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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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Super Duper Angst Meme (Injury Edition)
Send me a ➴  and I will generate a number between 1 and 100 for what my muse will say to yours.
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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As the pair stepped through the newly-revealed gateway, Lyra found herself once more shielding her face from an unexpected brightness. A pleasant smell and a feeling of unbelievable calm washed over her, as well as a healthy helping of chills as they stepped into such a magical environment. What she saw as her eye adjusted to the new surroundings caught her. . Off guard, to say the least.

What had moments ago been a dark and altogether foreboding atmosphere had quickly become something that could have been straight out of a children's picture book. Her eye caught sight of flashes of colour and she watched as blue jays and butterflies danced through the air around them. She was unable to help the smile that made its way across her face; even as exhausted as she was, it was hard not to feel a sense of joy here. She giggled softly as one of the dainty and colourful insects alighted on her forehead and found herself taking care not to trample the flowers beneath their feet. It was, after all, bad luck to destroy bluebells.

"No evil can find us here. We're safe as long as he remain here." The brown-eyed woman looked up at Xiro, quite pleased to see him looking so invigorated. There was a light in his eyes now that she hadn't seen before, and she couldn't help but notice that he even stood up a little straighter. Avo, he was tall. "I think I should like to linger here a while, even after I get what I came for. This place is... soothing. Now, to the matter at hand. .

He stepped forward then, and Lyra watched on as the awful brands glowed brilliantly before being drawn from his body as venom was drawn from a wound. She couldn't contain her happiness, thankful to see that all they'd gone through since their escape hadn't been for nothing, that she'd been able to help him free himself of such a burden. She felt a tickling on her skin then and jumped slightly as she looked down at herself. What had once been a few had grown to large clusters of  butterflies, all clinging to her in all their brilliant colours, with a pretty orange fritillary quickly joining the others as it settled on her nose.

"Er. . a little help?" She managed to squeak out, not wanting to move too much for fear of hurting the fragile little things.

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"Hm?"

He turned and looked up, and his expression went from curious to surprise in half a second, and in half another, he was laughing, his nose wrinkling as he doubled over. No sound but a soft wheezing came from him, save for a snort or two when he tried to catch his breath, and he had to cover his mouth as more snorts came, as well has hold his stomach when it began to feel as though he was going to rip a seam. Eventually, he regained his composure enough to wipe the tears from his eyes as his silent laughter diminished into light giggles.

"Made a few friends, have we?" he asked, fighting the smile that tried to reclaim his face, barely resisting the urge to dissolve into laughter again. "I see you're quite popular!"


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Lyra's brows shot up and her face quickly began to burn with embarrassment, her cheeks rivaling the red of her hair as she looked up at her companion helplessly. It seemed the only way to make him laugh all involved it being at her expense! Her cheeks puffed and she lightly blew away the spangled fritillary perched on her nose.

"Yes, well," She began with a huff, attempting to shoo some of her newfound friends away with little success, "I'm pleased to see you're so amused. Now, if you don't mind?" She gestured vaguely to herself, not really sure how she felt about this situation. She certainly hadn't expected this, of all things, when she'd set off to go adventuring with the strange man before her.

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Still laughing, he nodded, coming over to shoo away the insects with a few waves of his hand. They seemed to dislike him immensely, for they were quick to take their leave after he got too close. Once she was free of the little things, he attempted to swallow his grin and gave a cough. 

"Ahem... Anyway, I don't think they'll be back any time soon. Shall we sit and chat for a bit? We may as well. I'm sure you've plenty of questions buzzing about in that head of yours, and we both could use the rest." Without waiting for a reply from her, he sat himself down among the bluebells, 'ringing' the nearest blossoms absentmindedly. "I can't promise you that I'll answer all of your questions, but I'll do what I can to satisfy your curiosity." She deserved some answers, after all.


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Relief filled the red-haired woman as she watched her little friends take their leave, and she breathed an utterance of thanks to her companion as she brushed herself off. "Goodness, this really is like something out of a faerie story. ." She muttered.

