Completed [The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Gemma visits Maddy at The Catholicon

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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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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Gemma Parker on February 27th, 2019, 3:35 pm

Winter 42nd, 518 AV

Continuation of The Catalyst

The two heroes were accompanied up to the Catholicon and Gemma made made sure to give a full rundown on everything she knew about the event that related to Madeira Craven's health. They would ask her about it to confirm and see if Gemma had missed anything, but it was the least she could do to speed things along.

She pulled an aid aside and said, "patient is pregnant and got in an altercation. Received a hit to the head and was knocked to the ground. She was also grabbed on the ankle, but she was able to walk here. She might have been effected by hypnosis magic." As she was saying all this, they were walking toward the private rooms that were used for evaluations, but she was stopped before they could go any farther.

"Gemma, I know you want to be there because you brought her in, but I can see that you did more than watch. You need to get checked and wash up before you can go in with a patient, you know that." The aid said.

Gemma tried to protest, but it was no use. Rules were rules. Staff couldn't tend to patients without upholding the strictest sanitation policies, and she had blood all over her hands.

"Fine." She said, looking away. "Just get me checked and I'll wash up before seeing her." The two were separated without Gemma being able to say good bye, but she knew it was only for a short while. She would do what she could to make sure Madeira was well cared for, and that her baby was safe. She felt responsible for the woman and her child. If anything happened to them, it would be on her.

She walked ahead of the aid, away from Madeira's room. "Which room?" She called over her shoulder.

"That one's fine." The aid said. He was clearly not empathizing with Gemma, and sounded almost disappointed. In her?

She walked into the room and pulled herself up onto the elevated bed.

"All right, check away." She said. She was resisting, but she couldn't help but wince when she sat down. "Bruised backside." She said, answering the aid's questioning look.

"And the blood on your hands?" He asked.

"That's from the other woman who was brought in here a few chimes ago. The one with a missing leg?"

He nodded his head in understanding. "So you were right there, huh?" He asked.

"Right in the thick of it." She said, gripping the bed and looking down. "We almost didn't make it. It could have gone south at any minute. It was dumb luck that got us out." She felt ashamed that she had not been able to control the situation better. Maybe it was irrational, but that was no excuse.

"What-"

"I don't really want to talk about it." She snapped. Then after a moment, "I'm sorry. It's just still fresh, you know?" She fell silent after that and let the aid do his job. He found some bruises and scrapes on her knees, but nothing she couldn't fix herself.

"Thanks." She said, finally. "Sorry for being a bitch."

He just chuckled. "I think after what you've been through today, you get a pass. But only one." He grinned boyishly and retreated from the room. "Take care of yourself, Gemma. If you have trouble healing any of those wounds, let me know and we can get help." He said.

She nodded in thanks and tried to stand up, but decided it was best to first handle her bruised seating arrangement.

Still seated, but positioning herself for more comfort, she put her right hand on the affected area and sighed, closing her eyes and centering herself.

"Goddess. Thank you for getting us all out alive. I'm sorry for not being stronger. I'll try harder to be more prepared for the next time." She grimaced at the pain. "Please heal me." She whispered. "Please heal my bruises and scrapes." A tear came to her eye as she connected to her goddess and peace started to trickle into her stressed gut like antiseptic poured over a wound. The reaction stung for a moment, but she knew it was for the best, and she didn't resist.

She knew it was probably her imagination, but she felt like her goddess was putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. She felt that her self criticism was just that, self-centered and self-generated. None of this came from her goddess. As she calmed down, she realized that her goddess was not disappointed in her. By the end of her prayer, she felt calm and at peace in a way she had never felt before, or at least not juxtaposed with such a stressful moment.

She took a moment to enjoy the feeling and the peace of the small room. When she had taken several deep breaths, she stood and walked toward Madeira's room. When she got there, she knocked on the door.

"Miss Craven? It's Gemma. Can I come in?"
Last edited by Gemma Parker on March 8th, 2019, 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Madeira Craven on February 27th, 2019, 9:56 pm

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"Any headache, dizziness?" The red-eyed doctor Alessia was touching Madeira's temples, looking into her eyes, and making sure the pregnant woman could follow the movements of her fingers as she checked her over.

"Both, a little bit", Madeira admitted, shifting her weight uncomfortably on her narrow cot. Nothing was broken, thank gods, but the bruising across her hip was already showing in a blotchy yellow and would soon be a magnificent bruise.

"That's to be expected. Hypnotism can do a great deal more damage than people expect, and the effects can have far reaching consequences." the doctor ran a cool finger over the broken skin in the center of Madeira's forehead, and the Spiritist hissed with pain. "And someone with your history is, of course, more susceptible to such effects."

"For the last time, I am not on drugs."

"I am a healer, miss Craven. Lying to me will do nothing but harm yourself."

