Changing the Script

Shiress is given an unusual request

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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on March 7th, 2021, 10:41 pm

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80th of Spring, 521
"Speech"


Madeira stroked the iron head of a short spear that bristled, plant-like, from a clay vase filled with identical spears at a weapon smith booth. They weren't as sharp as her souldarts, but something like this didn't need to be, she supposed. In the right hand these spears could rip through a target her puny little bow couldn't even tag.

She wondered if Rotsam the Curse Eater owned a spear.

The self contained world of the Outpost was a kaleidoscope of culture. As she stood pondering the weapons the sea of people in the Bazaar melded together in her peripherals, nothing but visual white noise. Until a stranger passed with dark skin and tattoos. These southern faces snagged Madeira's vision like a fish hook and dragged it away until she could confirm, with a nasty shiver, that it was not Rotsam.

"You reek of nerves", came a voice around her knee. Spooks was sitting in the shadow of her green skirt. His lamp-like yellow eyes, bright even in the daylight, were trained directly at her face. The beast's expression was as impossible to read as any cat, and his voice had an emotional range somewhere between mild apathy and annoyed disinterest, so she chose to believe the statement came from a place of concern.

"Performance anxiety, darling", Madeira assured with a smile, letting go of the spear and wandering further down the stall. "Today's the big day."

The next vase was full of pitted, double-headed axes. Some of these were as tall as her waist and wickedly curved. Even to her untrained eye they looked cheap and mass produced, but there was something frightening about the pure functionality of them. No pretty adornments, no finesse; these were made purely to be buried in someone's skull. How would you defend yourself from something like this, she wondered. She crossed her wrists in front of her, miming the action of desperately holding up ones hands to block a blow. She pressed the blade of one of the axes against her defending hands, to see what it felt like. It fit perfectly between her fingers.

"It doesn't have to be." Spooks was sticking close to his portable shadow, his tail tucked tight around his body to keep it from being stepped on.

"Yes, it does", she replied with a touch more venom than was called for. "I'm tired of Rotsam making all the moves in our little game. It's my turn." Her tongue slithered out and licked her bared teeth, and she imagined she could feel the Cordas mark on its bed stir excitedly. She wondered where Rotsam's mark was. As her partner they were bound together by the their twin gnosis marks, locked together in a game of subterfuge dictated by Sagllius, until one had defeated the other and became the dominant mage in Lhavit.

"His 'moves' were a lot less risky."

It was true. She had noticed Rotsam was developing a habit of simply booby trapping her life with cursed items. It was the safe option for sure. Being nowhere close when his plans went off meant he never had to deal with retaliation or risk getting caught, especially since she had more people on her side than he did. But it also meant he was never in direct control. He couldn't do more than sit back and hope she destroyed herself for him.

"High risk, high reward", she insisted. "Why nip at his reputation like he is mine, when I can destroy it, irrefutably, in one fell swoop? He's a big strong Myrian man, and I'm just a small, helpless human girl. If he raised a hand to me he would be villanized in an instant. And if he were to attack me, brutally, publicly, with all of Lhavit watching, he would be demonized. How dare this jungle savage do such a thing to their Miss Craven-Dusk?" She trilled, her eyes lighting up in excitement.

"You're bleeding."

She had been pressing too hard. The axe had cut through her doeskin gloves and the webbing of her fingers underneath. Madeira pulled her hand away and contemplated the growing stain, more miffed that the gloves were ruined more than anything else. Her left hand was partially paralyzed and no longer felt pain, just a dull sensation of pressure, like it was made of wood.

With his claws carefully sheathed, Spooks balanced on his hind legs in order to pull the injured hand towards him with his paws and lick at the cut. "Explain to me again", he asked between the sandpaper rasping of his pink tongue, "how you're going to get him to do something so stupid, and how this helpless human girl is going to stop him if he does."

"Stage magic", she smiled cheekily. "His body will be there, but it will be Jomi wearing it. Rotsam's soul will be safely out of the way right here." She held up her right wrist, where her pilfered charm bracelet and its one diamond charm reflected the desert sun back at them in a rainbow of colour. "Possession is just an elaborate costume change, is it not? And I will be playing the part of the damsel in distress. Then I'll have someone off stage ready to swoop in and save me if the crowd is too shell shocked. Alice, perhaps."

Spooks let go of her hand, and she checked to make sure she still had skin between her fingers after his thorough cleaning. "The only thing is, all the best stage makeup in the world won't pass for real injuries. And I'm not strong enough to take more than a hit or two, especially not from someone like Jomi. Before we even get there I need someone to break me in a way that I can recover from, that won't injure me permanently or threaten my life. That's why we're here." She wiped her hand on her skirt and smiled. "If I need someone to break me cleanly, they need to know what a clean break looks like. There's a hospital in the Outpost, in the middle of a domain that would do anything for the right coin, full of medical professionals. Seems like the right place, doesn't it?"

