Solo Reconnaissance

Learning some horrific things.

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

Reconnaissance

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2021, 4:47 am

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90th of winter, 520 AV

The moonlight lit Aster's steps as she walked through the city. Her form for this season was tall and broad, lean with muscles that she didn't actually know how to use, but that certainly served for making her look more intimidating, and tattoos swept across her tanned skin. More importantly than that, it was another face that Alard hadn't seen.

Her cloak's hood was pulled up, though the hem brushed a few inches above her ankles, as she strode with purpose towards the area of the city known as the Den. She'd never actually been there before, and it was a bit of a far walk from the dovecote, which made Aster uneasy, her nerves flaring and heart jumping into her throat every time she heard footsteps in the nearby alleyways. But by some miracle or another, she made it across the city without much incident, aside from a drunken man who had stumbled across her path, only to retch in the shadow of a building.

Aster wrinkled her nose, but kept walking. As she entered the Den, she heard a shrill yet distant, muffled scream. A shiver ran down her spine, goosebumps rising along her arms and the back of her neck. A part of her had thought what she'd heard of Doctor Petricious was exaggerated, but perhaps not. Her mouth felt dry suddenly, and Aster considered for the briefest of moments turning and fleeing before she got any closer; but then she remembered Rak'keli, the calm, quiet, powerful presence of the goddess, the heavy weight of expectations in her gaze on Asterope.

Inhaling deeply, Aster squared her shoulders and walked further into the Den, following the sound of the shriek that had pierced the night air. Her steps lead her to the edge of the Den, to a small house that seemed more like a shack, tucked away behind other buildings. It was ramshackle and run-down, but from the distance she stood at, Aster could see dim light flickering through the dirty, grimy windows.

"Shit," Aster hissed under her breath; someone was inside and awake. Quite possibly the mad doctor himself. Staying to the side, out of sight of the windows, Aster carefully approached the house. Another muffled scream rang out into the night air, much closer, though not seemingly coming from the house itself. Aster edged closer, arcing a wide berth around the side of the house to get a glimpse at the back of it.

An unobtrusive, inconspicuous shack sat behind the house. Were the screams coming from there? They sounded a bit too distant for that to be the case. Frowning, Aster retreated back towards the front. She gave a furtive glance around, but nobody seemed to be around. Dropping into a crouch, she edged slightly closer to the front of the house, straining her ears to listen.

She heard some muffled shuffling, and then footsteps as whoever was inside walked around. "Useless idiot," she heard a man say, voice just loud enough for her to make out, bordering on shouting; clearly whoever was speaking was irritated. She heard a dull metallic thud, and then a garbled, low scream, this time distinctly coming from the house. Inhaling and holding her breath, Aster risked a quick peek into the window, poking her head up just enough so that she could peer in.

She had to squint, trying to make anything more than vague silhouettes out through the grime; she could only see details in patches. A man was standing with his back to her, leaning over a metal table. She could make out someone's legs on the table, strapped down, and blood dripping off the metal surface and onto the floor. The man standing, who Aster could only assume was Doctor Petricious, leaned over the person strapped down to the table; she couldn't tell what he was doing, but it seemed to involve some measure of force as he put his weight into it, and the person laying down let out another wordless cry.

Word count: 668
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Reconnaissance

Postby Asterope on May 17th, 2021, 4:11 am

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"Oh, shut up," Doctor Petricious said, stepping back. Aster could see blood splattered across the gore-stained apron he wore, just as she ducked back down below the window. She heard footsteps again, and stayed still, her back pressed against the outside of the house as she sat in a crouch, holding her breath. She waited to hear the footsteps retreat again before she scrambled away from the window, straightening up again only when she was confident she was well out of sight of the window.

Her heart was pounding in her chest. Aster backed up a few steps, lingering in the shadows. Should she stay and wait, see if anything else happened? What if she was caught? As she was debating, the door to the shack suddenly was flung open, light spilling out onto the ground. Aster scrambled back further into the shadows, plastering herself against the side of the nearest house, holding her breath again. She saw a silhouette appear; a moment later, a person was shoved out of the house.

The person went stumbling, hitting the ground with a weak groan. As her eyes adjusted to the sudden light, Aster saw the mad doctor sneer, spitting on the ground by the groaning person, and then slammed the door. After a long moment, the person on the ground slowly, painfully managed to haul themselves to their feet, swaying before they began to shuffle off seemingly in a random direction.

Aster cast a nervous glance to the shack, but while the light still flickered through the window, there were no more movements or sounds that she could make out. Licking her lips nervously, Aster hurried past the shack, following the person that had been quite literally thrown out onto the street by Doctor Petricious. "Hello?" Aster called out, in a hushed tone. "Are you alright? Do you need help?"

She reached out to gently touch the person's shoulder; from behind, it seemed as if it might be a young man. The man let out a low, guttural groan, seemingly half from pain and half from confusion as he lurched to turn and look at Aster. Despite herself, she jerked her hand back as the man turned, taking a step back and slapping her other hand over her mouth, clamping her teeth together to keep from crying out. The man stared at her with wide, glassy eyes.

His face was mutilated, open wounds poorly stapled back together. His lower jaw was missing, his tongue lolling down onto his chest, blood dripping slowly from where his jaw one was. His bare torso had various burned and rotting patches of skin; his left hand was missing, and his hand, upon closer inspection, seemed to have been poorly sewn back on, hanging limply by his side. The skin tone of the re-attached arm, even in the shadows, seemed darker than the rest of him, and Aster wasn't sure if it was because the limb didn't belong to him originally and didn't match, or if it was because it had started rotting and darkening. It was difficult to tell in the dark.