It was no surprise, really, that her reputation with the main healers of the Catholicon was still the bombed out crater she had left it at in the Fall. The memory of it still made her shudder. She had dragged herself to the hospital, in pain and bleeding, babbling wildly about having been pushed off a skybridge and having survived the fall, and then surviving in the mountains for four days alone and pregnant while trying to get back to the city. If she had left it at that, she might have earned some dubious raised eyebrows, but the story didn't stop there. She had explained hysterically about a bear that had mauled her and dragged away her arm and much of her leg, and how both had been miraculously regrown again. Still, that might have only earned her a sedative and a mental evaluation. It was what she said next that detonated any credibility she would ever have with the respected healing facility.

"I am not lying! And I wasn't lying before- there is something in the woods!"

"A rainbow. With teeth." The doctor deadpanned, and already Madeira could see the last of her patience pulling tight.

"No, that's ridiculous. It wasn't a rainbow, It only looked like a one."

"And the rainbow beheaded you."

"And my head grew back!"

"And the god Leth spoke to you."

"Through the fallen star, yes!"

"Telling you he had blessed you so you could not die."

"He meant it to be a sort of test!"

"And then the god gave you a key to another dimension."

"To a small piece of one, yes! Are you even listening to me?"

The last of Alessia's patience broke with an almost audible snap, but before the half-symenstra could start spitting metaphorical venom at the clearly insane woman, they were interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Miss Craven? It's Gemma. Can I come in?"

Alessia opened the door without Madeira's leave and with perhaps a bit more violence than was strictly necessary. The cool headed doctor had mastered her facial expression, but there was fire in her red eyes and smoke in her clipped tone.

"Gemma, good. Please see to Miss Craven's minor injuries, and check the vitals of the fetus. I 'm needed elsewhere. If she starts speaking honestly about her recreational drug use and medical history, notify me immediately." And with that she was gone, brushing past the young Konti and down the hall, the tap of her shoes as loud and final as a judges gavel.

Madeira watched her go and sniffed disdainfully. These stupid, narrow Lhavitians. An Avalad would have believed the truth of it. Her expression softened when she beheld Gemma, though. This Lhavitian was good, and kind, and wouldn't treat her like her like an escaped asylum patient.

"Gemma! You look much better", now that you've washed the blood off, she added silently. "I know healers are made of tougher stock than the rest of us, but that was... horrible to witness, what happened to Penrose. Are you okay?" After a moment her expression pinched, gone sour with realization. "If I have to stay overnight can someone inform the Dusk Tower? I have a class to teach in the morning."

OOC :
That did actually happened. It was for a really weird Weekend Challenge if you're interested. :p
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Gemma Parker on February 27th, 2019, 11:20 pm

Gemma heard frustrated grunts from within as the door was yanked open by a very clearly tense Doctor Alessia. She was usually pretty brusque with staff, but Gemma could feel tension in the air that collided with the peace in her spirit, threatening to infect her. She had missed something in the short time that she had been away.

"Yes, Doctor." She said, out of habit more than understanding. 'The vitals of the fetus? How the heck am I supposed to do that? I don't know how to check a fetus...' she thought as she smiled to the doctor and closed the door. Wait, had she said something about recreational drug use? Madeira couldn't be that irresponsible with a baby inside of her, right? This was going to be awkward.

Madeira sniffed, probably in response to whatever she and the doctor had just been discussing. Gemma was curious, but at the same time she wasn't sure she really wanted to know. She had been feeling so good just a moment ago, and now that was starting to shift back into a more neutral, though not yet negative, state.

She asked how Gemma was doing, commenting on her changed appearance. Gemma couldn't tell if the "you look much better" was only referring to her health. She had looked pretty bad when she'd come in. Her normally soft blonde hair had been sticking to her face with sweat, and there had been a blood smear on her face from when she had scratched an itch with her wrist. She also no longer looked like she had come from performing tribal heart sacrifices to some twisted god. But now she was back to her normal self.

"Yeah, it was pretty crazy." Gemma said, strangely less reluctant to talk about it with Madeira since she had also been there and seen the same things. "That was a first for me, but hey, everyone survived, right?" She huffed a single beat of laughter, but there was not humor in it. Madeira realized she would probably be missing work, and Gemma smiled, nodding to assure her patient. "Don't worry. I'll send for a messenger as soon as we're done here." She said, her voice calm and gentle. But then her composure cracked.

"Wait, you teach at the Dusk Tower?" Gemma said, definitely too loud. She instantly regretted it. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I just- you- I didn't-" She cleared her through and stood tall, breathing once and smoothing out a non existent wrinkle in her dress.

"So you work at the Dusk Tower." She started again, composure back in place. "Have you been there long?" She tried to think of what she usually asked patients about their work. It was always just a way of building rapport, and maybe to get context about their lifestyle to know why a medical problem came up. But did she ever ask people how long they'd worked somewhere? She couldn't remember all of her usual questions. Could Madeira, the woman right in front of her, be her way into the tower? But then her stomach clenched as she remembered her internal debate from less than an hour earlier. Was that even what she wanted? And now that she remembered, did that also mean that Madeira couldn't be trusted? But she seemed fine. Eccentric, maybe. And what about Ilam? It was a circular thought pattern and she couldn't help her mind from spiraling down, down, down into realms of maybes and what ifs. But while all this was happening, she did her best not to let her private thoughts tinge the conversation and patient experience.

