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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Family matters

Postby Shiress on May 31st, 2021, 3:41 pm

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Spring
75th Day


Shiress couldn't help the wide smile that spread across her lips when she spotted Nolen striding through the Redynn's entryway as if he had every right to be there. Every time she saw the gorgeous man, it seemed confidence wafted off him like a particularly heady cologne, and it both intrigued and annoyed Shiress in equal measure.

It had been nearly a season since Zachiah, Shiress's father had hired the former Syliran Knight to see to the cottage upkeep while his particular craft of shipbuilding took him off to Syliras for long bouts of time. From nearly the first day, Nolen had not been at all reticent about his attraction to Shiress. Shiress, however, has thus far been steadfastly and stubbornly hesitant in returning the interest, or, at least, admitting to having it. Which she really did. In spades.

Who wouldn't be attracted to Nolen? The man was at least six and a half feet tall, with miles of bronzed skin, dark eyes, and long, shoulder-length black hair; the man was the phrase 'tall dark and handsome' personified, with just enough amalgamated danger to form one of the best-looking men Shiress had ever seen.

Today was no exception, either, with his muscular body clad all in black, hair pulled up in a messy attempt at a loose bun, rogue strands framing his stubbled face. The man demanded the attention of everyone in the room, female and male alike. He most definitely had Shiress's attention.

"Hey" he said, smiling and stepping in for a hug before bending to press a kiss to Shiress's cheek.

Shiress was immediately inundated by the scent of him, all leather and woodsmoke and man. It left her somewhat breathless when she attempted a reply.

"Hey yourself. What are you doing here?"

"Your mom said you would be working late tonight." Nolen moved away enough to lift a familiar basket between them and grinned, "She sent supper."

"Did she now?" Shiress smiled, hand reaching out for the basket, but a new voice had her jerking back the appendage as if she had been burned.

"Doctor Shi?"

Shiress turned to see Beth, one of the Redynn's nurses, standing patiently nearby, hands folded before her.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but someone's asked for you."

Shiress frowned.

"A patient?"

Beth nodded. "Two patients, actually, a man and a boy. Both involved in some sort of brawl. The boy looks worse for wear, with an obvious head wound, abrasions, and a bloody nose. The man's injuries are harder to see, but I suspect he didn't escape unscathed."

Shiress wrinkled her nose "When you say boy, how old are you talking?"

"Thirteen, fourteen." beth replied, a bite in her tone.

Shiress's mouth fell open. "Thirteen!? And in a brawl?" she shook her head then lifted her gaze to Nolen. "Looks like I'll be a while. Wait for me?"

When Nolen nodded, Shiress pointed him in the direction of the waiting area before indicating for Beth to lead her to her new patients.

To say that Shiress was surprised at what, or rather, whom she found waiting for her in her exam room would be like saying lake Ravok was a mere pond.

Caspian, of all people, slumped in a chair, sat directly across from where a boy -a very young boy- all but sprawled across the exam table, his face covered in blood.

"Caspian? Why...what happened?"

Not waiting for an answer, Shiress made a beeline for the boy, the seemingly more injured of the pair. Shiress's brushed back matted and tangled hair as gently as she could from his forehead and smiled when a pair of the most stunning emerald-colored eyes Shiress had ever seen opened and peered up at her.

"Hi there. Can you sit up for me?"

Watching the boy's face closely, Shiress helped him to a sitting position and, when he gave no indication of immediately toppling back over, she moved her hands to his head, giving the wound on his scalp a quick prod.

"Not too bad." she murmured "Just a couple of stitches, I think, but let's get you cleaned up first."

Shiress's attention turned to Caspian, but it was Nolen that spoke, addressing the investigator with a derisive and clipped tone.

"What did you do," Nolen jerked his chin in the boy's direction, "throw a kid underfoot so you could escape?"

Shiress turned to see Nolen standing in the curtained alcove of the exam room, something close to a smirk on his face, gaze trained on Caspian. Shiress closed the distance between them, intent on escorting the man from the room, but Nolen, moving faster than any human had the right to move, snaked an arm around Shiress's lower back and pulled her body to his. Shiress gasped, planting both hands against the man's muscular chest. Nolen took full advantage, lowering his head to lick into Shiress's open mouth, catching her lower lip between his teeth, before letting it drag slowly free, ending a far more passionate kiss than the couple had shared thus far.

Stunned, eyes clamped shut, Shiress missed the look that Nolen gave Caspian as he straightened.

"Sorry, Shiress, he said, letting go of her and stepping back, "just wanted to let you know that I'll meet you at home."

Catching his lip between his teeth, Nolen swept Caspian with another unreadable gaze, then turned and left.

If the room's occupants were observant enough, they would see that Nolen's gesture had completely caught the doctor off guard. They would also see that this was Nolen's aim all along.

Shiress stood motionless for several long chimes before Beth cleared her throat, waiting for instruction.

Shiress shook herself, straightened to her full height, and cleared her throat in an attempt to refocus her thoughts.

"Beth, I need a washbasin, cloths, bandages, gut, and needle, please. I think everything else I may need is here. Thank you."

Turning, she approached Caspian grabbed the man's chin between deft fingers, the hold possibly a little more firm than she intended. Tilting his head up to watch the man's eyes, her gaze searching for signs of a concussion, Shiress desperately hoped her friend wouldn't feel how badly her fingers shook against his skin.

"Care to tell me how you found yourself in a bar brawl with a child?"

Not waiting for a reply, Shiress darted a finger up between Caspian's eyes "Follow my finger with your eyes without moving your head." she ordered, then moved the digit from side to side. Shiress saw it, then; a slight hesitation, a lag, in Caspian's tracking of her finger. She sighed and couldn't help it if her thumb brushed back and forth across his bruised cheek before she let her hand fall away and, without a word, turned to the boy.

