Blood in an Empty Room

Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Rance » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:11 pm

The door was ajar when the half-orc found her room at the Broken Dagger. This was not her home. It had not been for some months, though her meager stipend from the Inquisitory had allowed her to keep it.

There was a wooden bed with a hemp frame to hold its lumpy, hay-stuffed mattress. Beside it stood a hastily-constructed table whereupon a single candle, like a fiery sentinel, was perched on a clay plate. The girl sat on a storage-chest at the end of the bed, a thing of weather-beaten pine and tarnished iron corners. Her head was cocked awkwardly to the side when he entered, the cup of her left ear crushed against her shoulder. Her right hand covered the other ear. She stared across the room at a dark, unrealized point--

When he entered, Gloria Wynsee looked at Murrukh.

Then, her attention fell to the gleaming gash that smiled at her from the meat of his broad forearm.

Minutes later, the one-armed girl had distributed her tools across the bedding: a spool of uncolored thread, a series of shining needles that gleamed in the faint, orange light; a ceramic basin of boiled water procured from the kitchen, a tangle of warmed rags and cheesecloth. She motioned for him to sit on the chest. After some acrobatics of her remaining fingers and teeth, a knotted length of string dangled from a needle's eye. She scorched the steel tip over the dancing candleflame until the sliver of metal was smoking and black. Her eyes were swollen, bulging; her nose, raw at its corners, was wet with snot.

"It did this to you?" she asked him. "It cut you?"
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Urukhin » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:03 am

The halfbreed takes a seat as directed, hulking sullenly with his arm held aside such that he mightn't bleed on the room's meager furnishings. The seamstress makes her preparations, readies thread and needles and hot water, and in the meantime he sips slowly from the mug he'd brought with him, scowling at nothing in particular.

The girl's question brings him back to the room, a slow blink as he deciphers her words, picks meaning from them, and eventually nods in reply.

"She grabbed me - did some sort o' witchery, felt like it was peelin' th'skin off. So I hit her." A dull, flat account, gaze distant as he relives the blur of events. "She went down. Got up, then spewed on m'boots, so I kicked her some. Got up again with a knife, tried t'stick me."

Yellow eyes flick briefly to the heated needle; nearly ready, so he takes a deep, steadying breath, forcing the corded muscles in wrist and forearm to relax as he fixes his gaze on a dark smudge that mars the opposite wall.

"Prob'ly shouldn't've kicked her."
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Rance » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:32 am

However orcish, his flesh was flesh; the needle was harder when it met the stubborn flap of skin. The thread turned from white to red as it slipped through him as if he was leather.

"I told you," Gloria said as she narrowed her eyes on the work, her voice brimming with a shock of impatience, "that she was dangerous when that -- that thing gets hold of her. You're my friend; this is advice I give to you and your -- your masculine parts."

Her stony fingertips quickly became dark with his blood. She stitched him more as if he was a sleeve torn from a shirt than a man with skin; the thread wove back and forth, back and forth, for she'd never learned the difference between suture-work and seamwork. But the blood would stop either way. Occasionally she stopped to dab at the wound with the wet cloth. The basin's water turned scarlet.

"You had right to hit her, if she sought to hurt you first. I'm -- I'm not blaming you for that. You reacted. I would have hit her too. I have hit her. But that body doesn't belong to her, Murrukh. Not everything should be beaten until it perishes."
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Urukhin » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:52 am

Another scar to go with the others that already web his hide; the needle's back-and-forth path intersects with other, older hurts, long-since healed and forgotten. Not the first blade to have tasted blood before being turned aside.

"I know. Weren't looking to bed her." Rumbled impatience of his own, though his attention remains locked on that mark on the wall. She stitches his skin back together and he hardly moves, his breath slow and steady, coarse features set in a frown of concentration. The sting and tug of steel and thread through his flesh is a minor annoyance, something to be ignored, endured, something that will pass. He's suffered worse. He's survived worse.

"Don't give a shit whose body it is. If she wants t'keep it in one piece she'll watch her step 'round me, witch or no."
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Rance » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:15 am

"You might not give a shit, but I do. I care that -- that there's some intangible presence that sees fit to use someone I love as a puppet. I care that my friend--" a rag-wrapped finger dabbed carefully along the canyon of his flesh, wicking away blood from exposed pink muscle, "--was cut by her merely for trying to defend himself.

"But do you think beating her into paste will remedy anything at all?"

He stared at an indiscernible point; she poured all of her attention into the gash, sometimes filling her lungs with a breath only to blow it out as a cooling gust along his skin as the warm needle pierced another fine hole. A conflict flickered like reflective glass in her eyes.

"You've your scars, Murrukh. You've spent your time throwing yourself into abandoned ruins seeking out some kind of satisfaction in the gathering of treasures and the killing of -- of despicable aberrations. But the girl in question is no beast, and it's her body that suffers, not the creature's.

"We live in no storybook dungeon here. This is a town. These are people. And it's hard to make the right decision."
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Urukhin » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:31 am

The halfbreed is sullen, unmoving as the seamstress works save for the measured rise and fall of his chest with each breath, an occasional reflexive twitch of fingers at the needle's press through his skin.

"She ain't a problem no more if she's dead." A cold, callous pronouncement, the product of recent hurt and still-smouldering anger, and he's not had enough ale to be unaware of that; after a moment he grimaces slightly, rolling his eyes at his own words. The girl offers a different perspective, makes comparisons, and the brute's frown deepens.

When he speaks again it's a low, tired rumble.

"How many people're you ready t'let that thing hurt" A glance for the half-sutured wound on his arm. "for th'sake of one girl? Jus' 'cos she's your friend. Jus' 'cos they ain't."

A moment spent staring into his tankard, a small shift of his wrist setting its contents aswirl.

"Y'think those other people ain't got friends?"
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Re: Blood in an Empty Room

Postby Rance » Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:31 am

"It's alright," she told him -- for the grimace, the tumble of his eyes; his self-reprimand. "I want to hit her. I want to cut her. Rather, I want to break the creature, and yet I'm forced to remember that the vessel is someone I care for."

The needle paused. She wiped away a dollop of blood.

"But my patience, like yours, Murrukh, only extends so far."

The rest of the stitching was completed in silence after he asked his final question. The repair was one that would better with two hands; it would have suited his shirts just fine, but several of the stitches were regrettably loose. When the last suture was complete, she split the thread from the needle with a few scrapes from a tooth-worried fingernail.

He drank. She settled back on the bed, staring down at her bloody fingertips.

How many people're you ready t'let that thing hurt...

"Do you think if I had the fortitude, the understanding, or the capacity to destroy It, I wouldn't have done so already? But I'm -- I'm not the sole defender of those other people and their friends. I don't enjoy being conflicted, Murrukh. I don't prefer being helpless."

Gloria held out her hand for his tankard, for a drink.

"How does it feel?" she asked, regarding his arm.
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