Two Minds, One Task [Antelokes]

Shiress seeks out help from Antelokes

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Two Minds, One Task [Antelokes]

Postby Shiress on April 28th, 2022, 4:45 pm

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For many chimes, after Anteloke's inquiry, then his words of declaration rang through the forge and had turned back to the forge; Shiress could do little else but stare in his direction.

"Was that what I think it was?"

Had he seen it? Had Antelokes seen the ghost that had haunted the doctor's every move for more than a fortnight, a spirit that had thus gone unseen, catalyzing the accusation that Shiress was causing harm to herself? Of late, even Shiress had begun to wonder at the accuracy of that accusation. A quiet inward contemplation that, perhaps, she was self-harming and had, at last, lost what little sense she had struggled to maintain over the seasons. The doctor had seen others that were doing so and had tended to their self-inflicted wounds. But now...

Shiress lifted off the wall and slowly closed the distance between her and Anteloke's, lips and mouth working in a helpless attempt to form the words of...what? An apology that he had seen Jordan's ghost, or ask for reassurance that he had seen it and that she wasn't going crazy?

As the healer drew close, she lifted a hand and pressed it to the smith's back to draw his attention from his work and drew in a breath to speak. However, that breath was stolen when a hard blow to her back sent the doctor plowing headlong into Antelokes with enough force that Shiress felt her lip split when her face collided with the blacksmith's back.

The blow stunned the doctor for a tick, her body rocking back and forth as she pressed a fingertip to her bloodied lip until the sound of a whoosh of heat and light drew her dazed gaze.

"No...oh god's..."

Shiress screamed out a series of denials as her hands twisted into the back of Anteloke's shirt and yanked the man out of the forge with a strength she hadn't known herself capable of. The momentum of her efforts carried them both to the floor, Antelokes' crashing down on top of Shiress, knocking the breath from her lungs.

The Zeltivan scrambled out from beneath the larger man and threw herself at the flames, batting and ripping at the man's burning shirt, not realizing or maybe just not caring that the flesh of both her hands was being burned in the process. This young, beautiful man burning alive, and it was her fault.

"No! I'm sorry! No...no..."

Shiress was suddenly jerked away from Antelokes and bodily propelled halfway across the forge with enough force to crash against the far wall, depleting what little air her struggling lungs had managed to replenish.

Shiress caught a glimpse of the enormous body of the drunk blonde the instant before a coughing spasm had her eyes slamming shut.

"What the petch was that crazy woman doin," Artik bellowed, anger evident in his voice, "I saw her push you into the furnace, then start beating on ya."

Shiress's closed lids squeezed tighter together as she contemplated whether or not she could make it out of The Community Forge on her hands and knees and disappear.





Word Count - 548
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Last edited by Shiress on May 12th, 2022, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Two Minds, One Task [Antelokes]

Postby Antelokes on April 30th, 2022, 8:06 am

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Antelokes sprawled across the ground, stunned. He simultaneously felt a wave of Shiress’ panic through his gnosis mark and the flurry of her frenzied attempts to extinguish the flames licking up around his shirt.

“Stop, Shiress—!” he began, but was interrupted as she was torn away. In her place stood Artik, chest heaving. Tall, strong, and very hairy, the man looked not unlike a bear. The rage apparent in his face did nothing to dispel the comparison.

Why had the doctor shoved him into the forge? Had he done something to upset her? Well, he thought, I did intentionally anger her, but she seemed to take that quite well. Plus I would have felt her anger first. It was possible her attack hadn’t been an act of passion, but was some form of cold retaliation for the insult he’d made against her. But that didn’t seem quite right either.

Antelokes patted out the rest of the flames on his shirt, cursing a little at the damage. It had long since been stained by soot, but it had been a solid usable garment that he’d hoped to keep for some time yet. Not anymore though. He might be able to get a a couple good rags out of the cloth, but its time as a shirt had probably passed.

“Are you all right lad?” the older smith asked, offering his prone companion a hand of support. Antelokes took the hand in a firm grip and rose to his feet with the help of a hefty pull from Artik.