The end of Spook's tail was flicking in an agitated pattern, and his paws were blunting themselves as they scrapped at the cobblestone.

"And you've never tried to use the charm bracelet before?"

"Not on a living person"
, she admitted.

"What happens if you're found out?"

"I'll be tried by the Sezia, and appropriately punished."

"What happens if Rotsam breaks the possession?"

"He'll kill me."


Spooks stared at her for a long moment. "You know you're crazy, right?"

"That's show business, sweetheart"
, Madeira laughed, putting her hand to her forehead dramatically. Out of her periphery she saw a man coming up behind her, intending to squeeze between her and the main flow of traffic. Shifting her weight, she angled herself into his path.

His shoulder knocked into hers, and the smaller woman was thrown off balance. She stuck her left hand out as if to instinctively catch herself. Then, with as much force as she dared, Madeira slammed her left hand again onto the edge of the axe.

It was a strange sensation. Not painful, but it felt so wrong that it had every nerve in her body focused on that one point waiting for the signal that would never come. She could feel air moving against her open flesh as a nearly two-centimeter cut was sliced through her hand between her middle and ring finger.

Acting came naturally to the Spiritist. It had better, since she spent an inordinate amount of time pretending to be other people for the benefit of the dead. So summoning all her will, and using the memory of the injury that had paralyzed her hand in the first place, she clutched her bleeding limb to her chest and shrieked.

Spooks, startled by the noise and the sudden action, vanished in a cloud of soulmist. In ticks several passerby had stopped to help, including the confused weapons vendor and the poor man who had bumped into her. The man was white as a sheet and kept up a string of apologies as he pulled a scarf off his head and used it to stop the bleeding.

"Oh gods! oh gods, I'm so sorry, I didn't-, I don't know how-. Here, hold on to me. Oh gods, I'm so sorry. I'm going to take you to the Redynn. They're going to patch you right up. I'm so sorry."
Last edited by Madeira Dusk on April 11th, 2021, 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on March 13th, 2021, 5:14 pm

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Shiress squinted down at the label on the bottle she held in her hand, trying to decipher the horrid handwriting, and determining that she would need to relabel at least half the two dozen bottles, jars, bowls, and canisters arrayed in front of her along the counter.

"Caraway seed." Shiress decided, then placed the bottle among a few others on the shelf that she had deemed 'gastrointestinal'.

It was a slow, monotonous task, organizing the herbs by medicinal value, but truth be told, it was busywork. Shiress had no scheduled patients for the day. For the next several days, actually, but she knew it would take time for trust to be established in her by those seeking treatment. It would come, but she would organize her medicines and remain on standby for emergencies for now.

Shiress had just plucked another bottle off the counter, scowling down at yet another indecipherable label, when a young nurse stuck her head through the curtained-off alcove.

"Got an urgent for you, Dr. Shi." the girl said. Beth, Shiress thought her name was. "Looks like a female with a hand injury, but her companion looks more upset about it."

Beth grinned, and Shiress returned it.

"Thank you, Beth. Send them on in."

As soon as the nurse's head disappeared, Shiress gathered several towels, a basin of water, and some bandages and had just placed them on the lowered bed that more resembled a table than a place to rest when a blonde woman escorted by a somewhat squat man pushed through the curtains. Beth, who had followed the two and now stood just outside the exam room, had been right; the man, white-faced and sweating, seemed much more distressed than the patient.

"Beth, would you take Mr..." She gave the male a questioning look.

"Oh, I, uh, no I'm not.." the man dropped his hands from the blonde and stepped away from her, shaking his head "I'm not with her. I mean, I'm not here..I'm just..I bumped her, and she crashed into a bunch of axes and..."

Beth led the flustered man out of the room by the elbow even as he continued struggling to explain his role in bringing the woman into the hospital. Shaking her head, Shiress turned her attention back to her patient, extending a hand, careful to offer her left for the woman's uninjured right.

"I'm doctor Shiress Underhill." Shiress smiled "You can call me Dr. Shi or Shiress; I'm not picky. May I?"

Reaching out, she took hold of the wrist above the wound fabric of the injured hand and gestured the woman to sit in a chair pulled up alongside the table, on which she guided the hand to an awaiting towel.

"Let's see what we've got."

Shiress stepped around to the opposite side, lifted the hand, and began gently unwrapping what looked like a scarf to reveal a bloodied palm. A laceration then, but with all the blood, it was difficult to see exactly how bad. Dipping a cloth into the water basin, Shiress gently cleaned the area between the third and fourth finger before dripping water into the wound itself, which turned out to be a clean laceration, probably thanks to the honed edges of the ax. It wasn't very long, not even an inch, but it did look fairly deep. Keeping in mind that the offending weapon was probably newly forged and waiting to be sold, Shiress didn't think cleaning inside the wound itself was necessary.

