[P] Small Blade
Set directly after this thread - somewhere between the river (near the garden) and the Clinic.
Winter had long gone, but the taste of it was still in the earth’s waterways. The mendicant had gasped as the shock of cold bludgeoned him into stiffening. But adrenaline pushed out all awareness of his body, his hangover, his pains, and he kicked furiously to grab hold of the pile of fur in the river. The body he pulled to him was unmoving – nothing but dead weight – and it was a fight to make it back to the riverbank, much further downstream from where he had entered. Kaimkillen hauled the body ashore. He didn’t even stop to catch his breath as he rolled the Luperci on their back to see who it was.

It was a stranger. An Outsider. A sodden dark-furred male of a wolfdog without a single article of clothing or an accessory and who bled freely from his tan-splotched temple. Kaimkillen put an ear to his chest to see if there was a heartbeat.


Suddenly, the body coughed itself conscious. A copious amount of water gurgled out of his mouth, and Kaimkillen sat back, watching as the foreigner gasped and gagged into a state of awareness. His brown head lolled in the dirt, and blue eyes blinked blearily up at the mendicant. His teeth chattered as he attempted to speak.

“Wha- What h-happeneddd?”

“You fell in the river.” Kaimkillen didn’t feel the cold. In fact, he felt quite warm while his thoughts raced and his heart hammered like a jackrabbit’s. He thought of his nightly hobbyhorse; the way he had spent so many hours in the dark looking for an intruder and here an unintentional one had practically fallen into his lap. In the bright of midday no less.

There was a long and quiet pause. Something unsaid. “You… s-s-saved me?”

Kaimkillen only looked at him.

For years, he had gone back and forth on the spectrum between tolerating Salsola and detesting it. Some months were better than others; some days he even felt used to it. But no one could have guessed that his final string of resistance would snap in this moment. He himself never would have thought he would stoop so low as to consider stealing the life of an innocent.

The mendicant sat back and started to pull off his drenched hemp shirt. He wrung it out as much as he could then placed it over the stranger’s trickling head wound. He picked up the male’s limp hand and pressed it onto the shirt. “Hold this until your bleeding stops.”

“I’m bluh-bleeding?”

Without answering, the servant stood and gave his head and shoulders a good shake to get rid of the excess water. He didn’t bother with his soggy pants, instead reaching to help the stranger up. “Let’s get moving. We’ll warm up faster.”

When the dripping wolfdog got to his feet, Kaimkillen realized how tall he was – easily seven feet – and he saw from the slicked down fur that the Outsider was quite narrow. Draping one gangly arm over Kaimkillen’s shoulder and using the other to hold his bloody rag up to his head, the two of them started to amble forward. It became clear after only a couple steps that the wolfdog also had a noticeable limp. Likely due to his fall.

They went on for a while in silence, until the stranger’s teeth stopped chattering at last.

“Where we going?” the wolfdog asked, sounding faint.

“You need that head wound checked out. Leg, too.”

A quiet fell between them again as they continued heading towards the Clinic.


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