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The Fuck..?

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51The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:56 pm

"Why does he hide his light, then?" I ask, perplexed. I can hear Aodh opening the door to his cottage, his footsteps echoing in the foyer before he comes back outside to stand on the porch impatiently.

I don't move any faster.

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52The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:57 pm

"It's different?" I respond uncertainly, "Harsh magic."

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53The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:01 pm

"Dangerous?" I ask, fully ignoring the impatient pacing of the young man as we approach the fence to join him within earshot before he quickly disappears back inside the house to find his friend. Sister. Whatever.

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54The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:05 pm

"No," I frown as I look at Mairon, "He's scared, I can see it." I squeeze his arm before pulling away, walking a bit quicker to head to the front of the cottage. 

"We'll bring him to her," I say to Aodh, making certain to keep his attention to catch anything he might say, "Then take me to the kitchen or where you might keep things that will be helpful."

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55The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:20 pm

"She's just by the bed," Aodh says as he holds the door open wider as I come up the steps. I frown at the gesture even as Winifred accepts the gesture with a nod.

"I'm blind, not fat," I say gruffly as I brush past him, taking care not to trip on the threshold as I am prone to doing. I almost feel sympathetic as he stutters an apology before hurriedly showing me to the sitting room where his sister is hunched over her bed with her head resting awkwardly on one arm.

"What's her name?" I ask as I slip my bag off of my shoulder before placing a hand on the woman's forehead, my touch firm but gentle as I feel for her temperature and what little resistance she offers to me pushing on her.

"Ljuba," Aodh responds meekly as he stares from the doorway.

"Ljuba," I repeat, my tone only a tad bit mocking of the unusual name. "Well, Ljuba," I sigh as I let my touch fall from her clammy skin. "I bet you regret digging through my garden, don't you? Stupid girl."

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56The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:36 pm

I linger at the edge of the room as I watch Mairon inspect the sickly looking woman, the skin looking grey in the dim light, and the remnants of blood stand out starkly against her lips and nostrils. She hardly seems to react to our presence at all, her eyes fluttering vaguely as Mairon touches her. I don't wait for Aodh to tear himself from his position watching them anxiously before I start to move around the room and open windows, letting out the sickly aroma that's settled in here. The room smells of death and sweat, and it's an idea I want pushed far from Aodh's mind.

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57The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:55 pm

"Go and fetch some hot water, a pot, and a large cup," I instruct Aodh as he continues to stand at the edge of the room at a loss. "Quickly," I say firmly when he doesn't move immediately. I can tell when he nods silently, not thinking to voice his acknowledgement as he scampers off to the kitchen to do as he's been told.

"You're not going to like this," I say quietly to Ljuba as I kneel down to scoop an arm up under her legs before I lift her onto the bed. It takes me a moment to feel around for the pillows so I can situate her in a good position for me to work. My fingers rub over the insides of her arms to feel for the scaly rash on the insides of her elbows; the diameter of which gives me a good estimate of how much of the blood poppy she's ingested.

Aodhagan's hands shake so badly I fear he may drop the pot when he returns with what I've asked for. Shaking my head at him, I take the pot and drop it in Ljuba's lap before gesturing for Aodh to give me the herbs I'd given him to carry. I can feel his skepticism as my hands dart from plant to plant to plant, barely hesitating on each one as I tear off what I need before crushing them into the empty cup.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing..?" he asks hesitantly. "You aren't even stopping to smell them or anything."

"Do you want me to help your sister? Or do you want me to sit here sniffing flowers?" I ask roughly as I begin to muddle the herbs into the cup before dumping the water into it none-too-carefully. "Then shut up, and let me do my work."

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58The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:11 pm

My plan to get Aodh out of the room has long fallen through as I move closer to the center of the room, instead standing just behind him as I watch quietly. The woman on the bed hardly seems to react to Mairon working over her, and if it weren't for the haggard rise and fall of her chest, I'd think she'd slipped away. 

Reaching up to touch Aodh's shoulder softly, I frown at the tension held there as he glances back to me. 

"Mairon is good at this," I say, nodding towards him, "But it's not easy to watch." 

A sharp frown stretches across my face as Aodh turns back to his sister and Mairon, Mairon propping her head up as he raises the glass to her disfigured lips. I wait anxiously as she seems to recoil from the taste, Mairon's grip not letting up as he keeps the glass firmly in place. It's painful to watch her try to push away with what little strength remain in her limbs. I'm waiting for the cue, Mairon's shoulders squaring off a bit impatiently as she refuses to drink, his head cocking towards me as I nod and make my way around Aodh to the other side of the bed. Grimacing, I place one hand under her chin, my other holding her nose closed so she has no option but to drink the unpleasant tea.

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59The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:22 pm

It takes some wrestling, but we manage to get most of the tea down before I toss the soiled cup aside. My hand finds Winifred's leg as I pat it in thanks. Ljuba is already starting to fuss as the tea hits her stomach. The redness of the skin on my hands is all the reminder I need to feel sympathy for her discomfort; the concoction of herbs I'd forced down her throat are irritating on even a good day. But they're necessary to bind to the blood poppy and stop it's destructive attack on her stomach and intestinal tract.

We can worry about the soothing side of things after we're done with the mess part. And it is messy, something i hadn't bothered to warn Aodh about as Ljuba begins to tense and retch - unproductively, at first - before the splash of vomit hits the pot I'd put in her lap. Or, at least what splash could reach the pot with my hand now firmly placed over her mouth.

"Swallow it," I practically growl when Ljuba's weakened fingers try to clutch at my wrist. "Five minutes - that's all it needs - but you have to swallow it."

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60The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:28 pm

Backing away from them, I watch as she struggles, the jolt of pain seeming to wake her up a bit as she tries fruitlessly to pull his hand away from her mouth. I can't describe the look of fear and confusion on her face as her eyes seem to finally focus on the world around her, her gaze finding Mairon as her entire body begins to tremble and shake as she stares at him. There's a frantic nature to the way she tries to free herself from him, the pot in her lap clattering off onto the floor as Mairon moves over her to stop her from slipping off the other side of the bed. 

I hardly notice Aodh stepping forward protectively, my hand catching his arm just before he can get to them as I step into his path, shaking my head at him.

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61The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:38 pm

"Hold Still!" I say jarringly as I grab the woman's upper arms and jerk her back toward the middle of the bed and plant her firmly in one spot. "I don't have time for your foolishness, Ljuba! I want to go home and go to bed, so just drink what I tell you, hold still, and try not to die before we're done. Alright?!"

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62The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:46 pm

It takes the look of fear and agitation on Aodh's face for me to turn back to them, my head craning to try and understand the commotion on the bed. The woman's speaking quickly and clumsily, her head twisting desperately away from Mairon as he holds her down. It's in these moments of chaos I feel the most lost, Aodh pacing anxiously behind me as I watch them in uneasily.

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63The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:04 pm

"You're not dead!" I say loudly, the woman's delirious state only souring my mood further. I hadn't expected her to still be so strung out. "And neither am I. Where the hell did you even get that idea from?! You're the one who poisoned herself, not me."

My agitation only grows as she flails and claws frantically. I'm not entirely convinced she knows that she's doing it, but it doesn't stop me from calling her some unkind things as I yank my arm away to nurse the claw marks. I almost feel guilty when I grab her wrists roughly before pinning them to her sides. A whispered word brings forth strong, lithe vines that wrap around her wrists and restrain her so I can release my grip. With that taken care of, I grab her jaw as she continues to flail her head around, her wailing cries fading into whimpers as I hover over her silently for a moment.

"Stop apologizing," I say firmly. "Stop babbling. And for the love of the gods, stop crying. No one is dead; at least not yet."

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64The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:15 pm


His name creeps across my lips over and over, intermingled with apologies and pleas as I lose the control of my limbs. I can't move, I can't breathe, I can only stare up at Marnin as I beg for his forgiveness. And beg, I do. I beg until the words stop making sense, just a series of faint sounds and cries as I stare up at him through the pain. This is dying, and he's here to take me. 

I hardly contest the burning pain in my chest as I retch again, his face twisting in disgust as he shoves my head to the side before covering my mouth again, my lungs on fire as I gag on the vomit. The room is dark and hazy, but I swear I can see Aodh watching in abject fear, and my heart breaks as I think of how I've abandoned him, of how selfishly I've acted. But it doesn't matter, I think, his face forgotten as my eyes open again to see Marnin's sightless eyes over me. My arms and legs feel heavy with surrender, and a fatigue washes over me as I use what energy I have left to stare up at Marnin.

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65The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:17 am

"There we go," I say lightly as Ljuba's limbs seem to relax in surrender. I can't keep myself from making a face as I wipe my hands on the soiled sheets. "Go and fetch some wash clothes," I say as I nod toward Aodhagan.

As he scurries off to do as he's told, Winifred hands me the cup I'd tossed aside as I prepare to make a second, weaker cup of the tea. The water is more tepid than hot this time, and Ljuba doesn't fight me nearly as much as I pause to wipe her mouth with the soiled sheet before coaxing her to drink from the cup.

"This one isn't nearly as unpleasant, but do try to keep it all down," I say less gruffly as I use my free hand to catch any of the tea that tries to spill down her chin. "Once this has time to settle, we'll give you something to soothe your stomach and stimulate blood production. Then we'll start your detox."

I can feel Aodhagan's anxiety when he returns, the wash linens wringing tightly in his hands as he stands by helplessly. Frowning, I gesture at him impatiently, my attempt at being gentle and supportive likely coming across less so.

"Come," I nod, gesturing for him to help clean up. I swear, I can almost feel the tension leave him as he steps around the bed to clear away the mess and begin washing Ljuba up. I don't know if it makes him feel better to be helping or if he hides it for her sake, but one thing is obvious.

He's been doing this for awhile.

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66The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:42 am


I move to sit quietly on a nearby couch, watching them curiously as Mairon coaxes her to drink the tea and Aodh cleans at the listless woman's face gently. While she reacts to their touches, it's obvious she's checked out for the moment, her gaze wandering across the ceiling and between them aimlessly. She's no longer crying out or pleading with them, instead she's a shell of a person on the bed. And not out of the dark yet. 

My posture stiffens as I notice the rigidity in her leg form, her foot curling sharply as it seems to shake vaguely. My hand pats against my knee a couple times before clearing my throat, the men hardly looking up from their tasks as I frown.

"Back up," I say loudly, my tone firm rather than panicked. Pointing to her leg, I try to recall the word Mairon had taught me but come up blank. Still, they seem to understand. 

Just as Mairon's hands pull from her, her entire body goes rigid against the bed, her head curled stiffly against the pillow. Aodh's hands never stray, though, as he combs the hair back from her face and seems to whisper to her quietly.

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67The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:30 am

"She has seizures?" I ask, frowning starkly as Aodh nods before remembering voice his confirmation. "You didn't tell me that."

"Is it really relevant?" He asks, his tone finally carrying a note of annoyance with my rudeness.

"Yes!" I snap loudly. "I gave her gypsy root! It lowers the seizure threshold! And if she's taking anything for them, it could interact with my treatment and make matters worse!"

"Oh," Aodh mouths, his heart skipping with worry. "I'm sorry, I didn't think about that... will she be okay??"

"For now," I frown as I lean forward to place a light touch to her pulse. "But go and find me everything she takes for the seizures."

"I, um-," Aodh stops short as I cock my head toward him impatiently, his head bobbing quickly as he gets to his feet and hurries off.

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68The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:38 am

I watch, a touch confused, as Aodh scurries off and I rise from the couch to move closer to the bed. Her episode has ended, and she seems to be struggling with consciousness as I take a seat near her feet. 

"Is this wasted?" I ask as quietly as I can manage, watching Mairon closely as I frown, "She is gray."

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69The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:40 am

"Maybe," I respond quietly as I frown at the thready and erratic pulses under my fingers. "But we have to try, don't we? For the boy's sake."

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70The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:55 am

I can only nod as Mairon shakes his head before I can answer, Aodh returning with a mess of bottles and bags and herb bundles cradled in a towel in his arms. My jaw drops slightly at the sight of the poisons this woman's been ingesting, and I reach out to start sifting through it.

"What is this all for?" I ask, looking up to Aodh sadly.

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71The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:06 am

"Stuff she takes," Aodh responds, sounding a bit uneasy as I reach out to inspect the pile.

"Hell, boy, I only asked for what she takes for her seizures," I breathe as I pick up a bottle of spirits. "Not the whole kitchen."

"I don't know what she takes for her seizures," he admits tensely, already returning to Ljuba's side. "If she had her way, she'd have me think that she took nothing at all. But I'm not blind, I can see everything she does-," I can hear the intake of breath as the bit falters and stutters over his tongue. "I'm sorry - that was rude, I didn't mean-"

"Stop," I groan as I hold up a hand. "Honestly," I grumble under my breath as I continue sorting through her stash.

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72The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:47 am

Half of the tinctures and concoctions I don't even recognize, the bottles' labels scrawled in various handwritings. Dried bundles and soot stained pipes fall to the side as Mairon continues to sift quietly, and I withdraw to give him his space.

"How long has she been like this?" I ask Aodh gently.

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73The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:09 pm

"For as long as I've known her," Aodh shrugs as he continues to watch Ljuba sadly. "I can't really remember a time when she wasn't doing something like this - except those times where she couldn't find anything to use."

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74The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:28 pm

"How long has that been..?" I ask, watching as Mairon busies himself inspecting something from the basket of drugs.

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75The Fuck..? - Page 3 Empty Re: The Fuck..? on Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:45 pm

"A few years," Aodh shrugs, the answer giving me pause as I cock my head to the side to listen.

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