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There are tales of ghouls and the dead rising along the Eastern Allir Reaches. The Templar chapter based of Allria has gone to investigate the matter... and perhaps bring to an end to whoever is at the root of this evil...

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OOC:
A necromancer seems to be ravaging the Eastern Allir Reaches(near the spine). Some of the Templars are trying to stop him/her. Feel free to join in as a survivor, a passerby, maybe the necromancers servant!

Tales Beyond the Veil

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Shuck, Nov 30, 2018.

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  1. Shuck

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    Shuck Not a Church Grim

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    Apparently her threat worked. Joseph shifted and yanked the blanket out of her hand before growling for poppies. She was instantly anxious, her hands grabbing fists of her shirt because she didn't know what to do with them or how to help. She watched as the physician went to a cabinet and got something, backed up toward the door to be out of his way and didn't hear their quiet exchange at first.

    "I'm assuming you've had a brace?" he asked.

    He then turned to say something to her, but it would have been no use; the shuck was already opening the door and running outside to get the brace. Her hands were shaking as she untied it from the saddle, and were still shaking when she brought it back in and handed it to him. He thanked her and began to turn it over for inspection, and she nervously stepped closer to Joseph.

    Now wasn't the time to say something -- even as incompetent as she was, she knew that much. Her throat worked as she looked at him, trying to come up with something to say, before she looked away.

    "I should get your clothes," she said lamely. She turned to go, but the physician stopped her.

    "Do you have the piece that broke off?" He pointed to the bottom of the brace. She looked at it, and then Joseph.

    "No. It broke off in the river..." She stood awkwardly waiting for a moment, but he pulled out a piece of paper and began to write, so she went back out to the horse. She stood with her face pressed against the seat of the saddle. She was a damn mess and she knew it. Drawing a deep breath, she took a moment to collect herself before rummaging around for a few pieces of clothing and going back in.

    The physician was sitting next to Joseph, and looked up from their conversation when she came back. He gave her a smile that immediately made her nervous.

    "I need you to do me a favor," he said, rising and going to his desk.

    The shuck's eyes immediately went to Joseph, alarmed. She was grasping for a way to respond when he noticed and paused.

    "Oh, no, I didn't mean-- It's just a phrase. Excuse me, I'm assuming you're...?" He made a gesture to his ears, and looked back at Joseph. "There plenty of your people here. Some are neighbors and some we don't speak of."

    She frowned and only then, when she sniffed carefully, did she catch it: the distinct scent of brownies.

    "Fae live here."

    "The tidiest folk I know. Keep my clinic cleaner than I ever could." He picked up the brace and a piece of paper, handing both to her. "Can you take this to the smith? Ah, the one at the anvil, not the shoe. I think he'll be able to fix this pretty easily."

    She looked at Joseph for a moment, then nodded. Without saying anything else she went out yet again, this time in search of the smith.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  2. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Well-Known Member

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    "No, I survived this long hopping around on one foot. What the hell do you think?"Joseph bristled at the doctor, unscrewing the cap on the bottle of milk of the poppy. She'd seen him take one or two drops before. This time he simply filled the entire glass dropper and shot the entire thing into his mouth. He swallowed the bitter medicine with a grimace and looked at the doctor. "It broke when she saved my life." He took another.... frighteningly large dose. It was beginning to edge off the pain. He twisted the bottle shut and offered it to the doctor. He wasn't hearing any of it. He just wanted the brace fixed so they could be done with this humiliation. He was an astoundingly uncooperative patient; he didn't like answering questions, gave short and incomplete answers, or responded with open hostility. He wasn't about to give the full truth to a man he had never met.

    While the doctor was left to the mercies of Joseph's nasty tongue, Shuck was going to have a much better time of it. The smith was a very distracted man. Distracted by the tall man smoking a cigarette in his shop. Oscar tutted as he looked over the work. "I've always thought of you and your ilk as angels of the ashes. Such strength in front of fire, sparks lighting your faces and kissing your skin. You must feel Hephaestion upon you with every touch of the hammer." the poet told the smith happily. He was about to go off on another tangent when he saw Shuck.

    He spread his arms wide dramatically, his grey eyes lighting up as he saw her. "And yet here she comes! Shed of her coat at last, she walks among us free of her chrysalis!" he proclaimed, going to Shuck and embracing her in a hug. He crushed her to his chest, enfolding her in an enormously warm bear fur coat and a silk vest smelling thickly of the clove cigarettes he smoked. He caught sight of the brace, and cocked an eyebrow. "And yet hopefully free of the grave? Certainly good fashion has taken its flight from you, what on earth are you wearing?"

    Oscar took her shoulder gently in one hand and turned her. "My darling you are lost in a blacksmith's shop." he said sadly. "And yet all too in place among pig iron in that get up. Where have you been?"

    "Nevermind him, miss." the smith grunted. "He's been talkin' my ear off for a good two hours. What can I help you with?"
     
  3. Shuck

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    She retraced the trail they had taken in, clutching the brace to her chest as though it were something that could care back. Instead, it was cold and unforgiving. Rather than wallowing, she set her mind to the task that was required of her. Looking around, she spotted the smith at the anvil and went into the open barn-like doors.

    Though she had never seen inside a blacksmith's shop, it somehow looked exactly as she imagined it would -- and her teeth began ringing the moment she crossed the threshold. Iron, in every form imaginable, and silver twinkled at her, a warning.

    She had no sooner stepped inside than she heard the voice further within, and she was drawn forward in a state like awe or disbelief.

    Oscar, in all his fabulous glory, stood beside the working blacksmith, regaling him with what sounded to be compliments. Upon noticing her presence, he spread his arms and forgot the smith. She met his jovial greeting with warring feelings of bitter anger and excitement. Though she didn't hug him back, she also didn't push him away.

    "They're Joseph's," she answered when questioned about her clothes. She wasn't sure what to say back to the rest. "They're small, but it's... better than being naked."

    Unconsciously clinging to the brace tighter, she fought back the onslaught of the emotions she was hoping to hide from. She didn't like having such deep-felt memories; if this was what getting her name back felt like...

    Oscar began his best attempt at herding her out of the shop, and she opened her mouth in protest. "Wait, I need... We were..."

    The blacksmith spoke up, asking what she needed, and she broke away from Oscar.

    "The physician sent me with this for you." The shuck passed him the paper, and held the brace so that he could take it from her hands when it was convenient to do so. He read the paper, then nodded and took the brace for inspection.