Gemma had approached the bed where Madeira was and smiled, her training kicking in. This was not a social visit. She had a job to do.

"Let's get the baby checked first." She said, pulling off her gloves and slowly moving to put her hands on Madeira's belly. "May I?" She asked before touching her. When she had permission, she gently felt the belly, wracking her brain in an effort to think of how the heck she was supposed to check a baby's vitals. As she felt, she closed her eyes and tried to imagine a little baby inside the womb. She knew it would be curled up, because that was how they were always drawn. Drawings were accurate, right?

She did her best to feel for the shape of the baby, thinking through everything she knew or could guess about baby health. How did babies usually come out? Head first, right? So the head was probably near the bottom. But what if it wasn't? Maybe the baby was backwards. That could happen, right? In the end, she had no idea what she was doing and would need to get help.

"All right, well from just feeling around, the baby is definitely moving, which means you're probably fine, but I'll get an Aurist in here when I'm done to check more thoroughly." She said. She remembered again how she had wanted to become an Aurist for just this kind of situation. She wanted to help people. Could that really be so bad?

She closed her eyes and tried to re center her thoughts on the moment. She had a patient to tend to.

"I don't know what questions the doctor asked you, so bear with me if I repeat anything, ok?" She said.

"Tell me how you felt during and around the event? Did you feel any abdominal pain or tearing? And have you had any vaginal bleeding? Do you feel agitated or with heart palpitations?" She asked the questions one by one, waiting for a response and writing the answers in Madeira's patient notes. While she did this, she started to pray over the woman, only really moving her lips with no real sound coming out.

"Goddess, please come to my aid and that of Madeira. Please heal what has been broken. Restore her to full health. Please also cover the child in your healing power. Heal the seen and the unseen." She prayed, interrupting the prayer to continue the conversation and questioning.

When she was done with that, and the visible wound on Madeira's head had healed perfectly, she stepped back with a smile. "Do you still feel any pain? Anything I missed? While I'm here, would you like a cup of tea? I'm actually more of an herbalist than a medic, and herbal infusions can help to calm your mind and body after a stressful moment. We've definitely had one of those." As she spoke, she moved over to the side table and began preparing what she would need for the tea. She would have to get the hot water from another room, though.

"I have Chamomile, Peppermint, and Raspberry Leaf." She offered.
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Madeira Craven on February 28th, 2019, 8:50 pm

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Gemma assured Madeira she was fine, but the Spiritist could see how much that positivity cost her. The girl switched expertly into that gentle and detached doctors' composure, but almost at once it cracked again, for a very strange reason.

"Wait, you teach at the Dusk Tower?" she all but yelped, and Madeira's headache gave a vicious bang. Yet the Konti recovered herself with some false starts as Madeira's eyes pinched with pain, and within moments her cool doctors composure was repaired. "Have you been there long?"

"N-no", the usually sure-footed speaker was getting whiplash from the sudden, jarring changes of tone this girl was capable of. "I mean, yes, I work there, but no I haven't for long. I was sent for from Alvadas and arrived in the Fall to work with the Dusk's."

Gemma was bent over her, and asked politely before touching her belly. It was clear from her furrowed brown and the tentative way she was feeling around that she had no idea what she was doing. That was just fine. Madeira was sure if something was wrong she, as the mother, would be the first to know. Gemma made the effort to reassure her though, which she appreciated all the same.

Next came the questions, routine and easy and fired in rapid succession.

"Tell me how you felt during and around the event?"

"Scared, insane for a bit, then scared again."

"Did you feel any abdominal pain or tearing?"

"No."

"And have you had any vaginal bleeding?"

"No."

"Do you feel agitated or with heart palpitations?"

"Agitated, yes. But that's hardly unusual given the situation."

There was a prayer, to the Konti goddess Madeira had never addressed before. A soft glow of light shone down upon her and her headache was immediately lifted. In fact, everything felt better. Even the pain in her hip was no more than a dull ache deep in her bones. Madeira's head fell back and she sighed with relief.

The healer never stopped though. Madeira wondered if she ever did. She was like a windup toy, some sort of spring-loaded machine that just kept going when she was sure the girl was just as shaken and exhausted as she was.

"Peppermint tea would be lovely, yes. Make yourself one while you're at it. Do your superiors seriously expect you to jump right back into work?" She scooted over and patted the end of her cot, inviting the girl to sit. "Come on. Nobody will notice. I can tell you all about the Dusk Tower, if you'd like. You want to be an Aurist, don't you? Sit. Let's talk."

It felt rather like taming a skittish cat. Like coaxing it out with a saucer of cream and gentle cooing noises. Auristics just happened to be the tastiest bit of cream she was sure her little cat would like best. It didn't take a whole lot of observative power to realize she was interested in the Tower. Yet the healer hardly had the kind of disposition you typically see in a spiritist, so she must be after auristics. Madeira could understand its use in the medical field, at the very least. It was good a guess as any, and she was seriously worried this girl was going to keel over with exhaustion, buzzing around like she did.

"Can I have a tea too? Can we have a tea party?"