Setting the cloth down, Shiress tenderly probed around the outside of the wound, watching her patient's face closely for signs of discomfort. When she gave no sign of any, deft fingers gently tugged the lips of the laceration apart, wincing in sympathy at the pain it must have caused, but her patient made no sound, not even a twitch of her hand.

"Well," Shiress said, raising her gaze to the blonde, hands rest against the tabletop "looks like the blade didn't cut close to ligaments and missed the muscle in that area, so I think four or five surface stitches should fix you right up." her head tilted slightly, eyes studying the woman's face closely. "I can numb the area, or I can give you some herbs that will temporarily numb you." she grinned "It's completely up to you, miss-" Shiress suddenly realized she didn't know the woman's name. "I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?"






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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on March 13th, 2021, 10:05 pm

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"Speech"


"Oh, It's Madeira Dusk. But Madeira is fine", Madeira answered the doctor a beat too late. Her gaze had been fixed on the woman's collar as she was bent over her hand, before snapping up to her meet her emerald eyes. But the image was still burned into her sight like she had been staring at the sun. Thatched across her collarbone and what she could see of her chest, the woman had short, pale scars. After living with Allister for years she had come to recognize what whip marks looked like.

The doctor had asked if she wanted a numbing agent. Her first instinct was to say no. She wasn't in pain, after all. But upon second thought considered that, if this went as she hope, she would soon be in terrible pain. Maybe drugs wouldn't be such a bad idea.

"The herbs would be welcome, thank you doctor."

She returned the smile easily. The woman was so beautiful and sunny it was disarming. Because of that, the physical evidence that she had been abused was throwing her for a loop. Had she really struck gold so easily? Madeira studied her intently, from her shining auburn hair to her intense eyes, which were as deep and green as a forest pool. She was young and healthy, but beyond that she couldn't deduce anything more about her. The accent was unique, though. It was either one she had never heard or a bastardization of several different accents.

As Shiress gathered the medicine Madeira's gaze dropped to her hand. The bleeding had largely stopped. She rotated her wrist to study the limb. Most of her fingers hadn't moved in three years, and the muscle had gone into atrophy. It gave the whole thing a terrible, stringy look. She supposed if this injury were to scar it could just join the starburst of tissue on her palm. It couldn't make it any uglier.

"Doctor, I need to confess something", she began carefully, measuring her words as she gazed down on her palm. "That man outside didn't hurt me, I hurt myself. I figured the hospital wouldn't leave me alone with a doctor for any length of time without an injury. And I really needed to talk to you."

This wasn't the show, she reasoned. This was the backstage; her and her effects artist plotting to put together the real performance. After seeing the woman's scars she convinced herself she didn't need to lie to her to get what she needed.

"I'm in trouble. I'm in a lot of trouble. There is someone out there, this Myrian man, who is trying to hurt me. The law in my city wont help because he hasn't done anything I can prove yet, but by the time he does it will be far too late. I think I can stop him, but I need your help to do it. You understand, don't you?" she smiled uncertainly. "Say you'll help me. I really..." She trailed off into silence, leaving the thought hanging in the room.
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on March 13th, 2021, 11:41 pm

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As soon as Madeira had made known her choice of an herbal sedative, Shiress straightened and faced the counter behind her, which was a relief, of sorts, from the woman's penetrating gaze.

Shiress was no stranger to the looks and stares the whip scars on her body coaxed from strangers, but Madeira's scrutiny had seemed...knowing, like the scars themselves were painting a vivid retelling picture of Shiress's past on the canvas of her skin. It unnerved Shiress and reminded her of -"What can a slave know of doctoring." "I should have known better than trust a slave!"- Eve and the biting accusations that she had spat at Shiress in the wake of the death of her unborn baby.

Was Madeira even now thinking up the most scathing words to show her disgust that a slave would be made a doctor? The woman's own scars were not lost on the doctor's keen eyes, thin lines of remembered pain on her arms, and the mass of scar tissue that pulled tight the flesh of her palm, but from the cursory glance she had spared them, they had looked self-inflicted, save the one on her palm. That one didn't look like any scars the doctor had ever seen. But the others? Could she have mistaken intention for abuse?

Taking in a deep breath, Shiress reached for the bottles of lavender and valerian root, grabbing both in one hand as the other retrieved crushed starflower peddles. She did her best to ignore the tremble in her hands as she added a pinch of lavender and starflower to the small chunk of valerian resting on a small piece of cheesecloth. Just as she had lowered the cloth to seep in a cup of water, Madeira spoke behind her, and her words stilled Shiress completely.

Shiress did understand.

Turning to face Madeira, she gazed long at her, searching her face for the truth in her words and seeing...fear. Fear that she didn't think was a pantomime, though she had been wrong before, and it had cost her. Cost her dearly. But still....

Crossing the space between her and her patient, Shiress knelt before Madeira, brushed a knuckle across her cheekbone, then pulled the woman's uninjured hand into her's, squeezing gently.

"I do understand." she gave a sad little smile, then asked "What can I do?"