“I’m fine,” he said, head still spinning as he tried to make sense of what had happened.

“Good,” Artik rumbled. “Now would you mind telling me what happened? I shut my eyes for half a second, and when I wake up there’s a brawl in my forge!” Artik scratched at the scruffy hair on his neck. “What pissed that lady off so much anyhow?” Antelokes frowned. He cast his eyes around, eventually landing on Shiress’ huddled form.

“I don’t think she was pissed off…” he said, thinking even as he spoke to Artik. “…it was something else. She was helping me Artik. Though it might be better to say I was helping her. We were working together.” Antelokes approached Shiress slowly, hands held up in a placating gesture, although he noticeably stopped at a safe distance from the distressed woman. He cocked his head. Her emotions were still running high, which meant he could still feel them. There was no murderous intent, and nothing he could discern that would imply deception of any kind.

“Shiress,” he said slowly, “what just happened?” Remembering the frantic way she had pulled him from the furnace, Antelokes gestured to the parts of his arms and chest that had been exposed by the burnt shirt. “Don’t worry, I’m fine. The fire doesn’t harm me, see?” Antelokes bared his forearm, displaying the flame pattern that was painted in stark relief on his skin there. “I’m marked by Ivak, I am not hurt.” Now that he was closer, Antelokes saw Shiress’ injuries. A frown crept across his face.

“It isn’t the same for you though, is it?” he said, closing the distance to the doctor, crouching down. “Are you okay?” He noticed the burns on her hands. For a moment, he didn’t know how to respond. It had been so long since he’d needed to worry about burns that the immediate response escaped him. “Artik!” he said, voice dripping with urgency. “This woman is burnt!”

“Serves her right…” Artik grumbled. Antelokes turned his head to glare at the older man.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said. “She needs help.” Turning back to the doctor, Antelokes did his best to soften his expression. “Shiress, what happened?” he asked.
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Two Minds, One Task [Antelokes]

Postby Shiress on May 2nd, 2022, 9:26 pm

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As the blacksmith's discussed her as if she weren't coughing and hacking just a few feet away, Shiress finally drew in a couple of successful breaths and sat up, scowling at Antelokes.

"Wished I would've known that," she said, "before I thought I was watching you burn to death."

She leaned her back against the wall and met the young man's gaze, ignoring Artik for the time being, "You saw it, didn't you? My...the ghost from the curse, you saw him?" Shiress didn't wait for the blacksmith to answer before continuing, "It was him, the ghost. It shoved me into you, and you...I would never...I didn't mean to..."

Frustrated tears welled in Shiress's eyes as her gaze flicked to Artik, then back. "I didn't do it, Antelokes. I swear that I didn't shove you into that fire on my son's life."

Shiress was so far gone with the overwhelming need to convince Antelokes that she hadn't meant to harm him that she didn't immediately register what the man was saying to her, but when he crouched down next to her, she tracked his gaze slowly down. Shiress raised both arms and rotated her hands back and forth, her eyes steadily widening as she took in the state of her hands. Both were, indeed, very burned, with blisters already beginning to develop. So, the doctor did what she had always done best; ignored her own injury.

"I'm fine," she said, replying to the younger smith's inquiry. Then, hearing Artik's remark scowled over at the older man, "oh, petch off! I've been here a bell or longer, and all you've managed the entire time is a snore," she shook her head, trying to situate herself to climb to her feet without using her hands, "If I wanted to hurt Antelokes I'd have done it before now."

Shiress had just made it to her feet when Artik lobbed a sobbing wet cloth at her head, and she just barely managed to catch the thing right before it smacked into her face. The instinctual motion cost her, though and Shiress hissed down at her now trembling hands.

The momentum of the heavy towel slapping into her hands caused the large blisters across her palms to break open and peel back, leaving raw, open wounds that burned far worse than they had been.

Shiress slowly lifted her eyes and aimed such a fury-filled look at Artik that it was a surprise the man didn't burst into flames himself. She gently wrapped the cool compress around her hands and glanced back up to Antelokes, her gaze softening when he spoke up for her.

