[P] [M] Fresh from the fields, all fetor and fertile
[A Tear in the Tapestry] | P. Bellad | 2 Jan

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: graphic descriptions of facial injury.

Location: the Circle of Athelas clinic, City Square || NPCs: Reblin (cNPC to Percival | Lupus) & Percival (Optime) || Form: Optime


The howl from outside the clinic was loud enough that Sólveig started violently and nearly spilled the tincture she was concocting. Wide-eyed and momentarily frozen in place, her nerves still frayed and raw from [M]her assault days before, all the Healer could do was stare at the door and try to come to grips with reality.

There was a rough pounding on the door, followed by a harsh curse, before the barrier was opened and two figures barged within.

The first thing that Sólveig saw was the bold crimson blood that matted the fur of both of the wolfdogs. The second thing that she saw was the arrow and that sight was followed very closely by the bulging, bloodshot eyeball.

In an instant, the binds that had tied her down and held her in place with that initial cry for help broke apart and the Healer's apprentice rushed toward the pair.

"Mister Bellad!" she shouted. Was he already there? Her senses blind to anyone but the two men and the blood and the terrible sight of Reblin's face. "Here! Bring him here!"

"C'mon Reblin, ya gotta help me!" Percival cried, struggling to man-handle the big wolfdog.

"Can't fuggin' see!" Reblin growled. "Gods... Wha' the fugg!"

Once they had reached the designated spot and Reblin lay panting against the floor of the clinic, Sólveig looked the grievous injury over and steeled herself in that detached sort of way she had gradually been learning how to control. The eye was ruined and several of Reblin's teeth on the right side of his face were broken or displaced where they weren't altogether missing.

But the arrow. It was still in his face, making a diagonal trajectory from his left eye and exiting out the right side of his mouth.

"I'll get some water and cloth. What else will you need, Mister Bellad?" she asked, ready to assist however he needed her.

[WC -- 336]
OOC: Event - A Tear in the Tapestry. Backdated to 2 Jan, directly following [M] this thread.
ooc [+640]
A nearby curtain hiding one of the patients already in Bellad’s care slid open, revealing the healer behind it. The conflict kept him busy even at its onset, but he did not expect a daily influx of injuries. Certainly nothing as bad as this.

“Oh, Myriad.” He swore under his breath and sprung to his feet and to Solveig and the two that entered. Almost immediately he assessed the two. Both were bloodied, but the one with the arrow in his muzzle. It was a dreadful injury that the wounded himself hadn’t even the capacity to adequately evaluate.

“Bring him here!” He part pointed, part directed them to the bed. “Higher. Right here, come on.” He was hastily shoving pillows under his back and his head for support. Sólveig was remarkable under pressure, and he made use of her opening herself to directions almost immediately. “Spirit. Strong. And…” He was not eager to ask for the next thing, but it needed to be done. He could not afford to hesitate more than a glance with Percival. “Something sharp. Hurry!”

Under different circumstances, he’d have sent Percival away. The other wolfdog was injured, even if it was not as agonizingly apparent. And he had no business attending to a patient. But this time. “You. You will hold him down. No questions. Do as I say.”

A small bedside table had a candle resting on it, and Bellad lit it. Even though the room wasn’t dim. He did not so much thank Sólveig as he gave her a nod and immediately looked back to Reblin. The bottle of spirit came first. He put it to the future one-eyed wolfdog’s lips, not yet explaining his ensuing fate. “Drink. Drink that’s it.” He paused whenever it would seem Reblin was about to choke, but then resumed. To any confusion that could be voiced to him, Bellad simply answered. “He will need it.”

And he, in turn, would need steady hands. Having poured quite a bit of spirit down the throat of the badly wounded wolfdog, Bellad moved his hands about his muzzle almost as if looking for the right angle. Very carefully he took the part of his jaw that was undamaged and turned his head. He made not a sound, but his expression read worry, frustration.

“Need to pull the arrow first. Not this way. No pulling the arrowhead back through the wound… Other way. Sólveig, can you cut off the fletching?” He handed her the knife, focused on holding Reblin’s head in place in case he flinched. Any sudden move could make them injure him more. Sudden moves would also be warranted, considering what they were doing. And this was not even the worst part.

“Percival, get ready. Hold him. I’ll pull it.” The shaft of the arrow was now bare. He did not bother cutting it down to avoid splintering it, and he would have to use his hand to pull the arrow. Holding on to it long meant he could aggravate the wound, so instead he resolved to grab it only when he was certain he could pull it out in a single motion. Bellad didn’t give a count. There was only the simple word “Now” and a tug that saw the arrow drawn all the way through and out the wound in the direction it had pierced in. He tensed, but wouldn’t let himself flinch at the sounds of pain that came as a response to his painful ministrations. The bloodied shaft with the arrowhead clicked on the floor as it fell. Bellad did not bother retrieving it for now. The wound was bleeding. They had to stem it before they could continue.

As he watched Sólveig help work on the wounds, Bellad grimly summarized what the next step was going to be. “The eye. It has to go.”
Location: the Circle of Athelas clinic, City Square || NPCs: Reblin (cNPC to Percival | Lupus) & Percival (Optime) || Form: Optime

Reblin struggled against the effort to roll him onto his back, his legs scrabbling in the air in an attempt to find purchase somewhere — anywhere — in order to keep himself upright. It was an inborn response, rather than a devious or willful one. In his agony and confusion and fear, there was little of logic and understanding occurring happening from within his head. He had been reduced to raw instinct, and instinct was currently screaming at him to keep his vulnerable belly hidden and safe.

"No!" Reblin snarled, thrashing his body and gnashing his fangs despite the added pain it must have caused him. "Don't!"

Although she wished to offer the High Lord and the Councilor assistance with their wounded charge, Sólveig did as Bellad instructed instead and without hesitation. She moved swiftly, largely ignoring the grunts and curses until Percival issued a shrill snarl that drew her eye.

"Ah! Dammit, Reblin, hold still!"

In his current state, it looked as though Reblin had bitten the scruffy wolfdog and was now being held on his sternum instead of on his back. Percy's weight was on Reblin's back, pinning him down, while one arm was wrapped around his neck to restrain his head and keep him from biting again.

Quickly returning to her task, Sóli located the shelf where the alcohol was kept and snatched up the bottle. Its contents sloshed inside as she made her way across the clinic, grabbing a knife from the table that stood against the wall before she ran back to Bellad. She held the bottle of spirits out for him to take first.

"That's fine, Percy said to Bellad, gripping Reblin tighter. "I've got him. Just do whatever you need to do!"

There was no need to pry open Reblin's mouth. He was panting heavily by this point and he couldn't close it entirely as it was. But the sting of the alcohol against his wounds was enough that the wolfdog tried to thrash his head violently against Percy's headlock. But after the initial shock of the sting he took to the alcohol with less resistance.

Sólveig doubted that their next steps would be met with the same reluctant acceptance.

"Yes! On it!" she said firmly, handling the knife deftly. The Healer's skills using it as a weapon left a lot to be desired, but she was confident in her abilities to wield it as a medical tool. "This won't hurt a bit, Reblin."

As quickly and as delicately as she could manage with a wriggling patient, Sólveig removed the fletching with the knife and stepped back again for Bellad to proceed with the rest.

Perhaps Reblin was finally tiring or the alcohol was simply making him less fractious, but the wolfdog's movements were less violent by now and the Lord had eased some of his restraint. With a grim nod to the Councilor, however, Percival tightened his grip again and shifted his body weight to his companion's back once more.

Sólveig held her breath and, for a series of beats, she thought that the clinic was never quieter.

And then can Bellad's command and the air erupted into howls of pain the likes of which she had never heard before. They sounded almost unnatural to her ears, so piercing and intrusive and horrible were they. Blood pooled out of Reblin's mouth afresh, dotting the floor and her fur and the walls with crimson blossoms. She felt tears begin to prick her eyes but she held fast and stood tall and waited for her instructor's next demand.

"Okay," she said firmly, holding out the knife for him to take. "You'll need this then, Mister Bellad,"

If the gods are merciful, she thought with furrowed brows, he wouldn't feel the enucleation.

[WC -- 647]

ooc [+929]
Bellad took the knife and for an instance got to regard his apprentice. He saw her expression, but could offer no comfort aside from momentary eye-contact. He wasn’t sure what his own expression at the prospect of the upcoming procedure was. He put the knife’s blade to the candle flame, slowly watching it go from blackening with soot to reddening from the heat. It was fortunate that from the side Reblin was facing he couldn’t see Bellad prepare, exposed instead to the comforts of those still doting over him and letting him at least calm down from the previous instance of pain as well as imbibe more alcohol. The Songthorn also allowed them to be the ones to work on his arrow wound aside from the eye.

With any luck, cauterizing through heat would prevent him from bleeding out through the eye-socket when this continued. For a moment, Bellad’s hand trembled ever so slightly while holding the knife. This was not a procedure he knew well, but one he witnessed oh so many years ago. During the days before he had burns.

The patient was a man Bellad didn’t know, like so many others who came to their tribe. He knew not his name or origin, but he knew that he was very unwell, one of his legs sporting a wound that looked rotten and discolored. Even the scent was difficult to take, but layers of squeamishness had been trained out of him step by step. He was certain that the Elders would know what to do and would surely find, perhaps with the young healer’s help, some way to save this man.

As he learned – they would, though not the man’s leg. Bellad stood then, dumbfounded, asking if this was truly the only way. The man looked at him with something like hope, as though the young healer could be right and no such thing would be required. They had tied up the area above where he’d have to cut tightly with rope, then covered the pleading face of their charge with a piece of cloth. Was it to calm the injured? Or to spare Bellad the pleading eyes of someone unsure if they would take the pain or their life? Young Bellad trembled then. This did not seem like healing. This seemed like vile torture or execution.

Elder Konjac snatched the blade from him before the boy’s shivering hands could drop it to the ground. “Yes,” he said, “you can spare him the loss of the limb. And in so doing you would spell on him a slow and painful death. A crawling blackness of flesh that will devour him. Knowing this, what do you save? Life or limb?” Bellad didn’t have an answer, eyes darting between the waiting male with the gangrenous limb, who was being fed pacifying spirits, and Elder Konjac, one of his main teachers, whose face showed no mercy. “You must be ready, Young Bellad, if it comes to this, mercifully rare as it might be. But when it happens, then even if it were your very mother’s best hand. We save life over limb.”

And then the blade fell.

Bellad hadn’t the time for too much reminiscence, and if he held the blade any longer over the fire it would become too hot for him to hold on to. He took a deep breath. The trembling ceased. He had to keep it as steady during the procedure. Bellad was to cut out the injured eye. “Cover his good eye with cloth.” He harnessed the one useful addition from his memory. “And hold him…”

And soon enough he started cutting.

Reblin wouldn’t find it a large comfort, but the arrow had dislodged much of the contents of his eye-socket. So much so that muscle had already been ruptured, and the stalk-like nerve holding the eye was damaged. There was no bone to cut through either. Still, though Bellad strove to cut as fast and precise as he could, it was a tapestry of vividly painful and stressful minutes. The flesh would not always yield at mere prodding and pressing. So there were whines and cries, hissing flesh, and the relentless Songthorn, forced to be merciless to save life over limb.

Though Bellad wasn’t the one suffering through this, as they dabbed the wounds and made sure the panting, whimpering Reblin wasn’t at risk of bleeding out, he too felt out of breath. He put down the knife, having disposed of the messy remains of the removed eye. Only when the tool was gone from his grip did he allow his hand to tremble again. His fingers felt stiff, as though still retracing the ghostly pattern of the knife’s handle. Bellad closed his eyes, feeling as though the world had lost some of its color.

“He… would live… But will need much time to recover…” He told both of his assistants. “He must stay. No more cutting, but the wounds are to be cleaned until they are scars. We will care for him.” Bellad’s voice was quiet, but couldn’t sound calm. His throat felt too dry, though he hadn’t joined in the cries of agony, in fact he’d been silent throughout the ordeal. Eyelids parting to let him see the world again, he looked to Percival, unsure whether he, the healer, had become a butcher in his eyes. Then he looked at Sólveig. He hadn’t the words or the breath to praise her, instead the healer simply gave her an exhausted nod of acknowledgment.

Acknowledgment of what? Too much to say for the moment.
Location: the Circle of Athelas clinic, City Square || NPCs: Reblin (cNPC to Percival | Lupus) & Percival (Optime) || Form: Optime

Their eyes met and in that brief moment, Sólveig saw only grim determination and unwavering courage. She passed him the knife and felt her own constitution strengthen. Reblin's whimpers and cries were almost unbearable to hear. Were they causing more harm than good? For several beats after Bellad had pulled out the arrow shaft, its dangerous head clattering to the floor, Sóli found herself paralyzed with concern that they were.

But in that flicker of orange eyes, Bellad's expression reminded her of the facts.

Sometimes, in order to enable healing, it was impossible not to cause more pain first. A dislocated shoulder needed to be set back into place; an open laceration needed cleaning and sutures; and a projectile impaled into the body needed removing. None of these things were without added pain. But they were necessary to allow for the patient to recover.

It would be the same with the eye. There was no saving it. If left to hang where it was proptosed, it would only blacken and fester. They would be doing Reblin no mercy leaving it attached. Sólveig agreed with Bellad's next step to remove it and she believed in his abilities to do so with as little extra agony as was possible.

While Bellad heated the blade, the young Healer busied herself by offering soothing words to the piebald wolfdog and wetting his tongue with dabs of water. He lay, panting heavily against the torment of his wounds and issuing whimpers that fluctuated between piercing and throaty. Upon her teacher's, Sóli looked up briefly, nodded once, and wrapped a strip of cloth around Reblin's unmarred eye. He tried to turn his head away, confused but dull, and Percival resumed his restraint over him.

When the cutting began, Reblin's struggles and vocalizing returned anew.

"You're doing great, Mister Reblin," Sólveig assured him dutifully, digging her fingers into the thick fur at his shoulder and rubbing his skin gently to offer a little bit of a distraction. "Almost done. Just a little bit more... Good, good!"

As soon as Bellad stepped back, the eye removed, the apprentice shifted and began to clean and dress the socket. She heard his teacher's words and nodded agreeably to them. Yes, they would care for him, just as they would anyone else who ended up within the Circle's clinic. That was what they were here for. It was the role that they played.

"Thank you. Thank you both," the High Lord said in response, appreciation in his eyes. He had released his grip on Reblin but remained close to him, panting heavily himself now. "I'd like to stay with him a moment, if I could."

Sólveig gave a brief glance at Bellad and then looked at Percival again, nodding.

"We'll be just here," she replied with a warm smile. "We should see to your wounds too, Mister Percival. Whenever you're ready."

He dipped his in silence acquiescence and Sólveig turned to her teacher. He looked terribly exhausted to her and she saw how his fingers tumbled. Without a word, she filled a cup with water and offered it to him with reverence in her warm blue eyes. There was little more to be said now, and Sóli felt that talking was unneeded. And so she sat nearby her teacher in companionable silence and allowed themselves a little grace and a little rest.

[WC -- 581]

Forum Jump: