Completed Where We're At

Sometimes, it helps to look back at how you got there. Most times, it doesn't matter. Ambrosia meets Shiress.

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Where We're At

Postby Ambrosia Alar on October 30th, 2019, 4:21 am

Where We’re At

23rd of Fall, 519 AV

Sometimes, a person has to stop and wonder how they got to where they’re at. One day, they just wake up and realize that where they are now is not where they began and nowhere near where they imagined they would be, and it takes a careful study of the events of the past to figure out what missteps or brilliant changes of heart or mindset guided them to where they are now. And sometimes, even the most rigorous searching brings no answer. Sometimes, one just has to keep wondering.

Other times, it all makes perfect sense. Ambrosia knew exactly how she’d gotten here, wherever here was. It had all begun with her sister. The dead one. Every time Ambrosia admitted that, her heart broke all over again. Tessa had wandered into the Sealed Grounds with some idea of grandeur and had paid for it with her life. Ambrosia had spent months on her own, trying to break her sister free from her ghostly prison.

She didn’t know why it took her so long, but she finally remembered she had a spiritist friend. When Ambrosia went to Craven Manor though, a man there had informed her, with some smug sense of satisfaction, that Madeira had been sent away to Riverfall, and with a few more pointed questions, Ambrosia found that Madeira had stolen Jomi away some time later. Her two greatest hopes for helping her sister had abandoned her. They took the first of her misplaced hate.

Ambrosia hadn’t been brave enough to ask it that day, but when she returned to ask for Craven assistance with her sister, she found them unwilling. Unwilling was probably too kind a word for it. At her request, they had become outright hostile. Madara herself had spent the effort and time to throw Ambrosia out. But their hostility was a mask. Ambrosia had learned that Cravens were good at that, that lying was an integral part to spiritism, but Ambrosia’s request had shaken them enough that she could see what lay behind it. Fear. They were afraid of what had been trapped down there, and she hated them for it.

So she tried on her own again for longer than she should have. Eventually though, she became desperate and began to search for answers in places where there were none, in places she shouldn’t have been looking. It was no secret that she was looking for ways to save her sister. She had alienated a few friends with her overzealous dedication. It had made her an easy target. When someone told her of a foreign practitioner of spiritism near the Patchwork Port, she investigated immediately.

And then Ambrosia woke up, bound and gagged in the hold of a ship with nearly a dozen other young women. When she tried to move, she found herself shackled to one of them ankle-to-ankle. An odd relief filled her when she found that she recognized none of them. Though she was in a bad spot, at least Bethany and Winnie weren’t there with her. One of the captives kept trying to make enough noise to be heard by passersby on the docks and got beat unconscious for her trouble. The man who did the beating got a beating himself. There was a strange understanding at that point. The women knew they were valuable but not so invaluable that they were beyond reproach. They stayed silent until they were out at sea, and only then were their gags removed.

When left alone the women banded together, hoping one of the others would have a way to get them all out of this. None of them did, so they talked. The most immediate discussion had been what had got them here. Most were there through the unfortunate circumstance of their nightly walk home taking them down the wrong road at the wrong time. A few, like Ambrosia had had their life circumstances taken advantage of while one had been lured in with the prospect of monetary gain. Ambrosia’s shackle mate, though, had thought she and her captor were in love and had met him for a tryst. She had been so naïve, and Ambrosia found herself hating the other young woman for her stupidity.

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, but something arose that made Ambrosia forget her hate. The motion of the waves was something none of them was used to, but some more so than others. There were some that it disagreed with more. Ambrosia and her shackle mate were the worst of these. She began to discover very early on that the constant queasiness meant it was difficult to keep food down. Every second or third meal came back up. While vomiting, and the malnutrition that came with it, was usually not considered a boon, the slavers quickly grew bored away from the entertainments civilization provided, and their attentions turned to their slaves. However, despite her beauty, the smell of vomit and its off and on presence kept them uninterested in Ambrosia and her shackle mate. The rest of the captives hated the two for having to take their share of the sexual attention, but Ambrosia didn’t care. She just wanted the world to stop rocking. She hated it and everything in it equally.

One day, they were all taken above deck, but what was waiting for them was not the fresh air and sunshine they were hoping for. The day was overcast, and though the briny air was clean and clear, it was quickly choked out by the smell of burning flesh. It was the day they each received their brand. Small and inconsequential, the burn was in the shape of a dove on their left shoulder blade, small enough to be covered by other brands once they were sold. It was the second worst pain Ambrosia had ever experienced, but it came with some small comforts. To all of them, the slavers were gentler in the week that followed than they had ever been before.

That night, though, while none of them slept and most of them sobbed at the pain, Ambrosia received an additional comfort. While she tried to lie flat on her stomach in an attempt to not agitate the burn and to stop the world from rocking, a familiar set of insect legs crawled up her neck, buzzed in her ear, and fell drunkenly to the floor.

“You’ve been in the grog,” Ambrosia accused.

The illusory bee tipped on to his side and buzzed his wings, spinning him in an affirmatory circle on the wooden floor.