"Okay, little man, your turn."

Lifting her hand, Shiress did the same finger tracking, and when the boy's gaze tracked her finger without a telling hesitation, she breathed a sigh of relief and stepped back, studying the boy's nose closely, noting silently the telltale swoop and misalignment. Broken.

Shifting her gaze back to Caspian, Shiress scowled, jaw muscles twitching, hands going to her hips.

"Explain!" she growled
Last edited by Shiress on June 12th, 2021, 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Family issues

Postby Caspian on May 31st, 2021, 3:47 pm

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“Yes, that’s the only accessible, logical, dare I say? Reasonable explanation,” Caspian slams back at Nolen when the overgrown bulwark of a man decides, instead of the usual greeting or, hey, an inquiry after his health, to instead assume the worst. “This is what I do on weekends, everyone. I find the nearest underage waif, make sure I’m also primed for a situation, and instruct them to my bidding. Glad we could get that all out in the open.”

His head’s swimming, and when he blinks it’s like it takes a few ticks longer for the world to dip back to him, to refocus. He’s also painfully entirely sober now - weird how you can name drop the head proctor at the clinic and still be subjected to the interminable purgatory of a waiting room - and were he in any better state, he perhaps wouldn’t have jabbed so fiercely. Technically he and Nolen are still supposed to be on good terms, whatever that means. He can only hope that this rolls off Nolan’s back, that he takes this moment as an anomaly under high duress.

If Caspian had any energy for theatrics left in him, or hadn’t just thrown up on the way here, he might have heaved over and done so now. Did Nolen have to be so seethingly public with his displays of affection? And at Shiress’ place of work, of all things? Isn’t she on the clock?

The entire event, coupled with his deeply ingrained resentment towards ever being told what to do, has him resisting Shiress’ instructions when she takes him in hand. But then he remembers that he’s here because he strongly suspects he should be- and then he finds that the simple task she gives him, to follow her movement, is a lot more difficult than it probably ought to be.

Which isn’t a good sign.

“First off,” he says, “can we get Beth back in here? I want a witness for whatever you’re about to do to me next, because I have a feeling that no matter what I say, I’m going to walk out with more injuries than when I came in.” Beth, though, is probably on Shiress’ payroll, so that won’t do him much good. “Secondly? It wasn’t my fault! I was minding my own business at the World’s End when -“

How thin are these walls? They’re in Xyna’s lands, but what he’s about to say isn’t something he wants known, could still just as easily follow them back to Zeltiva. He makes to get up and shut the door, finds the world swaying dangerously around him. When he finally closes it he slumps back against it, takes a moment to steady himself again - realizes he’s sliding back down to the floor.

But hey - this one’s a lot cleaner than the tavern.

“Kid’s from Ravok,” he says, pointing in Milo’s general direction, which may or may not have been accurate. “Caught him whispering a prayer to Rhysol over his gravy. Wasn’t the only one who overheard. If I hadn’t stepped in, kid would have a lot worse than a busted nose, courtesy of the Wave Guard.”

That, however, is misleading. Suggests to Shiress that the brawl had simply been because of Milo’s demonstration of faith.

“And, you know. One thing led to another and I might have put my hand on some lady’s arse when I shouldn’t have?”

The floor is good. The floor is nice. It is, time after time, the reliable friend he deserves. He shuts his eyes, willing the world to quit swaying around him.
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Last edited by Caspian on June 13th, 2021, 10:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Family issues

Postby Milo Murrell on May 31st, 2021, 4:28 pm

Family Matters
75th of Spring 521AV

The journey to the Redynn was a blur and when they entered Milo was sure they’d come to the wrong place. For a moment he thought Caspian had simply taken him to another inn, as the name of the place seemed to suggest, and intended to make up for the mayhem by continuing their awkward conversations in a more peaceful environment.

Milo was in the process of slowly tipping over while taking in the elegant curtained off rooms, the plush seating and the reddish stonework when one of the nurses appeared and introduced herself as Beth. He didn’t remember what she asked or what he’d answered, but it must’ve been good enough for her. She pulled one of the curtains aside, bid him to rest on the examination table in the center of the room, and motioned for Caspian to take a seat at the side. Then she vanished.

Somehow, someway he managed to clamber onto the table and though it felt awkward to be laying down in a room in a city he didn’t know accompanied by a half drunken man coming down from his inebriation, the temptation of resting and closing his eyes was far greater. By the time he opened his eyes again, a muffled voice had entered the room.

A face hovered over him, smiling and framed by chestnut hair and with a light touch, she helped him sit up. He grimaced when she touched the side of his head. If that was not too bad in her book, he didn’t want to dwell on what bad looked like to her.

A second voice joined in and Milo turned toward the source with a startled look. He hadn’t noticed the tall man come in. From the brief, heated exchange the interloper had with Caspian he concluded the two knew each other but didn’t see eye to eye.

He resorted to closing his eyes again when the woman was hooked into a kiss and couldn’t help but wonder if she had her priorities straight.

And then that name.

He had almost missed it, the way it slipped so effortlessly off the brooding man’s tongue. His eyes shot back open, just in time to see the man excuse himself. To her credit, the doctor seemed equally caught off guard, though for a different reason.

Beth’s little cough made him wipe the surprise off his face, but he couldn’t hide the rapid pulse showing above his collarbone quite so easily. Had he heard right? Was this small woman the Shiress he’d been supposed to find?

His head was spinning and he barely managed to compose himself by the time Shiress turned her attention toward him. She looked concerned and more than a little miffed, though not at him.

“It wasn’t his fault,” Milo croaked. He could’ve remained silent, could’ve just layed down again and try to ignore all the bits of him that ached and throbbed and hurt. Instead, he was defending a man who was sliding down a wall like porridge on his way to a final resting place on the smooth, stone floor.

“Well, not entirely,” he added with a shrug. He rubbed his nose, grimaced, then glared at the miserable heap on the floor. “You don’t have much faith, do you?” It sounded like an accusation because it was. Imagine just stopping worshipping Rhysol because outsiders demanded it. You’re even weaker than you look, Milo scoffed in the privacy of his mind.

His eyes narrowed as they settled on Shiress once more. He was supposed to tell her, to let her know he'd come all this way for her, but he couldn't get the words past the lump in his throat. Maybe he would just wait, see what she was like first, then he could decide whether to tell his aunt who he was...

Or not.
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Family matters

Postby Shiress on June 15th, 2021, 7:19 pm

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Shiress gaped at Caspian, eyes wide, so completely taken aback by the very notion that the man thought Shiress would ever -could ever- hurt him, physically or otherwise, the doctor forgot the immediate danger in letting a concussed patient move around unassisted.

Did Caspian honestly believe that she was capable of such a thing, or was he just being dramatic? Shiress sighed, knowing the man as she did; it was probably a strong combination of both possibilities. Still, said in jest or not, the comment warranted a later conversation, even if Shiress had to tie Caspian to a chair for him to remain in her presence long enough to have this conversation because she would never--

The momentary loss of Shiress's attention to her patients came to an abrupt and rather concerning end when Caspian attempted to close a door that did not exist in the curtained-off exam room, then began to collapse. Shiress stepped in behind Caspian in a valiant attempt at catching him as his body began to sag, but the weight of the bigger man combined with the awkward hold Shiress had on him, she lost her hold, and Caspian slid down her body, slumping against her legs. Thankfully, Caspian remained conscious and continued his explanation, just as the doctor had ordered. His words, however, caused Shiress to stumble backward, nearly depositing him the rest of the way to the floor.

Ravok?

Just the mere mention of the city had Shiress's heart tripping and studdering against her ribcage, and if the sudden chill that descended upon her was any indication, her face was now devoid of color.

The kid was from Ravok?

And a devotee of Rhysol.

Shiress's mind and body stilled, the implications of this taking a moment to settle in, but Caspian's body suddenly going lax against her legs had concern overriding the alarm bells Ravok and Rhysol had sounding off in her head.

"Beth, I need a cot, please. Also, send Eli to my cottage, he's from Zeltiva. Tell him to ask for Lorna and tell her that Caspian is injured and to send Taalviel here as soon as possible."

Just as the order left her mouth, the boy spoke for the first time, striving to unburden Caspian of some of the blame. Shiress's emerald gaze slid to the teen as she and Beth hefted Caspian from the floor and situated him on the cot.

Straightening, Shiress couldn't stop the hateful scoff before it fled her lips.

"Faith in anything has never..." she began but sliced the biting words off midflight with a sort of hiccup-cough-gasp. Now was not the time, and she wasn't even sure if the remark was directed at her or Caspian. So, instead, she directed her attention to Beth again.

"I need the smelling salts, we need to keep this one," she pointed to Caspian, sprawled somewhere between conscious and not on the cot, "awake, and I'll need a tincture of nettle, lemon juice, and dandelion for..." Shiress gestured at the boy, trying to remember if she had been given his name yet.

"Milo." Beth supplied, still a step ahead.

"Milo," Shiress parroted and couldn't help but give the kid a soft smile. "and water from the copper pot. Between the head wound and his broken nose, Milo has lost a good bit of blood. The herbs combined with the lemon juice and plenty of copper-laced water will help him regain his strength and replenish the blood supply."

The doctor knew that the nurse would pick up that the unnecessary details were more for the boy's understanding than hers, but Shiress offered Beth a quick nod and smile as she straightened and left the exam room.

Grabbing the washbasin and several cloths, Shiress approached Milo. Placing the bowl down, she dipped a cloth into the cool water and began to gently clean the blood from the boy's face, expertly dodging his swollen nose, speaking softly as she worked.

"As I said, from the gash on your head and your bleeding nose, I think you've lost a good bit of blood. Head wounds always bleed like crazy." she smiled, rinsing the cloth in the basin, leaving the water tinted light pink.

"I don't think you have a concussion, or, if you do, it's only a mild one. The dizzy, woozy, and tired feeling that I can tell you are having is your body's way of fussing at you for having the audacity to let its blood supply leak out. So," Shiress's smile turned into a more playful grin, and she very nearly booped the boy's nose before she could think better of it. "we need to feed your body all the right stuff so it can build back that blood."

Discarding the soiled rag, Shiress picked a clean one, submerged it into the blood-tinged water, and began working on the matted and sticky hair surrounding the rather deep cut on Milo's scalp. Thankfully, it had stopped bleeding, but if she messed with the open wound too much, the bleeding would start again. With that in mind, she lowered the cloth and reached for a bottle, holding it up for Milo to see.

"Clove oil."

Tipping the bottle over the cloth, Shiress let half its contents flow out over the rag and then placed the rag over the gash.

"This will somewhat numb your skin so we can get it stitched up." Lifting the boy's hand, she replaced her's with his. "Hold this right here, okay?"

Shiress tilted her head questioningly. "We need to send for your parents. Would you like to wait for them to get here before I start patching you up?"

Not very subtle, perhaps, but she wanted to get the silent boy talking. As she waited to see if her method was going to work, she let her hands slide over Milo's shoulders, arms, to his belly, then thighs, and legs, fingers squeezing and pushing and prodding all while she studied Milo's face closely for any sign her ministrations caused him pain. The only indication of discomfort the boy gave was when the doctor's fingers pressed against his left ribcage. Shiress lifted the boy's shirt, giving the area a better look, and, with a sigh, mentally added a cracked rib to the boy's growing tally of injuries.