    "Simple enough," he surmised aloud, and without saying a word he began to gather tools and materials. She might have stood there and waited for him to finish, but Oscar was still there, and she hadn't answered him yet.

    "We had a few encounters on the way here," she confessed. Her nervous hands were clutching to the front of her shirt again. "A zombie, and a unicorn, and a clurichaun, and naiads..."

    She let out an weary sigh. The moment she thought they would get done peace and quiet, something else wreaked havoc on them. What had begun as a simple quest for her name had turned out as anything but simple -- their friendship included.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  4. Joseph Meier

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    Oscar tutted. "Well you wouldn't fit in a gown of his anyway, you're a wonder on stilts my lovely. Come, this is no sort of conversation to be having in a place of fire and metal. We need much tamer surroundings where the walls don't whisper secrets." he told her. He let her conduct her business, then put his hand on her shoulder. They were practically the same height. Oscar guided her back to the inn. It was a tiny inn, being in a small town in the middle of nowhere and not a large city. Oscar flew into it like it was the largest hotel in the world, requesting tea and settling Shuck down by the fire to rest.

    "I apologize for sending you to Saturninus. I forget that not everyone knows how to conduct themselves professionally around such a man. Joseph owes him a great debt, more than he can ever repay, and it does so hurt my heart to see such a gifted magician pawning phoenix feathers to keep his intestines in his body." Oscar told her, patting her hand. "I hope you got the answers you needed. You seem to have discovered a form much more suited to you." He looked her up and down. She looked like she was wearing a doll's clothes. Those couldn't be comfortable. He waved down one of the kitchen boys and kissed his cheek affectionately. The young man blushed; he couldn't have been more than seventeen.
    "My darling. You have a decent sense for the woven, please...find a seamstress." Oscar told him in a hushed voice, nodding to Shuck. "She is of my height, willowy as a nymph with the legs of a deer. One for travel, one for comfort. Underthings as well. A good pair of boots." He nuzzled the boy's neck, snaking an arm around his waist for a moment. "My love, my sweet ashen angel, it pains me to see it. Move with all haste."

    The kitchen boy nodded, disentangled himself from Oscar, and hurried out of the inn. The poet poured Shuck some tea and began adding spoonfulls of sugar into the mug, stirring lightly. "Now, how are you and Joseph getting along? With his brace broken I imagine he's emerged from his chrysalis like a lion." he mentioned, looking up at her. "A midnight soul, that one, above a roiling river."
     
  5. Shuck

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    She let Oscar guide her through the town, and was grateful for the seat when he pushed her into one at the inn. He was such a strange fellow, conducting himself as she expected fae would. As he began to express his apologies for Saturninus, she recalled her former longing to bite him for sending them to such an awful man. But her anger was dulled by all that she had been through.

    "I will admit, I was a bit angry with you for sending us to such an awful person," she said without looking at him. The flame of the hearth flickered in her eyes. "I can see now that the trouble that came of it was not your ill will. I've learned... a lot in these past two weeks."

    She looked down to where her hands were folded in her lap, and nodded when he inquired after what they had learned thus far and commented on her new body.

    "Saturninus told us that I didn't have a name and that it was with the unseelie. A clurichaun was able to tell us that it was stolen, and that it can be found... Well, he gave us a riddle where to find it, but also made a map here." She touched her temple. "We know I'm a black shuck now. And I found this form because Joseph was going to be drowned by naiads. That's where his brace broke, too."

    She was going to turn down Oscar's generosity, preparing to tell him she didn't need it, but closed her mouth as a warning tingle began in her tongue. Too close to a lie. She sat silently as he flirted with the young man and sent him on his way. Her gray cheeks were darkened with a rosy glow, his show of intimacy reminding her of things she had been wanting to forget.

    The shuck was watching him pour in spoonfuls of sugar, already recalling the cookies from weeks prior, when he asked after her and Joseph. She looked up at him briefly, then diverted her attention to her lap.

    "We had been getting along just fine, but..." She said as she wrung her hands. "I dont know what happened." The tingle in her tongue was getting hotter, but didn't burn her outright with that one.

    Liar,
    a little voice in the back of her mind chimed. She knew damn well what was happening. Not entirely, maybe, but she knew something.

    "I made a mistake and I don't know how to fix it, and I dont want Joseph to leave because I don't know what I'm doing,"
    she finished, twisting her fingers together and failing to keep her voice steady.

    "After the clurichaun, I... The more I learned about him, the more things changed, and I didn't just feel sorry for him, I wanted him to feel better. I had judged him wrong, and there was so much about him that I didn't know. And I realized I had been lonely for a very long time and he made me feel like I wasn't alone. When I thought the naiads were going to take him away..."

    She paused and took a deep breath, but continued to ramble. "And then he kissed me, and then kissed me again, and his hands were so gentle, and it all made me feel like a towel being wrung out on laundry day, and I didn't know what to do. And now I think he's angry with me and I can't blame him."

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  6. Joseph Meier

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    Oscar's eyes alighted when she mentioned her form. "You claimed this form saving him from naiads? Interesting that you were only able to become a small creature before, only a humble dog, but when Joseph was in danger you bloomed into such a beauty. It is adversity that brings out who we truly are. A king only knows he is such when his door is broken down." he said. "Do you think you would have become what you are for just anyone? Or would you have been entombed in shadows and fur never seeing the light of a true fae's artistry?"

    He smiled and took a sip of his tea knowingly. Especially when he spoke, and described how she felt when he kissed her. "Such is love." he said simply. "Joseph, to his sad deficiency, is only a poet in his darkest hours. But we poets live for the sunrise, and the colors she brings, not the blackness. He knows what he feels when he looks at you, but his heart and his mouth are not often connected. Come, my poor sheltered dog, ask me the questions burning in your throat."

    Oscar set his tea down and chuckled. "I knew love once, a long time ago, before the sands of death and time took her from me. It is a hitching of the heart, as if your very chest threatens to collapse inward. A fire between your legs and a dizziness in your skull. It is life's greatest pleasure." he told her, ordering a small plate of cookies. The kitchen staff seemed to know better and brought in two platters of sugar-encrusted pastries. Oscar made short work of half a platter, nibbling delicately while he waited for her to respond.

    Joseph, meanwhile, was in a foul mood and getting fouler. He was huddled against the poppy bottle, riding his high and looking balefully at the doctor. "The fuck are you looking at? I cant walk out of here until she's back." he snapped. "Just...go scribble something or stitch up some country moron."
     