“It’s the best part on this goddess-forsaken ship. At least you’ve got good taste.”

He buzzed twice in what Ambrosia could only assume was confirmation.

“Any chance you can get me outta here?”

Either he was drunk and falling asleep or his singular buzz was a no.

Ambrosia sighed and shook her head. “Yeah. I didn’t think so. This ain’t exactly a predicament we can just sting our way out of.” She stroked the little bee’s fuzzy body gently with a fingertip. “Why are you here anyway? You should just go back home. It’s gotta be better than being stuck here with me.”

Stumbling up on to his six chitinous legs, Ambrosia could swear the little bee glared at her.

“Fine. Stay. I ain’t trying to get rid of you. I’m just saying that nothing good can come of this. There are places where you could be a lot more comfortable.”

The little bee bobbed its head as if nodding in confirmation, then fell back on to his side. He’d had too much. When Ambrosia looked about to the rest of the brig, she found most of the other captives staring at her as if she was mad.

She flashed them a comforting smile. “It’s ok. I know him.”

Ambrosia was right, though. Nothing good did come of it. She and her shackle mate continued to deteriorate the longer they stayed at sea. The barmaid was fortunate enough that she was able to keep enough grog down to keep the scurvy at bay, but her shackle mate was not. Slavers were men of business, and a slave was worth a lot, so the unfortunate woman was in as good of hands as she could be. Despite their best efforts though, both she and Ambrosia continued to worsen.

Eventually, Ambrosia began to tire of having to drag the other woman around any time she moved and wanted to be free of rolling in someone else’s sick. She told herself it was a mercy. Mostly it was a convenience. There was nothing in the brig to help her commit the act, so late at night when the slavers slept, Ambrosia stripped while the other captives looked on in confusion. They were all certain she was mad, but this made no sense. When she straddled her shackle mate and held her bundled up dress over the barely conscious woman’s face, they finally understood what she was up to and, horrified, could do nothing but watch.

Their struggle was colossal in the way only two pathetic things can be, like two slugs racing for the same leaf. Both were weak to the point standing took effort, but Ambrosia had the upper hand in that she wasn’t as weak and had the element of surprise and the high ground. But she was weak, and the only thing holding the fabric in place was her weight. She couldn’t muster her arms to press the dress any farther down, and the other woman had an advantage of her own. Desperation was the tool of any prey, anything close to death, and where there was nothing to draw from, no secret reserves of strength and stamina, suddenly there was an unfathomable spring of it. Fists flew against Ambrosia’s ribs, and twice she was dislodged. Each time, with the newfound air, the other woman seemed to gain more ferocity. Frustrated Ambrosia gathered a fistful of the woman’s hair and slammed her head against the floor twice before grabbing her dress again to smother her unfortunate partner. Rage fell away to instinct, and fists became claws. Nails dug into the flesh over Ambrosia’s ribs, but she didn’t let go. It took longer than she expected. The writhing turned to bucking which gave way to short jerks and finally ended in three short gasps.

Then there was stillness, and Ambrosia sat on top of the body for what felt like bells, trying to regain her strength. No one moved. The other slaves had huddled together at the far end of the prison cell, as if gathered together as a pack they could withstand her, but they held their breath, waiting to see what she would do next. She did nothing. In the aftermath of her battle, Ambrosia seemed to be the only one eager to breathe, and her chest rose and fell like bellows, desperate now for air to revitalize her after her struggle. Once her breathing settled, she took her dress, put it back on, and fell asleep next to the corpse.

The next morning, the slavers discovered the body, but any evidence of their struggle on Ambrosia’s ribs was hidden by her dress. Deciding it was just bad luck, they unceremoniously buried their lost profits overboard in a simple canvas sheet with rocks.

By the time they reached the shore, Ambrosia had lost most of any weight there was to lose. Any little fat was long ago used up, and muscles had shrunk. She was a shell, a thing that had once contained Ambrosia, but now, most of her was gone. Swallowing hurt. All the vomiting had burned her throat, and whether due to her ulcerated esophagus, her lack of nutrition, or to some other unknown cause, something more sinister began. Chills set in and built until she spent most days shivering. Fever dreams plagued her whether she was asleep or awake, and she began to see people who weren’t there. She could barely stand and walk, but she was another body to put on the auction block.

She wasn’t even aware that they landed, nor was she overly concerned with the fact they were now traveling over land. She wasn’t even sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, she had stopped walking, and the slavers were forced to carry her. When they came to water once again, some minor trepidation reared its head the way a snake might in the dead of winter, but she was too tired to protest. Somewhere in the depths of her thoughts, she noted that this water was calmer than the sea.

There was a city out ahead too, but none of it meant anything to her. It was Lake Ravok; and the city, Ravok itself, both places she’d heard next to nothing about as neither was reachable by sea and the sailors who frequented the Rear. But her little illusory friend seemed to sense something she couldn’t and began to buzz furiously.

Somehow, she managed to get him out of her pocket and into her hand. He was surprisingly sober. “What’ s got you so worked up?”

Her voice came out nothing more than a slurred mumble, but the bee seemed to understand. Most of his usual antics were gone. Instead, he just stared at her, willing her to understand what he meant. When she finally did, the realization of it crushed her spirits. “Petch, you’re leaving me.”

Every time she swore, he stung her but not this time. It was his way of apologizing. She would have taken a sting every chime of every day if it meant he was still around. He buzzed once, a half-assed flutter of his wings, before he lifted himself up and drifted lazily back toward shore. She barely saw him go before she lost consciousness completely. She missed everything that came after, the rest of the boat ride, reaching the city, the transfer to a Ravosala, the winding through the canals, and their eventual arrival at a hospital.

When they lifted her out of the boat and pulled her into the facility, she came to long enough to see a dark-haired, green-eyed woman reach for her. The hands that took her said she was a caretaker, someone who would do what they could make her better, and Ambrosia hated the other woman for that. She was weak. She was miserable. She was tired. And she just wanted to die.

And in this realization, she hated herself. Somewhere, in another part of the world, her dead sister was stuck in an unimaginable horror, waiting for someone to free her, and all Ambrosia could think of was her own escape, abandoning this life and everyone in it.
Last edited by Ambrosia Alar on November 8th, 2020, 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Where We're At

Postby Shiress on November 24th, 2019, 12:22 am

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Shiress sat behind a large oakwood desk in a very similar oak chair in a tiny, stuffy room. Long, chestnut hair was pulled into a tight bun on top of her head, her legs crisscrossed beneath her in the chair, her white medical shift bunched around her thighs. Before her, on the desk, was parchment, quill, two ink jars, and an assortment of small clay jars. Most of the pots were to the right of the parchment, with a few to the left. Shiress plucked up one of the containers on the right, read the label, scratched something on the paper, then discarded the jar to the left.

Lately, the young doctor found her way to The Healing Hand most days, even if she did not have to work. The large, empty manor was suffocating for Shiress, despite the massive amount of space her home offered. Shiress missed Elias and Rook more with every passing day, and there was not a room in the manor that did not cause her heart to ache. Memories of times spent with the two men that she loved most in the wold consumed every inch of her now vacant home, and Elias's masculine, leathery scent clung to everything as did Rook's more earthy, sweet musk.

Her two beautiful, loving men gone. Her life's foundation crumbled to tiny shreds around her feet. Sanctuary and security are gone. Just Shiress and her one remaining thread of hope. The one thing in her broken life that Elias had given her that wouldn't disappear along with him.

Shiress smiled, pressing her hand to her stomach, covering the small bud of life growing beneath. Despite the baby's onslaught of nausea and numerous revisits with prior meals, Shiress already loved the tiny life something fierce, and that love would be made flesh come midwinter, give or take a few days. Even still, the excitement for that monumental day paled in the shadow of grief her heart held for Elias and the knowledge he would not be with her.

The sounds of heavy footsteps coming down the hall jarred Shiress from her thoughts. Sliding back the chair, she stood, rounding the desk, and crossed the tiny space. Down the hall, a large and rather filthy individual stomped toward her with a child held haphazardly and unconscious in his arms. As the man neared, Shiress froze, the air in her lungs expelling in a woosh and curse. Who the man held was no child but a young woman. A very thin, pale, and dirty-faced woman. Shiress ground her teeth together so hard she heard her jaw pop.

"Put her in here." Shiress said, pointing to a room across the hall, then followed the man inside. "On the table."

He did as he was asked, but with far less gentleness than Shiress approved of. Giving the savage a hard glare, the doctor rounded the table to stand opposite of the doorway before settling her attention on the unconscious woman. She looked deathly pale with dark circles around sunken eyes. Shiress placed the palm of her hand across the girl's forehead, paused, then shook her head.

"She's burning up with fever." she mumbled, glancing up. "What happened to her?"

The man shrugged lazily. "Got sick."

Shiress glared at the creature. "How long ago? She looks half starved!"

Another uncaring shrug.

Shiress drug in a long breath, staving off the desire to sheath her dagger in the man's eye.

"Are you her husband?"

A scoff. "Nah, she's not mine. We sailed them over for the auction in the morning."

Shiress's mouth fell open at that, but fury quickly had it closing again with more teeth grinding. A slave then. That would explain her near emaciated state, if not the fever. Shiress sighed, smoothing back what the doctor thought might be honey-colored hair once clean. The young female was no bigger than a chime. Grabbing her wrist, Shiress zeroed in on her pulse as her eyes watched the girl's chest rise and fall with breaths.

"You'll need to leave. Im going to have to undress her to examine her. Wait outside."

The man muttered something unintelligible but stepped outside and after a growled order from Shiress, reached back in and shut the door behind him. Shiress quickly undressed the female, anger growing with every inch of revealed flesh. Starting at her ankles, pausing to shake her head at the bruised and inflamed skin from being manacled, the doctor's skilled hands slid up the length of each leg, feeling for anything abnormal. Reaching her abdomen, she pressed fingers against one side, then the other while her eyes watched the woman's face for any apparent signs of pain. Bruises and scratches riddled her patient's torso, but nothing too obviously serious.

Once done, hands moved to her arms before rolling the poor girl over, checking her back for any wounds or rash, rage topping off when she saw the fresh inflamed skin around a recent brand. But, from her initial examination, Shiress saw nothing overly concerning, but a very thin and very frail-looking body. Undernourishment, she concluded but would have to wait for the woman to wake up enough to answer questions to be sure.

Throwing a thin blanket over the woman, Shiress crossed the room and opened the door calling out for Zeb, her personal, though temporary, and very begrudging orderly. After a moment, the young, dark-skinned boy tapped on the door and opened it. Shiress pointed to the table. "Gently, pick her up, and follow me." Zeb did as was bidden and followed her from the room. The tick the slaver saw his property retreating away from him, he stepped forward as he would make a grab for her. Shiress immediately stepped in-between the beast and his prey.

"You so much as touch her right now, and we are going to have a problem." she hissed, then pointed toward the slave. "She is very sick and will need to stay overnight."

The man's huge paws came up to rest on his narrow hips in fists. "That ain't gonna happen."

Shiress took a step forward. "You are no one to give orders here. She stays."

The huge male took a long step toward Shiress, coming uncomfortably close.

"That.Aint.Gonna.Happen." he repeated, every word punctuated separately.

The pang of fear that crept up Shiress's back as the man approached was very hard to hide, and the nausea that his whiskey laden breath caused was even harder. When the man's arm raised as if to retaliate in some way, the doctor quickly closed what little distance there was between him and her, voice dropping into a deadly whisper.

"If you touch that woman or me right now, you will be escorted out of this hall in large, bloody pieces by an Ebonstryfe soldier for assaulting a Black Sun employee."

Shiress doubted the Black Sun gave one rat's whisker about her or her wellbeing, but the name did give the man pause. Spitting something vulgar from his mouth, he pushed past Shiress, mumbling something about returning tomorrow as he stomped away.

Shiress very nearly sagged against the wall in relief, but she had a sick patient that needed her. Zeb followed the doctor the rest of the way down the corridor and into a mostly bare room, save for a single, small bed, chair, and a counter that would soon be covered in the things she ordered Zeb to fetch. After several chimes, she had the woman in the bed, a washbasin and cloth waiting nearby, and several ointments and herbs at hand. After cleaning the filth from the girl's pale skin, occasionally pausing to take a bit more time with the many cuts and scrapes, a not so very young woman began to emerge. She was about Shiress's own age and though very, very thin, had a youthful beauty to her. Throughout the course of bathing her, the doctor thought she caught glimpses of dark eyes. Brown maybe?

After the bath came the painstaking task of anointing the various cuts, scrapes, bruises, and the one burn. Nearly two bells went by before she had her patient resting comfortably enough to offer her a few drops of water through cracked lips that, within a few chimes, came back up. Shiress waited awhile before attempting water again, but after placing a bit of herb under the girl's tongue to combat any nausea, the water stayed down.

Shiress began her vigil.

If the woman woke at any point during the night, Shiress would be by her side instantly, offering soothing words and a comforting hand, lulling her back to sleep. Once she awoke come Syna's morning rays, Shiress would tell her that she was going to be okay. She would say to her that she would not have to remain a slave, but there was only one problem, and Shiress would tell her that too.

"I'm just going to have to kill you."





Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Where We're At

Postby Ambrosia Alar on December 5th, 2019, 2:41 am

In times of desperation, when the body is broken, the mind retreats to a sanctuary, seeks a place of solace and comfort. That was where Ambrosia was now. Her body was broken, emaciated and thin, worn and weary, and her mind sought the most comfortable place she knew. When she gained what appeared to be consciousness, she was only half present. What she saw was the Rear, and she was there the way she always was, serving drinks and talking with customers, trying to keep everyone happy.

When she came to this particular time, she was disoriented, realized she was lying down, and sat up, but a gorgeous, dark-haired woman approached her, green eyes shining with a familiar look, one Bethany often gave her. It took Ambrosia a moment to place it, but she finally had it. It was concern but not the usual kind that anyone could show. It was motherly.

Ambrosia’s smile, the one she always wore, leapt to her face. It felt like a leap to her, but in reality, it was slow to come. Her body was sluggish. Every action, even smiling, took more effort than it should have. “Hello, love. I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. What’ll you have?”

The woman hushed her and handed her a mug. Ambrosia looked down into it and sniffed it, realized it was water, and shrugged. “If water’s your drink of choice, love, I won’t judge you, but have you ever tried degtine?”

She began to look around for the keg of water, but the surroundings weren’t right. Not to mention, the motion of turning caused her an extreme wave of vertigo and certain hint of nausea. Holding her hand to the bed she was sitting on to brace herself, Ambrosia tried to let it pass, but it was a stubborn sonofabitch that wouldn’t let go. The woman held one hand on Ambrosia’s upper back to support her and held the other to the mug to guide it to the barmaid’s lips.

This wasn’t the usual way of things at the Rear, but Ambrosia knew she needed what this woman was offering. Three big gulps cleared the dry burning in her throat before the woman pulled the mug away. The hand that held the mug pushed against her shoulder to make her lie down again. Ambrosia would have fought it (she was at work after all), but several things worked against her, the worst of these being a weakness unlike any she remembered. Less than this was nausea and an urge to sleep. Better than all of these though was a comfort in the woman’s touch that told Ambrosia she was being well looked after.

She let herself be pushed back down, closing her eyes. “Sorry. This ain’t like me. I’ll be back with you in a tick.”

That was a lie. A several bell slumber interrupted only by nightmarish fever dreams of a beautiful ghost took her. She continued to shiver but, through the fog of the sickness, became aware of a cooling sensation against her temple and forehead as the other woman dabbed a cool cloth against her skin to combat the rising fever.

She awoke with a start and her sister’s name on her lips. “Tessa?”

But the dark-haired beauty that greeted her was not her sister. Something was familiar about the bright green eyes with a motherly smile behind them. Ambrosia’s hands were empty, and she felt the odd need to do something with them while this stranger showed a keen and particular interest in her and her alone. Spotting a bar towel, she picked it up and began to wipe down the bar, before pausing a moment when she realized it wasn’t the bar she was used to. Cade had done something to it. In truth, it was the bedside table in Ravok’s hospital.

“Sorry, love. I thought you were someone else.” To her own ears, they weren’t, but the woman before her could hear the slur in her speech. “You look familiar though. Have you been in the Rear before?”

The other woman pulled the bar towel out of her hands and pushed a mug into them. Looking over her shoulder for kegs, Ambrosia found a surprising lack of any on the wall. “Hai. Where’d Cade put the ale?”

Setting the mug down in front of the woman, Ambrosia shrugged. “Sorry. We’re out of alcohol. I don’t think this has ever happened before.”

Once again, Ambrosia was coaxed back down and back to sleep. This time, dreams melted into memories, and she remembered everything that had happened to her, from the mugging and the ship to the nausea and the murder. She was a captive. That much she knew. The uncomfortable scar on her shoulder told her so.

When she woke back up, she recognized the woman before her as the one who had received her from the slavers, the caretaker, the physician. Sitting up, Ambrosia groaned and tucked her knees to her chest, trying to keep her pounding headache and waves of nausea at bay. She couldn’t and reached for a chamber pot at the bedside. Gentle fingers pulled her hair back as she lost what little contents were in her stomach. When she was done, the woman gave her a crushed herb to put beneath her tongue and talked to her.

The words that came from the woman’s mouth told Ambrosia some things she already knew. Ambrosia was a slave now, and they were in a city called Ravok. She remembered the slavers saying something about their destination. But then the woman began to tell her things she didn’t know. Things were going to be ok. How could the woman know that? Ambrosia would not remain a slave. What kind of power did she hold to undo all of this, to undo the brand on her shoulder?

And then the answer came.

“I’m just going to have to kill you.”

Somewhere in her mind, she realized what the woman actually meant, but her initial reaction was one of fear. In a feeble attempt to escape the mad doctor, Ambrosia pulled away, lost her balance, and fell off the other side of the cot. In a miserable heap on the floor, she wanted to be angry at the woman. She wanted to scream. She wanted to run. She wanted to cry. Her body did the reasonable thing and laughed.

Legs and arms trembling as she stood herself back up and sat back down in the bed, Ambrosia shrugged weakly and looked down at her diminished body. “That’s not gonna be real hard to do.” A smile, not hers but one of tired resignation, came to her lips. “I ain’t gonna be putting up much of a fight.”

Closing her eyes and resting her head on her knees, she hid the tears that began to build in her eyes. She didn’t know what she was crying for. Perhaps herself and the sad situation she was in. Perhaps for Tessa who lived in suspended death, trapped and unable to reach those she loved. Perhaps for the woman who had been shackled to her and who had been laid to rest in the sea. Her voice didn’t betray the tears. It was calm, low, and steady. “How are you going to do that? Slavers ain’t dumb, and they’re greedy. They’re gonna wanna make sure I’m dead, doubly sure. They don’t wanna part from profit.”

She realized though that this, this woman’s benevolence, was her only hope, and she wasn’t about to squander that. The more important question surfaced in her mind. “What do I need to do to help make it happen?”
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Ambrosia Alar
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Where We're At

Postby Shiress on December 24th, 2019, 3:07 pm

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Shiress, you are an idiot.

Shaking her head and cursing herself silently, Shiress hurried around the bed, arms outstretched toward her fallen patient. "I am so sorry! That's not what I....I mean, I didn't mean...I'm seriously not..." Shiress struggled for the correct explanation and finally pulling the thin female into her arms, it came on a wave of affection for the poor girl. "I would never hurt you, sweetheart. Never."

Shiress lowered herself to the floor, holding onto her patient, hands gently stroking back hair from her face, cheek pressed against her damp forehead. She noted, absently, that the girl's fever had broken. Shiress closed her eyes with a grateful sigh, before moving to help the weakened girl to her feet, then back to the bed.
"My name is Shiress, sweet, what is yours?" The girl spoke softly, but she thought she understood.