A pearlescent mist lifted off Madeira's side and coalesced into a little human girl. Emma Chamelle was looking much more stable than when she had possessed her Master just after the incident. Indeed, her tears had vanished and she was back to her normal self, smiling shyly from behind her hair that hid the worst of her crusted face. The ghost just hovered beside Madeira's bed, picking nervously at the scabs between her fingers.
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Gemma Parker on March 1st, 2019, 11:20 pm

Gemma’s heart fell slightly when she heard that Madeira had not worked at The Dusk Tower for long. She confirmed Gemma’s suspicions about her being from outside of Lhavit. She didn’t say who sent for her, so maybe it was possible that she had some connection, but there was no way to know now, and Gemma had already injured the woman enough with her lack of self control. She could behave.

“Yeah, it’s normal to feel that way. Tea will help.” She said, preparing the peppermint for both of them. She had a silly grin on her face after watching Madeira so visibly relax. Normally she was so caught up in insecurity and fear of failure that her gnosis ability was hampered, really only taking the edge off of pain or keeping a wound from becoming infected. But she was supposed to be able to do so much more. Her mom could do so much more, and she only had one mark, too. But this had been different.

Maybe it was because she was so tired, or maybe it was the adrenaline from the incident. Maybe something about Maddy helped her guard to come down. Whatever it was, while her back was turned, she allowed herself a diminutive yet celebratory fist pump. It had felt so… natural. So normal. Why couldn’t she heal like that all the time?

She was shaken from her thoughts by Madeira’s disbelief that Doctor Allesia could expect her to work. She turned slightly to answer while still mixing the herbs together. It was just peppermint tea.

“Oh no, I don’t have to work.” She clarified with a half scoff. “The Doctor probably just forgot that I was off shift, and since I was here she handed me my next task without thinking about it. I actually already worked a double shift today and missed my rest period. I was going to go home and sleep when all… that… happened.” She said, waving in the direction of where the incident had occurred.

“She doesn’t really pay attention to who’s on shift and who’s not, so long as there’s enough staff around, she just keeps working.” Gemma laughed. “There was this one time when I swear it was just me and her, and I was actually just volunteering, but like four people were out sick or with family problems or whatever. She had no idea until she looked around and was like, ‘where is everyone?’” Gemma giggled. “It’s fine. She’s really good at what she does, so we all do our best to make sure the place keeps up with her.” She trailed off.

Madeira offered Gemma a spot on the bed, and her heart leapt at the invitation to hang out for tea. She wasn’t sure how she could have justified staying longer than needed or asking any of her questions. But while her face and body language did nothing to hide her exuberance, she did her absolute best to make sure her volume didn’t spike again.

She held up her finger and inched toward the door. “Yes. Yes I do. And I will be right back. I’m just going to get some hot water for the tea and while I’m out I’ll find an Aurist to do a more thorough examination of your baby. I’m pretty sure Doctor Yonatin is on right now. We call him Doctor Sleepy because his name sounds like ‘yawn’.” She laughed once. “I don’t have any of the skills or training to really rule out problems. If it can’t be cured with herbs or prayer, I’m kind of useless,” she deprecated, but from how her face stayed excited, one might have thought she hadn’t just belittled herself.

“But I’ll be right back.” She said, stepping out of the door for a second, then popping back in to say, “don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.” And as she moved to leave again, she could have sworn she saw some kind of aura moving around Madeira. She paused in the hallway just outside the door. Had she just… seen an aura? Had she somehow unlocked a latent power within herself?

She wanted so badly to go back and confirm, but she had already been spastic enough, and what if she had just imagined it? She shook her head and clenched her fists, forcing herself to walk away. She could confirm her suspicion later. For now, she went in search of Yonatin, one of the Aurists who worked here. He would surely know how to check the baby.

As she walked through the halls, each time she saw someone, she squinted and stared at them, trying to focus and see through the veil of reality that hid what was unseen. She got a lot of odd looks, and one aid even shook her head and addressed the Konti.

“What’s wrong with you, girl? You feeling ok?” But Gemma couldn’t bring herself to stop her attempts to replicate what she was sure had happened while in the hospital room. But try as she might, she couldn’t do it.

Gemma soon found Doctor Yonatin and filled him in. He nodded and started to walk away when he saw her squinting at him.

“Gemma? Are you ok?” But when she kept staring and didn’t answer he just shook his head and headed off to Madeira’s room for the checkup. Now in an empty hall, the perplexed Gemma made her way to the break room where she put water on to boil. And a few minutes later, when it was boiling, she brought the whole pot with her as she headed back toward Madeira’s room. And when she arrived, she knocked once more on the door, waiting once more for permission before entering.
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Madeira Craven on March 4th, 2019, 9:58 pm

Image
The girl accepted her invitation to sit, but never did. Instead she expounded on her inexperience and slipped out the door, promising to came back with hot water and someone who could preform medical auristics.

“But I’ll be right back.” She said, stepping out of the door only to poke her head back around the corner. “Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.”

"...Yes, okay", Madeira muttered, baffled. But the girl was gone before the words had hardly left her mouth.