  7. Shuck

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    His language was flowery as usual, but he was easier to understand. Was he using simpler terms for her on this matter, or was she just learning to understand people better?

    Such is love.

    She had been staring at the fire, contemplating what he said and the insights of his perspective, but looked up at him with a look of surprise when he spoke the words. Love? Her gut had that twisting feeling again. He surely didn't mean to tell her... But it seemed he did.

    How could it be love? Wouldn't she have known if it was such a powerful emotion? And Joseph? He had said he wanted her. Was that the same thing? Oscar prompted her to voice her question, and she struggled for a minute with how to ask the first of several questions.

    "How do I know if it's love?"

    His answer surprised her. She laid a hand on her chest, frowning. She had felt the weight in her lungs, like the air was going out, the confusion, and the fire that burned from her knees to her collar. But her heart? She felt nothing, and wondered what he meant by the phrase.

    She pondered what he said for a long time. It was a lot to think about, sorting out her thoughts and sifting through her emotions. Even after the treats arrived, she nibbled in contemplative silence.

    After a long time, she licked her fingers and scooted to the edge of her seat. The shuck stamped down her pride and looked around to see that they were truly and completely alone. It took a great deal of will to set aside her stubbornness and ask in the first place, she didn't need someone overhearing and adding to her embarrassment. Her silver face was a wash of crimson and she had to try several times before she mastered her mouth.

    "So when friends become more than friends. Lovers," she began, using the word Joseph had used. "I know that they do something. I chased a lot of young folk out of the cemetery when they would come to fool around and get giggly but..." She sighed. "I know what they were doing, but I'm not really sure what they were doing."

    She hoped that made sense, and that he wouldn't tease her too much for being a bit clueless. She hadn't had all these feelings as a dog, let alone somebody to care enough to make her feel them. She had seen the kissing and petting, and had known that such behavior was not meant for the hallowed grounds. But she hadn't exactly been looking to understand why they were doing it. For fear of saying more and digging herself into a hole, she shoved a pastry into her anxious mouth.



    Matthias looked over at Joseph and fought back a grin. This one's first form as a snake had been right on the mark as a reflection of his demeanor. Mean as he might be, he knew better than to fault the fellow for a temper. He hadn't survived this long without learning how to smile against the ire of a wounded man.

    "I thought to see if you needed anything. You are my in my care, after all," he replied patiently. "But if it is peace you would like, I'm afraid I can only offer you a little. Your friend should be back with your brace soon."

    The mage was still smiling when he sat down at his desk and put on his spectacles. He had not been looking his tome long before he looked up at his patient again.

    "You said that fae saved you?" he asked casually, breaking the peace the man had requested. He didn't know what manner of fae she was, but her ashen complexion had been something remarkable.

    "I've never seen one quite like her. She seemed quite concerned. And new." A slight smile tugged the corner of his mouth.


    // Joseph Meier //
     
  8. Joseph Meier

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    Oscar laughed at the question. "There is no answer! Love is a fleeting thing, shadows seen out of the corner of your eye. It is something unnameable, unmentionable, and yet when you feel it you might not give it a name for months or years. It is only longing. It is protectiveness. It is nurturing. Love comes in so many forms, so many ways, you might name the wind." Oscar told her cheerfully. He smiled at her and nibbled more of his pastries, watching her look around anxiously. Of course she hadn't had too much of a crash course on sex.

    "It is something done with someone you trust." he said. "Your touch ignites fire in another. That fire burns bright and hot, twisting and writhing, until neither of you can bear it. It is pure unadulterated pleasure. Fae bargain in it, men have fought and died for it. Women have thrown themselves off cliffs or drowned in its embrace. It is the most powerful force on this earth, hand in hand with love." He reached out and patted her. "You haven't known such a touch yet. But only by knowing it can one master control of it. It takes years, and can be sharpened to a weapon or used to bring joy and lift others out of darkness. It is giving a piece of your soul to another, so take care they will treasure it. Men like myself who have known and lost life's greatest joy can only survive giving it to others."

    He leaned in to her. "My darling, if you trust Joseph....let him give that piece of himself to you. He is only angry because he offers it, unlike the broken pieces of his self hatred he gives to others, shining and pure, and you flee from it. It hurts, and it is a knife without a blade that squirms deep into the soul of a man. Believe me when I say some men never recover from such blows. Some women wither like flowers in the sun, reaching for the touch of another." Oscar was serious this time, and sadness was in his eyes. "Joseph carries a millstone on his heart. For him to treat you so well, it is no light thing. I know his sin, and were it a beast it would consume a city in fire and grief. Be kind to him, and you will have it returned."

    The sandess was gone as soon as it arrived and Oscar took another pastry, drinking down some of his tea. "Pleasure is to be shared, be it a pastry or a night with another. Try the latter. There is no harm in it." he winked at her.

    The kitchen boy came back with their things. Oscar pawed through the bags and unwrapped a dress. It was simple, and black, but would hug her figure and compliment her silver tones. He nodded in approval. There was a blouse here, a decent leather vest that would protect against the elements, breeches, and a solid pair of boots. Various underthings that Oscar lifted up without the slightest amount of shame. "Cotton? Dear boy the heart bleeds! Ah, wait." he fished deeper and lifted a dove-grey bit of lingerie with a victorious noise. It was silky with a little black lace. "Ah, miracles can be performed even in the desert. I shall call you Moses, for seas are not the only thing I part tonight."

    The boy blushed deep crimson. "Oscar please.." he mumbled.
    Oscar responded by tugging the boy into his lap and kissing him deeply. "Go, drape yourself across the sheets and recline, my little kitchen cat. I shall be short." he purred at him. The kitchen boy couldn't have been redder if he was doused in paint, but he scurried up the stairs.

    "The power of a touch."Oscar said in explanation, gesturing to the stairs. "And the promise of later. I have rented a room for yourself and Joseph. Please, take advantage of it. See it as a classroom, and your instructor an eager teacher."
     
  9. Shuck

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    The shuck listened carefully, doing her best to commit every bit of it to memory. She could feel her body tingling at the thought of what he spoke and silently asked herself if that was what she was feeling. She had felt that desperate burning, fleeting as it may have been. Desire. Lust. She had heard the words plenty, and now she supposed she understood them firsthand.