Behind her, she heard Beth reenter the room, and a few ticks later, Caspian gagged and coughed, smelling salts having been administered, followed by the nurse's voice, soothing and reassuring the startled patient. Despite Beth's best efforts, though, it didn't seem to be working.

"Hold that right there. I'll be right back."

Beth and Shiress changed patients. Beth stepped up to Milo, swatting away the boy's hand from the compression cloth with a grin, while Shiress knelt by Caspian's side and subdued the man's flailing arms. A grunt of pain from Caspian had the doctor studying the wrist she had just captured more closely, turning it over and back, manipulating the joint, and noting some redness and swelling, but she didn't think it was broken. Sprained then.

Securing the injured arm to Caspian's chest, Shiress leaned in, bringing her mouth closer to his ear, and spoke in a gentle but firm voice.

"Caspian, I need you to breathe, sweetheart. Take in a deep breath for me."

The doctor punctuated her words by drawing in a breath and releasing it over and over until Caspian caught onto the rhythm. Whether it was due to Shiress's voice, or the man's hard-earned skill to calm himself, Shiress didn't know, but his body gradually began to relax in her hold.

"Good, now I need you to open your eyes and look at me."

It took a moment, but unfocused, green eyes slowly opened, and after another moment, Caspian's gaze seemed to clear, and he focused his eyes on her, and Shiress smiled hesitantly.

"There you are." she soothed.

Hands freeing their hold of Caspian's still pressed to his chest, Shiress let her thumb rub along his swelling cheekbone, just below the dark bruise forming around his left eye.

"Your concussion is far worse than I first suspected." she said, knowing she would likely be repeating this several more times before the end. "I need you to lay as still as you can and not move your head too much, but stay awake, okay?"

Shiress began to exam Caspian just as she had Milo, gentle hands and deft fingers roaming over shoulders, down arms, legs, but when her hand slid over his ribcage, Caspian moaned and reflexively tried to pull away from the touch. Shiress immediately undid his shirt, flung it open, and grimaced at the bruises riddling the man's ribcage. Shiress did some more prodding and, after a lot more threats and curses from Caspian, apologies from her, Shiress diagnosed her friend with a nondisplaced broken rib, probably from a hard punch or kick. Upon further examination and a very embarrassing trip of the doctor's hand down the front of the slender man's trousers, Shiress added a bruised hip to Caspian's list.

"Godsdamnit, Caspian." she whispered, getting to her feet.

Turning, she scrubbed a hand across her face before addressing no one in particular.

"Okay, here's what I have found. Milo has a scalp wound that needs stitching, a broken nose that needs setting, a cracked rib that needs binding, and several more minor contusions and scrapes that need cleaning. Caspian is moderately concussed, has a sprained wrist, broken rib, and bruised hip, and also has contusions and cuts that need cleaning."

Glancing down at Caspian, Shiress came to the sad conclusion that, even though she was Caspian's physician, the man would more than likely be far more comfortable if Beth saw to the binding and cleaning of his wounds. With that in mind, and no, her eyes absolutely did not flood with rejected tears, she gave instructions for Beth to bind Caspian's ribs and clean his many abrasions, then turned her attention to Milo, nurse, and doctor, yet again, switching patients.

"So, we'll get you stitched up first and then wait for a bell or so to set your nose. I'll want to make sure you are feeling a bit better, and your body has time to recover a bit of the blood loss."

Retrieving two bottles that Beth had left beside the table, Shiress offered them both to Milo, explaining that one was the tincture, and one was a slight sedative and would help with the pain while making him nice and loopy for the rest of his treatment. Once both bottles were empty, Shiress's emerald eyes studied Milo a tick before she spoke.

"Now, are you going to tell me how I might go about finding your parents? I'm sure they are worried about you."
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Family matters

Postby Caspian on June 17th, 2021, 12:11 pm

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It is furthermore not a good sign when he barely registers Shiress catching him. He knows when it happens; it’s just that in her arms, for a moment, he feels weightless, unable to account for fulcrum and gravity and differentiation between the vertical and horizontal planes. "You're stronger than you look, you know?" he mutters. "No, as strong as. Written all over you." How slurred his words had been, he can't say for sure.

At the mention of Taalviel, Caspian groans, tries to waves his arms, deeply regrets the jolt of pain that follows. What's wrong with his hand? “What – no, do not. She’s got nothing to do with this and I’d rather it stay that way. Seriously, Beth? You’re going to stand for this?”

But, naturally, no one gives a petch what he thinks about what constitutes his own well-being, and he finds himself on a cot that he doesn’t recall anyone bringing in.

Though he’d much rather have the faculties to get up and defend himself – or at the very least, get up before his sister arrives – there’s something rather liberating about the dizzying cloud that washes over him. There’s nothing to do in this dark world except lie there; no pressure or guilt to do anything more than simply be, and even that is tenuous at best. So it’s a grave disappointment all around when Beth brings the smelling salts, and Shiress informs him that he’s racked up the most admirable list of injuries he has in quite a long time.

It’s also been a while since he and Shiress have been so proximally near. Though the news she gives him is far from good, her hands are familiar ones. When Beth takes her place, there’s a hollowness that comes over him, one he doesn’t know how to articulate, or whether he even should.

As easy as it would be to let himself float off again – it hums to him, softly beckons, promises him a greater rest than he’s seen in seasons – the threat of Taalviel’s imminent arrival, in combination with the sting from the foul liquid that Beth mercilessly applies to his wounds, anchors him in the here and now. With adequate alertness he senses the storm cloud that is his sister moments before she slides, like an ill omen, into the room.

Taalviel’s eyes flicker across the collective. As the unknown variable in the equation, her gaze lingers longest on Milo. Turns to Caspian, then back to the kid being mopped for blood. Already Caspian know she’s got at least half a dozen working theories about what brought them all to this place, and he’d be willing to bet his last coin in his pocket that she’s probably not too far off the mark.

