Changing the Script

Shiress is given an unusual request

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Herein lies Xyna's Outpost, and her gift to Mizahar's people. It is a magical place full of potential and possibility where all can gather and exchange ideas and commerce.

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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on April 4th, 2021, 10:57 pm

Image

"Speech"


Madeira flinched as the doctor approached, and hated herself for it. But Shiress merely thrust an earthenware cup filled with a cloudy liquid towards the spiritist, her slitted eyes as green and dark as a Kalean forest Madeira died in.

The memory caught her off guard. It had been another vile test from another god, starting when Rotsam had her pushed off the skybridge between the peaks of her mountain city. She was dead when she hit the ground, but not for long. In that week of trying to find her way back, dying again and again on that forest floor, she had learned to fear the monsters hidden in that forest. She watched those same dark shapes move in in Shiress' eyes as she accepted the cup.

Madeira tipped back her head and poured the bitter mixture down her throat, but the cup was not even half empty before Shiress snatched it away again, leaving her sputtering. The doctor was not strong enough to break her arm, she explained, but her collarbone was another matter.

The Spiritist held her breath as Shiress made to grab her shoulder, a slice of something small and desperate flashed in her eye. It seemed the doctor saw it too. That little weakness channeled into Shiress and doubled, and the woman turned away from her battered body.

Her collarbone snapped like try tinder. The ends ground into each other and Madeira would have screamed if she had any breath to do so. She bit down on the sound, suffocating it before it could leave her throat. It came out as a strained hiss from between her bared teeth as she collapsed into the doctor's shoulder.

Rotsam, she had to remember, as fresh tears poured down her face. This pain would be nothing next to the satisfaction of turning an entire population against one man. Just hold on a little longer.

"Sit", Shiress had demanded. Madeira moved to comply unthinkingly. Dragging herself up off the wall, holding her arm against her body with her opposite hand, feeling her bones clicking together like a bag of broken glass, she fell into the plush chair.

The doctors words skated over the surface of her mind like stones skipped over a lake. It wasn't until the last tourniquet was tied and the boom handle raised above her head that Madeira realized what was about to happen.

I will not cry, she told herself, her head falling back against the chair and her eyes falling closed. I am a Dusk now, but I was a Craven first. A Craven does not cry.

The first strike hit like a bolt of lightning. Every centimeter of her overtaxed body lit up and her eyes snapped open as something inside her bent and crackled dangerously. The second strike rolled through her like thunder; a great, booming crash that rattled in her ribs and tore through her mind.

The chair bucked beneath her and Madeira moved as if she had been electrified, her heels slamming into the floor and her back arching off the chair. She didn't realize she was shrieking until Shiress' hand clamped over her mouth. The sound was cut off into great, racking sobs choked her as she struggled breath through her bashed nose.

A shadow fell silently across the room as something landed on the ledge outside the privacy-distorted glass of the exam room window. It seemed to listen for a moment to the muffled chaos, perched perfectly still, before vanishing abruptly in a twist of mist. In the moment between one blink and the next the creature was inside the room, pressed warily against the wall.

It might have been a housecat, if housecats were the size of lynx and covered in bone armor. Short, silky black fur bristled at the smell of blood before it even understood what it was seeing. Liquid orange eyes found the smear of blood on the wall, pooled on the floor, the half-finished glyph, and finally the woman holding his master down. In a tick its lip peeled back to expose needle-like teeth, and it hissed ferociously. Metallic tang of blood in the room was suddenly and bizarrely overcome with the smell of licorice candy.

"Don't!" Madeira croaked through the tears, dragging Shiress' hand away from her mouth. "Spooks, don't." She was breathing in great drags, fighting the encroaching blackness on the edges of her vision.

The creature didn't speak, but it's blown pupils dropped from Shiress to stare at his master.

"My... That's my companion. He'll take me home", Madeira croaked. "Help me... Help me hide this. A cloak. Something with a hood. My face..."

"You're crazy", the creature growled. Madeira ignored him.

Gulping air, she forced herself to sit up. Madeira patted the pockets of her dress and surfaced with a folded slip of thick, official-looking paper.