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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on March 14th, 2021, 1:00 am

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"Speech"


Shiress was quiet for so long that Madeira feared she had misstepped before the dance had even begun. The woman was standing at the counter, looking into her eyes like she was trying to see through them. She didn't know what she was looking for, but she dared not flinch. Instead she met her eye as steadily as she could, tapping down the djed that was rising like bile in her throat, reflexively begging to hypnotize her.

Then all at once Shiress was across the room and kneeling in front of her, her cool hand caressing her cheek. And just like that, Madeira realized that she had her. She squeezed her hand back, recognizing the swirling of emotions in her eyes, but not what they were called.

Relief flooded through her. Oh gods, this might actually work. The show will go on.

Now she just had to convince a doctor to go against every ethic and oath of her profession and do harm to another person, and falsely imprison another.

Madeira moved to speak, before working moisture into her throat and trying again. The pleasant herbal smell of the room was suddenly choking her. Don't lose your nerve now!, she admonished herself. You're so close.

She allowed the djed that her subconscious was pushing at her to rush forward, filling her face and throat like a fever. She had always preferred to work hypnotism through her voice. The pleasant quality and cadence of it lent well to the magic. Through it she worked an subtle emotional response. Nothing drastic or jarring, just something that simply flavoured the conversation. It was a nebulous feeling, just a sense of rightness. She was trying to give Shiress every tool with which the doctor could use to justify this with herself.

"I can get him arrested", she began, projecting confidence with the tone of her voice, and even the grip of her hand. Her whole posture changed to impress how sure she was. "I can have him recognized as the monster he is. But a crime has to be committed first. He wants to hurt me? Fine. I'll beat him to the punch", her mouth quirked at the unintended pun.

"You're a doctor, you know how the body works, and what it can do. I want you to break mine before he gets the chance. Then I can frame him for something he hasn't done yet." She licked her lips, a note of hunger slipping past her cool and measured front. She could feel the imperceptible buzz of djed on her lips. "Then who could possibly deny the crime when the evidence is right there? Break my arm, my collar, my ribs. Crush my hands. Leave bruises all over my body. The way I dress, nobody will ever know. Not until he raises a hand to me and they open my clothes and see how ruined I am, and how brutal he is."

She began leaning forward, all but bearing down on the woman kneeling below her. "You would be saving me. If he got to me first, there might be nothing left. Please, Shiress. I can do this, but I need your help."
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on March 14th, 2021, 4:13 am

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Not in all of Rhysol's worse nightmares could Shiress have thought that that would be the means by which Madeira needed her assistance. Regardless of whether the words that sneaked out between the lady's pale pink lips sounded distantly feasible, the thought alone of Shiress breaking bones and causing this person harm, pain, was enough to make her feel sick to her stomach.

Shiress flinched back from Madeira as if her words alone stung to hear them. When they turned to breaking arms, ribs, and crushing hands, Shiress nearly lost her balance she straightened so abruptly and stumbled away from the woman and the vision that danced across the back of her eyes of herself doing those very things.

Her emerald gaze fixed on her patient despairingly while her mouth worked like she was going to speak, but the words just wouldn't come. What could she say to such a request? Yes, of course, I'll mutilate you, break you, -hurt- you for you to expose a man for the monster you know him to be?

But yet, to what extent would Shiress have gone to expose the demons of her past for who they were?

No. No, she couldn't possibly do this. She couldn't even consider it. Could she?

Shiress glanced away from Madeira, vacant gaze flicking across the room before finally finding herself able to speak.

"You can't be serious?" she said, her voice coming out a bit raspy. She cleared her throat, eyes settling back on Madeira "I mean, surely there's something else you can do other than causing yourself harm?"

A memory came unbidden to Shiress, one where she had crawled inside an opening in thick brush, hiding from her master. She had been surrounded by thick vines that she knew bore large, spiked thorns when in full bloom. She had needed a weapon then and had chosen to use her gnosis and cause the thorns to bloom, knowing that when they did, they would pierce her body. Shiress remembered the pain of that choice, but she also remembered stabbing her master with a thorn. Was this the same? Shiress closed her eyes momentarily, struggling within herself for an answer, and when the thought of reversing Madeira's request, of hurting herself and blaming this unknown man instead, she knew she wouldn't be able to harm anyone but herself.

It was who she was and always had been.

"I cant." she said, slowly opening her eyes, head shaking unequivocally, looking regretful "I'm sorry, but I just can't do that to you. The very thought alone.."

Shiress trailed off, placing a hand over her belly as if to ward off the nausea building beneath her palm.

"I'm sorry." she repeated. Then, stepping closer, stooping before Madiera once more. "I want to help you, I really do, but I can't hurt you like that. Not on purpose." she paused, thinking. "I can help you run? I can help hide you from this man? I can go so far as to tell you where you might find someone to kill him-" it would take a trip to Ravok, but it could be done "-but please, please understand that I could never bring myself to hurt you."

