Fatebreaker

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Fatebreaker last won the day on May 15 2020

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About Fatebreaker

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    Denizen of the Dark Alley, Head of R&D and Marketing

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    At Sea
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    Science and sandwiches.
  1. The Stranger gazed upon the New Worldspike, linchpin of the forgery, and all he saw were flaws. He saw errors in the runes, places that could've been improved, oversights he made in his haste. He had been prideful, thinking his skill was sufficient, his eye for detail unmatched. But there had been things he had missed, permutations he had not foreseen. How galling, to have an eternity to contemplate his failings. What a bitter cup he had placed before himself. He grinned, though there was no humor in that crocodilian expression. He looked at his elongated hand, boney fingers with too many joints, intricate lines of spikes weaving strange patterns. There were many things he had not foreseen. And foremost was the pain. It had been uncountable years since the Stranger had lost something. Misplaced? Often, but truly losing something was not what he did. It had been even longer since he had cared about someone, felt fondness in his butchered heart for the life of another. And he had not lost someone he cared about since the night he had chosen to forget. He had banished that pain, cauterized his heart against it. Or so he had thought, But losing his only friend hurt. It was a loneliness that ached in his bones, a weight heavier than the crown of spikes that jutted from his skull. Never again would they sharpen the iron of their minds against each other’s wit, never again would they share a drink as they discussed their work. No, now the Stranger would be locked in eternal struggle with a lesser version of the last friend he would ever have, constantly reminded of the Price he had paid. But it was worth it, for he had accomplished two things. He had done the impossible in remaking the world, and he had given his friend the greatest gift he could want. Gone was the crushing weight of obligation from Voidus' shoulders, the noose of apathy undone. He had been given his daughter back, and a life without care, to learn and experiment to his heart's content. Truly, thought the One-eyed God, he could have given him nothing greater. He turned his attention back to the Spike. The cracks were spreading, weakening the whole. An oversight in the creation. Even now he could see Aylitha's children moving where she sent them, following the scent of dissonance. But they were an imperfect solution, hasty repairs oft done shoddily. He needed to fix this, as he had known since the first day. And so he had been working on something. An upgrade, an update, call it what you would, it would be the answer to his dilemma. Once it was in place, he wouldn’t even need the Mother of Shadows and her children. Perhaps he could repurpose her investiture, use the realmatic power to shape the world in a new way. In allowing her essence to be woven into the Grand Forgery, Aylitha had given the One-eyed God access to everything. He hadn’t told her that of course, or she never would have agreed. But it was in the fine print. It always paid to read disclaimers. He looked back, towards where Sudiov sat, tending to the world like an addled, elderly man. He hadn’t told any of them. And now the fool played a benevolent protector of the insects while the Stranger worked subtle magics deep in the corners of the world. Indeed, he rarely looked at people, for they reminded him of the friend he had lost and his purgatorial existence with that friend’s inverse. No, not lost, he corrected himself, set free. The friend he had set free, from. He had to remember that. But it was better not to think on it at all. Besides, now was not the time for self pity. Let the Shade mind the world, the Stranger had Science to do. The diagram appeared in his mind’s eye, a schematic of the new worldspike he had forged. The problem was the people. Their bonds, their Connections to one another, were stronger than he had anticipated. That was the source of the cracks. And so he would do what any good scientist would do when their experiment had yielded unsatisfactory results. He would alter the parameters and run it again. And this time he would sever every errant connection and stray memory. After all he thought to himself, all great deeds require Sacrifice. But this time it won’t be my friend or me who makes it. It will be all those who took the gift we gave them and spat in our faces. Those who lived on a world of his making, those who called us selfish and greedy, without knowing what we’ve given up to get here. Now they shall know the bittersweet pain of sacrifice. He stopped, and his grin was glistening spikes in a storm-drenched alley. Or rather, they won’t. I will give them a great gift and not one of them will thank me. How rude of them. How in character. But I am used to thankless work. Alas, if only I could show him. but he will never know, and that is the greatest of kindnesses. So let me now be kind... He stretched out his long fingers and pulled at subtle threads of investiture, with the slightest touch. It was paramount Sudiov not know what he was doing, or he would surely do his best t hinder the work out of some pig-headed self righteousness. So it was necessary not to begin making the changes all at once, but to prepare them to all be enacted simultaneously. It was tiresome not to have a lab within which he could work, but such were the restrictions of godhood it would seem. But if there was one thing the Stranger excelled at, more than either Voidus or his copy, it was preparation. And so the Stranger prepared, like a spider spinning a gossamer web. And all the while, he grinned.
  2. Lita felt her pulse thundering like a runaway locomotive as she met the Shade's eyes. What did this mean? The Shade was helping her, betraying the Stranger's will? Could she even trust him? Was this all an elaborate ploy of the Stranger? Did anything even make sense? She managed to form words, though they seemed insufficient to properly communicate her confusion, "What are you doing here? What do you want?" The Shade leaned in close, his hand still cupping her face, "I am here at your invitation, of course. And what I want, is you, Little Lita." For what felt like the hundredth time, her breath caught in her throat and her heart beat even faster. She felt herself leaning in to him, as if their bodies could merge in to one form of heat and shadow and glinting metal. Her mouth opened slightly, and she felt her eyes locked onto the void and spike before her. And just when their lips were about to touch, he spun them both in a flurry of movement, resuming the dance. "I want you to break free of the collar put upon you by your oh-so-generous patron and help destroy the world in the process. For in doing so we shall save the lives of everyone on the planet, and more importantly set me free." At the last word his voice took on a hunger deeper than anything Lita had ever known. It was like standing at the precipice of an oceanic trench and hearing a rumbling roar from within. She felt cold fear creep down her spine like the touch of a shadow creature. Whatever this creature may say about helping her, this was his true purpose. And she knew if it came to it he would devour the world, and her as well. And she both loved and hated him for it. "How..." her voice came out as a hoarse whisper, her voice not wanting to finish the sentence. The Shade grinned, and the expression was both an invitation and a warning. Lita swallowed, then spoke again, "How am I supposed to do that?" The Shade's grinned widened even further, "Oh I was hoping you'd ask that." He spun her suddenly, then brought her close again. His voice was lowered to a whisper, and he glanced around the room as if he was looking for someone. "In this Lita we must use subtlety, and not power, for there is no power that can match him as he now is. And so we must be both patient and quick, aimless and focused, so that we don't draw his gaze." His gaze seemed to sweep over her briefly, and his grin took on a different quality, "Though in this dress, it would be difficult not to draw the gaze of every soul in the city." He swept her into another dip, and his face lingered over her for a moment longer than expected. "Tell me, Lovely Little Lita Attar, which knife is the sharpest?" Lita felt her mouth open, and then close as she thought about the question. After a moment she met his eyes and said with more confidence than she felt, "The one you don't expect." The Shade laughed delightedly and Lita felt a smile of her own begin to form. The sound was tinged in madness and hunger, but there was more to it. The Shade was indeed strange and alien, but there was something more human about him. Something knowable, something she couldn't fully explain, but she could almost grasp it. And if he had any humanity, he could be manipulated. Though of course it was not something to attempt lightly, not something of this magnitude. This was another knife's edge, but maybe, just maybe, she could be the one holding the handle this time. She just needed an opening. The Shade collected himself and spoke again, "Indeed, the unexpected blade oft cuts deepest. And so, you, Laurelai, and I are perfectly poised to wield the blade that will undo him. The One-Eyed God has faced heroes and villains, monstrous hordes and mighty armies, what then could a tineye and a forger do? Nothing. The key then is not to focus on him, but on that which he has made. And so all you need to do is pull at threads, hunt for secrets, let your Hunger run wild." Lita felt herself thinking about things she was hungry for and the heat in her responded. Stay on top of it, she told herself, use it. She leaned into him, and let the heat flow through her body, strong enough for him to feel it. "Any threads I should pull on in particular?" her hand toyed with the golden buttons on his waistcoat as she spoke. The Shade watched her fingers for a moment, then spoke, "Well, I know some that you might find of particular interest. You could talk to a young man who will come seeking your guidance, desperately seeking dark secrets he knows not of. He needs to be shown enough to reach his own conclusions, but not enough to draw the attention of our humble deity." Lita raised an eyebrow, "Passing me off to another man? Can it be you tire of my company already? Surely there's something I could do to hold your," Her fingers loosened his cravat, then traced down his chest, "interest?" The Shade held still, seeming to contemplate her words, before answering her. "You are not mine to give, Lady of Flame, you are your own. And I am more envious of that than you know." His tone was sincere, almost sad, and the ever present grin was gone. He lifted a hand and traced the line of her cheek, beneath her left eye. This is a Secret worth knowing, Lita thought, and she held his gaze so as to remember every detail. Then the Shade seemed to remember himself and the grin returned "And I'm quite sure you've held my interest since the day we met, and it hasn't wavered since. After all, I don't get all cleaned up for the dreams of the uninteresting." Lita felt a wave of pride at those words, and resented how much she enjoyed hearing them. She spoke with feigned innocence, "So, this is my dream then? Does that mean I'm can make it do what I want?" The Shade grinned wider at her words, "Indeed. You could make the ballroom a forest, you could turn the guests into birds, you could even make Forian your servant." Lita smiled, then snapped her fingers. The Shade's collar and the first three buttons popped open. He seemed taken aback, opening his mouth but unable to form words. Lita snapped again and her dress became decidedly more interesting, with tighter curves and an open back. Her hair was braided with fine golden chain and at her throat she wore a golden coin. "I think," she said languidly, "That I've had enough of waltzing through my memory. I'd rather go somewhere a little more," And she snapped her fingers a third time and the ballroom faded away, and they were standing outside a blue door in a little alley. She grinned and turned towards the door, placing her hand upon the knob, "intimate." The Shade stood there for a long moment, his expression held carefully neutral. Then at last he said, "Well, I wouldn't mind a cup of tea." And they both grinned and slipped inside without another word.
  3. Lita's hand flew through the air in what felt like slow motion. Almost instantly she felt a surge of panic. Oh Rusts, what am I doing? But the fire was stronger than the fear and she followed through with the blow. And as she did, the Stranger held her eyes, as if he could read the thoughts behind them. Her hand connected with a resounding slap, turning the Stranger's head with the force of it. For an instant it felt as if the world held its breath. Fear threatened to overwhelm Lita, but her rage was yet stronger still. And then the Stranger turned back to her, and his smile was wicked and pleased. "There it is." Lita felt her cheeks burning as if she had been the one to receive the slap. This man showed not even the slightest sign of discomfort, which was so much more frightening than rage or shock. Then, to make matters worse, he began to laugh, rich and deep, throwing his head back as it rolled out from him in waves. Lita felt the anger overtaking her fear, and she spoke with simmering rage, "Do I amuse you, sir?" The Stranger looked down at her, "Indeed you do, Little Lita, and I am sorry for that. Because if you didn't your life would undoubtedly be more pleasant, and less full of fear. But I think that isn't what would make you happy. Because you," and his grin was deadly sharp, "are hungry for more. And that hunger is what drew me to you, and now you to me. What a delightfully insidious cycle we find ourselves in." This was too much, and Lita let her hand fly once more, feeling her indignation feeding her rage. But this time the Stranger spun her even as her hand flew, using her own momentum to send her in a dizzying spiral. Just as it felt like she would crash to the floor, he caught her, one hand around her waist, the other caressing her face. Lita felt her heart pounding like thunder, surely loud enough that the whole room could hear it. The Stranger was watching her, the mirth evident in his expression as he leaned into the dip till their faces were almost touching. “You really do look ravishing. I’ve never had the chance to tell you just how striking you are, have I? Or rather, it’s never been the right moment.” He lifted her out of the dip into a spin across him, then held her at arm's length, taking her in with his gaze. “But tonight we have all the time that we could want. So I will take this opportunity to tell you that you look stunning tonight. With one exception…” He spun Lita back in till her back was up against him. She felt his hand trace a line along her jaw and down her throat, till it rested on her collarbone. Then, with a sudden twist he snapped the emerald necklace and held it up to his eye level. “I never cared for collars.” The green jewels caught the light of the chandelier, glowing softly. “This is a chain around your neck, Lita Attar, as sure as a slave collar. It robs you of choice, binds you to that cremling of a man. I don’t use collars, I like people to make choices. So now you have a choice, Little Lita.” he tossed the necklace casually away. Lita reached out for it instinctively, making to step forward after it, but the other hand held her close against her dance partner. His voice was a blade, the tip tracing lightly against her skin, “you can choose that collar and the dream will go back to what it was. I shan’t trouble you further. Or you can stay,” and his voice took on a velvet undertone, “and you will remember that which will allow us to talk in earnest. What do you choose?”
  4. I believe the term for this is unparalleled brilliance.
  5. "Good evening, Little Lita." The stranger grinned down at her as they danced in graceful circles around the room. They were going opposite the flow of the other dancers, yet they never so much as brushed another person's sleeve. He led them through the maze of dancers with careless ease, his step unnaturally light, like a shark swimming through the water. The gold on his clothes sparkled in the light, but not so brightly as the spike through his eye. "I do hope I'm not cutting in?" Lita startled at the words, seeming to remember where she was. She did her best to regain her rapidly fleeing composure and respond with a demure smile, "I'm sorry my lord, you seem to have me at a disadvantage, please remind me of your name?" Rusts, why did she just admit she didn't remember his name? That could be perceived as a slight, or even as deliberate rudeness. Lita cursed mentally, she was all thrown off. It must have been her argument with Forian, that's what was throwing her off. She needed to rally, to pull herself together. She couldn't let Forian down, that would only make him angrier. "Indeed, I do." the stranger replied, nodding his head in acknowledgement, "An old habit, regrettably, one that is deep set and hard learned." He spun her out unexpectedly, then quickly back in again, holding her a little closer than before. " In fact, were we to meet on equal footing I would be quite worried for my safety." He winked, or was it technically a blink? Lita's mind was reeling, this conversation was nothing like she was prepared for. The sheer amount of impropriety should have been drawing glances and comments, but not a soul seemed to notice. She tried to catch her breath as she struggled to decipher what he could possibly mean by that last comment. "My lord, I'm not sure what you're implying but..." He cut in before she could finish her thought, "Oh, I'm quite sure you do, even if you don't know it. But come, I am spoiling the mood. I must thank you for my invitation, this is not at all what I expected when you bid me to join you. This is quite a different setting from our usual rendezvous'." The stranger looked at her intensely. "And you seem to be different as well. A sheathed blade, rather than a fixed bayonet. Tell me, Little Lita, where is your fire? is your spark in need of," he leaned in and whispered in her ear, his voice deep and full of unspoken promise, "kindling?" @ZincAboutIt
  6. "It's a recipe. The most wonderful recipe in the entire multiverse. And I even included the secret ingredient.” Reshilore was puzzled before realization hit him. It's detailing a procedure, a process. An Experiment. “The red river that gives and takes. Red red red, the loveliest color, don’t you think? I had all the red I could ever want, in the other life. That’s where I learned the recipe, Mr. Reshilore. It’s dripped and splattered and smeared on every Alley wall. Red frosting on white coats under a black black sky.” Reshilore was taken aback by Vivica's answers. The Red River gives and the Red River takes. She was talking about blood. Was that the key, the piece of the puzzle he had been missing? Did the process of investiture transplantation require more of a physical element than he had thought? Was a transfusion needed? Could the genetic markers in the blood play a factor? Metalurgic abilities were often passed on through bloodlines. Maybe... “You remind me of someone I once knew, Mr. Reshilore. He had the most wonderful smile. That’s why I’m giving you the recipe.”Reshilore looked up surprised. Someone she knew? "Well," he tried to regain his composure and focus on the moment, "I like to smile. I think we all have something to smile about, even if it doesn't seem like it. For instance, I got to meet you today. I'd say that's worth a smile, wouldn't you?" Vivica returned the smile, giving him a playful laugh. "And as to why I’m here,” she grinned. “Why, I’m mad, of course. And this is where you keep mad people, in this world. It’s too perfect here. No room for me. Mind’s like a cracked door, and all the dark is shining through. Dark dark dark. It spoils the pretty lights. We’re in a doll’s house, Mr. Reshilore, and all the colors are thrown through stained glass. But who’s keeping the floodlights on?" Reshilore tried to think of an answer, but found none forthcoming. He was unsettled, by her words and by her expression, both so at odds with the other. Was this truly her madness, or was there something more beyond it. A little while ago Reshilore would have written it off as the ramblings of the mentally unstable, little more than incomprehensible babble. But she had known the card was there, which was impossible. And even more impossible was the diagram she had drawn, that she had given to him. He could feel it's presence in his pocket even now, like a glowing ember that burned at him. He wanted to take it out and discover it's secrets, to scour it's surface for knowledge. it was, he knew, something very important. He couldn't let anyone see until he was sure what it meant, what it was telling him. Vivica's expression was happy and carefree, but her gaze was still locked on to Reshilore. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’ll keep your secrets. That’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? A secret that will let us change the world? Maybe your friend would accept a secret in return for keeping her waiting. If it’s good enough, she might even tell you one in return. Maybe even the one you’re most desperate to know. I like you, Mr. Reshilore. You’re like me. You let the dark in, too.” What did she mean by letting the darkness in? Reshilore felt indignant at first. He was trying to help people, to save lives. He was trying to do something that mattered. He had spent years studying how the metalurgic arts worked and trying to develop a solution to the problem that had plagued their world for generations. He wasn't letting the dark in, he was trying to bring light! Where was the darkness in that? He, he... what was he doing? He wiped a hand across his face and blew out a breath. I'm getting worked up, which isn't going to help Vic or Vivica. Be present, you knucklehead. He gave Vivica another smile, "I like you too Vivica. I enjoyed playing the game with you, you're a very talented artist. But art isn't worth hurting ourselves over, wouldn't you say? There is plenty of beauty to be had without having to sacrifice for it." He looked around the room and found a small bandage, which he wrapped around her cut finger. "You know," he said as he placed the bandage, "there's a lot more art for you to make, and you need your fingers to do so. So try to take care of them, ok? Everyone is worth taking care of." ... Victoria was alarmed to see that her soothing had no effect on Sanax. She was about to try again, when she remembered a note from his file that said he manifested some sort of investiture sink. She would have to use more conventional means. She knelt down in front of him and gently took his hands, trying to pull his focus away from whatever it was he was drawing. "Sanax, I need you to focus. Can you take three deep breaths with me? In... out... in... out..." By the third breath he seemed to calm somewhat, though his eyes were still a little too wide. But it would have to suffice for now. Mari seemed to take it all in, looking intently at Sanax, then over at Vivica and Reshilore. Her expression was carefully neutral, almost blank, and her posture seemed almost anticipatory. After a moment she turned back to Victoria and said, "Alright, I'll see who I can find." She turned and left, moving purposefully, and as she did she cast another glance at Vivica and Reshilore. After what felt like a few moments emergency personnel and hospital staff poured into the room. Victoria realized that Byron's time-bubble had probably made the wait seem shorter than it was. They were all escorted out of the building and onto the street, where other doctors and nurses were waiting for them. Each of the patients was seen to, and Victoria noted that Vivica seemed to be in an especially good mood. She smiled at that. Resh just has that effect on people. ... An hour or so later, she and Reshilore were on their way home. They walked down the street, fingers entwined as a cool wind blew from the west. "You know," Victoria mused, "this was not what I had pictured when I imagined you visiting me at work." Reshilore laughed and pulled her closer, putting his arm around her shoulders, "It wasn't exactly what I had envisioned either. But the way you handled the crisis today was amazing." Victoria looked up at him, leaning into the embrace, "Yeah, that was pretty crazy. I'm really thankful for your help back there, it made the world of difference. Sanax and Vivica are both pretty complicated patients, and both of them together wouldn't have been good. And that kid Byron is a new admit, so that was a whole other unknown factor. Really, it could've gone south very quickly. But Vivica seemed to really enjoy your company. Maybe a little too much." She elbowed him playfully. "Should I be worried?" Reshilore coughed as the question caught him off guard, and felt the heat rise to his cheeks. Victoria laughed, she loved the goofy face he made when flustered. She laughed and gave his waist a comforting squeeze, "Oh Resh, you make it too easy." He grumbled something about perverts under his breath, but allowed her to pull him closer. He was quiet for a bit, then said in a lower voice, "I was really worried about you today. That earthquake could've been bad. If anything had happened to you I... I would've lost it." Victoria rested her head against his shoulder as they continued walking. The street was quiet, though you could still hear the hustle and bustle of the city nearby. After a moment she said, "I'll be okay as long as I have you looking out for me." He took a shaky breath and nodded, not saying anything. She looked at the grey and white clouds that drifted overhead, slow moving mountains in grayscale. "And if something did happen you would figure it out, because you're my mad genius. Remember?" Reshilore nodded again, his arm tightening around her. Shadows passed over them as the clouds blew through a somber sky, and after a while Reshilore said softly, "I love you, Vic." Victoria smiled, then tilted her head for a kiss. They stopped there, letting the wind and the clouds pass by them as they shared a moment of sweet stillness. When Victoria pulled back she held Reshilore's face in his hands and said, "And I love you, you wonderful man. Now don't be so dour. You just need to spend more time with the woman who loves you. Don't be such a stranger." She pulled him in for another kiss, then arm and arm they walked down the street. And as they walked away, a shadow watched their passing.
  7. It's so frickin good.
  8. Also down.
  9. Good to know!
  10. Reshilore was alarmed by the amount of blood Vivica was using to paint with. He was about to speak up when he saw what it was she was drawing. It was a chart of sorts, a diagram half remembered. There were missing details and parts where the red medium bled through the paper. And it bore a striking resemblance to the diagrams Reshilore had made during his research. He watched in silent fascination as Vivica continued to paint, supplying her own gruesome materials. He hadn't shared his theories of investiture transplants with anyone, so how could she know of them? Vivica smiled, and it was beautiful and worrying and sad all at once. She spoke softly, but did not look at him, "Oh I don’t know, Mr. Reshilore,” her eyes fixed upon the crimson artwork, “I don’t think she’d have given you the card if she didn’t want to see you again.” Reshilore mumbled some sort of agreement, but he too was fixated on the diagram. Vivica began to paint numbers and symbols, correlating to specific points on the diagram. Reshilore drank them in, his mind racing as he made connections and drew parallels. As her paint began to dry, Vivica's smile began to fade. She looked at her work and spoke softly, “You wouldn’t want to appear rude, now would you? Perhaps you could bring her something - to make up for the delay.” She made a few more strokes, then proffered the page to him, her eyes large in her pale face. Reshilore reached out, as if in a trance and grasped the edge of the paper. It felt warm to the touch, warmer than he would have thought. His eyes carved grooves into the paper, tracing every line and symbol. This was a great gift, and he did not know why he had been offered it or if he even deserved it. "Here," her voice was low and solemn, "you can give her this." A strange rush came over Reshilore as he took the paper in both hands, and it felt as is a pulse ran through the room. It was more that the scribbles of a mad woman, more than the doodles of a disturbed mind. It was a key. His mind was racing, making connections between his research and the chart in front of him. But should he even keep it? He should have alerted Victoria the moment this girl started painting with her own blood. But something has silenced him. And something was silencing him now. Vivica had known about the card in his pocket, which was strange enough, and then she had painted him a picture that seemed to relate to his research. That was stranger still. He folded up the paper and tucked it in his pocket, wondering at all that had transpired in this simple room. It felt as is someone was plucking at the strings of fate, playing an eerie melody. He met Vivica's eyes, sad and proud and knowing. "Thank you for this gift, Vivica. May I ask where it comes from? Where have you seen this? Why are you giving it to me?" He hesitated, knowing he shouldn't ask the next question, but needing to know. "Why are you in this place?" ... Victoria smiled to the newcomer, "Welcome Mari. If possible, could I ask for your assistance. If you could return and inform emergency personnel of our exact location, that would help them get here sooner. While I would love to get to know, I must put the health and safety of my patients first." She hoped Mari would be willing. Victoria loved her job, but she wasn't keen on running an entire ward by herself. Just then she felt another sharp pain in her abdomen, stronger than the last. At that exact moment, Sanax stumbled backwards, colliding with the wall. He seemed grabbed a pencil and started scribbling furiously on the floor. Victoria tried to soothe him, but the pain was too intense. She gasped for breath, one hand on the wall to steady her. She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing, lengthening her breaths and controlling her pain. She opened her eyes and spoke to Sanax, hoping he could hear her, "Sanax, do you need me to soothe you? Sanax, can you hear me?" He didn't respond, only continued his manic scribbling. She didn't like soothing people without their consent, but there were of course times when the situation required it. "Sanax, I'm going to soothe you, please try to calm down." She reached out, soothing the fear that was coursing though his mind, trying to give him a chance to get ahold of himself. Her breath was slightly ragged as she looked to Ben, no Byron, to see how he was reacting to all this. He was staring at Sanax, transfixed on the mass of lines being created before then. Victoria grew concerned, with many unstable patients there was the tendency to fixate on certain stimuli, which could lead to adverse reactions and behavior. Fortunately, Byron turned away from the drawing and turned to Victoria. "Do they... does Sanax do that often? Do I do that?" Victoria did her best to look reassuring. "I am not allowed to share patient information with others, but I can safely say I've never seen you do this." The pain had faded, and her breathing was regulated. What was that? She never felt pain like that before. Maybe it was just stress, though that sounded weak even to her. She had to hope that help would get here soon, she wasn't sure how much longer she could hold everything together. It felt like cracks were starting to form.
  11. Reshilore smiled as the girl jumped with glee at his guess. He was relieved he had stumbled upon the right answer, he had never been very good at these games. He wasn't really sure why he'd suggested it. "Yes! It's Bennington!" Vivica appeared to talk to the air next to her. Some kind of hallucination? Maybe an imaginary friend? This was a hospital, after all. "See Bennington, I knew he'd guess it!" Reshilore felt oddly protective of her in this moment, of the simple joy she exuded as she smiled. He was glad Victoria was working with her, as there was no one more compassionate of understanding than she. As he sat in thought, another person entered. Victoria greeted her and Vivica did as well. Reshilore was about to do the same when Vivica suddenly turned to look at him. Her head was cocked, as if listening to something. "Bennington, what is it?" She moved closer to him, then closer still. She stopped, then turned back to her sheaf of paper and began fiddling with it. Reshilore noticed a bright red blossom of blood well up from her finger, from what must be a severe paper cut. "Mr Reshilore," her voice was carefree and unbothered as a large drop of blood fell from the cut on to a piece of paper. "I do believe there is something very interesting in your pocket.” "What?" Reshilore was surprised by the statement, and he stumbled over his words. "I, uh, I don't think there's, I mean I don't have anything, uh, my pockets are empty." But even as he said it, he felt his fingers close around something. "Huh? What's this?" And for the second time today he found the gold-embossed business card in his pocket. Lita LaPetit, in elegant script with an address below. On the back was a handwritten note: In case you change your mind. Resh remembered the woman in gold, her confident yet casual demeanor. He looked up at Vivica with an awkward smile, "Oh it's just a business card I forgot to take out. Nothing really significant." Vivica moved the papers around a bit more, leaving a few more crimson stains, "Who's it from? What makes it special?" She fixed him with a smile as she drew her index finger through the blood on the top piece of paper, drawing something. Reshilore remembered the awkward encounter that had preceded his finding the card, how he had misspoken and misunderstood and generally made a fool of himself. He felt himself blushing and tried to play it off. "Oh, there was nothing really special about it. I just happened to make a fool of myself in front of the person who gave it to me, then left abruptly. When I went back, I found the card in a crack in the pavement, left for me. I've not followed up because I think I probably made enough of a fool of myself for three lifetimes." He remembered vividly how Vic and Lucas had been highly skeptical of his story of a beautiful woman coming up to in and inviting him to accompany her for the evening. But when they had left the shop, he had noticed to glint of the card. Then their skepticism had turned into teasing, which was decidedly worse. He pulled himself back to the present as he tucked the card back in to his pocket. "The last thing that person wants is for me to go make a fool of myself in front of them. Again." He gave her a rueful grin, "Wouldn't you agree?" But as he slid the card back, he wondered how she had known it was there... ... "I noticed the explosion, so I went inside to see what was happening. Then I came across here, and it looked interesting, so I decided to stay." Victoria was relieved to hear that the newcomer was not another patient, as the ratio of patients to staff was already alarming. Plus, she still wasn't sure what that phantom pain had been. Was it simply stress? She had been under a lot of pressure lately, taking extra shifts, trying to pick up the slack. She needed to rest, but now was not the time to moan and groan. She noticed the woman looking towards Reshilore and Vivica and smiled. "You're not our first visitor today, that's Reshilore over there with Vivica, one of our patients. I'm afraid you've not picked a good day for visiting." She gestured at the general disarray of the room. Things had fallen off shelves, equipment had been knocked over. The room was, generally speaking, a disaster. She moved over to an IV stand that had toppled and righted it before turning back to the visitor. She thought it was interesting and decided to stay? After an earthquake just hit the building? "Did you happen to see any emergency personnel coming? They should be here soon." Indeed, even as she spoke, Victoria could hear sirens in the distance, coming closer. That was a relief, she couldn't single handedly run this floor of the hospital, even with Reshilore's help. Her boyfriend was sweet, but he has absolutely no training in the realm of therapy or psychology. Or patient care for that matter. She clapped a hand to her forehead, saying, "Where are my manners? I never finished with introductions. This is Ben, and this is Sanax. What is your name?" @ZincAboutIt @[email protected] @18thshard
  12. Totally joking, don't sweat it
  13. Oof.
  14. Hurtful, but accurate.