She fixed the man with a look as he sat down and carefully followed his example, again being careful not to crush any of the pretty blue flowers. It never hurt to take a little stock in superstitions, especially when magic was so quickly coming back into the world. "I can't promise you that I'll answer all of your questions, but I'll do what I can to satisfy your curiosity."

Lyra wasn't exactly shocked by that admission, but any chance to pry more answers from her mysterious new friend was welcome to the curious scholar. She mulled over everything in her mind for a moment. Where to even begin with this one? "For starters," she said, her fingers toying idly with a blade of grass, "what was all that business back there with the Demon Door?"

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He gave her a tight-lipped smile. Ah, yes. Of course.

"As I said, 'Jack' was a name I used to go by, and it's a moniker many in my family have carried in the past. That Door was created and sealed by one of the 'Jacks' from many centuries ago. It's possible I look like him, or something, and that's why the Door seemed to recognize me." He shrugged. "Next question."


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For the briefest of moments Lyra's eyes narrowed as she looked up at Xiro, a near indiscernible twitch making itself known at the corners of her mouth as she noted how his lips tensed before he spoke. He was keeping something from her. Something big. She didn't like it, and it was really starting to rub her the wrong way; the woman didn't like being lied to at the best of times, and far too many strange things had happened since she met this man. She dropped it for the time being. Pressing matters would do nothing but cause him to tighten his hold on whatever it was that he kept so close.

"Alright. . What is it that the. ." she thought for a moment, trying to recall the name she'd been given earlier, "The Corruptor wants you so badly for? What could you have possibly done to gain the attention of such a great evil?"

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His expression changed then, becoming unreadable. "I killed someone he loved, and he wanted revenge..." He sighed, rubbing his upper arm with his right hand. "Look, I'd rather not... talk about that..." It was still too close to home, what had been done to him. He didn't want to linger on the subject for too long. "Just... believe me when I say that I probably deserved it... at first. But..." He shuddered. "Not like this. No one deserves this."


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Lyra was quiet then, her eye wide and lingering on the brown-haired man as she looked up at him. That. . Hadn't been the answer she'd expected.

"I'm sorry, I. ." She looked down and sighed, biting her lip as her fingers gently caressed a cluster of heather flowers. Avo, she really was too nosy. But at least she'd gotten one straight answer out of him. That was something. "That is, I didn't mean to. ."



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Thu Dec 17, 2015 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total

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He shook his head, sighing. "It's fine. I offered to give you answers. I can't very well be cross with you for asking questions. Not without coming across as a total ass, anyway." A ghost of a smile appeared upon his careworn face, and then it was gone again, as though it had never been. "You can keep going. I don't mind. If I don't want to answer something, I'll just let you know." It was better than outright lying to her again, anyway. 

It was strange that he should feel such guilt over lying to protect himself. He'd been doing it for so long, and it had never really bothered him before. Perhaps it was because this woman was so genuine in her wish to help him, because she had proven to be a great ally, that he felt that he should at least attempt to be honest with her. Also, he doubted that she would be easily fooled, anyway. She was incredibly intelligent, and he knew she'd caught on to his first falsehood, and there was no doubt she'd bring it up again later. He wasn't planning on making the same mistake twice.


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Lyra was quiet a moment, not sure what exactly to follow up with after such a startling confession from her mysterious companion. Part of her wanted to know more about the story behind what had happened, but surely that would be a tactless thing to ask about. Her gaze shifted from a handsome blue jay she'd idly been watching and settled back on her tall friend.

Friend. is that what he was now? They'd only known each other for not even a day, and yet. . She felt a strange feeling of kinship with this man. It was certainly odd, to say the least.

"No, I think I've pestered you enough for now." She sighed, resting her chin on her hand. She wasn't keen on continuing after making him so obviously uncomfortable. "What about you? Are there any more questions you'd like to ask me?

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He shook his head. She was pretty much an open book, and he figured any questions he might have had would be answered through simple observation. And whatever he could not learn by watching her, she would likely tell him, assuming she ever came to trust him enough to do so. "I can be patient," he said, smiling slightly. "You're not too mysterious for a woman who runs about in a mask pummeling bandits and ne'er-do-wells. I, on the other hand, wear no mask and yet have so much to hide..." He trailed off, rubbing the back of his neck, his brow pinching. "Forgive me for my guarded behavior... I just... I'm not sure who I can trust."


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"You're not too mysterious for a woman who runs about in a mask pummeling bandits and ne'er-do-wells."

Lyra chuckled at that, a small smile breaking through once more. "True enough," she replied. The irony wasn't lost on her, after all; one wouldn't expect someone who made a habit of travelling at night dressed in a black hood and a mask to be as averse to lying as she was.

"Forgive me for my guarded behavior... I just... I'm not sure who I can trust."

The red-haired woman nodded in understanding, sitting herself up a bit. "No, it's. ." She sighed again. "It's me who should be apologising, I think. You've been through an ordeal that I don't even think I can properly comprehend, and it's understandable that you wouldn't be willing to divulge information to someone who's little more than a stranger." She shot a sheepish look up at the man, running her fingers through loose locks of hair. "I've been accused of being too inquisitive more than once in my lifetime."

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"Well, as I've said. I'm certainly guilty of leaving a lot of questions unanswered. I can't really blame you for being curious." Even if it was causing him a bit of distress. "You ran off with someone you hardly knew, too. I dragged you into this mess of mine. I should offer up some answers, but..." He was afraid, he didn't know if he could trust her, he didn't know what she'd do when she found out the truth... A thousand and one reasons came to mind, but none of them were vocalized. Instead, he simply looked away and let his words trail off into nothing.

This place was so peaceful, so warm. But outside of this cozy corner of the world, trouble brewed, and he knew that he could not hide from it for long. It would find him, and it would take him if he did not find a way to stand up and fight back. There was a slim glimmer of hope. A small chance...

"I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate what you've done for me," he said finally, after several long moments of awkward silence. "You've saved me by helping me get here. Truly. I've no doubt I'd have ended up right back where I started if you hadn't decided to lend me your aid. But after this... After I heal, I must go my own way. I don't want to tangle you in this nasty web of mine any more than I already have. There is something that I must do for myself. Do you understand?"


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"What? But-- No, I want to help you!" Lyra's brows knitted in confusion as she sat herself up straight, her eye meeting his. He was just going to leave? Just like that? She had so much to ask of him still, and aside from that, she had just begun to hope that maybe he would perhaps grow to be a true friend one day.

"I. . ." Her shoulders slumped. Of course, it had been too good to be true. She was so desperate for companionship nowadays, it seemed that she'd jumped at the opportunity to befriend the first truly interesting person she'd come to know in a long while. But at least the day hadn't been a boring one. The words were out of her mouth before she had time to properly think them through:

"Will I see you again?"



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"I don't know," he answered honestly, casting his gaze downward as he pulled up blades of grass. "It's probably for the best if we didn't, assuming I even live to see any of this through... I'll be straight with you, Lyra... You won't like the answers to your questions. If you knew the truth, you wouldn't want anything to do with me. I'm nothing like you." He was the evil she was trying to keep at bay, after all. She was good and pure, and he was covered in the blood of his past. "I'm... I'm not a good person. I'm not a Hero, I'm..." A liar, a coward, and worse... "I'm everything no one wants to be. Why do you think I play my cards so close to the chest? I've got a lot to hide, and it's nothing good."

He was frustrated, angry, with himself, with everything. He hadn't expected for this font of emotion to come bubbling to the surface, nor the words that fell from his mouth like a waterfall. It was more than he should have said, probably--definitely--but he couldn't stop himself. There was so much that had built up over time, and much of it was simply hatred, be it for himself, his enemy, or his lot in life, and that hate had burned a whole inside of him so large and so painful that nothing could fill the void.

"And don't come looking for me," he said sternly, trying to do his best to get the spotlight off of that terrible wound. "Don't get any ideas about heroics. And if they come, you give them exactly what they want. You tell them everything that has happened between you and me, everything that I have told you. You tell them, and you live. You leave Albion, if you have to. Understand? I don't want you tangled up in this nasty web of mine. It'll get you killed or worse."


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Lyra pursed her lips, frustration and confusion building by the second. Everything Xiro said seemed to contradict itself; one second he was claiming to be some kind of awful monster, the next he was trying to. . What? Protect her? If he was as bad a person as he claimed, why would he care for her safety? Furthermore, why would he be telling her all this?

Honestly, this man was impossible.

"I'm not some fragile little flower, Xiro!" She stood, jaw fixed as she looked down at him, gesturing to the clothes she wore, damaged as they were. "I know I may not be in the state to make that a very convincing statement, but I've been looking after myself for a long time. I do what I do because I was tired of other people leaving to fight wars while I sat and waited! I. ." There was a hurt look in her eyes then as her mind turned to thoughts of her family; she shook them away before they could do her more pain. This wasn't fair.

"I'm not about to start that again."

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He rose to his feet too, his voice rising not out of anger, but simply to be heard, "You don't understand! I know you are capable--I'm not saying you aren't--but these creatures aren't bandits or balverines or trolls! This is something so much bigger than you can even comprehend! No one, human or Hero, can stand alone against them and live to tell the tale! None! You think the Crawler was bad? You haven't even seen bad yet! This is the man who defeated the Court of Blades, who ruled Albion for a thousand years, and now he's corrupted and evil and crueler than any villain before or since!"

His breath was coming in short, ragged gasps now, and his heart pounded in his chest, blood pulsing in his ears. Memories flooded him again, unbidden, and he tried to block them out by shaking his head, his fingers digging into his scalp as though he was trying to claw the thoughts from his very brain. "You don't understand what he is capable of! You don't--you can't know---"


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Lyra flinched slightly at the man's words. All she wanted to do was help him; why was that so much to ask? Yes, it was a great evil he faced-- if what he said was to be believed. But then, why was he so determined to fight all on his own?

She looked away from him, brows furrowed and sullen; she knew she was being childish, of course. A woman of her age shouldn't be acting like this, especially toward someone she barely knew, but her years of being left behind had grown so tiresome to her. She was so sick of being alone, of being helpless to do anything to truly make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

"You're right. I can't." The red-haired woman admitted after a few moments, her voice barely keeping level, face burning as she tried to keep herself from getting too emotional. "So let's just. . Let's just go." She turned then, storming off toward the vortex of the door's entrance. The beauty of their surroundings was lost to her in her frustration.

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An irritated growl escaped him as he wrung his hair in his hands in his frustration, pacing back and forth. She didn't understand. And how could she? She did not know true cruelty. She was naive and an idealist, too consumed by good to comprehend the evil that he faced. And he did a poor job of explaining his reasoning... He sighed, letting his hands fall back to his sides. He didn't know why he was so bothered by the way things went. He was successful; she would not follow him now. But he did not wish to leave things like this.

He turned to follow her out of the grove and into the dark, but stalled at the Door, steeling himself, his fingers wrapping around the pendant ocarina that rested upon his chest. He was braver now that he had some measure of defense, but the fear was still there, making him feel as though his heart would implode and his chest cave in upon itself. It took several deep breaths and a lot of coaxing, he managed to put one foot in front of the other and slip through the vortex. 

The warmth of the gardens left him and the chill of the ruins set in, causing him to shiver and wrap his arms around himself instinctively. But it was not darkness that greeted him on the other side of the portal. He froze. Several men grinned at him, carrying a variety of weapons. One held a single torch aloft, his hand gripping the back of a gagged Lyra's head by her hair, keeping her on her knees, her hands tied behind her back.

Oh.