Shiress glanced down at her own hands and damned if tears didn't threaten to fill her eyes. She truly wanted to help Madeira if she was in danger. She would do anything, but just not the one thing Madeira needed.

Oddly, it broke her heart.

"I truly am sorry." she whispered.




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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on March 20th, 2021, 12:01 am

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"Speech"


The finality of Shiress' refusal hit Madeira deep. She just sat there, lost for words, as the doctor crouched back down in front of her and with tears in her eyes told her she would never hurt her. She offered her own solution instead, offering to put her life on the line to help her run, or hide, or even finding someone to take Rotsam out completely. The selfish Spiritist had never seen such compassion pour out of another human being.

No, that's not how this part was supposed to go! What did she do wrong? Madeira played the doctor's reaction over in her head, reading into the pained expression in her face and the way her eyes had slid closed for a moment, lost in either memory or thought. There must be something in her past that had turned her away from violence. That must be it, she had hurt someone before and couldn't, or wouldn't, do it again.

Madeira should make her excuses and leave. That was what a reasonable person would do. But the gears of her plan were already turning and she refused to back out now. If begging won't work, she would have to try something harder. Besides, if she knew anything from her long years dealing with the vengeful dead, it was that rage was a better motivator than pity.

I'm sorry for what I'm about to do to you, she recited like a prayer inside her head. How was it that she kept trying to destroy good people? Were her machinations really worth trying to pry a gentle woman away from her morals? But she already knew the answer to that. Sagallius chose her for a reason.

"Run..." Madeira repeated slowly, like she had never heard the word before. Her eyes snapped to Shiress', lost again in that vivid, living green. "No, no, I'm the one who's sorry. I was asking too much of you, I understand that now. Please, it's okay", she took the doctor's hand and kissed her knuckles.

There was disappointment in her smile as she laid her injured hand back on the table. The cut felt tight, which she supposed was the blood drying. If she could keep it open it might be mistaken as a defensive wound. Perhaps if the doctor could just clean and wrap it then it would fine until she got to the Catholicon.

"It's kind of you to offer, but I won't run", Madeira continued, eyes still on the table as she shook her head vehemently. "I won't hide, either. Is that how you escaped?"

Her eyes snapped up and she starled, as if realizing she had just stumbled into a faux pas. "I'm sorry! That's probably none of my business. I was just curious. The scars...", she motioned to her own collar, indicating Shiress', before waving off the question.

"It doesn't matter. All slaves must have a certain... fortitude, in that kind of situation, I'm sure. It's a different kind of strength. Some might call is cowardly, but running away is a legitimate survival tactic. I have nothing but respect for those who don't let pride get in the way of their will to live." She nodded sagely, like she was bestowing head pats on a child. Her voice subtly dipping down and drawing out the vowels, letting it linger.

"As for hiring an assassin?" she laughed delicately. "That's a heafy price for a cheap solution. Just like shouting is for people who don't have the vocabulary to whisper, killing is for people who don't have the wits for anything more subtle." She clicked her tongue off her teeth in an annoying little pop. "I suppose there are other things I can do, though. See, I'm not a violent person. Not even to my slaves. But if I can't get someone to hurt me, I could possibly get someone to hurt them."

The thought seemed to rattle around her mind, and she tipped her head back and forth as if to study it from every angle. "If I did that I could saddle the Myrian man with destruction of personal property. It's not nearly as serious a crime, but..." her shoulders shrugged distractedly. "I'm worth a lot more, unfortunately. Its the difference between breaking a ceramic plate and a porcelain vase."

Had she been talking like this to Jomi, Alice, or even Moritz, she would be braced for some dangerous backlash. But Shiress seemed so... genuinely gentle. She was certainly tougher than the frail spiritist, but Madeira wasn't sure it was even possible to get this woman to a place where it would matter. The doctor might just wind up for a slap and march out the door, and tell her to never come back. If Madeira could at least get her to close that slap into a fist she might be able to get a bruise out of it, at least. Then she would just have to take her chances and hope Jomi doesn't kill her when its his turn to try snapping her in half.

"It was my mistake", she shook her head regretfully, her eyes full of loathsome pity. "I should have known you would never hurt me. Besides," her voice purred, and her eyes flashed dangerously. Her aborted hypnotism roared back to life, pushing subtly aside in exchange for power. A emotional surge, a simple, straightforward anger tapped its way across her soft palate and soaked into her incendiary words like turpentine.

"Everyone knows a whipped dog doesn't bite back."
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on March 20th, 2021, 6:53 pm

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Shiress felt the moment irritation ignited into a burst of anger like a physical thing. Green eyes flashed, slitted, and the room around them flared red. Shiress felt her left arm fly out toward the woman. Felt her hand wrap tightly around the blonde's throat, slender fingers squeezing, nails digging into tender flesh.

Shiress dragged Madeira from the chair, forcing her to stagger backward until her back hit the rear wall of the exam room.