    Yet the sober turn of his guidance stirred up the memories of the whiskey cellar, the words he'd spoken to the clurichaun. His wife and children. The stark realization clanged through her like church bells. He had lost love, just as Oscar had. It was difficult for her to make her mind empathize with the feeling, to truly understand what such a loss must have been like. The thought hadn't even occurred to her, and recalling it now only because of gentle prompting made her feel... Guilty? Ashamed?

    For a girl who couldn't give a damn if you lived or died.

    She felt Heinrich's words rattle through her all over again, and the feeling they invoked was worse than if she had been branded by iron. She rallied against it, just as she had when she'd first heard them. She did care! She cared a lot, apparently. The naiads may have been horrible creatures, but they had done her a service in showing her something good, something vital that she hadn't known was taking hold inside of her.

    Oscar winked at her, and she couldn't help but smile. It was going to be alright. She ate another pastry -- likely her third or fourth, she didn't even know -- and continued to ruminate on her thoughts.

    The return of the boy heralded a fresh wave of blushing and confused blinking. She held up the garments, trying to fathom how they fit or went on, but she figured she could figure that out on her own. Or with Joseph's help, considering the inflection of Oscar's tone when he presented the bits that were as scant as spiderwebs. She held them in her hands, admiring the way the light smoky color complimented her charcoal complexion. She knew such a thing wasn't fit for wearing out of doors, so what was it for?

    Seemingly keen to take his own advice and enjoy the coquettish boy who flitted away with a face redder than her own, Oscar gestured to the stairs and informed her of yet another room procured for their use. The shuck looked up at him. She knew better than to thank him -- if he'd wanted something for his kindness, he'd come calling for it later or he would have already made that clear. So instead, she simply stood and offered the fellow fae a hug and a smile as a simple farewell. Goodbyes were strange to her anyways, and she was sure this mercurial figure would return to them soon enough when they had need of him.

    Finding the room upstairs and depositing the parcels with her new garments, she took a moment to fiddle her way into the simple black dress. It took a little bit of wriggling and more time at the buttons than she would have liked to admit, but when she was finished she found the mirror at the small vanity and admired herself. She understood then why people had been gawking. Her features were full, straight, and symmetrical, and her silver eyes were angled and dark. Everything about her was foreign from the human faces she had seen for generations. Her inky hair was long and shiny, and provided little difficulty to run her fingers through. It was so black as to make her dress seem gray, but her skin was so gray that it looked almost blue.

    But she had more important things to do than to gawk at her reflection. The shuck found the blacksmith again, who was putting the finishing touches on the brace. When he finished, she accepted another piece of paper along with the piece and, after bidding him farewell, returned to the physician's.

    Coming in quietly, she crossed the small room and held out the brace and paper to the man.

    "Ah, yes. Fine work as always."

    And without much else to say, he set the paper aside and took the brace over to Joseph. The shuck remained near the door, her face already pink, but her bright eyes sought his.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  10. Joseph Meier

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    Oscar returned her embrace and held her at arm's length for a moment. "Swimming is only frightening when you don't know how. Let him teach you, and try not to flee." he told her gently. He kissed her forehead, and headed upstairs. Oscar was a strange creature. He didn't mind flitting in and out of others' lives, travelling more than any soldier and blowing money like tissues. He was a man who acted on his own desires without thought or care of the consequence. All he wanted was happiness.

    Joseph was getting sick of the doctor's company. No matter how evil he was, the doctor found a way to shrug it off. Soon Joseph stopped baiting him. He was bristling at a man who refused to rise to the bait in one way or another. The poppy was taking care of his leg, and having the time to sit down and massage the cramps out of it was doing the rest. If he could have his brace and a nice hot bath, he'd be in decent shape.

    He was roused enough to attempt to start in on the doctor's personal life when Shuck stepped through the door. Joseph didn't just stop in the middle of a vitriolic barrage, he stared with his mouth half-open like he'd simply forgotten to shut it. She was a monochrome vision that simultaneously made his heart constrict, his stomach flutter and his loins burn. The black smoothed down her figure, pulling the concentration up to her steel-blue skin and those silver eyes. Where had she...? Had she visited a seamstress somewhere in town? How had she known? He unconsciously clawed his hair back; he must look like hell. She looked carved out of ebony, some artist's wet dream.

    He closed his mouth and pawed for the brace blindly, his eyes stuck to hers. He overestimated the distance and kept pawing, reaching. His arm stretched out. Did she know how it hung off of her? How her hair disappeared into the blackness until a soft movement or shimmer gave a hint as to its existence? Her hips tapering down to legs that would make any human woman black with jealousy. A curious pitching motion yanked his brain out from between his legs, and he promptly fell off the cot onto the floor.

    The twinge in his leg brought the venom back. "You blithering fucking moron." he snarled at the doctor, yanking the brace out of his hands and hobbling back up to the bed to put it on. The support was instant relief. His leg sagged into it gratefully and he glanced at Shuck again. They had to get separate rooms. There was no way he'd be able to sleep if she was dressing like this now.
     
  11. Shuck

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    His rapt expression was somehow terrifying; her cheeks lit up but she didn't dare look away from him. Though she didn't have to suffer the defeat of being the first to look away, she had to bite down on a laugh as he fell out of the cot. And as easily as that, he was back to spitfire. The shuck politely turned around and faced the door while he put his brace on and dressed, and only turned around after casting a cautious glance over her shoulder first.

    "Right as rain again," the mage was saying. Only then did he glance over the paper she had brought back for him from the smith.

    But she wasn't paying him any mind. She walked over to Joseph when he was all put together again with no intention but to be standing near him. Her eyes anxiously looked him up and down, and she failed to resist the urge to reach out and touch his arm, needing some kind of connection with him.

    "Are you feeling better?" she asked. She knew it might be dangerous to ask him, that she risked his fury for pushing too close to a tender subject; he had made it clear early on that he didn't want her pity, even when her concern was genuine. But she would take even his ire at that moment, anything so long as she could hear his voice and return some of the normalcy between them.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  12. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph took her hand in his when she touched his arm, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. "Now I am." he said, looking up at her. He didn't feel the need to say anything else. She was here, and he could get away from this infuriating man. He smirked wryly. "Well...I know we've been sleeping a lot but I think we deserve a real bath and some food." he suggested. His appetite was back. It was a strange miracle that a few days without whiskey was actually making him feel better. His skin was becoming less sallow. He looked a little healthier.

    He stood up, testing out the heel piece. It felt good. It fitted well. He nodded at the doctor. "Can't say it's been a pleasure." he tossed the milk of the poppy bottle at him. He wouldn't need it now that he had the brace back. He wanted a bath. Looking at the slinky black material over Shuck's frame... a cold one. He was trying so hard not to jump her right there and then, but he would be lying if he didn't have the urge to push her onto the cot and tuck his head under that dress.