"Well, Ambrosia," she began, reaching for a thin journal resting atop the bedside table, "there's an account here of a young man who had been bitten by a large spider while traveling through the wilds with a caravan. He died within minutes." Shiress glanced up, taking in the girl's reaction before continuing. "Or, rather, that's what the caravan medic falsy determined. Within a day, the boy's body was brought back here, to Ravok, to his mother. In a fit of grief, the mother threw herself onto her son's chest, wailing, but after a tick heard something. A heartbeat. Very slow, very faint, but she heard it. Then, she saw his chest ascend gently with a rare breath. After rushing the boy here, to see the physicians, he was given a timely antivenom and made a full recovery." Shiress grimaced "Well, made a complete recovery after a full bell of mania and hallucinations."

Shiress stood, crossed the floor to where her bag was slung across the back of a chair, and began rummaging around inside. Finally, pulling free a small glass vile, she closed the distance to Ambrosia once again, holding up her finding. "Thanks to my acquaintance with a certain young and dangerous street urchin and his unhealthy addiction to gold coin," she paused, considering her young patient, then seeming to come to a hard decision, continued in a lower voice. "He was among a handful of misguided youth smuggling a certain race from the city, Vantha being the majority of said race."

She let that bit of information sink in, before coming to a standstill beside Ambrosia, holding forth the vile in her right hand. "This is your death." Shiress raised her left hand, holding a similar vile forward, "and this is your freedom, the antivenom." Shiress slid the containers into her dress pocket before sitting in a chair by the bed, looking pointedly at her young patient.

"As I said before, there is a period of time, as the venom is countered that you may become delusional and combative, and there is a slight chance that you will remain that way." Shiress grabbed Ambrosia's hand, squeezing it gently. "But, I believe that with a smaller dose and administering the antivenom quickly, this will not be the case." She dropped her gaze, shaking her head sadly. "I'm sorry that this is all I can offer. If I had the coin myself, I would buy your freedom for you, but this is all I can think to propose.

The choice is yours, Ambrosia."


Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Where We're At

Postby Ambrosia Alar on January 6th, 2020, 12:05 am

Ambrosia listened intently to the other young woman as she laid out her plan for Ambrosia’s liberation. There were the many parts that needed to come together as well as those that already had. There was the reported encounter and the spider toxin, the long half-death of the boy and his quasi-resurrection, the antivenin and the hallucinations that followed. This, if it were true, would be the Ambrosia’s horrid salvation, if she could weather it, but it too hinged on many things falling into place.

Could Shiress’ contact be trusted? Did he just take her coin and bring her two random vials of who-knows-what? Did he get the right poison? The charade would be over quickly if Ambrosia weren’t close to death, if she were breathing too often. Did he get the right antidote? If not, her death would be no pretense. How long would the slavers watch her? It didn’t matter if the antidote was on hand if Shiress couldn’t administer it in time. There were so many things that could go wrong. It was a plan that could fail in any number of ways.

But it was all Shiress had, and Ambrosia had to admit she had nothing of her own to contribute. It was down to this, to trust the many pieces falling into place. There was no alternative, other than slavery, and here on dry land, there would be no nausea to spare her the notice of greedy hands. Here, she couldn’t smother her problems.

She looked at dawn pouring through the window. Its light carried a different weight than other lights. It spoke of new beginnings, of an end to darker times, of hope. It lied, but Ambrosia was willing to face whatever truths the light tried to cover over. There were others elsewhere depending on her to come home safely. She had to weather this. She had to weather the world, and she would, this time and every time over.

She considered the light again. “It’s morning. I assume they’ll be here soon to collect me. Slavers don’t like to part from a profit, and I ain’t exactly unattractive. I bet fed up a bit to get some meat back on my bones, and I could fetch a merry miza. If this doesn’t work, it could put you in danger as well. Slavers don’t mind stealing people, but try stealing people from them, and they’ll make sure you pay for it. You sure you wanna do this, Shiress?”

When Shiress gave her affirmation, Ambrosia considered the bottle in the physician’s hand and shrugged. “Well, drinking ain’t killed me yet.”

Ambrosia reached for the vial, only to have Shiress pull it away from her and explain that it had to be administered through a wound. Once it was said, it made sense, considering that it was delivered by a bite in its natural state. She watched as Shiress collected a long, thin needle, uncorked the vial, and dipped it in.

A thought crossed her mind. “We should probably do this where they won’t see the mark.”

She thought about it a moment more, then slid the hem of her dress up until the atrophied muscle of her thigh was exposed. Ambrosia nodded. She was as ready as she was going to be. Shiress felt for the meatiest part of her thigh, gave her a smile of reassurance, and sank the needle in deep. Wincing, Ambrosia noted with a small amount of satisfaction that it hurt less than she had expected. Shiress withdrew the needle, and the soon to be dead-but-not-dead slave pressed her thumb over the needle mark to keep it from bleeding.

Ambrosia waited several ticks but found she was impatient. “Is that it?”