They were of a height, Shiress and Madeira, and so when Shiress leaned in close to the woman, they stood eye to eye, her enraged, panting breaths stirring the loose hair that had fallen around the woman's face.

"You know nothing about me." Shiress snarled, voice low and steady, teeth clenched in a rictus of rage.

Grabbing the fabric covering Madeira's slim shoulder, Shiress yanked, slinging the woman around to face the wall. The hand around her throat slid to the back of her neck, fingers digging in, forcing Madeira's cheek against the cold stone. Shiress pressed her body flush against Madeira's back, lips hovering a breath away from the woman's ear.

"You know what they say about whipped dogs and their abusive masters, Madeira?" she whispered, breath catching in her throat.

Something inside Shiress tried to snap back into place, a low voice somewhere in the back of her mind telling her to calm, stop, think.

"Not even to my slaves"

her slaves...a slave master.."


The thought ignited a spark of hatred to blaze alongside the rage already consuming her.

"You want me to break you, little girl?" Shiress's breath came out ragged, her voice pitched to a near hysterical intensity. "Then let's do it right, shall we?" A ragged intake of breath. "This man, what would he do first, you think? Walk up to you and what, hit you? Break your nose?"

Shiress reached up, grabbed a fistful of blond hair, and yanked Madeira's head back then slammed her face into the wall. Bone cracked, and blood spewed out of the woman's nose, flowing like a river down the woman's chin.

The sight of it only fueled Shiress's desire to hurt this woman more. She wouldn't have been able to stop herself had she tried. Rage and abhorrence consumed her, drowned her.

"Then what? " Shiress jerked Madeira's head around, forcing her around until her back was against the wall again, "Would he draw a knife on you?" Something that wasn't a smile snaked across Shiress's lips as she reached beneath the hem of her dress, freed a dagger from its hidden sheath strapped around her thigh, and pressed the cold steel into Madeira's throat. The blade's edge carved a line into the surface of skin. Not deep, but enough to burn and ooze crimson.

"You would panic then, wouldn't you?" As she spoke, Shiress's fingers tightened around Madeira's right wrist, raising it just enough to push the dagger's edge into the palm of her hand, wild emerald eyes flaring wide as they lifted to meet Madeira's. "Would you go for the blade? Try and push it away?" With a flick of her wrist, Shiress sliced a deep, red line across Madiera's palm, up and over the last three fingers, her gaze never leaving the other woman's eyes.

"He would relent," Shiress exaggerated the last word, letting the sound of the 'T' crack between her front teeth. "but just long enough to grab your hand."

The doctor discarded the dagger atop a nearby counter with a gentleness that belied her current state and, with another one of those not smiles, wrapped her newly freed hand around two of Madeira's bloody fingers. With a backward twist, the digits popped, bones breaking.

Dropping the now broken hand, Shiress stepped closer and took ahold of Madeira's arm with both hands and, with something that looked almost like a dance step, twisted her body around in a complete circle. Taking the woman's arm with her. With a deep, satisfying thunk, the shoulder above the arm dislocated. Shiress paused, dropping her hands, chest heaving like a bellows. She blinked. Then blinked again.

Something within Shiress began to ebb. Adrenaline, perhaps. But somehow, this felt deeper, heavier, and as it began to seep slowly away, it left her body shaking, emotions tangling and webbing together. Stumbling, Shiress turned away from her patient, feeling sick. Her hips hit up against the countertop, and she slumped against it, breathing hard but not nearly filling her lungs enough.

With just a minute turn of her head, she regarded Madeira from the curtain of chestnut hair that had fallen across her face. The woman's face was covered in so much blood and bruises that it made her blue eyes stand out stark against her crimson face. One long slender arm dangled brokenly at an awkward angle, the bones of her hand bent unnaturally. But it was the long slash across Madeira's throat and the blood seeping down past the woman's collar that Shiress couldn't look away from.

She couldn't breathe.

Listing sideways, Shiress slumped to the ground, chest heaving, head shaking. No, no, no, no, no. Crawling now, she reached for a mop bucket just in time to retch once, twice, three times before she sat back, panting and not daring to lift her gaze again.

"Gods help me, what have I done." she breathed.







Word count - 1004
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Changing the Script

Postby Madeira Dusk on March 21st, 2021, 11:09 pm

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"Speech"


Madeira knew she had petched up the moment it happened. Djed was still sizzling on her tongue when Shiress seized her by her skinny neck, and the look in her eye turned the Spiritist's insides to water.

Madeira found herself being dragged to her feet and walked backwards until her head bounced off the cool stone wall. She couldn't breath. Her nail-less fingers scratched uselessly at the back of her hand until she was flipped around, her cheek crushed against the wall and the woman pinning her body down. Shiress hissed in her ear, the pitch tilting and feverish. As her cool breath ghosted over her cheek all Madeira could think about was those bared teeth sinking directly into her exposed throat.