Aster felt nausea roll in her stomach and surge up her throat, the acidic taste bitter in her mouth and burning her throat as she forced the contents of her stomach back down. This close, she could smell the man too, and the scent made her eyes water. Blood, urine, rot, and beneath it all a layer of something distinctly medical smelling, some sort of herbs or something that had been used to sterilize something at some point. The man made a moaning sound, swaying towards her, and Aster instinctively took a step back.

A deep rage swelled in her; how dare that man call himself a doctor? She understood now Rak'keli's desire to stop him at any cost, her explanation that sometimes one death could be justified if it meant saving many. Seeing the man in front of her felt like a personal attack on everything she'd ever learned and all that she stood for, and while she'd already promised Rak'keli, then and there Aster swore to herself to stop the doctor no matter what it took, even if she had to kill him with her bare hands.

Word count: 706
Total: 1,374
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 648
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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Reconnaissance

Postby Asterope on May 17th, 2021, 4:13 am

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Her rage was followed by pity shortly, a terrible sadness that made her heart ache as she looked at the man in front of her, clearly confused and in pain. She didn't even know what she could possibly do to help; this was well beyond anything she'd ever had to deal with, and she felt that even in a professional medical environment, the man's chances of living beyond another few bells were nearly nonexistent. She couldn't even soothe his pain; she had nothing on her, and even if she did, how was she supposed to give him anything with his disfigured jaw? She would need to inject it somehow.

The man was staring at her, though his eyes were unfocused, and after a long moment he crumpled to his knees with another low groan. Swallowing hard, Aster crouched, and tentatively reached a hand out; she realized she was shaking. With her trembling hand, she carefully stroked her fingers over the man's temple and back through his filthy, matted hair. The man let out a guttural, wheezing sound, his glazed eyes falling half-shut. Perhaps he was already drugged; it would be a blessing if he was.

"I'm sorry," Aster whispered, feeling tears prick at her eyes. Her stomach was still lurching, even as the tears streaked down her face. "I'm sorry that this happened to you, and that I can't help." Her dismay was slightly lessened, perhaps because of the conversation she'd had with Rak'keli, perhaps because the situation was so bizarre and horrific and unreal that she didn't know what to do or how to feel. Aster had encountered all kinds of cruelty in Sunberth, but this was something different.

The man blinked at her slowly, and Aster wondered if he could even understand her in the state he was in. He slumped over onto his side on the ground, his breathing beginning to become shallow, rattling in his throat. Bloody spittle sprayed from his torn open jaw onto the ground, and he whined like an injured animal. Swallowing hard, Aster maneuvered around to sit behind him. He tried to lift his head, then let it fall back to the ground. Aster stroked a hand over his hair continuously, softly, and not knowing what else to do, she began to sing softly.

Her voice was out of tune, cracking and breaking partially from not being used to singing, partially from the overwhelming surge of emotions still swirling like a maelstrom in her chest. She sang a song she'd heard once while living with the Drykas, something bittersweet and sad that had struck a chord deep within her chest.

She began shakily, her fingers continuing to stroke over the man's hair. "See the clouds are creeping, towards the sun, and I'm slipping away, unseen by anyone. The light is turning grey, the day is done..." Aster inhaled an unsteady breath, glancing down at the man laying on the ground beside her. Aster's voice trailed off into heavy silence; in the short time it had taken her to sing those few lines, he was already gone. His body was still, and he'd gone silent, the blood dripping from his jaw having slowed, but every so often a drop still fell. The quiet splash of the blood droplets into the small pool that had formed seemed deafening in the silence.

Aster sat there, rage and grief fading into numbness, for a long, long time. Her fingers continued to stroke the man's hair until his body had gone cold, and she could feel that the grey light of dawn was approaching. With some effort, she pulled herself out of her thoughts, giving her head a small shake. Aster looked down at the man, finally letting her hand fall to her side, her fingers stiff and wrist sore.

Word count: 633
Total: 2,007

OOC :
Song lyrics from the song Towards the Sun by Alexi Murdoch.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 648
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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Race: Ethaefal
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Reconnaissance

Postby Asterope on May 17th, 2021, 4:14 am

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She wished she could do something with his body, but she wasn't strong enough to carry it on her own, especially all the way across the city. She couldn't even cover him with her cloak; she'd sat there for far too long, and dawn would likely break before she could make it all the way back to the dovecote, meaning she was going to need her cloak to keep her hood up so she could stay hidden. Frustration boiled in her chest, burning away the numbness. She hated feeling so helpless.

"I'll do what I can to make sure your death wasn't just another in a long list," Aster whispered, clenching her fists. "That...doctor," Aster spat the word with a deep fury, "I'll make sure that he pays for this. For everything he's done like this." Aster pushed herself to her feet, her knees cracking and calves protesting from having been sitting for so long. Tingles ran from her butt all the way down to her toes as she stretched, trying to loosen up and get rid of the pins and needles.

Casting one more sorrowful glance at the man's still body, Aster hunched her shoulders up around her ears and wrapped her cloak tightly around her, hurrying away. She could already hear the cawing of crows descending on the body; it was better than the body being entirely torn apart by the thugs of the city. At least this way it was somewhat giving back to the world in a useful manner.

Aster wasn't sure about what she had hoped to learn, venturing out to the Den to try and find Doctor Petricious' clinic; she'd had low hopes of learning much of anything useful, if she was going to be honest. But she'd learned more than she could have imagined, perhaps more than she ever wanted to. No matter how long it took, she promised herself and Rak'keli silently that she would eventually confront the monster who dared to call himself a doctor and put a stop to him, one way or another.

Word count: 344
Total: 2,351
Image

The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 648
Words: 655110
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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