"No, I don't," she said, though, to the observant, it was apparent that her hands pained her, "need any help. I just need you to know that I would never hurt you."

Shiress looked down at her wrapped hands, then back up. The tears swimming in her green eyes vibrated in sync with the tremors that had set about her body as the doctor struggled to quell any outward display of pain in the company of two stronger men. A lesson of self-control beaten into every enslaved person, and it was a lesson that wasn't easily forgotten.

Lifting shrouded hands, Shiress met Antelokes gaze and had to fight back a wave of emotion. She ground her teeth together to steady her voice, but it only made her words come out in a growl.

"How am I supposed to help Noah now when I can't even hold a towel, much less a scalpel."

Word Count - 618

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Last edited by Shiress on May 12th, 2022, 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Two Minds, One Task [Antelokes]

Postby Antelokes on May 4th, 2022, 11:56 pm

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Antelokes sat back on his heels, frowning. Shiress’ emotional state had already been delicate, and this was certainly not helping. Artik and this “ghost” seemed to have joined forces in driving the doctor past her limits and making sure that poor little kid never got his leg fixed. He sighed. It was hard to blame Artik too much though. The drunkard had been trying to help, despite the brutish way he’d gone about it. He couldn’t be blamed for waking up to such a confusing spectacle.

“I’m sorry. In the future I’ll make sure to tell people beforehand not to pull me out of any fires.” Antelokes said dryly, offering Shiress the hint of a smile. “Though I do appreciate the sentiment of the action.”

Frustration. Desperation. Anger. The young Azenth couldn’t recall the last time he’d met anyone more alight with emotions than this woman. When Artik threw the wet compress to Shiress, he felt that whole miasma of emotion coalesce into a single hardened knot of rage. Not good. Not good at all.

Antelokes tensed, ready to jump between the two should the conflict come to blows. It had been hard to imagine the little doctor showing much aggression, though this burst of fury made him second guess that judgement. Through the haze of his constant drunkenness Artik likely didn’t realize the extent to which he was poking a hissing viper here.

Despite her words, Antlokes had a hard time believing that she didn’t need help. Perhaps she didn’t want it (or claimed not to), but very few people could take hits and burns like that and just shrug away the damage.

“It was a rhetorical question,” he said deadpan. “I’m going to help you anyway. Both of us are.” With that he shot a pointed look at Artik. The man answered with a grunt and a vague hand motion. Antelokes couldn’t tell if it was meant to be a rude gesture or a wave of acknowledgement. He gave Artik the benefit of the doubt.

When Shiress lifted her hands, asking her pleading question, Antelokes bit back his own wave of anger. Anger at whatever foul being or cruel twist of fate that had decided to torment Syka—torment this woman—to the point of breaking like this. He fought the urge to display that inner fire. There was a problem at hand, and Shiress’ distress would not be solved through expressions of rage.

“You help that boy by not giving up on him,” Antelokes said. “And that means not giving up on yourself either. We solve this one step at a time. C’mon, let’s start off by getting you off the ground.” Antelokes stretched out a hand to help her up before remembering her burns and thinking better of it. Instead, he put one of her arms across his shoulders and lifted slowly, supporting her but letting the woman stand on her own feet. He was careful not to disturb the blistered skin.

“Artik!” he barked. “We’re trying to help a hurt kid, and now Shiress here. Will you act sober long enough to lend a hand, or are you a compassionless monster?”

“Is there a third choice?” Artik asked, scowling at Antelokes.

“No, there isn’t,” answered the younger smith as he offered Shiress a seat at a low bench, helping her down if she wanted it. “Shiress,” he continued, meeting her eyes. “We’re going to get you fixed up, then we’re going to do the same for that little boy. Anything less and we’re letting that damned ghost win. And we’re not going to do that, right? Just tell us what to do, how to help. You have four extra hands here.”

“You don’t speak for me kid!” Artik interrupted, tugging at his impressively long beard in consternation.

“You made this mess worse, now you’re gonna help clean it up,” said Antelokes. Looking back at Shiress, he nodded to Artik. “He’ll help.”
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