She had misjudged. She had misjudged terribly. She didn't plant anger in the doctor, she had woken a rage she didn't even know was there.

"This man, what would he do first, you think? Walk up to you and what, hit you? Break your nose?"

"Wait-"


A white burst of light exploded behind her eyes, and it was only Shiress' pressure of her back that kept her from slithering to the floor.

Show's over!, she thought hysterically. Everyone go home! Blood, mucus and tears began pouring down her face. She sputtered and choked as she opened for mouth, for one wild tick certain she was drowning.

Shiress flipped her back around, and the light from the glass globes above their heads assaulted her eyes.

"Then what? Would he draw a knife on you?"

From beneath her skirt the woman surfaced with a wicked-looking knife. That was not a doctors tool, it was a weapon.

"Spooks! Spooks, come!", Madeira croaked, but the sound from her choke-rough throat was not above a ragged whisper. A prey-like panic was setting in. This is what she had asked for, but all at once she wanted to back out, certain the crazy doctor was about to kill her.

Help, oh gods, help me. Her blood was still trickling down the wall. She smeared it with the palm of her hand, scratching out the spiritist's summoning glyph in blood behind her back. She didn't even know who she was calling. Alice, Emma, Jomi, Dira herself. Anyone, please.

Shiress grabbed her wrist as she was making the last stroke. Madeira mewled pathetically as she fought the force that was dragging her hand out beside her body, further and further away from rescue.

"You would panic then, wouldn't you?" the woman asked from a hundred miles away. "Would you go for the blade? Try and push it away?"

With an efficient flick she had sliced Madeira's right hand, straight through her burn scar and her precious gnosis. Before Madeira could even process what was happening, Shiress held her fingers like a lover, only to roll her wrist and break them with a snap that sounded all the stranger hearing it from inside her body. Then it was her arm, being spun like a dance partner, and there was a crackling sound like the earth was moving, and suddenly her shoulder was hanging outside its socket. The pain, white-hot and insistent, rushed in a moment later.

Shiress let her go, and without the doctor to both petrify her and hold her up, Madeira folded like a piece of parchment. She sank to her knees, pressed her chest down into them, then rested her forehead on the floor. She breathed in painful little pants, mouth wide open, leaving a puddle of blood and drool on the floor.

Across the room she could hear the doctor getting sick. Madeira couldn't bear the thought of raising her head right then, but she could hear the rattle of the cupboards as the woman's back slammed against them, and her deep, ragged breathing. It seemed she was a religious woman, too. She begged the gods for help, appalled with what she had done.

It looked like the rage had ebbed and died along with the hypnotism's hold on her, but now Madeira knew better. Who knew this sweet, gentle woman had such a monster hiding inside her.

"You broke my writing hand", Madeira choked on her hysterical little laugh. "I'm a teacher. I need that hand. Oh gods, it hurts." Her beautiful, eloquent voice was gone too. It came out thick and sloppy through her battered nose. "I'd say this was a fair exchange. I deserved it for what I said. And what's a little blood and tears between co-conspirators, right?" Her crazy smile turned into a grimace as she pushed herself up with her left arm, sitting up and propping herself back against the wall under her aborted glyph.

"Just don't forget that I told you the truth first", she breathed, her eyes hardening like chips of ice in her ruined face. "Never forget that. If you had just helped me when I had asked I never would have done that to you, and this could have been civil. Come on, you're not done", she waved the doctor closer with her re-bleeding left hand. "Two more fractures. One here", she mimed a chop to the middle of her right forearm, "and here", she mimed the same action across her right collarbone. "Do it, or I'll start screaming."
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Changing the Script

Postby Shiress on March 27th, 2021, 4:24 pm

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Hearing Madeira begin to stir across the room had Shiress pulling herself to her feet and lean heavily across the counter. Dazedly, she pulled the cheesecloth containing the herbal mixture from the cup of water, letting it drip slowly over the rim before discarding it. For a long moment, she stared numbly down into the cloudy contents the concoction left behind, not really thinking, not really feeling.

Slowly, hesitantly, she turned and had closed the distance to her patient nearly halfway before the blonde's words registered.

"If you had just helped me when I had asked, I never would have done that to you."

'Done' that to you, not 'said' that to you.

Her steps halted abruptly, gaze flicking from Madeira to just over her head to the strange, unfinished design she had obviously been trying to etch onto the stone with her own blood, then settled back on her patient. Shiress's eyes creased in contemplation before going wide with realization. Warning bells sounded off in her head like a Syliran raid.

Mage.

Was Madeira a mage?

For the first time since meeting the petite woman, Shiress tasted fear alongside the bitterness of bile in her mouth.

Mages and the like were rare company for Shiress, but having had a mage for a lover, the memory of similar looking designs and etchings flitted across the backs of her eyes in startling clarity. No, not the same, but undeniably similar. Still, the woman was...something, and Shiress's exploits had definitely thwarted her attempt.