When she perches on the cot beside him, he briefly entertains, for a moment, that after so many years she’s finally figured out an appropriate modicum of bedside manner.

This fantasy, of course, is painfully short-lived.

“If Taaldros could see you now.”

Caspian’s jaw drops. Right for the petching jugular. “That’s all you have to say? I wonder what Dad would think? Frankly, I imagine he’d be pretty impressed. He seemed to like me best when I was out roughing it. Proof, you know, that at least I was trying.” Though liking is a flexible word; the bar for what constituted Taaldros’ displays of affection was markedly low.

Taalviel purses her lips in clear disagreement. Scans the wrappings and bandages across his body and turns to Shiress. “Thank you for looking after him. I’m sure you have other patients to see today who are likely much more deserving of your time. Do we owe you anything?”

At Caspian’s aghast noise in response, she replies shortly, “You’re not dying, and I have a feeling you didn’t learn anything from this either.”

“I sure as hell learned that no good deed goes unpunished.” Not that he regrets it, though. A Milo under Shiress' watch is much better, anyone might agree, than one wandering the Zeltiva streets alone.

Ignoring him, Taalviel asks Shiress, “Can I take him home now? What’s wrong with his head? I won’t move him right away, if you don’t think I should.”

“So you are capable of manners. Just not with me.” Lolling back against the cot, Caspian throws his unsprained hand over his eyes. “You and the kid might get along.”
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Family matters

Postby Milo Murrell on June 18th, 2021, 4:19 pm

Family matters
75th of Spring 521AV


In a way, Milo was glad the doctor swallowed her rebuttal. He couldn’t be paid to have an argument with her about faith right now, the mere thought exhausted him. Besides, she had yet to patch him up and so long as she hadn’t, it was wiser to keep his mouth shut. So he sat quietly, torso slumped, arms hanging loosely at his sides, and watched her fuss over Caspian with half-lidded eyes. The man either had suffered more injuries than he’d let on or still had excessive amounts of kelp beer in his system. Either option seemed about equally likely. Whichever it was, Milo pitied him only a little.

He'd just settled into a comfortably numb, half-dazed state when the doctor mentioned how much blood he'd lost. Bile rose to his throat. It was ridiculous and stupid but somehow the doctor's orders made him immediately feel worse rather than better. He could stare at the dried up blood on his fingertips with indifference, but the moment someone mentioned he’d lost blood like a bucket with a hole punched in it, his limbs turned into pudding.

To his dismay, the doctor made a point of mentioning it a few times over while she dabbed the side of his face with a wet cloth. He had half a mind to touch his temple again and make sure there was a giant hole in the side of his head.

It would be lame and cruel to have survived the long and arduous journey to Zeltiva only to die in some doctor's office because someone had bumped his head against a stone wall.
Don't be stupid, he reprimanded himself, you're not going to die. He glanced at the water basin which had taken on a distinct shade of red and swallowed down the lump in his throat. It'll be fine a small voice in the back of his head said. Just don't look at it.

”Clove oil” the doctor said as she held the bottle up to him. He gave a curt nod, what else was he supposed to do? Oh no, clove oil. Terrible idea! You call yourself a doctor?. He bit his lips to keep the snarky thoughts caged but couldn’t prevent a glimpse of a grin coming through.

The moment he put the oily rag against his skull, he knew Shiress was the master of understatements, a rather worrying conclusion considering how insistent she’d been about his loss of essential fluids. The oil burned and stung like he’d been tossed in a frying pan and he had to grit his teeth to stop himself from crying out. Thankfully, the burning quickly subsided until he couldn’t feel much of anything anymore.

“My parents aren’t here,” he answered. He had half a mind to let that be his answer, but he could already tell Shiress wouldn’t be satisfied with it if he did. “They won't mind…” his voice trailed off into a mumble. “Just do whatever needs to be done.”

He hardly needed to tell her. Gentle fingers were already on him, prodding and poking, sometimes squeezing lightly. He flinched at first, thinking she was frisking him for some reason, but realized soon enough that wasn’t her purpose at all.

He hissed through his teeth when she stabbed a finger into his left side. Unabashed, she lifted his shirt, letting a rush of cold air crawl across his skin and he could tell from her frown and sigh that it wasn’t any good. It wasn’t until he decided to look the other way that he noticed someone else had come into the room, too late to catch her name if it had been mentioned, but soon enough to know she’d been staring at him. He returned a hard look. Was it normal in Zeltiva to have an audience while being poked and prodded and tested for injuries?

For a while he insisted on staring back until the woman averted her gaze to Caspian. He wasn’t sure who they were to each other, but they didn’t seem to like each other very much. Most people surrounding Caspian, he had noticed, seemed to not like him very much, or at least felt some inclination to have words with him. Just then, as if he’s some kind of mind reader, Caspian made the same observation, only aloud.

“You’re one to talk about manners,” Milo said with a light chuckle in his voice. Plate, potato. Need I say more? he finished in his head. And after that little stunt, Caspian had very, very accidentally laid his hand on some woman and caused every little thing that had happened since.

"It's all right," he added with a dismissive gesture. He hadn't forgotten that Caspian had talked to him to warn him in the first place, a warning he now suspected to be genuine. "Thanks for taking me here I suppose." Of course, Caspian had no clue he'd inadvertently reunited aunt and nephew. Or at least, he would've if Milo breathed the word.

Zane.

The name had been weighing on his mind since the moment he'd left Ravok. Unless there was some other Shiress in Zeltiva, Zane was the doctor's brother. He wondered if his father was anything like her, she seemed nice, and yet he couldn't bring himself to say anything. Not until he was a little more sure about who the doctor was exactly.