Emma hummed to herself as she snooped around the room, her shyness evaporating when the strangers left the room. With effort she managed to use her soulmist projection to wedge open the cabinet and poke around the shelves upon shelves of herbs Gemma had been navigating.

"She's weird", the ghost commented happily, showing zero self awareness as she pushed a bottle of peppermint around a shelf.

"That's unkind, kitten."

"Why?" she pouted. "I didn't say she's mean, just weird."

Madeira ran her palm over the tight, round protuberance of her belly. The baby was always active, kicking like a drum and rolling like a ship. She tried to feel what the Konti was looking for. Was that a shoulder, a head, a knee? Were those hands or feet that were assaulting her day and night? Sometimes she was sure her child had eight fists and multiple heads, the way it moved.

Madeira pulled off her long lace gloves and flexed her hands. Both were soft, scarred and white, with no trace of the black dijed stone mark she could only exercise on odd days of the season. Without it her auristics was hilariously weak, but she was moved to try regardless. Focusing on her belly, she moved her dijed to her eyes, letting it sit passive and watchful. Peeling back all that she could see physically, she tried find what was beneath.

She had never tried watching her own aura before. It was strangely overwhelming, and she could hardly see through it to the soul she sheltered in her own body. But there was something there, buried deep. It did not have the complicated aura of a truly sentient being, but if she looked hard and focused, she was sure she was seeing something that was both part of her, and not.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door.

Emma's shroud rippled as her concentration broke, and the little vial of bergamot leaves she was trying to hold slipped through her incorporeal hands and shattered on the floor. Madeira's concentration broke too, and she blinked herself back to reality just as the ghost squeaked and vanished.

A tall doctor with tired, puffy eyes and a shock of grey hair opened the door.

"Is everything okay in here?"

"Yes, sorry about that", Madeira glanced at the shattered vial on the floor and to the far corner where Emma, unmaterialized and invisible, was hiding.

"No matter. I'm doctor Yonatin, miss Craven. How are you feeling?" the man sidled up to her bed, stepping over the glass and putting a cool hand to her forehead. "I understand you've had a trying day."

"You can say that."

"I'm just going to have a quick look at your aura, and make sure everything is fine internally. When are you due?"

Madeira did some mental math, counting back from the terror of her first missed menstrual cycle. "Early next season, sometime. I didn't have a healer for the first season of my pregnancy, so I don't know for sure."

The man hardly seemed to be listening. He was staring with an uncomfortable focus Madeira recognized from watching Savis exercise her auristics. So she fidgeted and waited, unwilling to shake his concentration with questions until he was through. After a few moments he finally looked up, blinking moisture from his tired, overworked eyes and smiled.

"You're a strong mother, they're doing just fine. We'll need you to take it easy for a couple days, and let us know if you have any unusual pain or bleeding, just to be sure." The healer smiled kindly and moved to back away, but Madeira's hand shot out and seized him by the front of his robes.

"What do you mean they?" the Spiritist choked.

"Did you... Did you not know?" Yonatin bent at the waist as madeira dragged him closer, as if a closer look would reveal the lie in his tired eyes.

"Know what? What don't I know?"

"You're having twins."

"You're mistaken."

"I assure you I'm not", the man plucked at her fingers, detangling her fist from his pristine white robes. "There are two souls in your womb."

Madeira wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Twins! She didn't want a child, and the universe stuck her on a ship with not a doctor or abortion capable herb in sight. And to top it off, it made her first and only male partner virile enough to impregnate her the first time, with twins.

"Are they human?" she demanded, her eyes wide and blue and intense with the kind of focus that burned holes in solid rock.

"What? Are you expecting-?"

"Are they human." Her family already wanted to kill her for sullying their perfectly cataloged genealogy with a bastard child. But to introduce a kelvic gene into their perfect blood...

"Th- There's no way to know until they're born", he pried her boney fingers away in earnest. "Do we need to go over family history? Who is the father?"

Madeira stifled her conflicting urges to both laugh and weep like a little girl and let the man go. Gathering herself she dug deep for her self control and smiled apologetically, rearranged the covers over herself.

"Forgive me", she said robotically, doing her best to act sane even as she was planning to hunt Allister down and backhand him for doing this to her, "I'm a little bit surprised is all. Thank you checking me. Auristics is a wonderful tool, isn't it?"

Once again there was a knock on the door.

"That'll be my tea. Can you let the lady in on your way out?" Something in her smile told him not to question her subtle demand for him to leave. Yonatin nodded silently, straightening his collar and smoothing down his rumbled robes as he pushed open the door and returned to the hall. The tap of his shoes followed Alessia's tempo, which was quickly becoming the theme song of the Catholicon's least favorite patient.

Madeira smiled woodenly for what felt like the last doctor on this green earth who still had a good opinion of her. "Welcome back, Gemma. The tea smells wonderful."

Emma popped back into existence at the return of her weird healer. The little girl was smiling from ear to ear from behind the gaps in her fingers. She couldn't bring herself to look at Gemma even as she spoke to her, though she was nearly vibrating with excitement.