"For your discretion...", she explained, holding the paper shakily out to Shiress. On it was a guarantee, signed in a blocky, incomprehensible scribble, and below it was signed Madeira Dusk in a delicate, neat hand. There were a lot of careful zeros on the dotted line. "There's a moneylender by the dovecote holding three thousand kina. He'll change it to whatever currency you want." When the doctor didn't take it immediately, the Spiritist dropped it on the table. "Or leave it. I'm sure it will make for a very happy moneylender."

She had walked into the Outpost prepared to bribe one of Xyna's money-hungry locals for the service. It was a lot of money for something usually done for free. But she had learned by working with Laird that when offering bribes, the most unsubtle of coercions, generosity was key. They could buy themselves a nice home with that kind of money, and then never forget that their silence is what paid for it.

Ledger :
catalog of injuries
-fractured radius (R/compound)
-fractured clavicle (R)
-dislocated shoulder (R)
-broken nose
-broken fingers (R)
-superficial cuts on throat and hands
-bruising on throat, arms, forehead and eyes

ledger
bribe: -3000ki
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on April 8th, 2021, 5:29 pm

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Spooks?

Companion?

Wide-eyed, Shiress stared at the cat-like creature from where its predatory hiss had sent her sprawling to her arse and crab walking backward away from the things razor-like snarl.

Then, the thing spoke!

The creature's coral-colored eyes lifted, finding Maderiea, and it had talked to her!

Shiress gaped, jaw unhinging, but the physician couldn't help but agree with Spooks's assessment of his....companion. Several times since Madeira's arrival at the hospital, Shiress herself had come to the same conclusion about the blonde female. But, if the woman was, indeed, crazy, what did that make Shiress? Something far worse, surely.

So engrossed with this armor-wearing cat, which oddly reminded Shiress of the battle horses in Syliras, it took a moment for Madeira's words to register. Slowly, Shiress pulled herself to her feet, eyes never leaving Spooks, and freed her own cloak hanging on a nearby hook. It was a simple hooded garment, nothing expensive, and easily replaced. Shiress stepped forward, offering the cloak to Madeira, before taking a hesitant step back when she accepted it.

Attention slowly reverting to Madeira, Shiress stared at the paper dumbly as it fell from Madeira's fingers and settled on the table. It took a long while for the woman's explanation for the form to make sense to her. Discretion. Money lender. 3,000 Kina. By the time Shiress lifted her eyes and focused her gaze back on Madeira, the blond was halfway through the curtained entranceway.

"Wait!" she coughed out.

But when Madeira turned back, Shiress was suddenly at a loss for what she had wanted to say. I'm sorry? Will you be okay? Good luck? Petch you? Nothing she could think to say felt right or even necessary and especially not the absurd need to make sure Madeira wasn't mad at her. For some unexplainable reason, Shiress didn't want this woman to think badly of her. The notion made absolutely no sense and only succeeded in making the dense confusion currently fogging Shiress's thoughts thicken.

In the end, Shiress only shook her head, still at a loss, and looked away.

It took Shiress nearly a bell to clean Madeira's blood from the floor and wall and nearly twice that long to clean herself and force a semblance of calm and normalcy enough to walk from the exam room. Shiress claimed illness, grimacing toward the vomit-filled bucket in her hands, and left The Redynn and the Outpost, knowing she was in no shape to continue to see patients.

The paper Madeira had offered her rode heavy in the pocket of her shift. She'd claim the coin, eventually, but knew she wouldn't keep possession of them. Not for herself. Not with knowing what had been done to earn it. The very thought itself sickened her and caused her to feel even more filthy than she already did. She'd put some aside for Ian, then find someone to give the rest to. Someone who wouldn't ask questions because Shiress had no answers for what she had done.

Right now, though? Right now, she needed a drink, and so when she stepped from the Dovecote, the doctor turned herself toward East street.

Only days later would Shiress remember that her ring had been in the pocket of her cloak, discarded there in preparation for a day's work.

Shiress, it seemed, will have to one day meet up with Madeira Dusk again.



Word count - 594
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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