    "So where'd you get the dress?" he asked, without any malevolence. He felt...good. Relaxed again. Safe. He took her hand and kissed the palm of it. "I don't think you could get more people staring if you had lobsters crawling out of your ears." It was her eyes that truly caught him. It was like looking into a jeweler's box and seeing ingots of the purest silver. They were layered, with tones of granite and dove grey that put everything else to shame. Even the way her eyelashes gently hid them for a few seconds was attractive.

    The sharp corner of a shop shoulder-checked him back into reality. He cleared his throat, blushed a bit, and stopped wandering out of the road. "Did you find an inn?" he asked.
     
  13. Shuck

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    She immediately curled her fingers into his when he took her hand, eager to take whatever she could get. Was this the human equivalent of petting their dog? It seemed the same to her, and she loosed a sigh as knots in her body began to unravel. Her uncertain expression broke into a small, happy smile when he responded. Though she hadn't expected thanks or to be told that she'd done the right thing, this was somehow better. It made her eyes burn and her stomach twist up, and she finally had to look away.

    They finished their business with the physician, and Shuck grabbed the reins of the horse when they stepped out. Twining her long fingers into his own when he took her hand again, the two began to walk back down the street. He asked after her dress, kissing her palm, and she had to look away with a wry smile when the compliments followed. A poet indeed. Joseph almost immediately suffered for his inattention, catching the corner of a shop as they walked by it, and she bit back a laugh.

    "I found an inn the same place I found this dress," she replied cryptically. "At the blacksmith's." Letting him be confused for a moment, she angled her head atop her long neck, looking down her cheekbone at him.

    "Your liminal friend was regaling the smith with some very flowery language," she finally offered. "He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. He's already procured a room for us at the inn and got me this dress and a few other things."

    The shuck slipped her fingers out of his long enough to pull at the skirt of the dress, looking down to inspect it. Her hair fell in a sheet of midnight over her shoulder, and she had to push it back behind the sharp point of her ear.

    "Do you like it? Black is the color of nobility and mourning," she observed with a small frown. It had been fine to be a black dog, since that wasn't something she could help. But adorning herself in the color in a humanoid form was different.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  14. Joseph Meier

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    The blacksmith's? He raised an eyebrow for a moment, but she explained herself soon enough. Oscar. "It's a miracle the man hasn't gotten himself killed." Joseph muttered, shaking his head. He never thought much of Oscar's flowery language or his intrusiveness into others' lives. Even if it did work out to the benefit of everyone around him. Right now, he would have thanked the man profusely for the dress...he did have amazing taste even if it never showed up in his own garish wardrobe. Like it? He was practically salivating over it.

    "Its also the color of glass forged by hellfire." he complimented. He lifted his hand and ran his fingers through her hair. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. He looked her up and down, hardly able to tear his eyes away from her. "Let's go see this room he got." he suggested.

    Their room was quite nice. It was cramped, to be sure, but they weren't in a large city. It would have to do. The chamberpot was clean, there weren't any lice in the sheets, and everything was spotless. That was all Joseph could ask of a place. The horse had been glad to be relieved of their things, and was currently munching hay in a rented stable stall. Their things went into the room for safekeeping; just because it was a small town didn't mean it could be trusted.

    Joseph wanted a bath. Badly. He was happy to find the tub in their room, tucked away into a corner. Hot water could be bought and hauled up for a little extra; he paid for both. He couldn't stop looking at her. He had to have some alone time, preferably so he could go over every detail of her body in that dress in his mind's eye. He held her hand for a moment, looking up at her. "Listen...I don't know how you feel about sharing a bed with me after what happened by the river. If...you're not ready for that or don't want to, I'm sure we can get two rooms." he said. He hoped the answer was no.
     
  15. Shuck

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    #65 Shuck, Dec 7, 2018 at 2:19 AM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 3:26 AM
    "Black glass?" She gave him a dubious look. Was there such a thing? Her church had had glass of all sorts of color, but not black. He ran a hand through her hair, and she smiled to herself. She had to look away, lest she run someone over with their horse. It was early afternoon now, and there were quite a few people about. Joseph wasn't lying when he'd said she was grabbing peoples' attention, though she shied away from their looks. It was strange, going from a dog that nobody even noticed to the center of a so much scrutiny. When he proposed finding the inn, she readily agreed.

    The room was just as she left it. Fortunately, they didn't have a lot, having lost a bag from the horse into the river. What remained seemed to fill the room, to the brim, but that was fine. The bed was big enough for two, even if her toes were likely going to hang off of it. She was looking forward to the sound of a bath. Having greater things on her mind, she had willfully ignored the raw ache in her arm and thigh all morning. Most of her minor scratches were merely the suggestion of chalk lines on her skin, her fae healing shining through. The worse of her injuries could have used with a change in bandages, though.

    The maids brought up the water to fill the tub, and she had been idly running her fingers through it, marveling at how different water felt between her fingers than between the toes of her paws, when his hand caught hers. She turned toward him, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. His question made the color return to her cheeks and she glanced at the bed, considering her answer for a few moments before responding.

    "I think it's big enough for the both of us," she said cautiously, working hard to keep her breathing even. Her eyes slid back to his and her hand tightened around his. She'd never taken the time to appreciate the color of his eyes -- the color as dark and richly colored ask buckeyes. In the early afternoon light coming through the window, there was the slightest hint of green around the black pools of his pupils, a suggestion of color that was there and then gone. Breathing was getting a lot harder the longer she looked.

    She knew what she was saying, and he knew it, too. At least, she hoped he understood.

    "But first, how about a bath to take advantage of the water while it's warm?"

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  16. Shuck

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    *cough*




    The room was cool, but he was delightfully warm. Her thumb traced over his clavicle and down his arm. She’d noticed how slight he was, but she took the time to really look at him until then. Whatever sort of perspective a normal person might have had, she had one all of her own. She didn’t see him as too small or too thin, she saw a body that had persevered through pain she couldn’t imagine, arms that had held her when she’d been weak, hands that had both healed her and pleasured her.

    She slipped off into a sound sleep without even knowing she was falling. The darkness enveloped her, and the sound of a heartbeat tolled like a far-off church bell. When she woke, she was shivering. Her head was on a pillow instead of a shoulder, and her arms were empty. She blinked her eyes open, momentarily disoriented as she looked about the dark room. Night was fallen but where --

    Something furry was in her arms, and she looked down to see a black cat nestled against her chest.