"Maddy is having twins! Oh, you didn't ask if they were boy babies or girl babies, Maddy. I hope they're girl babies. I had a little brother, but I never had a little sister. It'll be fun! We'll have tea parties all the time! Will you buy them dolls?"

"Emma, quiet. The grownups are talking", Madeira was growing paler with every word out of the little ghost. It was strange. Nothing had changed, just doubled. So why did the mere thought of twins make her want to be sick?

She accepted her and Emma's tea from the healer, placing one carefully on the bedside table for the ghost to pretend to drink from with a stern warning not to touch it. Then Madeira patted the edge of her bed, inviting Gemma to sit once again.

"Sit", she demanded of her skittish cat of a healer. "Rest, for gods sake. What can I tell you about the Towers?"
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Gemma Parker on March 4th, 2019, 10:46 pm

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Once more, Gemma heard sounds of aggression from within the room. It was Medeira's voice, but she couldn't hear what she was saying. Gemma took the quiet moment to yawn and rub at the corner of her eye with the back of her hand. She really did want to sleep, but she didn't know how long she would have Madeira here to answer her questions, or how long she would remain willing. She hoped the results of the Auristics check had not upset the woman. Of course if there was something wrong, more information about the Towers would be the last thing on Gemma's mind.

The door opened and Dr. Yonatan Sleepy came out. He usually looked tired, but now there was almost a confused look in his eye. He held the door for Gemma out of courtesy, and she waved, thanking him for his time.

Upon entering the room, Gemma saw the open cabinet and broken glass on the ground, along with some herbs. She drew a breath to try and either apologize for breaking the glass (which she had no recollection of doing), or to ask what had happened. In the end, she settled for a "was that-? Did I?" While pointing at the crime scene. She knew she was tired, but she didn't think she was that tired. But before she could put the pieces together, the ghost girl from before materialized and exclaimed that Madeira would be having twins. Her appearance caused Gemma to jump with a start.

"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't... see you there?" She wasn't sure how to address a ghost. "But twins? Is that what Dr. Yonatan said?" She asked, confirming. Her tired mind wondered if that was what had upset Madeira. The woman couldn't have been that much older than herself, and she was pregnant. Gemma couldn't imagine what that must be like. She imagined having a baby inside of her, let alone two, and raised her eyebrows. She shook her head as she bent down to pick up the glass and herbs on the ground, putting everything in the trash before turning back to Madeira.

"Wow, twins. That's... a lot. How are you doing?" She asked, handing Madeira the tea before finally sitting down on the bed. She had kind of gotten used to ignoring how much her feet hurt after standing and walking around all day, but now that she was sitting, she couldn't help but let out an audible sigh of relief as her feet lifted ever so slightly off of the bottom of her boots.

The ghost girl, Emma was her name, seemed elated at the prospect of twins. Madeira silenced her, and Gemma did not miss the face that Madeira referred to them both as "the grown-ups." It made her feel a little warm inside being thought of as an adult.

"What do I want to know about the Towers?" She asked herself. "I don't know, I mean up until earlier this season I'd never thought about using magic outside of my gnosis. I've studied hard both in the academy and with my parents to learn all I can about healing. But it just doesn't feel like it's enough, you know? I feel so limited. And most of the time, I really have no idea what I'm doing. Sometimes two sicknesses look the same on the outside, but their treatment is two different things. And you can't just treat both, or the treatment cancels out. I was thinking that if I started studying Auristics, I might be like Dr. Yonatan and be able to see what other people can't see. Then I can help better and faster. But the thing is, after what happened today, I don't know what to do. Should I give up magic altogether for fear of its corruption and destructive power? Or do I double down and learn what Ilam used so that I can be an even stronger force for good, not only to heal, but to protect?" She huffed.

"But even if I choose to learn magic, it's not really in my hands. I was denied entry into The Dusk Tower because I don't know anyone important. I don't really get how that makes sense. At the Academy, all you do is fill out some forms, pay for your studies, and you're in. But with The Towers, at least the one I tried to get into, you have to know someone on the inside. But knowing the right people doesn't make you any more resistant to corruption, does it? And then there's Ponrose, who was a student of Elena, not the towers. So you could suggest that The Towers keep everyone out who is able to be corrupted. But then that says that in spite of all the good I try to do, and the whole freaking purpose of my life as a healer, I'm... not good enough?" The final thought sank deeper into Gemma's soul than any of the other implications of the myriad threads of information, truth, and deception weaving into the confused tapestry of her thoughts.

She had looked away from Madeira while her questions turned into a rant, but when she looked back, Madeira's face seemed to have gotten even paler than before. Was this some kind of ghost proximity sickness? Was she becoming a ghost? No, that was stupid. She was probably just thinking about the twins. Or maybe something Gemma had said had upset her? Or maybe her blood pressure was low. That thought made Gemma stand again, moving to Madeira's side, back in medic mode.

"Miss Craven, your face is pale. Do you feel dizzy?" She asked, trying to feel her head while whispering a prayer of healing for whatever still ailed the woman.
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Madeira Craven on March 5th, 2019, 9:45 pm

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Madeira sipped her tea. The peppermint was strong and refreshing, washing out her mouth and what felt like every inch of her soul. After the whirlwind of the day, and every surprise and awful thing that happened, just to sit there cradling a teacup felt like a treasure.