She wasn’t sure what she was expecting, maybe something akin to the worst hangover she had ever experienced, but she certainly wasn’t expecting this. Nothing. Ambrosia waited several more ticks before she began to question Shiress.

“Are you sure-?” Ambrosia stopped midsentence as something changed inside of her. “Shiress, I don’t feel so good.”

It wasn’t painful. She just felt like she couldn’t breathe, but that wasn’t the case. Her breath was coming, deep and fast, but no matter how much air she breathed she still felt more and more faint with each passing tick. The edges of her vision began to blacken, and a single image of a ghost locked in a barless prison came to her mind. “I don’t wanna die.”

It was that thought put to words that gave her strength, and for a moment, the darkness was pushed back. Ambrosia grabbed Shiress’ arms. “Shiress, don’t let me die.”

Her breathing became more and more rapid, but it was not enough. It could not keep the dark at bay. Unconsciousness took her. Then slowly her breathing subsided.

And then, for she didn’t know how long, Ambrosia was dead.
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Ambrosia Alar
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Where We're At

Postby Ambrosia Alar on May 23rd, 2020, 12:23 am

Being dead hadn’t been half bad. There was a sense of relief that came with it, guiltless and wholesome. But coming back to life was awful.

The first thing Ambrosia became aware of was a weight. At first, she thought it was in her chest, but time passing quickly made her aware that it was on her midriff. It was uncomfortable, and she was about to shift to push it off when another weight pressed down over her face.

She couldn’t breathe.

That changed everything. Ambrosia’s eyes snapped open, only to reveal darkness. She couldn’t see anything. Her hands flew up to whatever it was that was smothering her, only to find the soft fabric of a dress. Scrambling, she reached beyond it, and her hands found a pair of arms, feminine but still strong, stronger than her at least.

The need for air became desperate. Ambrosia tried to draw a breath, but there was none to draw. Her lips sucked against cloth, and no air came. Rage boiled inside her. She had fight too hard to survive this long only to die like this, a babe smothered in its crib. Her hands curled into fists, and though she had no strength or leverage, she threw blows into the other woman’s ribs. Enough of them landed with enough force that whatever it was that was covering her face fell away. Gasping sweet air into her lungs, she looked up at her assailant.

And froze. The face staring emptily down at her was her own. Too stunned by this sudden revelation, Ambrosia had no time to gather her senses or draw a second breath as the other woman reached down with a hand that almost seemed motherly, gentle. It wasn’t. Delicate fingers gathered up a handful of her hair, drew her up, and then slammed her head back down into the wooden floor beneath her once, twice.

Once more, the bundled dress covered her face, and Ambrosia’s struggle picked up more zeal. As she pressed her hands into the ground under her, she found no purchase. It was slick with her vomit. Sea travel didn’t agree with her. With no progress there, she turned her attention back to her attacker. When the fists she beat against the other woman’s ribs failed to dislodge her again, Ambrosia splayed her fingers and raked her nails across the unclothed flesh of the other woman’s torso. The more she scratched, the more her hands became wet and warm with blood, but it wasn’t enough. The other Ambrosia held steady this time.

As her consciousness faded, Ambrosia wasn’t even aware of the instinctual jerking of her body as it drew at the nothingness around its face for air. There was only one thought that entered her mind, one pleasant thing. She no longer felt the need to vomit. The nausea was gone. Her body went still. And then, for she didn’t know how long, Ambrosia was dead.

As life flooded back into her body, she became aware of one thing. A weight. And so again and again and again, Ambrosia relived a death not her own, each time the reactions of her body to the nightmare becoming more and more noticeable. Fortunately, the slavers had long ago left her behind, having given her up for dead, so they could swallow their losses and take what remained of their shipment to auction.

So Ambrosia waited, dying again and again, alone with herself in the dream, unaware of the watchful care of Shiress by her side.
Last edited by Ambrosia Alar on June 29th, 2020, 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ambrosia Alar
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Where We're At

Postby Shiress on May 25th, 2020, 8:51 pm

Image



Three ticks after the needle pierced Ambrosia's arm, her breathing slowed. With thirty, the slave's heart rate had dropped by half, and within a chime, her breathing had descended into slow, shallow breaths. For just a moment, Shiress had to fight back the instinctual need to panic. She had all but just killed this sick, young woman, and the doctor inside her wanted to scream, run around the room and yank her hair out in horror of what she had just done.

But Shiress had a plan.

The door to the exam room swung open, and Shiress nearly jumped out of her skin. Clutching at her chest, she glared at Jeb as he strolled into the room and closed the door behind him.

"He's here. Are you ready?"

Shiress took a chime to collect her composer from somewhere around her feet before grabbing a stiff sheet from the countertop. Shiress cupped Ambrosia's cheek affectionately before draping the cloth over the young woman, giving her one last long glance before allowing the sheet to cover her pale face. With a deep breath, she glanced at Jeb, who stood close to the door, listening.

"You know what to say?"

The boy nodded, and within a few ticks, whispered. "He's coming down the hall."

Shiress's back straightened, Jeb opened the door, and Shiress stepped into her first acting role.

"Tell the undertaker that I will expect him within the bell." Shiress said, stepping out into the hallway.

The sound of stomping boots came closer, and Shiress glanced up sharply as if surprised that the slaver was there.

"I just sent for the undertaker." she cursed herself for her shaky voice and for the beads of sweat that had just bloomed on her forehead. She clasped her hands together to keep them from shaking. "The girl that you brought in last night died only moments ago," she paused then added dumbly, "Im sorry" as if that might help further fool the man.

The slaver, for his part, looked decidedly unconvinced and didn't slow his approach until he was well and truly invading Shiress's personal space. The slave inside Shiress desperately wanted to show herself, fall to her knees, submit, prostrate herself, and beg the man not to hurt her, but the doctor in Shiress was stronger. But only barely. The need to help this young woman was stronger. Stiffening her back, Shiress didn't move a muscle and met the man's hard glare with one of her own.

"Had you gotten her to me sooner, before the fever, I might have been..." The slaver's snarl cut off the rest of what Shiress was going to say, and he pushed past her into the room, his huge bicep jarring her back into the wall. Shiress closed her eyes with an intake of a shaky breath. She hadn't realized how fast her heart was hammering her ribs until she attempted to breathe. With a wary glance to Zeb, Shiress turned and followed the slaver.

He stood by Ambrosia's bedside, the sheet that had once covered the girl gripped in one meaty paw by his side, the other fisted in the girl's hair, twisting her head back and forth as he studied her face.

"She's not cold!" he snapped.

"She hasn't been dead a bell.' Shiress snapped.

The man shoved the girl's head away and freed her hair before straightening to his full height as if he were readying himself to kill. Despite herself, Shiress took several steps backward away from the slaver before he even took a step toward her. But his advance stopped short when a black leather-clad Ebonstryfe soldier appeared in the doorway, Zeb peeking around his arm. Shiress could have kissed the street kid.

For a very tense chime, Shiress thought the brute would still put up a fight, but with a string of curses, he slung the sheet at Shiress and stomped from the room.

"I'll follow him and make sure he leaves the facility." The soldier said. Shiress could only nod, and the soldier turned on his heel and left. She spent several moments fighting the weakness in her knees before she finally crossed the room and pulled the antivenom from a shelf.

For the next four bells, Ambrosia's body writhed and struggled against the poison flowing through her blood. Screaming fits, nightmares, and sleep terrors consumed the young woman's sleep, and Shiress had to move the girl to a bed to contain the violence her struggling body manifested. By the last bell, Shiress had climbed onto the bed herself and pulled the young woman's back against her own chest, one arm wrapped protectively around Ambrosia beneath her breasts, the other gently caressing the girl's hair. She spoke softly in her ear, sang or hummed occasionally, and begged the poor girl to know that she, at last, was safe.

By the end of the fourth bell, Ambrosia lay still, breathing deep and steadily, against Shiress's chest, and even though Shiress also slept, her arms still held Ambrosia tightly.

Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Every path has a few puddles
 
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Where We're At

Postby Ambrosia Alar on July 3rd, 2020, 4:17 am

Dreams subsided to shadows which subsided to sweet nothingness. There was a time where Ambrosia was aware of nothing, and that was a relief from everything, from the nonstop hallucinations of the past bells, from the terror of her enslavement, from the fruitless search for a way to free her dead sister. For a while or a moment, ambrosia couldn’t be sure which, she remembered none of that. For a moment, she was free from any responsibility that came with her life.

But good things never last. Nothing ever lasts. Slowly, painfully, Ambrosia came back awake, came back to herself. It wasn’t a pleasant revelation. Every part of her hurt, like she had run nonstop for a day. Muscles had clenched and spasmed, and she ached down to her bones, maybe even down to the marrow. It was a good thing, perhaps. It meant she was alive. Honestly, though, she couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or not.

Ambrosia was tired, so very tired, and all she wanted to do was sleep, to be done with everything she had ever cared about. She was tired of fighting.

Deep down though, she knew she had to. Somewhere beneath Alvadas, Tessa was waiting for her return. Ambrosia would make it through this. She had to. Her sisters were depending on it. Drawing on a reserve she didn’t know she had, Ambrosia tried to push herself up into a sitting position, but something resisted, caught her at the waist, and kept her where she was.

Ambrosia froze.

For a long few chimes, she remained as still as possible, feeling for the edges of whatever it was that held her here. It was a body; the thing at her waist, an arm. The chest that rose and fell against her back was definitely feminine. It reminded her of Bethany. She had always shared their single bed with her sister. Slowly, Ambrosia’s hand reached up and found the arm around her, and she knew why it was so familiar.

This was the same hand that had calmed her after her last awakening. Shiress. The woman was a healer, a protector. The arms around her should have felt safe.

They didn’t.

They felt possessive. Ambrosia felt trapped.

But these were the safest arms she knew. This was the safest place for her now, so she stayed in them, trying to stifle her trembling. Ambrosia knew exactly how she had gotten here. Now, she needed a way out.
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