"Ah, there's the second half of the delightful couple!" chuckled the man with the torch, whom Xiro guessed was the leader of the group of outlaws. "We've been waiting for you. Thank you for opening that pesky door for us. Now, we'll be taking that little bobble you found inside..."

A bandit he hadn't seen approached him from somewhere to his left, and he instinctively dodged away from him, his hand still wrapped around the charm that hung from his neck. "No!" he cried, and almost immediately felt a sharp, jarring pain betwixt his shoulder blades as another hidden man pushed him roughly to the ground. A spiked boot ground into his back, keeping him there, making him squirm in agony as his wounds were reopened. The necklace was taken from him easily, and brought to their leader.

"Some kind of pansy flute, sir," one of the lesser men sneered. "Don't look t' be worth much."

"Never judge a book by its cover, boys," the man in charge replied as he inspected the ocarina carefully. "See this here? This is made of ivory. Very rare stuff, very expensive. And it appears to be magic. What's it do?" He turned his attention back to Xiro with the question, his brows raised, his scarred face wearing an expression that was a mix of curiosity, triumph, and boredom. "Hm? You went through quite a lot of trouble to get it."

Xiro rolled his lips inward and said not a word.

"Oh, don't be like that. You're going to make things awfully difficult for yourself, and the little birdie here." He shook Lyra like a ragdoll then. "We were planning on making her sing, anyway, for what she did to our mates down in the Valley, but now you're just giving us reason to make it last that much longer."

Still, he said nothing.

The bandit leader sighed. "Well, if that's how it's gonna be, then that's how it's gonna be. Tie him up. Let's haul them out of here."


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If looks could have killed, every last one of the smug bastards keeping her bound in the darkness of the ruin would have been long dead.

Lyra had tried to put up a fight, she really had, but the bandits had the element of surprise and the luck of her previous injuries on on their side. The struggle was a short and painful one. She had briefly hoped her lack of the mask most knew Nightingale by would prevent them from catching on to who she was, but that was a hope quickly put down when the man in charge identified her. He was a smart one, that was for certain; likely a crime lord or a skilled highwayman judging by the state of his dress and how he spoke.

And to make matters even better, this group seemed to be affiliated with the one that was responsible for her being in this situation to begin with. Lovely.

She was quickly gagged, tied, and forced to her knees despite her body's protests, and she felt as the leader's fingers tangled themselves into the base of her now barely kept-together plait and roughly faced her toward the demon door's entrance as they waited for Xiro to follow her through. The bandits must have been watching them all this time; there was no other explanation for why they would have been so prepared. She felt sick to her stomach. How had so many things gone south so quickly?

Then, finally, Lyra watched as her companion emerged from the other side of the door. He must have been truly upset at her; several minutes had passed since she'd left the safety of the grove. There was a bitter guilt in her eyes; this was all her fault for being such a damned child! She could feel the man's fingers caressing her scalp as he spoke, gloating over her and Xiro as his men took the ocarina that he had rightfully claimed from the door. Her whole body was trembling in a silent rage, but there was nothing she could do about it. An unceremonious shake from the bandit leader brought her painfully out of her thoughts, and she felt him trace little circles into the back of her skull, clearly relishing every second of this. "We were planning on making her sing, anyway--" It took all her self control not to groan out loud, though she did manage a tired eyeroll despite the circumstances. Like she'd never heard that one before.

Before long, Xiro was bound in much the same way she was, and the two of them were being hoisted up and forced out to what Lyra could only assume was their hideout. Her wrists strained surreptitiously against her bonds as she trudged on, her body aching in just about every way possible. She wasn't so sure she was ready for the beating she was surely about to receive.



Last edited by ComicallyMacabre on Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Xiro could feel his wrists begin to burn again, could feel the pain begin to build, and rage and fear filled him. He would not allow them to take his chances of freedom away, not when he was finally starting to get somewhere, not now! He would have to come up with a plan, he surmised, and soon. Before Lyra was killed, or the pendant destroyed. 

He did not resist them as they hoisted him to his feet, nor did he fight them as they forced him to walk. It was useless at this point, anyway. All it would do was serve to make matters worse for them both, and they were weak enough as it was. 

They reached the surface in a matter of minutes, then were made to walk back to the ruins of the former capital city. The castle that had once been owned by the Mayor of Bowerstone now served as the bandits' head quarters, of course. They couldn't have resisted the urge to at least pretend to live in the lap of luxury. The door, of course, was gone, and about half of the wall, too. The marauders didn't even bother using what was supposed to be the proper entrance and just dragged their prisoners through the hole in the wall, then down a series of steps to a collection of giant, glowing blue rocks that had been, seemingly, untouched by time. They had bolted chains to them, to which they shackled both the Nightingale and her companion before untying their gags and stepping away to allow their leader room.

"Well, well, isn't this a pretty picture?" the man asked, smiling pleasantly at both of them as he twirled the stolen necklace 'round his finger while his other hand held a nasty looking baton. "Now, sir, if you'd be so kind as to tell me what this little piece of jewelry is capable of, we won't have to get violent. Or, at least, not any more violent than we were already planning on getting."

"No."

The man pouted, looking almost adorable as he bat his lashes. "Please?"

Xiro's jaw clenched and his hands balled into fists, his yellow eyes narrowed into a piercing glare. 
Torture:

"Aww, that's too bad." He brought the baton down hard on Lyra's knee, issuing a loud, awful cracking sound from it. "How about now?"


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"Aww, that's too bad."

Lyra's muscles tensed in the instant it took for their captor to strike out at her, preparing for the thrashing that came to her all too soon.

Torture:
She managed to contain a strangled cry as the man's billy club connected with her kneecap, and her hands balled themselves into fists, her knuckles white as her fingernails dug into her palms. There was a lingering ache radiating through her leg now, and she could practically feel the welt growing there. Still, Lyra kept herself calm and collected, a scathing glare of her own directing itself toward the man who was taking it upon himself to beat her.

The Nightingale wasn't going to show weakness. Not to these criminals, and especially not to Xiro; she didn't want him thinking any less of her than he likely already did. They needed a plan, but. . She was loathe to admit to herself that she didn't see a way out of this one.

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Xiro admired his half-blind friend's resilience, but it would mean nothing if they died here. Before long, they'd kill her and turn their sites onto him. He had to think of a plan, and fast.

"Well?" their tormentor urged, lazily twirling the club. "I'm waiting."

"And you'll be waiting until the end of time," Xiro responded. "You don't scare me."

The man sighed, then struck Lyra another two times, once at her side, another at her temple. "And here I thought you cared for her. You're not a very good boyfriend, are you?" He tutted, shaking his head. "Poor little Nightingale. No one loves you."


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Torture:
The next two strikes were a great deal less bearable, and the Nightingale couldn't help but let out a cry this time. The first blow connected painfully with what had already been a tender place, and she felt what must have been another set of stitches tear beneath her bandages, as well as a rather unpleasant cracking beneath her skin. She had little time to recover before the second.

There was a burst of white stars behind her eyes-- both of them-- as the cold instrument collided with her temple. Lyra was vaguely aware of a warmth cascading down the side of her face, but it was hard to concentrate on anything other than the ringing in her ears, the lightheadedness. Her body buckled for a moment, her breathing shallow and labored as she did what she could to right herself.  She could hear what sounded like laughter or cheering somewhere, though it sounded more distant than it ought to have, and she stood herself up again, proud and defiant even as she struggled to focus her already lacking eyesight on the figure before her.

"You're not a very good boyfriend, are you? Poor little Nightingale. No one loves you."

In any other situation, the red-haired woman would have been a stammering mess at the prospect of being mistaken for a near-stranger's lover, but it mostly struck her as funny right now considering she couldn't even get him to stick around long enough to get to know him as a friend. She found herself chuckling softly, the sound strained and raspy as a pain in her ribs hit her.

"You can c'mup with better insults than that, can't you?" She managed, tasting something metallic on her lips as she spoke .

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