Kaie blinked at him. Niko chuckled with an apologetic gleam in his sophisticated eyes. "I'm sorry. In plain Common then? Or better yet, why don't I show you in a way you'll understand. May I?" Niko gestured with his left hand toward the knife strapped to Kaie's belt. In a tick she freed it and spun it around so that Niko might grasp it from its handle. He took it with a polite bow of his head before navigating opposite of the Myrian again with the table between them.
Image
Image



Image
User avatar
Kaie
Player
 
Posts: 1569
Words: 1635789
Joined roleplay: May 9th, 2013, 3:13 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Myrian
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)

[Hall of Bones] So Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Part 2

Postby Kaie on November 26th, 2015, 4:14 am

Image
"We'll use Kurt to demonstrate what I think happened to poor Lydia," he began casually and shoved up his sleeves. His right hand gestured to Kurt's left orbit, tracing below where the man's cheeks would've been in life. "Sometimes lines along a bone can signal a place where it was broken but healed again. Here, if I was right, she probably walked repeatedly into a pole. How clumsy of her! Or...maybe the fractures are more consistent with Lydia's face being all too familiar with her husband's right fist?" Kaie couldn't help but wonder if he was taking more pleasure in the gruesome ordeal than anyone should. Yet that wasn't much coming from a woman who bathed herself in foreigner blood while chanting praise to a bloodthirsty Goddess of War. In any case, she couldn't deny Niko's logic. She didn't have enough fingers to count how many times the left half of her face had been mutilated by a right fist. "Then we have the hyoid bone." Niko's right hand picked up the U-shaped bone beneath the skull. "I've seen bodies of strangulation victims. Often times their hyoid bone is broken, especially when the perpetrator seized them by the throat. This little bone was almost as damning to the husband's story as what little tricks I'll show you next."

How can any barbarian be so sinister yet so professional? Pretty sure when we Myrians do that, we're referred to as "nightmares", the woman couldn't help but think as Niko wielded her knife. He placed the hyoid back where it belonged before jumping right to Kurt's right arm, well, what used to help construct it. The knife's edge tapped harmlessly upon the innermost of the two "arm bones". "We call this bone the ulna. Right now the bones in your arms cross. When you flip them over so your palms are up, however, they're not. The ulna is the one on the same side as your pinky finger."

"The same part of your arm you parry with," Kaie began to connect slowly, lifting her arm and twisting it this way and that for her own inspection. Niko snapped his fingers with delight. "Exactly. Wounds on the ulna can be associated with defensive injuries. Lydia's was not broken like a parry fracture, but cut." Niko made a sharp slashing motion down at the ulna for effect, then mimicked the attack from the opposite point of view in which his arm might come up to ward it off.

"She sustained the wound from a knife by raising her arm to protect herself."
"Precisely what I concluded!"

"But how did you know they weren't cuts from something else? Maybe she'd been attacked before she was killed."
"No signs of healing. Had she been alive after the assault that caused the wounds, you would've seen them." The Myrian nodded along, embodying the absorbent power of a sponge as much as possible. How the petch does one even come to know all this? The curator lifted a rib from the skeleton on the table. He flipped it over in his hand and jerked the knife just above the bone as if he were truly trying to pierce invisible flesh with a gruesome stab. "Then came the ribs. Same ordeal. Cutting trauma with no signs of healing. A knife stabbing through the back, sawing past the rib bone as it moved through into the torso. I found seven more of those cuts in her back along ribs. What do you think I concluded, Kaie?"

She took a deep breath. The Myrian leaned over the skeleton, examining the many pieces and processing them in combination with both Niko's tale and his information. If she couldn't step into the shoes of a curator with gods-only-know how many decades of experience under his belt, perhaps she could play the role of the well-blooded Myrian instead. That one she'd already come to know all too way.
"Well, all signs point that he did kill her," the savage tried cautiously, eyes still scouring the anatomical gifts between them. "But did it happen like he said? Self-defense?"
"Probably not."
"Give me your version."

"The two have some kind of altercation. It escalates, turns into physical conflict. Maybe he tries to throttle her, breaks the hyoid bone. Somehow she gets away. He gets something sharp and goes after her. He hacks down at her, she raises her hand to defend herself and the blade wrecks her forearm. She tries to run, he comes down on top of her and gets her on her back. Then maybe he just goes to town with the knife on her back. The whole thing wouldn't be a stretch, assuming it was his fist that broke her face before."
"Not bad, Myrian!" Niko praised and offered back her knife. She flashed him her teeth before taking her weapon and returning it to its rightful place on the belt.

"Naturally, that's the sickeningly simple evaluation we just made. There are more evidence that would be needed to pin the murder on the husband, but you get the picture. Back to your question though. Why does any of this work matter?" Niko made a grand gesture to Kurt's skeleton with both arms outstretched. "Because the truth matters."
Image
Image



Image
User avatar
Kaie
Player
 
Posts: 1569
Words: 1635789
Joined roleplay: May 9th, 2013, 3:13 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Myrian
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)

[Hall of Bones] So Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Part 2

Postby Kaie on December 2nd, 2015, 6:42 am

Image
She stood there for some time. Quiet, pondering like a statue with a finger tap-tapping upon her lip. His expertise was beginning to feel like some omniscience that filled the room. It was starting to smother her, suffocate her with its clever fingers wrapped about her throat and giving a squeeze. Logic. Logic had always been something to rely on when new information was presented. How could she ever know anyone was to be taken seriously without its application? Yet here she was, dumb-founded as to how to confound him. His science seemed sound. It seemed the ignorant Myrian could only sit there and nod her head, accepting his teachings to her valid at face value. But gods there was something so damned off about him that she couldn't quite place her finger on.

Skin so pale he could've stolen Kurt's skin right off his dead body and I wouldn't be the wiser, Kaie found herself thinking, wandering from the grander scholastic endeavors that brought her to pick Niko's brain in the first place. She shook the thought away. Her new teacher cocked his head at the gesture. "You don't see it quite the same?" Kaie raised her brow dumbly, dropping her finger from her lips and zeroing back in on the reality at hand.
"No, I do. The truth matters. I'd be an idiot if I couldn't agree with you on that much," she back-pedaled quickly with a wave of her hand once she'd comprehended the source of Niko's confusion. "It's just strange to consider. You've heard the sayings: dead men tell no tales. Two can keep a secret is one of them is dead." The pale man had a good laugh and exposed a wide smile. He nodded at her, the amusement clearly a challenge to wipe from his face. "Oh but they do tell tales! They can tell so much! The more I sit with bones the more they speak to me. I only wish they'd whisper to me their names. That's the only part we hardly get right: identification." His voice turned almost solemn, remorseful even.

He was stumping her at each turn, leaving her behind as if she'd missed some grand importance. The truth mattered. What really happened to Lydia mattered, but she simply couldn't find the capacity to connect. He came to know who Lydia was, knew of the terrible thing that happened, and that her killer continued to live in deceit. Yet what of the random appearance of bones in the woods? Who cared about the skull found sitting in a cave with no fighting kin, no one to point a finger and say "yeah, that's him." She ran her fingers through her long, wavy hair with a furrowed brow.
"How did you even know it was Lydia to begin with? If her husband hadn't confessed to what he'd done to her, how would you have known that it wasn't someone else beneath the floor boards?"
"I was wondering when you were going to ask that. I'm glad you did. I'll be honest with you, no beating around the bush, no running in circles. No bull shyke. I can let a set of remains tell me all the stories in the world, every little detail I can find is like another page in their book, but I can't ever look at them and ever admit I can without a doubt tell you who they are. Unless you're Kurt of course." He gave Kurt's skull an affectionate pat as if man and skeleton could continue to bond beyond the grave.
Image
Image



Image
User avatar
Kaie
Player
 
Posts: 1569
Words: 1635789
Joined roleplay: May 9th, 2013, 3:13 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Myrian
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)

[Hall of Bones] So Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Part 2

Postby Kaie on December 3rd, 2015, 4:39 am

Image
"Identification is tough. Even if a skeleton has a very unique necklace still around its neck of a personalized artifact in its burial, those things are transferable. The case scenario is like the one I gave you earlier with the story of Lydia. Remains are found and there's a suspicion that someone knows the person they belong to. Only then can I at least do an assessment and give some sort of probability that the remains indeed belong to the person suspected. Lydia could've still been a randomly murdered girl tossed beneath the house for hiding. Lydia may not be Lydia at all. That's the chance. This science is still very much in development, Kaie. Do you still want to learn?" Niko cocked his head at her, and she could feel the uncertainty building in her again. Am I just wasting my time? Yet the Myrian found herself firmly nodding her head anyways in affirmation.

"Well alright then. Let's go through the process. Let's pretend Kurt and I never met and I've got no clue what this skeleton is doing here. I know just absolutely nothing about it. There are some things I can learn from it though. To reiterate, sex, age, stature, race, and pathology. Pathology we'll set aside for now. Let's just focus on sex, age, and human race. Generally, especially at your level, you should never try to guess whether a skeleton is male or female without a pelvis." Niko lifted the strange looking set of bones laying beneath Kurt's spine. Are those what my hips look like? Is that what someone will find if they discover me in some shallow, forgotten grave?

He placed them back down and lifted the skull. "Likewise, you shouldn't say you can tell which of the three categories of human race a skeleton is without a skull. And age? Well, the more bones you can gather the better. I apologize for how vague this all seems so far. We'll get to the specifics in just a tick. I really do hope you enjoy the sound of my voice."

"I have a feeling I'm about to make that judgement very shortly," Kaie sighed and ran her hand through her hair. Gods was in starting to see how in over her head she was. Yet somehow it felt important. Niko was right. She, like her Myrian counterparts back home, understood there was indeed power in bones. Only a fool wouldn't see the importance in learning to read and respect them. [b]"Clever. We'll stick to the visuals today. The measurements are more precise, but we'll get to those eventually. Head to toe, here we go!"
Image
Image



Image
User avatar
Kaie
Player
 
Posts: 1569
Words: 1635789
Joined roleplay: May 9th, 2013, 3:13 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Myrian
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests