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Bedside Manners (Closed with ComicallyMacabre)

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1 Bedside Manners (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:17 pm

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10. "Don't--You'll only hurt yourself more."

The good doctor wiped his brow with the back of his hand, felt the coolness of his sweat collect there. The night had been a long one, but as the dark ended with the coming dawn, so did his work. He glanced down at the woman lying upon the bed, his eyes tracing the severe lines that marred her face, then to the bandages that he'd carefully wrapped around her torso a few hours prior. She'd have a few more scars to add to her collection, it would seem. 

As the soft morning light reached out with gentle fingers to touch the slumbering figure, she had begun to stir. He watched her open her eyes and look around, like most previously unconscious patients had done in the past, and when she began to sit up, he reached out to stop her. His touch was gentle, but firm. "Don't--You'll only hurt yourself more."


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"Well, would you look at what we have 'ere!"

The masked figure froze in place, tightening a gloved hand around the hilt of the sword at their hip as they looked to the surrounding trees, seeking out the source of the voice that had so abruptly made itself known in the cold, still night air.

It didn't take long to find it.

A much larger man, tall and broad-chested with deep brown hair and dark, tattered clothing-- and plenty of tattoos, to boot-- leapt down from his perch in the branches above, landing with a deep thud as he stared down at the smaller figure much like a predator would its prey. He gestured, several similarly-dressed men and women in various states of camouflage following his lead and quickly surrounding and outnumbering the hooded individual significantly.

"Blast. ." A decidedly feminine voice cursed softly as its owner glanced around, seeking a way out of their predicament.

"It's not every day we get visitors 'round these parts, eh?" A few voices chimed mockingly in agreement, a murmur of chuckles echoing all around. "After all," the man continued, running a large hand over the stock of a rather hefty, wicked-looking blunderbuss, "these are bloody dangerous times we live in. It's just not safe for people to be traveling alone through Mistpeak at this hour." The leader-- well, he seemed to be the leader, anyway-- moved toward the silent figure, who was now able to make out some of his finer features. He had dark eyes, a stubbly chin and his hair was peppered with gray. Then, there was the way he carried himself. . Tall, proud and clearly experienced. This wasn't a run-of-the-mill bandit, that much was certain.

"Now, looking at your state of dress, I'll wager you're one o' them would-be Heroes wandering the countryside looking for good deeds to do and other such nonsense." He stopped, eyes looking the smaller figure up and down, sizing them up. "In light of that, I'll give you two options: You can either make this difficult," he punctuated his statement with a gesture to the well-armed circle of brigands surrounding them, "or you can hand over your goods and be on your way."

The leader's dark eyes lighted on his mark's weapon, an immaculately-kept sabre with ornate designs carved and patterned into and onto its sheath and hilt. "You can start with that pretty little thing there."

The bird-masked figure answered with a tilt of their head, quickly crouching into a fighting stance and drawing the shining blade with a startling swiftness, cutting into the man's cheek and drawing first blood. He hissed and touched a hand to his face, cocking a brow and glancing back at his fellow criminals with a twisted grin as he showed off the crimson liquid staining his fingers and running down his face, pulling back the hammer on his firearm.

"Looks like we've a lively one on our hands tonight, lads!"


~~*~~


Lyra roused slowly, a dull pain pulsing through her body as she came to. It hadn't been one of her better nights, certainly, but. . Wait-- where was she? Her eyes fluttered open, the good one squinting as the sunlight hit it. Once her sight adjusted well enough, she realised that she most certainly wasn't in her own bed-- in fact, she wasn't sure where she was. She furrowed her brows, trying to recall the events leading up to her current situation. She'd barely made it out of the bandit skirmish the night before with her life-- that much she knew-- but afterward. . ?

The auburn-haired woman groaned softly, touching a sore hand to her equally sore forehead. She'd sustained fairly serious injuries from the encounter, so the most likely conclusion was that she passed out before she could make it back up the mountain to Brightwall. "You're getting sloppy. ." She thought to herself as she glanced down at her bandaged form. She made a movement to sit up and gasped, biting back a cry of pain as a sharp, agonising sensation shot through her body, quickly followed by an unfamiliar hand gently pressing her back toward the bed.

"Don't-- You'll only hurt yourself more."
A voice said softly. Lyra raised her eyes wearily to the man standing beside her, briefly wondering how long he'd been there before giving him a pained but grateful smile, nodding down toward the expertly-wrapped gauze binding her wounds before speaking up, her voice ragged.

"I suppose I have you to thank for all this."



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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Dr. Whittaker lifted an eyebrow. "I saw to your wounds, yes. But it was Mouse and Wesley that found you and brought you to me. Everyone is abuzz about the wounded 'Nightingale'. They want to see your face, know who you are." He pulled up a chair, adjusted his coattails, and sat with his hands folded, his elbows on the armrests. "Our leader, Will, would not allow them to unmask you, though, so you may rest easy. Your secret is safe with me.

"But more importantly, you were very badly injured. You had many wounds... I'm assuming bandits?" Judging by the amount of shrapnel he had pulled from her, he could only assume that at least one of them had shot her with a gun of some sort: probably a blunderbuss or hand-cannon. And many of her wounds had been clearly the mark of a blade. "It's dangerous to do such work alone, you know."


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Lyra nodded in understanding, leaning back into the comfort of the pillow beneath her head as she reached a hand up to trace a finger absent-mindedly across the old scar that made her face its home. Her gaze shifted from the man at her bedside to rest on the worn leather mask placed on a nearby table with the rest of her personal effects, damaged and stained with what she assumed was mostly her blood.

"Ahh, I see. My so-called reputation precedes me. I'm sure you expected someone more impressive." The injured woman said with a strained chuckle; she'd always found the name people had given her rather amusing, even after all these years. "Well, you and your friends have my gratitude, in any case. I'd probably be dead already if not for you." She ran a hand over the bandages binding her upper half, nodding at the doctor's guess of bandits as the cause of her injuries and winced as she recalled the sound of gunfire in her ears. It was a good thing she layered armour beneath the clothes she wore as 'Nightingale', or the shrapnel that had been pumped into her chest would have likely punched a hole right through her!

"It's dangerous to do such work alone, you know."


The brown-eyed woman smiled wryly at that and shrugged. "Oh, undoubtedly. I suppose you could call me old-fashioned that way. Or just foolish." She paused briefly. "Though, I suppose they're really one and the same, when you think about it."



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"I can hardly think of anything more impressive than surviving twelve or so stabbings and a shot from an explosive firearm," he stated, gesturing to her bodily injuries. "Along with your other accomplished, I'd say you're exactly what we expected: a resilient Hero dedicated to justice and the well-being of others. If not a bit rash."

Perhaps "stupid" is a more accurate term, his mind hissed, but he had the sense not to say as much out loud. She was brave to take on so many armed rogues at once, it was true, but she was a fool to do so on her own. But perhaps she wasn't too dense--perhaps she'd see the opportunity in front of her and take it... It wouldn't hurt to try asking, though recruitment wasn't in his job description.

"My name is Dr. Tom Whittaker. What may I call you, Nightingale? I have already seen your face. I may as well know the name to put to it."


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The red-haired woman chuckled again at the doctor's praise. If only her younger self could hear someone calling her a Hero now! It was everything the curly-haired little girl had ever hoped for, but as an adult, it was more humourous to her than anything. Still, she extended a bruised and battered hand to the blue-eyed doctor.

"Well, it's my pleasure to meet you, Doctor. I suppose it's only fair to give my name to the man who went through the trouble of cleaning me up." She smiled briefly. "It's Lyra. Lyra Brighton."

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He gently gripped her fingers with his own in greeting, careful not to hold them too tightly for fear of causing them further damage, and then released her to settle back in his chair. "Well, Miss Brighton, do you know where you are?" he asked, but he answered the question before she got the chance to respond. "You've found yourself in the camp of the Heroes of Mistpeak Valley. There are many like you here, people wanting to help others, fighting bandits and evil creatures to keep those who cannot defend themselves safe. Someone like you would fit right in. We could get you some proper armor, teach you a few more tricks."


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"Well, Miss Brighton, do you know where you are?"

Lyra opened her mouth to speak, but was quickly cut off as Dr. Whittaker went on. She quirked a brow but simply laid back and listened to his proposal. It wasn't a terrible idea, joining up with other like-minded individuals-- especially now that said bandits and evil creatures were growing in both numbers and intelligence. She'd been doing this for so long, but last night's skirmish was proof that criminals were adapting to the times just as she, (and many others like her,) had. She was quiet a while before focusing back on the good doctor.

"You certainly make a good case, Doctor. . Whittaker was it? Oh, dear-- you'll forgive me if I'm a little out of sorts, I hope." She ran a hand through her hair, only very loosely braided now, having fallen out of the tight braided bun she kept it in while hooded. "However, you must understand that this isn't a spur of the moment decision; I would appreciate the chance to sleep on it or perhaps even observe how things are done around here, if I'm not overstepping my bounds." She looked up at him earnestly. The half-blind scholar had heard news of the Mistpeak Valley Heroes' deeds, true, and had even witnessed them at work briefly during one of her own nights patrolling. They did good work, but to work with them would be something else entirely.

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Augh, there he went again, pushing his patients too far with stressful matters... His brow pinched in his irritation with himself. 

"Forgive me," he replied stiffly. "Of course, take all the time you need. I did not mean to burden you--forgive me." He stood up and busied himself with his work, coughing awkwardly. To distract himself from his mistake, he decided to ask another important question that did not require too much stressful thinking: "How is your pain? Do I need to give you more medication?"


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Oh dear. That hadn't been the response she expected.

Lyra watched the doctor for a while as he turned away from her, voicing a negative when he asked her if she needed more medication. The red-haired scholar recognised such body language-- she'd used her work at the academy as an excuse to distract herself from unpleasant thoughts more times than she cared to admit. Shifting, she steeled herself for a moment and cleared her throat, raising herself up from the bed. Her hands tightened into hard fists and clenched the linens beneath her as she sat up, brows furrowed in concentration as sweat beaded on her forehead. She really had done a number on herself this time.

"I haven't-- ah! I haven't offended you, have I, Dr. Whittaker?" She winced, her jaw clenched as she did her best to keep her composure. "If I have, I assure you, it wasn't my intention and I offer my apologies."

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"What? Oh, no, no--" He sighed, setting about propping up pillows beneath and behind her so that she could sit up comfortably without harming herself. "No, that's not it. Forgive me. I'm... not the most... I am not accustomed to... That is to say, I am not good with people, madam. I often do not know what to say, or I fail to know when something should not be said. You have only just woken; I did you wrong by proposing such an offer."

Once the pillows were properly set up, he backed away and returned to his work. It was easier to talk, he found, if he was not looking at the person he was speaking with. "I do not mean to be rude, or make you think I am offended. Forgive me."


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The woman's expression softened at that-- partially due to the much-appreciated padding now cushioning her aching body. She was relieved to know she hadn't upset the gentleman responsible for tending to her wounds.

"Well, you needn't worry there." She said with a sigh, relaxing once more as her pain began to subside. "I'm not terribly bothered by your proposal. In fact, I rather like the idea-- I just don't want to make any rash decisions." Her focus shifted back to the brown-haired doctor and she shot him a sheepish smile, chuckling softly. "I'm not exactly a social butterfly myself, you see."



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"It's not simple shyness that hinders me," he replied, returning the smile. His was stiff, awkward, but genuine. "I am not gifted with words, nor am I particularly well-aware of social cues. I am not the most graceful of swans." The ugly duckling is just that, his mind hissed in his ear, and he shook his head to rid himself of the nasty thought. There was no use in getting down on himself so. If he kept trying, he would improve. He'd come so far already, after all.

"Anyway, I understand your wish to take your time with such a decision. To do so is very wise, especially in your condition. Stress makes it harder for the wounded and ill to heal, a lesson I wish most of my patients learned..."


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"Well if I may, doctor," Lyra said, gesturing to the impeccably-dressed injuries she currently sported, "whatever it is that you may lack socially you've more than made up for in medical prowess." Her tone was sincere; not just anybody could have extracted that much metal so expertly in such a short amount of time. And the stitches? He could almost be a tailor, they were so neat.

"I'm sure I'm only stating the obvious, but in times like these, a skilled doctor is a precious commodity. You should take pride in that, if nothing else." She sighed, attempting to comb some of the tangles out of her wild hair with her fingers. "Ah, well, I do hope I'm a somewhat pleasant patient, all things considered. I'm sure you've had quite the night patching me up."

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The doctor smiled again, but this time, it was less awkward and stiff. "I appreciate the compliment, Miss Brighton. You are too kind." He was proud of his work, but it wouldn't do to toot his own horn. He knew that much. "It took a lot of hard work to get to where I am. I'm just glad I can help--"

A roar of rage rumbled from somewhere further into the building, followed by much shouting and cursing, and a rolling of the eyes from Tom. He sighed heavily. "Forgive me, Miss Brighton, but another of my more... rowdy patients needs tending to. Try not to move too much. I'll have someone bring you something to eat soon."

And with that, he disappeared from the room and down the hall, his feet carrying him away at a brisk pace. He would break into a run when he heard a blast of noise and a scream of pain. He cursed under his breath. Today was going to be a long day. He almost wished Cecil were here with him, but he would have to shoulder this burden alone.


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Ah, a victory!

Lyra returned the man's smile, pleased to have gotten it out of him. She knew all too well how disheartening it was to feel the way he did; she hadn't exactly formed many relationships in her life. It did get lonely when she wasn't focused on her work, be it her duties at the Academy or her nightly adventures as Nightingale, and she missed Aidan and her mother dearly. It didn't help that she lacked any real friends, save some of her fellow scholars and assistant librarians. Suffice to say, she didn't get much sleep these days.

"I--" There was a loud commotion just then somewhere nearby, and the redhead's brows shot up in alarm. "Oh, yes, of course. I understand." She replied, watching as the doctor took his leave, hoping everything was alright. Just what had that all been about, anyway?

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The shouts and howls of pain sounded throughout the little building for hours, so much so that the nurses shut the doors to every patient's room in an effort to block out the noise. It didn't work. When the poor soul finally calmed down, it was well past noon, and everyone—within the building as well as without—was concerned. The nurse who brought Lyra her breakfast, and later her lunch, looked beyond frazzled and remained tight lipped where questions were concerned. An important-looking man with a curtain of curly black hair surrounding a handsome, bearded face with piercingly dark eyes, dressed in dark furs and leathers, came demanding answers. It was unclear if he ever got any, but he soon left the building as quickly as he'd come in.

Tom returned to Lyra a weary soul, and he made little effort to hide it. His shoulders slumped forward, no longer as stiff as a board, and his walk had slowed to barely above a crawl. His eyes were gray with exhaustion, dark circles already showing beneath them. Those eyes turned to the Nightingale and he tried to force a smile. It crumbled fairly quickly, though, for he was too tired to keep up pretenses.


“Sorry for that,” he sighed. “It's not usually so... lively here.”


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Lyra looked toward the sound of the agonised cries for some time, trying to make out what the racket was about, before eventually turning her attention to the meal that was brought to her. She heeded the pangs of hunger shooting through her stomach and graciously accepted the food from the nurse, which she finished in no time. Not bad! She made a mental note to give her compliments to the cook should the opportunity arise.

The time passed by and the brown-eyed woman attempted to keep herself occupied an assortment of ways, trying not to worry too much about the screams still echoing through the building or her tardiness from the academy. There wasn't much she could do about it in her state, after all. The nurse that had brought her breakfast before soon came to retrieve her empty dish and Lyra took the opportunity to request reading material, (the kind didn't concern her terribly,) and something with which to straighten her now hopelessly tangled mess of hair. She attempted to ask about the patient who'd been causing such a racket, but the nurse quickly changed the subject, scuttling out of the room before the redhead could probe further. Her requests were soon obliged, however, when the obviously stressed woman returned with a few books she'd been able to scrounge up, a comb and a small shabby hand mirror, which she was promptly thanked for. As the woman left the room, Lyra caught a brief glimpse of a large, dark-haired man through the doorway as he passed by. He seemed to be quite the imposing figure-- a leader, perhaps? Ah, well-- she'd likely meet him in time. For now, she simply turned her attention to the books lying on the small tray in front of her.

'A Beginner's Guide to Business'. . 'Understanding the Albion Psyche'-- informative, but not quite what she was looking for. 'Wedding Bells'. . 'Megafowl'? Avo, no. 'The Hero of Oakvale'-- she'd just read that through again recently. Ah-hah! 'The Balverine Slayer', perfect! Stories about Scarlet Robe always had been some of her favourites, and this was a classic even with all of the edits that had been made to it over time. She propped the weathered tome up on the little tray and went to work unraveling her tangled braids. This would kill the time nicely!

As the sun made its way past the window and her lunch had come and gone, Lyra managed to not only read one, but all of the books she'd been brought.

Even 'Megafowl'.

The doctor returned as Lyra worked the last tangles out of her long auburn hair. That had almost been more painful to deal with than the bandits! She looked up at the good doctor and smiled. "Ah, welcome back." She said, placing the comb on the mirror beside the pile of books neatly stacked in front of her. She glanced him up and down, noting what a state he was in. That other patient must have been quite the handful!

"Oh, no need to apologise, doctor. I can only guess at what an. . Interesting day this has been for you."

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"That's one way to describe it, I suppose... I'm at my wit's end... Anyway, I see the nurses have made sure you're comfortable. Let me do a quick check up and change your bandages, and then I'll be out of your hair." He said all this as he made his way over to the wash basin, where he washed his hands with soap and water from a pitcher. "I hope there won't be any more disturbances like today, but..." He shook his head. He shouldn't share such information with a patient. It would be unprofessional.

"Anyway," he continued, coming over to her with a fresh roll of bandages he'd grabbed from a cabinet on his way to her bedside. He carefully began to unwrap the soiled ones she wore, making light conversation as he went, "What books have you got there?"


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"Oh, yes. . You could say this is probably the most restful day I've had in some time," Lyra said with a chuckle, "all things considered."

She shifted herself a bit, noting that she felt less tender now after a bit of relaxation, and sat up straight-- straight as she could, anyway-- as Dr. Whittaker rinsed his hands in the basin, hoping to make the task of unwrapping her bandages as quick and painless for him as possible. He'd had enough grief for today, she reckoned. "Of course."

"Hm?" Her eye fell upon the stack of books in front of her at his query. "Oh! Just some light reading the nurse was able to dig up earlier." She smiled sheepishly, wincing a little as she raised her arms to give him more room with which to work. "Not all of them are quite my taste but, ah, I appreciate the distraction all the same."

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His smile was a small one: a tiny quirk of the lips to signify amusement. "I may be able to acquire something more to your tastes. What kind of books are to your liking, then? My sister has a vast supply of tomes on the subject of Heroes and their feats, if that is what amuses you."

As he spoke, he worked quickly and expertly, and soon the old bandages were removed, a healing paste applied, and new bandages wound around his patient's middle. He sat back with a sigh, admiring his handiwork for a moment before giving a satisfied nod. "That should hold you until tomorrow. The bleeding's mostly stopped, and I'll have the nurses check up on you every now and then. If the bandages need changing before the sun rises, they'll see to it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must see to the rest of my patients."

He stood, bowed, and exited the room without another word.


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"Really?"

The woman's eyes, (disfigurement and all,) lit up at that briefly before she seemed to remember herself, clearing her throat. "Ah, that is. . Yes, I'd like that very much. Though," her gaze fell once again upon the damaged gear laid out on the table nearby, feeling a slight itch in her fingers as she looked upon the soft gleam of her beloved sword in the evening light. "I'm sure that comes as no surprise to you."

Dr. Whittaker worked quickly, indeed, his fingers turning the gauze in his hands with alarming precision. The Heroes of Mistpeak Valley were a fortunate group to have such a skilled doctor at their disposal! 'Not so fortunate,' she thought to herself as he applied a thick paste to her newly-unwrapped wounds, 'to have such cold healing salve.' She winced and shivered, stiffening slightly as the good doctor's fingers spread the mixture across her torso, unable to contain a slight blush as he worked around her chest, rather more exposed than she was accustomed to. Of course, that's where she'd taken the blast from the bandit leader's blunderbuss, so it was only to be expected. She was grateful that he worked so efficiently. Her eye dared a glance down at her front and her breath caught in her throat. She couldn't believe her sight of her flesh, so grossly mutilated by the shrapnel that had been packed into it. She normally healed quickly, but this? This would take time. Just as it had taken time when. . Her eyes closed and she felt sick; disappointed in herself, even, for being so foolish. It was fortunate, indeed, that she'd even survived this time around!

Thankfully, it was over before she could dwell on things too long. Lyra opened up her eyes and gave the doctor a grateful nod. "Thank you, I. ." The woman trailed off as the doctor left the room before she could finish. "Good evening, doctor." She finished softly.

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Night fell soon after, and the doctor and the majority of the nurses had gone until morning. The other patients were asleep, and aside from the single electric light in the head nurse's station and the soft, subtle sound of the turning of a page every so often, the whole building was dark and quiet. Someone down the hall snored, and then there came the nearly imperceptible sound of someone turning the door handle.

A figure quickly slipped into the room, his breathing labored as he crouched down in the corner, listening for the clicks of the nurse's heels on the wooden floor boards as she passed the room by. A sigh of relief escaped him and he let his head hang for a second before he struggled to his feet. He tried to take a step forward, but as if the universe was determined to stop him, his legs gave out beneath him. He grasped wildly for anything that might keep him on his feet, and his hands found the edge of the Nightingale's bedding, which did not serve the purpose he required of it, and instead was yanked off of the slumbering woman as he hit the floor with a heavy, painful thud.


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Two booted feet sounded in the chaos of a battlefield, carrying a young girl no more than fifteen or sixteen summers swiftly through blood and darkness and fear. Her fingers clutched a sword too large for her, knuckles white and coated in sweat, heart pounding and lungs straining painfully as she ran, fighting to shut out the awful, monstrous whispers that penetrated her very being. It was everything she could do to ignore the screams echoing around her, wishing only for them to stop as she tried to find. .

Find. . .

She stopped, sword slipping from her fingers. How long had it been so quiet and still? Her brown eyes frantically scanned her surroundings as she turned this way and that, unable to see a thing. Not one. All the soldiers, the town, all the bedlam. . Gone. It was getting harder to remember why she was here. And then, she saw it. Rising from an inky black puddle, which she only now realised was writhing and bubbling around her feet, was a terrible hooded figure borne of darkness, eyes blazing with an unholy glow as they locked onto the trembling girl. Great metal wings and chains framed its already imposing armoured silhouette and it held an impossibly large scythe in its massive hands. This was so familiar, and yet. . That mask. That white mask filled her with more fear than anything, even as the creature pulled the scythe back, preparing a flesh-rending blow. She closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

WHUMP!

Lyra bolted upright in her bed and cried out in the dim light of the room, illuminated only by the moonlight through her window. A layer of sweat coated her skin, soaking her bandages and the sheets beneath her and all at once came the sharp pain of her wounds, protesting the sudden movement. That certainly woke her up. She clutched her chest, panting softly as she worked through the throbbing ache shooting through her body. A shiver ran through her body and she looked around the room as her vision adjusted. She relaxed, her mind returning to her; she was still in her bed at the doctor's clinic.

"Thank Avo. ." She muttered softly to herself, running a hand over her hair, now plaited into a thick, heavy braid to keep it from tangling. It had only been that dream again. Except. . this time it had been different. Her fingers groped around for her blanket for a few moments, searching for some small comfort as she recovered. She sighed, figuring she must have thrown it off at some point. Her brown eye glanced down to the floor and she gasped. Something-- no-- someone was moving. She blinked a few times, unsure if she was still dreaming or not, and quickly became aware of breathing that most certainly wasn't her own. Tentatively, she shifted herself into a sitting position, her legs hanging over the bed as she reached down to gently pull the blanket off of the mysterious groaning lump on the floor.

"I-- Hello?"

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There came another low groan the man beneath the pile of blankets on the floor. He moved, trying to lift himself to his feet, only to fall back down after only getting a few inches off of the ground. He huffed, scowling in the darkness as he raised amber eyes to take in the scared visage that hovered above him.

"... Hi."


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