He eyed the bottles suspiciously, then decided that if anyone would be trying to poison him and take his money, they might as well skip the poisoning part. Besides, it would help with the pain the doctor had said.

He chugged the first one down with ease, the second one was thicker and a little bitter and heavy on the tongue. It didn't take long for the drink to take effect, it became rather tempting to lay down and shut his eyes, but he forced himself to stay awake.

"My parents aren't in Zeltiva," he said with a lazy blink. "Caspian is right, I am from Ravok. So is he. They send me here to look for... " He blinked again but couldn't quite hide his hesitation. "...someone," he finished with a shrug.
Last edited by Milo Murrell on June 22nd, 2021, 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Shiress on June 22nd, 2021, 8:59 pm

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Shiress leaned against the table, watching Milo as he diligently drained the bottles of their contents.

So trusting, this one, mindlessly gulping down medicine with no true understanding of its effects. This is why treating children with no adult caregiver around always gives Shiress pause. Trusting a child to know what drug allergies are is foolhardy. Trusting a child to know if they have a drug allergy is downright frightening.

Well, if worse came to worst, Shiress wasn't letting the boy out of her sight. Not until his parents showed up.

Behind her, the sound of approaching footsteps was joined by Taalviel's voice, heralding the Kelvic's arrival and, of course, the sometimes satirical noirette wasted none of her time with any useless fawning. Instead, Taalviel did what she did best: gave her brother grief.

Shiress shook her head, unable to help the fond smile that inched across her lips.

"Don't mind them," she said, steady gaze observing Milo as he finished off the last of the concoctions. "If they didn't do this at least thrice a day, I might be tempted to check them both for a serious illness."

Taalviel abandoned the colorful conversation with her brother, addressing Shiress for the first time. Taking the empty decanters from Milo, Shiress turned her attention toward the Kelvic.

"Seriously, Tavi?"

Shiress scowled, slightly offended by Taalviel's rather pragmatic inquiry. Though her tone maintained a playful edge, Shiress did wish the sarcastic, emotionally walled-off bird would see her as something other than an entitled housemate. A friend perhaps but, Shiress knew, highly unlikely to ever happen.

" I would boot every patient out of this building to get to Caspian, or you, for that matter, if either of you were sick or injured. Of course, you do not owe me anything"

Shiress shook her head, then gestured to the cot where Caspian lay hidden behind a forearm. "I have you know, your brother kept this boy from being arrested by the Wave Guard after self-righteous, pompous fools overheard him praying to the great god of chaos over his supper." Shiress smirked " For your brother's brave endeavor, Caspian was duly rewarded with a concussion, one, if not two, broken ribs, a sore hip, and a possible fractured wrist."

Shiress met Taalviel's eyes and grimaced "No good deed goes unpunished, it would seem. So, I would like to keep him here for a while to ensure his injuries don't worsen and keep him still until I, or Beth, can bound his ribs. I don't want that broken rib venturing into a lung."

Speaking of..."


Turning her gaze back to a rather heavy-lidded Milo, Shiress's expression softened.

"And I'll wrap your ribs while we wait for the medicine to start, so let's get your shirt off." she said, motioning to the boy's tunic.

Instead of commencing to free himself of the shirt, the boy spoke. Milo's voice was soft, his words thick and slurred, an obvious effect of the medication she had given him, but the potential meaning behind Milo's words still slammed into Shiress's chest like a physical blow, causing the doctor to rock back on her heels and, if the lightheadedness and accompanying nausea was anything to go by, Shiress was fairly certain her face was now devoid of color.

"They sent me here [from Ravok] to look for...someone."

They?

They who?

And why the obvious hesitation and deliberate exclusion of exactly who he was sent to look for.

Darting a nervous glance over to Taalviel and then Caspian, Shiress swallowed hard as every imaginable possibility of who they could be flooded her paranoid thoughts, leaving her momentarily breathless.

Had Milo been an adult male, his words would have had the doctor already packed up and halfway to hiding before the last syllable left the man's lips. But Milo wasn't a man. No, he was a mere child. The enemies Shiress had left in Ravok that harbored sufficient cause to seek her out in Zeltiva would never have sent a child. Not when the Ebonstryfe sat ready and willing in their front trouser pocket.

Besides, out of all the tens of thousands of occupants in Zeltiva, what were the odds that Shiress was the one being sought out?

Still though, what parent's in their right mind would send a child on such a long journey alone?

Unless

Milo hadn't embarked on the journey alone.

A beat of silence came and went long before Shiress finally cleared her throat, steadying herself to ask the questions. She just wasn't sure which one to ask first. Eventually, she decided on a safer, more plaudit route.

"Well then," Shiress began, fingers going to the laces of the shirt Milo had yet managed to free himself of, "this person must be very important if your parent's sent you here all by yourself to look for them. Or," she probed, "did someone escort you?"

Milo's shirt fell open and was partway down the boy's shoulders when Shiress's focus zeroed in on a golden ring inlaid with a small black opal dangling from a chain around Milo's neck, its likeness very much like one Shiress had seen before. The memory of that day was sudden and vivid. It had been her and Zane's fourteenth birthday, and their parents had given them both rings, Shiress's an unadorned gold band, and Zanes...very similar to the ring she was looking at.

She very nearly smiled, remembering Zane's indignant scoff and childish pout at being given such a "girly gift". Her brother had worn it, though, despite his protestations.

Just two days later would be the last day she would lay eyes on her brother.

A sadness weighed heavy on Shiress's heart as her gaze traveled the simplicity of the jewel and the band in which it adorned.

Blinking, Shiress turned her head away to gather the bandages needed and gently began winding the cloth snuggly around the boy's torso. Tying the binding off, Shiress's gaze lingered on the ring a tick before she finally lifted a hand and pulled the ring away from the boy's chest.

"I knew someone who had a ring almost like this one." she smiled, twirling the ring around the tip of her forefinger before letting it go to settle back in place against Milo's pale skin. "It's very pretty. she added, pushing against the boy's shoulders, urging him to lie back.

Grabbing a tray laden with a threaded needle and several thick white bandages, Shiress made her way around the table to the boy's head just as a smiling Beth stepped up to Milo's other side, placing a warm, reassuring hand against the boy's shoulder, and gave Shiress a nod.

Now, all Shiress needed to do was get the boy talking and his mind off what she was about to do.

"Was the ring your mother's?"
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Family matters

Postby Caspian on June 23rd, 2021, 11:56 am

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It’s with a startling amount of resemblance that Caspian and Taalviel snort, simultaneously, at Shiress’ pointing out their daily dose of squabbling. Both are well aware when it happens; neither deigns to give it more credence.

Caspian watches his sister tilt her head in that way that means she’s walking a tightrope. Or like she’s considering a knot and has an inkling as to which string to yank to unwind. Sometimes he wonders why she came out a Kelvic bird and not some sort of jaguar.

“I ask if we owe you anything because you’re a skilled practitioner in your field, and because I believe you deserve to be respected for it,” Taalviel says evenly, unflinching in the face of Shiress’ evident displeasure with the question. “And the most straightforward demonstration of that respect I can give you is coin.” But she doesn’t protest the free service either.

At the explanation of how Caspian and Milo had wound up here in the first place, Taalviel looks at neither of them. But that alone, to Caspian, is perfectly telling, and he knows very well she’s giving the kid another once over. It’s not every day that someone else escapes the shadowy isle. And if she plans on reprimanding Caspian for doing something sentimental, and, antithetically to all they stand for, for free, she’s saving it for when they’re alone.

“You’re welcome, punk,” Caspian says without any real ire, surprised that Milo’s bothered thanking him at all.

But the whole thing, it occurs to Caspian suddenly, is a bit odd, the timing just ever so questionable. Some runt comes of the woodwork and just happens to run into him, and is precisely from the city they’d evacuated from? It shouldn’t raise goosebumps along his skin, especially not in the warming weather, but the memories of everything they’d had to flee from come over him now. But that’s ridiculous - he’s drawing lines and connections where they don’t need to be. Give him two points and a bit of string and he could certainly tie knots on both ends, but doing so wouldn’t mean it’s anything more than a bit of rubbish and litter.

How long until he stops looking over his shoulder? How many more long seasons until he can finally feel like he, and more importantly, Shiress and Ian have left the past behind?

Taalviel is wondering the same thing. She’s pursing her lips, looking at him intently, her thoughts tessellating towards the ruthlessly pragmatic. Or so he assumes. Is it ridiculous, overtly paranoid, that he’s entertaining the idea that all this is just a little too close for comfort, that they’ve all just walked, yet again, into someone’s grand design? Or - maybe she’s jumpy too. He hadn’t considered that before, really – that his sister, a dark raptor, could ever be afraid. That it would lead her to draw conclusions not entirely based on fact on reason, but feeling alone.

It’s just a kid, he tells himself, tells his sister silently. They’re getting all worked up over a stray imp he found in a bar when he just as well might have turned the other way, the other cheek, could have decided to kip up and chain smoke on the wharf instead and called it a night.

But then he notices Shiress looking at them too.

So he’s not the only one on edge.

And, maybe, not the only one with recurring dreams he can’t shake.

“Keep him here for a while?” Taalviel repeats, as if Shiress hadn’t just spoken in Common and she needs the extra time to flip through a dictionary. “Well, that’s not going to work.”

Caspian peeks at her from behind the hand thrown over his eyes, which has remained there for lasting dramatic effect. “Ew, do I dare ask why?”

“It was likely going to involve a lot of climbing.”

Under normal circumstances he would have turned his back to her, rolled away with a huff. But the slightest movement sends the equivalent of a knife through his system, and he remains frowning at the ceiling.

“Wait, where are you – “

But Taalviel’s already swept out and down the hall.
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Family matters

Postby Milo Murrell on July 7th, 2021, 9:37 pm

Family matters
75th of Spring 521AV


Brother. The word buzzed around his head before the meaning landed. So the dark-haired woman called Tavi had not been Caspian’s friend but his sister. That explained the bickering at least, though he didn’t quite grasp what they were to the good doctor. Friends it seemed, but what kind? Not minding them was easier said than done.

Suppressing a yawn, Milo pushed the thoughts out of his mind and averted his gaze. He’d already felt tired coming off the Stormbreaker but now that the calming influence of the concoctions surged through his veins he remembered just how exhausted he was. Torso slumped, arms hanging heavily by his side, Milo paid little mind to the deft fingers undoing the laces on his shirt. Cool air prickled his bare shoulders and he worried the slightest breeze might knock him over, and yet it wasn’t just the cold air that made his skin crawl. He felt eyes going over him, felt the shift in the air as Shiress looked away from him and exchanged a strange look with her friends. Somehow it hurt more than the dull throb near his temple, the feeling of being judged, the feeling of being kept out of some secret conversation.

It only lasted for a moment, then Shiress was back to fussing over him and asking questions. She didn’t trust him, that much was obvious. And Caspian? Seemed to think he was some kind of street rat, a troublemaker, a punk, a twerp, or whatever other fanciful word came to mind. He couldn’t blame the man for thinking him some kind of ruffian, knowing how travel-worn his clothes looked and how much dirt from the road had ingrained itself into his skin, something not even exposure to the frothing sea had been able to completely wash away.

Milo grimaced as he lifted his arms to let Shiress finish the binding and grit his teeth when she pulled it taut. His gaze was pulled down his chest as she lifted the ring. His father’s ring, Zane’s ring, her brother’s…

“She gave it to me, but it’s actually my father’s.”

She studied it just long enough that Milo worried she might snap it off his neck and take it as payment. Instead, she let the cool metal fall back against his sternum and urged him to lay down. Milo turned his head to look at Caspian just in time to see the man’s dark-haired sister leave.

“She’s a whirlwind huh?” he muttered. In truth he was glad she was gone, he didn’t like the way she’d looked at him though he couldn’t exactly say why.

Blinking sheepishly, his attention was pulled away from Caspian by Beth’s gentle touch. Yet no matter how much she smiled, she couldn’t quite distract him from the thread and needle edging towards his skull in his peripheral vision. Swallowing hard, he focused his gaze up at Shiress.

“Did I say something wrong?” Stupid question. His giving thanks over supper was obviously wrong in Shiress’s eyes, and Caspian’s, though he didn’t understand why. “If I did, I didn’t mean to,” he offered apologetically. “I arrived today with Graymane. He’s a mercenary, he protected me coming here. I came here because I could no longer stay in Ravok.” He bit his lips and fought back the burning feeling behind his eyes. “I came…” his voice faltered, unsure how to proceed. “I came here to find you.”

Glistening, unblinking emerald eyes fixed on Shiress.
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Postby Shiress on July 24th, 2021, 5:53 pm

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“She gave it to me, but it’s actually my father’s.”

Shiress stilled at the slightly slurred statement, gaze trained on the halted progress of tieing the next to last knot against Milo's scalp. Around her, the medical center gave one last hard swoop, and then all of Mizahar seemed to have just...stopped. Like an orchestra's symphony brutally ending on one missed, sour note, bringing forth a deafening silence, just before the entirety of the theatrical performance terminated, and all those on stage turned as one to look straight at her.

The ring.

"my father."

Emerald eyes that are so much like her own. Like his.

The same untamed wheat-colored hair, that had once caught the breeze as they sat beneath the apple tree.

The same pouty, sly lips slightly curling at the edges as they plotted their revenge.

The same nose, reddened by the frigid touch of the Bonesnapper, gliding down from the mountain top, slipping through the trees, down down down onto the city streets as they chased one another.

Shiress knew who this boy's father was, his name spoken in memory, but screamed in nightmares. Half her heart torn away so very long ago, not daring to hope since. His name was there. Pressing against her tongue and heavy on her mind. But Shiress refused its purchase. Refused to utter his name because then it became real and the reality of it felt too much like hope and hope was a thing of the past.

A soft-spoken swear and muttered words from behind, the shuffling of feet, and just like that, Shiress gave the stage a curt nod. The conductor spun. The symphony started up, the performance resumed. Shiress breathed.

"Not today. Not now. I'm not ready."

Gaze following Taalviel's retreat from the room, Shiress frowned, shoulders curving inward.

" Whirlwind, yes." she sighed, eyes returning to her suturing and to the hands that Shiress was surprised to find not shaking in the least, "It wouldn't be the first time my healing capabilities were not trusted."

The needle pressed through Milo's flesh once, twice more, and was knotted tightly at the end. Dipping a cloth into the pink-tinged water, Shiress washed the area around the wound, then stepped back, studying her handiwork with a skilled eye. Satisfied, she nodded to beth.

"Lets sit him up."

Once Milo was upright, swaying slightly, Shiress stepped in behind him and slipped her hands up over his this shoulders, across his flushed cheeks, and settled her fingers against either side of the boy's misaligned nose. Sliding her eyes closed, the doctor let her fingertips brush across the jutted bone, and with one hard press, felt the bones slide back into place. Blood gushed from the abused appendage, but Beth was ready and pressed a thick cloth beneath Milo's nose.

Once the bleeding had slowed, Beth eased the boy back down on the table, his emerald eyes catching and holding Shiress's gaze. She heard his question but lost in those familiar eyes; she was unable to reply. Thankfully, Beth spoke up, her soft words registering as the nurse reassured the boy that "No, sweetling, you said nothing wrong" and "It's good that you had a caretaker on such a long journey."

Shiress fled those eyes, and that gaze, turning instead to look down on Caspian, the man's arm still covering his face. Kneeling beside him, Shiress gently took hold of Caspian's arm and pulled it away. A forced smile, lips parting, an intake of breath to speak, perhaps she would have told him he would be fine, or maybe ask him if he felt any more settled, or ask if he were still dizzy, but Milo's gentle, boyish voice stole her own.

“I came here to find you.”

And there it was. There would be no avoiding, no dodging this today, after all. Shiress stared down at Caspian, lips still slightly parted, but she no longer looked upon the face of her friend. No. Shiress's eyes swam with the memory of another. One very much like Milo's.

Starting with the fingers curled around Caspian's arm, a small tremor traveled up from that featherlight touch of fingertips through her body until a violent shudder knocked Shiress sideways onto her rear. Closing her eyes, a single tear slid down her cheek. She released Caspian's arm and got shakily to her feet.

No avoiding

No dodging

It was here, in her face, and would be real.

Opening her eyes, tears fell free from Shiress's lashes as she glanced around the exam room. Beth stood over Milo, eyes concerned, a hand fisted around a bloody cloth. Caspian, pale and pained, on the cot. Taalviel nowhere in sight.

There was no one to hold her up.

Had there ever been?

Shiress's emerald eyes floated on a lake of tears as her gaze met Milo's as she, once again, took in the boy's face, his hair, and...her own eyes.

Zane's eyes.

"Who-" Shiress stumbled over a forward step but caught herself with a hand against the exam table. She cleared her throat in a vain attempt to steady her voice, but the words still passed over her tongue in a halting tremble. "Milo, who is your father?"
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