    “Joseph?” Of course it had to be him, black in color and so comfortably curled between her breasts. She’d seen him this way once before, when they’d bedded down in the leaves with the unicorn. She drew a gentle caress down the length of his body, smiling. No wonder he liked petting her so much.

    “Joseph, wake up.”

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  17. Joseph Meier

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    "Mrrow?" Joseph lifted his furry head at her. He was the definition of a happy cat. His eyes were half lidded, he was purring louder than a millstone grinding wheat, and his whiskers were pushed far forward. He flicked his tail and nuzzled her, licking her with his rough little cat tongue. He sidled off of her and shifted back, giving her a lazy kiss. "Good morning." he mumbled, nuzzling her neck and kissing her earlobe. "Mm....round two or shall we just sleep all day again?"

    He was in love. He couldn't have been happier. He even looked boyish with his hair sticking up at odd angles and his eyes bright with sheer adoration. "How did you get more beautiful in the night?" he kissed her, and sat up. He needed a cigarette, a piss, and a short think. He got his brace on and relieved himself in the chamberpot, lighting a cigarette and laying back down in bed with her. He just watched her, smoking, his eyes roving up and down her figure. How did he get so lucky?

    He knew then he'd go to the ends of the earth for her. He hadn't thought he'd find another woman again...and fate had proved him wrong.
     
  18. Shuck

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    His whiskers tickled her, and she giggled and continued to pet him until he shifted.

    "It's not morning just yet," she said, looking toward the window. Except for the light of the moons, the night sky was still black as pitch. He intercepted her exposed neck, nuzzling and kissing. A thrill of warmth flashed through her chest at the prospect of what he proposed, but she shook her head with a soft smile, petting his mussed hair and running her hand down his cheek.

    "I'm actually pretty tired," she admitted. And hungry. And sore. She had several needs at the moment, but she was content to lie in the bed and ignore the rest of her issues.

    "The moonlight always did look good on my fur." Though she was distinctly lacking fur, her hair did indeed shine like strands of silver had been woven through it.

    Making a show of stretching out her stiff limbs, she rolled onto her side and waited patiently for him to return. He laid beside her, but she simply reached out and twined her fingers with his, content with the minimal contact as she rested with her eyes closed. At long last, however, she decided she had languished long enough and stirred.

    The bath water was ice cold, but she had never been inhibited by such a thing before. The shuck stepped into the basin and sank down into the chilly water and fiddled with the bandages on her thigh until they came loose. She gently peeled back the dressing and took a look at where the naiad's claw had raked through her flesh. The string stitches fell away with a gentle brush of her finger, and the cut itself was nothing more than a long purplish pink line that curled around the inside of her thigh. It looked good, and Joseph would be happy to know he'd done a good job of it. The spot still ached, but not nearly as badly as the other two.

    She'd expected the bites to be a bit worse. Yet when she peeled back the dressings of the bite on her leg, she instantly sucked in a sharp breath.

    The jagged bite was red and angry, and as she peeled the fabric away, what little bit of scabs it had formed pulled away with it. It burned, far worse than a simple bite should have, and her eyes crossed with the pain. She laid the bloody wrappings on the edge of the tub and gently submerged her leg in the cold water before unwrapping the bite on her forearm. It wasn't as severe as the other, but still swollen and readily bleeding again once she removed its cloth covering. Blood swirled in the water around her, and she looked up at Joseph with nervous eyes.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  19. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph was exhausted, and hungry as a lion. He was happy enough to lay beside her and cuddle, but when she rose to bathe he kissed her. "I'm going to get something to eat. I'm sure the kitchens won't mind." he smiled and got up while she slipped into the bath, pulling on his pants and heading downstairs. He felt good, despite being so tired. His leg felt better with the brace, he had that satisfied post-sex feeling with someone he adored. Perhaps this trip wasn't all bad. Perhaps they'd have a couple days to settle down, make love, and rest before moving on to the fae. He knew they couldn't tarry long....she still didn't have her name. What was he supposed to call her? Shuck? It sounded awful, but it would have to do as a nickname.

    He wandered into the kitchens. Surprisingly, it was bare of kitchen staff despite the fires still going. Hm. He cocked an eyebrow and shrugged, pulling out a head of lettuce, some bread, a lump of butter and beef he found in the larders. He fried two steaks in a pan with some butter, sage, salt and pepper, then sliced them for the sandwhiches. He filched a little turkish delight he found in the pantry, and some fresh fruit. Heinrich had packed them some dried fruit, but they hadn't had fresh apples, pears or blueberries in days.

    Joseph carried his labors back to the room and set them on the bedside table, then noticed Shuck was looking at something. The wrappings on the side of the tub were still bloody....her wounds had been bleeding this long?! He blinked and hurried to the side of the tub, seeing the blood in the water. Her arm was puffy around the bite and it was bleeding. Gods, that was two days ago, how was it still bleeding? Concern washed over him and he kissed her cheek. "Wait here. Just...wait here and keep that under cold water." he told her.

    He shifted into a dog and hurried out of the room. Oscar. He had to find Oscar. The man's smell was so distinctive he found the door within minutes and shifted into a roach to get under the door. There was no time to deal with locking and questions. He popped up as himself and stared. Oscar was buried in an entanglement of bodies. Three kitchen boys were curled up in bed. One under each arm and one at the foot of the bed like a loyal dog. The chef was asleep in a chair with a whiskey bottle in his fingers and no pants. Joseph wrinkled his nose. It's not like he hadn't slept with men himself but did Oscar have to fuck the entire staff?

    Joseph went over to the bed and shook Oscar. "Get up! There's something wrong with the girl! The Shuck! There's something wrong with Shuck!" he snapped.
    Oscar blinked and lifted his head off of the pillow. "From one exhausted lover to another is this any way to rouse a man?" he complained, but began pulling his limbs out of the pile regardless. He patted a lump between his legs and a sleepy kitchen attendant slithered out of the covers with a yawn. Oscar took a bit to get out of bed, since it was so highly occupied. Joseph was practically fuming by that point, glaring at the orgy participants. "They're all half your age." Joseph noted in disgust.

    "I could say the same for Shuck, darling." Oscar informed him. One of the kitchen boys attempted to rise and sharply collapsed on the floor. "That's fairly common, pet. Just rest." Oscar told him as he stepped over his form and pulled on a robe. He lit a cigarette, and gestured for Joseph to show him what was wrong.

    Joseph returned to the room with Oscar, kissing Shuck and lifting her arm. "What the hell is this? They haven't healed in two days! It's a naiad bite, what have they done to her?!" he demanded.

    "Naiads are graceful little beauties but their danger does not rely in any physical strength. It is their bite that will follow you until the end of your days, which might not be long." Oscar told him. "Stay here, I will fetch the doctor."
     
  20. Shuck

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    She nodded when Joseph told her to stay in the water, her body trembling from fear or the cold -- or both, she didn't know. But she did; the water was cold. Since when did such a thing bother her? As a dog and a shadow, she had laid in snowbanks and spring rains alike, never once feeling the bitter cold against her. But as she sat in the tub in the chilled water, she felt it creeping into her bones. She looked at the bites anxiously. They burned to touch, burned when the ice-cold water touched them.

    She'd forgotten about them. She remembered looking at them once before, vaguely recalled noticing that they were still red and tender, but as soon as she'd been worried about Joseph they had no longer existed.

    Her mind was reeling, trying to make sense of it and grappling with the fear of what might happen. She could hear the clurichaun's taunts again, could feel those years taken from her by Saturninus' hand. A feeling wrapped around her lungs, cold and heavy. What had she done? Sinking down deeper into the water, she closed her eyes and tried not to panic. For the first time, she felt the true weight of that mortal fear that the clurichaun had sowed in her heart. She wasn't just fading away slowly, she was temporary and mercurial.

    Needless to say, she wasn't well-equipped for dealing with it alone, and her eyes were rimmed with tears by the time Joseph returned. Everything was confusing and scary, and she sat up out of the water when he came back and strained to be as near to him as she could be without getting out of the water. She was trembling, from fear and cold and strange dread gripping her lungs.

    But seeing Oscar was a temporary relief, seeing someone who surely knew better than she did what was wrong with her. Joseph wasn't fae -- he couldn't tell her what was wrong, and she sure didn't have the means to explain it to herself, let alone him. Oscar, she hoped, would know.

    And he did. His words sent a fresh chill through her until she felt like her teeth were chattering, chasing out the small glimmer of confidence and hope she'd felt upon first seeing him. The shuck clung to Joseph as the other fae left, fighting back...tears? The feeling was new. She had been so happy, so careless earlier. How had she not noticed the bites getting worse? Why was it that it seemed like it hadn't happened to her at all until she saw them again?

    "Joseph, what did he mean?" she asked, her voice shaking as hard as the rest of her. "They're just bites, aren't they? What's happening?" She desperately wanted to understand, to know what was wrong with her. She didn't like feeling so helpless, so stupid about everything.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  21. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph didn't give a damn about the water. He hugged her close and kissed her tear-streaked cheeks. "Listen to me." he held her face in his hands, looking into her eyes. His own were filled with worry. Why hadn't she seen the doctor when they arrived? Had he been so consumed in pain and himself that he hadn't remembered she was just as injured? He'd even kissed between those thighs and had been so focused on her he...hadn't really seen her. Guilt flooded him and he pressed his forehead to hers. "You will be alright. Men have survived naiad bites, I'm sure of it. You're fae. You're not going to be as weak as them either. Oscar is getting the doctor, and you're freezing."

    He hoped her trembling was just the cold and fear. He helped her out of the bath as much as he could, toweling her down carefully. He patted the cuts and wrapped them in fresh bandages from their things. It probably wouldn't do anything and the doctor would have to remove them when he arrived, but it made Joseph feel like he was doing something. He laid her down in bed, added the extra pillow and gave her as many blankets as she wanted. He sat by her, and held her hand nervously while they waited for the doctor.

    Oscar brought him back in all haste, to the man's credit he was large but he could move fast in an emergency. He was talking to the doctor as they approached the door. "...is vastly important to both myself and my dear friend. You've met him, you were locked in a room with his ursine self for half a day. It boggles the mind how you survived with your soul unscathed. Nevertheless she is a rare creature, a beauty amongst beauties, and I hope you can help her for the sake of the beast she adores." Oscar rapped on the door. "Are you decent?"

    "Just get in here!" Joseph snarled.
    Oscar let the doctor in, shaking his head. "Whatever she needs, my purse is yours." he told the man.
    Joseph had to restrain himself from snapping at the other man. This one again? Wasn't there another doctor in town who was at least half as infuriating?!
     
  22. Shuck

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    She put her hands over his as he cupped her face, eyes pressed shut and nodding her head against his. Trying to stay calm, she climbed out of the tub and dried off, sniffling softly and wiping at her face as he wrapped her calf and forearm in fresh cloth, she told herself that he was right. She was going to be okay. It would take a lot more than some bratty naiads to kill her. Trusting him made it easier to calm down, and she curled against him when he tucked her in to wait.

    Oscar didn't make her wait long. The same doctor from earlier was with him, and the shuck pushed herself up to greet him. Her body ached, and she was still chilled, but she still had the presence to put a hand on Joseph's arm. His body was tense, and he had a look she was learning equated his bitter temper. And even in her own worry, she reached out to calm him.

    The doctor nodded to Oscar's assent and approached the bed. He had a small box that rattled and clinked like glass with each step. It made her instantly nervous, even as he smiled at her as he sat down beside her.

    "Hello again." His voice was calm and warm, soothing. It didn't make her feel better. "I hear you've got a nasty bite. Mind if I take a look?"

    She watched him carefully but nodded. With a snap of his fingers, and tongue of fire leapt into existence, and she jumped. There was a tingle of something familiar in the room, and her eyes were fixated on the bright blue flame. But it wasn't just a flame; she saw distinctly shapes like legs and arms curling away from it, and when it moved, she was certain she saw a tiny face with pitch black eyes turn to look at her.

    The physician was gentle as he unwrapped the bandages around her thigh, and he neither made a sound nor did his expression shift as he exposed the red and angry bite. That same, blank expression never wavered as he inspected and tested the condition of the bite, the flame creature moved automatically to where he most needed it but never touched anything. It provided her with something to focus on rather than the cold fear in her gut.

    "Is that a faerie?" she finally asked, unable to bear the silence. The physician looked up at her, and then smiled.

    "He is. He is my familiar." He paused, contemplating something for a moment before leaning forward with his grin spreading. "He's also my godfather -- my uncle on my father's side."

    Frowning, the shuck looked back at the creature. Its face, distorted by the flame licking over its body, seemed to smile back at her.

    "You were bitten by a naiad," the doctor observed. "Vicious little creatures; they aren't strong enough to take down most prey, so they have to rely on other methods of weakening their targets." He had tucked the bindings under her leg to catch the small trickle of blood that began to run down her calf and began to inspect her arm as well.

    "Toxins in their bite, released between their teeth, intended to inhibit your body's ability to heal and fight off infection. Simple, but effective. Generally, there's not much I can do for such a bite than work to prevent infection and stop the bleeding. It looks like those bandages you had on yesterday were serving to help clotting, but without them..." He didn't need to say anything. Though it was slow, a small flow of blood was beginning to well up at the edge of the bite on her arm.

    Reaching into his box once more, the doctor produced a small cord. He tied it around the unaffected arm, pulling it tight. "I'm just going to do a test, see how your pulse is doing. With two bites, the toxin can also affect how well your heart pushes blood," he explained as he put his fingers on her wrists.

    The shuck frowned and looked between him, Oscar, and Joseph. There was a loaded silence before the physician frowned. After several long moments, he looked concerned.

    "Pardon me, but could you do me a favor? Can you sit forward so I can have a listen to your chest?"

    She looked at Joseph, confused, but obliged. He repositioned himself to lean behind her and pressed his ear to her back. After a few moments, he stood up and looked at her with a deep frown, appearing slightly alarmed as he glanced between Joseph and Oscar.

    "I'm sorry, but I don't understand," he said quickly, the worry plain in his voice. "If I might ask, what kind of fae is she?"

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  23. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph was gentle and reassuring with Shuck. All of the venom seemed to have gone out of him, filled with concern for her. He held her hand as the doctor examined her cuts, stroking her palm and trying to keep her calm. It helped that she was starting to recognize when his little flame sparked up and stoked hatred toward what he didn't like. Her touch calmed him...until the faerie popped up. Joseph instantly tensed, but it seemed there was some other explanation than the doctor wanting to set them on fire. He glowered anyway to show off his distaste. So the doctor was fae...or at least had fae blood. Good, he could help them then. He'd be more accustomed to fae biology than Joseph.

    "Well? How do we heal them then? Will the poison be filtered out of her system or is she doomed to bleed out?" Joseph growled at the doctor. He nervously squeezed her hand. He did not like the way the man was talking. Couldn't do much? What good was he then? What kind of doctor couldn't heal a bite?! He bade her lean forward as the doctor made to listen to her chest. The question and alarm in the man's face made him bristle even more.

    "You don't understand a whole fucking hell of a lot." Joseph growled. "How the hell did you get to become the doctor anyway? Did you lose at cards?"

    "She is a shuck, black as pitch." Oscar told the doctor gently. "What can you do for her? Surely the poison from a mere river beast is not enough to hurt her?"
     
  24. Shuck

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    Matthias remained calm in the face of Joseph's ire, giving the man a decided frown but looking toward Oscar without engaging in his temper.

    "A black shuck?" he asked, looking back at her, his eyes a bit wide. "Is that right? You're a black shuck?" He had stepped closer, and his familiar drifted to land on his shoulder as he inclined his body towards her. She nodded. He straightened and blinked, exchanging a look to the faerie, before shaking his head.

    "And have none of you noticed her distinct lack of a heartbeat?" he asked with a note of outrage on the edge of his voice. "Her chest is as quiet as the grave, and yet she breathes, blushes, bleeds... Even demi-fae such as Risu have some form of circulatory system to sustain them."

    His kind eyes shifted then, a shadow of mistrust crossing them. "She's a black shuck; some paltry naiad bite isn't going to kill a harbinger of death." Sighing, he ran a hand roughly through his hair and looked at the faerie on his shoulder for a moment, the two staring into each others' eyes for the duration.

    "Risu tells me that your magick seems diminished." The beady black eyes of the faerie turned back to her, and she held them as he spoke.

    "Even so, I don't think these will be fatal. There isn't a cure for naiad venom, but you can be treated to ward off the infection and bleeding that would certainly be your death on the road."


    Matthias levelled his gaze on Joseph, who was clearly her caretaker in this situation. "If you'd like to repay her for saving your life from those beasts, I recommend you keep her here and allow me to continue to treat these over the course of a few days. She's still fae -- heartbeat or no heartbeat -- and her body should fight it in her weakened state. Rest, water, food, and a clean environment will help her body ward off the effects of the toxins until they've run their course."

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  25. Joseph Meier

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    "Harbinger of death my ass." Joseph was certainly riled now as to something he considered an insult. "I noticed her lack of a heartbeat but I don't give half a damn! I can change genders, sizes, become as large as a bear or as small as the parasites on your stupid head! Do you really think not having a heartbeat matters to me? We're trying to find her name so she doesn't fade away entirely. No wonder she's diminished, even pushing aside all of the bullshit we've encountered on the road. The next idiot that implies she's anything bad is going to get their faces carefully removed and relocated to their assholes!"

    Oscar studied them for a moment. Joseph was protective, his arm around her and cuddling her as close to his side as he could get her. He lit another cigarette, shaking the match out, and looked to the doctor. A harbinger of death. Truly she was rarer than he imagined. Joseph falling in love with such a creature might not have been a good thing. Then again, here the man stood. Sober. Clean. He'd brought food for her. Maybe this new relationship was what they both needed.

    Despite Joseph clearly wanting to rearrange the doctor's face, Oscar could see him ticking it off in his head. Food, rest. Cleanliness. "How long?"Joseph growled, reaching for the plate so he could give her her sandwhich. Oscar helpfully handed it to him. He moved to sneak a piece of the turkish delight off the plate, but wasn't particularly surprised at the sharp pinch Joseph gave him.

    "I'll take care of you. As much food and rest as you want." Joseph told Shuck, kissing her forehead. "I'll try and find us travel arrangements. We need another horse, and a fast one, if we're going to lose a few days."

    Oscar chuckled and gently steered the doctor out of the room. He needed to discuss something with him. "My dear doctor I hope you will forgive me a sin I have committed." he said quietly. "I do not know how fast she will become with child, but I fear I have been instrumental in such a decision between the pair of them. Do watch her. A fae's clock moves as fast as their lifespans are slow. The illness of motherhood will be upon her soon. Now." The poet straightened up with a conspiratorial grin and opened the door to his room. "Now, dear healer, do you know how to keep a man from collapsing on the floor from far too much fun?"
     

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