The Spiritist listened to Gemma as she spilled her worries, from concerns that she wasn't all she should be, to her new found fear of magic and it's destructive power, to her lamenting that the Towers wouldn't take her anyway. Sitting on the end of the bed, feet dangling off the floor and the complicated thread of emotions stitching her brows together and pulling on the corners of her mouth, you could almost see the chips of her innocence flaking away. Magic was not magical and hard work isn't all it took to be successful, Madeira ruminated. Perhaps the Konti was realizing that now.

"You should fear magic. That's a healthy response", Madeira began reasonably. "Because you're right, it is corruptive, and in the wrong hands its dangerous. But you have such a sense of altruism, Gemma. You jumped in to save that child and broke Savis and I up in front of that void. Perhaps your soul could stand up to the lures and pitfalls of magic too."

Magic attracted a very particular sort of person. You had to be ambitious or desperate or arrogant to want to tap into that kind of power. Madeira knew where she fell on the spectrum, and now she wondered where Gemma did. Did she want to improve her medical knowledge for knowledge's sake, to know everything about her field? That was ambition. Did she want to break these limits, to finally feel like she was 'enough'? That was desperation. Did she want to supplement her healing abilities with these powers to be praised a hero or be noticed by her god? That was arrogance. Madeira sipped her tea, looking at the girl over the rim of her cup, and wondered just what this girl was all about.

"It's a hard path, but I find that it's worth the risk. I'm a Spiritist, myself. Really, our jobs are a bit of a dichotomy", she laughed. "You make sure the living stay alive, I make sure the dead stay dead. But what I mean is although the practise is dangerous, it allows us to do things nobody else can. I have saved so many people, either by protecting them from malevolent spirits or returning a soul to the cycle of death. You could save so many lives by seeing things with auristics others might miss. And there are reimancers in the city that control mudslides and natural disasters that threaten this mountain. You cannot go into it if your unsure or timid, or questioning yourself like you are now. It will eat you alive if you do. But if you have a strong soul, are determined to see it through and are prepared for the risks you saw today, you should pursue magic. Think of all you could accomplish with that kind of power at your side."

The Konti had also mentioned being denied study at the Dusk Tower. The worries that stemmed from that rejection were whiny and childish as she gushed to Madeira. The Academy only made you pay for classes and fill out papers, she said, why do you need to know someone important to get into the Towers? After all her work as a healer, was she just not good enough?

"Stop sniffling, that's unbecoming of a potential student", Madeira huffed, irritated by her lack of self confidence. "It's not about knowing someone important to get in. It's about having someone visible and reputable vouching for you. You might be completely sound of mind and have the right kind of abilities and natural inclination, but how do you prove good intentions? That's why you need someone else in the city to stand up for you and say 'yes, this woman has what it takes.' It's not a perfect system, and requires lots of work and no small amount of social skills and a tolerance for egomaniacs. But if that's what it takes to keep people like Penrose out of my classroom it's fine by me."

Emma was kneeling beside her bedside table, miming drinking from the cup of rapidly cooling tea. The girl couldn't smell it or taste it or feel its warmth, but she was pleased to have it all the same. She smiled for the two women, her understanding of the conversation skipping merrily over her head, content as she was to just feel like part of the grown-up conversation.

"I help Maddy in her classroom, sometimes." she supplied helpfully. "So does Jomi, but he's mean."

Madeira blinked, coming back down off her high horse with the reality check from the little girl. "Oh, I never introduced you two properly, did I? Gemma, this is Emma. She and her bondmate have been with me for a few years now. Em, say hello."

The girl got to her feet and curtsied shyly, holding out her nightdress above her bare, cracked feet. "How do you do?"

After the introductions Gemma moved to stand again, her voice dropping back into nurse mode as she pressed the back of her hand to the Spiritist's forehead. The excitement and the belated reaction to the news of twins seemed to finally be showing. Truthfully, Madeira's nausea at the shocking revelation had not subsided.

"Madeira is fine, you don't need to call me Miss. Now that you mention it, I'm feeling a bit queasy."
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Gemma Parker on March 5th, 2019, 11:18 pm

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Gemma listened intently to Madeira’s explanations of the Tower system. It made sense from the inside. It made sense from the top. It made sense for people who already knew magic. But it was frustrating to be met with such a seemingly insurmountable task, even when it was framed as Madeira had presented it. Madeira said she only needed someone to vouch for her, to prove that she was who she thought she was. But all those people were busy, and Gemma couldn’t imagine that she was the only one who was vying for their attention. And she didn’t even know how many competitors there were, how many seats were available, what everyone else was doing to gain favor… she knew almost nothing. Granted maybe she had a small advantage since she had Madeira explaining things to her. That could help.

Madeira highlighted all the good things about Gemma that she wanted the world to see. In that moment, while the woman spoke, Gemma wondered if all her fears were just holding her back rather than keeping her safe. Maybe she really should do this. But then maybe the only reason she was as she was was because she remained untainted by the corrupting force of magic. Maybe unlocking magic would be like the freezing of water in a small crack in a rock. Maybe it would seep into her insecurities and cause her to burst, just like Ponrose. But then, as she started to pour out her fears and insecurities, Madeira snapped at her, and she couldn’t hold back the hurt look that flashed through her eyes before she covered it up again.

“It’s unbecoming of a potential student.”

“It’s unbecoming of a Konti.” She heard her mother’s words behind those of Madeira. She had found her limit with the woman, as she had found her limit with her mother so long ago. Everyone had a tolerance, and as friendly as Madeira was being toward her right now, Gemma had to remember that they were not friends. And if they were to one day become friends, she knew that Madeira would not be that friend. Vulnerability must be masked, and confidence shown. She could feel a “yes, mother” swelling in her throat, but she swallowed it down. But just as she had learned to change her countenance around her mother, wearing the Konti demureness like a mask, she would have to create a new mask for Madeira, one that hid her inner weakness.

Emma’s introduction came as a welcome interruption by the time she piped up.

“Well it’s a pleasure to officially make your acquaintance, Emma.” She said. “Did you notice that our names rhyme? She smiled as she bent over, dipping to Emma’s altitude. “Well it sounds like Madeira has a pretty good helper, huh?”

The introductions were cut short, though. She rushed to Madeira’s side when she became pale, and Madeira said she was feeling queasy. Nausea. She whispered her prayers to her goddess to heal the woman before her while she thought through everything she knew that could cause this feeling. The woman didn’t seem to have a fever. What could it be? Was it related to the pregnancy? To the scare? Was it something she’d eaten? The thought of food reminded Gemma that she hadn’t eaten recently, and she wondered about Madeira.

“I’m going to prepare you some ginger tea. When was the last time you ate? You might just be hungry.” She said, stepping over to the herb cabinet to get some ginger to prepare the tea. She had brought more hot water than needed, and it was still pretty hot after only a few minutes of sitting there.

She sliced up the ginger root into thin slices, smelling the strong fragrance of ginger as she did so. She drank her own tea quickly, burning her mouth a bit as she did. She whined from the pain, but prayed to her goddess and within moments her mouth was back to normal. There was a ghost of a pain, as her body remembered what had just happened, but there was no lasting damage. She cleaned the rim of her cup with a clean cloth and put the sliced ginger into it before pouring the water over it.

“This will have to steep for a little while longer.” She said. While she had told Madeira that she was making a tea, she was really taking a page from her infusions and decoctions. She knew that a few extra minutes would only release some of the medicinal benefits of the root, but it would be stronger than just hot flavored water.

Then she remembered and smacked her head. She had forgotten to call the courier about Madeira’s classes! But that could wait until the nausea and dizziness were cleared up. Before she could forget again, though, she grabbed her journal from her pack and flipped it open, scribbling a quick note to herself before leaving the book open on the table where she had been preparing the ginger. Hopefully that would help her to remember the task Madeira had given her. It would be quite embarrassing if Gemma never sent anyone to alert The Dusk Tower of Madeira’s situation.

“While that steeps, let me grab someone to send an order down to the kitchen so they can have the food here as quickly as possible. In the mean time, do you want a snack?” She dug into her side bag and pulled out an apple and some nuts, offering them to Madeira.

“It’s probably less quality than you’re used to, but it helps me keep a clear head when I’m hungry. Maybe it’ll help.”
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[The Catholicon] Visiting Hours

Postby Madeira Craven on March 8th, 2019, 12:06 am

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With that small admission of nausea Madeira could already see the gears turning in the young Konti. Nausea had been a daily part of life since she had gotten pregnant, so it seemed silly to worry about it now. But at the same time, being fussed over felt... good. Between her mad bondmate, various ghosts, handful of animals and the sentient house she was raising, it was hard to remember a time when she was had left the responsibility of care to someone else. As Gemma rushed to make her another cup of tea, and offered to send downstairs for a meal, Madeira realized what this felt like.

She's mothering me, she smiled at the thought. This strange, energy-filled girl would make a fine mother someday, she decided. Surely a better mother than she herself could hope to be. Her hand smoothed anxiously over the sheets drapped over her belly. Twins.

Gemma handed her a steeping mug of fresh ginger when she was done buzzing about the cabinet. Madeira immediately held it to her nose and sighed at the familiar, spicy scent. But the healer didn't stop there, and went so far as to offer her foods from her own personal provisions to tide the Spiritist over before food arrived. Madeira took the apple and thanked her gratefully. Between tea, the favours, the healing, getting a specialist for her and fussing over her comfort, it was clear this girl was devoted to her patients. She wasn't even on shift, for gods sake, why did she care so much?

As the Konti tapped her way to the door again and away down the hall, hunting down yet another person to make sure her patient was as comfortable as possible, Emma sat on her vacated spot on the end of the bed. The little ghost swung her feet above the polished floor and hummed happily.

"I told you, she's weird."

Madeira smiled into her teacup.

"You're right, kitten. She's weird."
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