Regardless, it was clear the woman would get what she desired one way or another, whether Shiress be magicked into doing it against her will or threatened with The Keiss guardsmen for what, attempted murder? Assault? Madeira wanted herself maimed something fierce, and no doubt would see it done by any means she saw fit and would pick Shiress apart until she found the proper motivation for the doctor's continued compliance. Gods forbid that she'd somehow find out about her son. The woman now seemed the type to threaten someone's child to see her desires met.

Shiress knew she had no choice but to comply.

Emerald eyes darkened, narrowed into icy slits.

Ah, yes, there it was, the sharp edge of hatred.

An echo of familiar rage chased Shiress like a hound on the scent of blood as she crossed the floor, closing the remaining distance to her patient. Whether her body shook with the repressed desire to unleash the reconstructing fury on this woman again or with the attempt to quell it, Shiress didn't know.

Resisting the urge to fling the contents of the cup in Madeira's face, Shiress instead proffered it forward, the cloudy liquid sloshing around its rim indicative of the doctor's shaking hand. Back teeth grinding together so hard she thought they'd shatter, Shiress glared, not giving one iota if the woman drank the brew or not, but she gave her a chime to decide for herself, nonetheless.

A whole lot less than a chime later, Shiress snatched the cup away from Madeira and slung it across the countertop, threadbare control nearly shot.

"I" Shiress's voice came out as a croak, stomach roiling with the thought of what she was about to do. Again. With a breath, she cleared her throat and continued. "I'm not strong enough to break your arm. There are two bones in there, one on your thumb side and one on your pinky side; I can't snap them like I did your..." she shuttered, "your fingers. But your collarbone..." Shiress stepped forward, raising her arms to take hold of Madeira's shoulders but lost momentum when her green gaze caught the woman's pale blue, seeing pain there and was that desperation?

How desperate would a person have to be willing to subject themselves to such a torturous undertaking? If inflicting pain was so onerous for Shiress, how must enduring it be for Madeira? Something inside the doctor softened at that thought, but with that shift came reluctance. Dropping her arms back to her side, Shiress took a backward step, turning away.

"I...Gods, why are you making me do this?" Shiress threw her head back as if begging the ceiling for a better option, hands tangling in her hair. "I don't think I can. Please," she turned pleading eyes back on Madeira, "don't make-" but something in the other woman's gaze made Shiress pause, something she hadn't noticed before. Determination. And maybe something a little evil.

Heart sinking and leaving a sick reluctance in its place, Shiress moved back in front of her patient, tugging the collar of her shirt over a thin shoulder to expose her pronounced collarbone. Wrapping her left arm around and behind Madeira's right shoulder, Shiress stepped even closer and, with the heel of her right hand, aimed a blow toward the thinnest part of the woman's clavicle, the middle. With the upward angle of the strike, the bone snapped, dislocated, and was an obvious, protruding break just beneath pale skin.

Shiress coughed on a gag, catching Madeira as her body instinctually bowed forward over the pain. For just a tick, the doctor actually relished the pseudo comfort, but then the flash return of anger had her shoving the woman away again.

Taking several wobbly steps back, Shiress covered her mouth with one trembling hand as the other pointed to the chair by the exam table.

"Sit!" she ordered, still battling not to lose what little was left in her stomach.

As Madeira made her way to the chair, Shiress gathered two long strips of cloth and the broken handle of a mop that had been shoved in the corner several days earlier and made her way to where Madeira now sat. Without overture, Shiress lifted the blonde's arm and began winding the cloth tightly around the forearm, about three inches apart.

"I don't want to shatter the bones." Shiress explained, finishing up and tying the last tourniquet. "This should localize the break." deep breath " I hope."

With one last knot, Shiress stretched the long, thin arm out over the table and instructed Madeira to rest her elbow on the chair's armrest. This left Shiress with an open area beneath the arm as it lay over the chair and table. Stepping around the chair, Shiress positioned herself beside the woman's right knee and lifted the thick, foot-long piece of wood, wishing she could close her eyes but knowing she couldn't. Not if she was going to aim true.

Shiress drew back and swung. The wooden handle struck true, but the doctor knew instantly that the bones didn't break, not completely. Without waiting, without thinking, Shiress drew the stick back again, this time higher, and put more force behind the blow. It landed.

Shiress gasped on a sharp intake of breath, eyes flaring wide at the sight of jagged, white bone breaking through the skin on the underside of Madeira's forearm, thick blood dripping from its splintered end.

Letting the stick fall from suddenly numb fingers, Shiress dropped to her knees beside Madeira and slapped a hand across her mouth, blood and snot oozing across Shiress's white knuckles as her fingers clamped harder.

"Shhhhhhh. I'm sorry. Shiress stammered, voice high and very close to sounding crazed as she repeated the words over and over.

" I'm sorry."

"Shhhhhhh"





Word count - 1260
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
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