| Why They Wander into the Woods |

/ By ink- [+Watch]

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[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/7d/4f/cc/7d4fcc935b1455e54f7ec0184a551fc7.jpg]]

[size14 [font "Times" Nathan wasn't one for interrupting, but his eyes blew wide at Christopher's accusation. It was a moment before they narrowed, "[#00CCFF I said no such thing,]" he retorted. "[#00CCFF You would remember, I said it would be if you went [i alone].]" His face was cold. So, Father Merlot wasn't listening to him at all. He was so wound up in his own head that he was only being reactionary to Nathaniel calling him out.

However, the rest struck him speechless. Nathaniel's face was for the majority relatively smooth, as usual, but a crease was forming in between his brows as he listened to Christopher explain his helplessness.

Well.

That certainly put a damper on his reliance on holy support if things turned out the way he feared they may regarding this plague...

Nathan's lips pursed, trying to draw on what knowledge he still had in him to remember what to do. It had been years since he had hunted or done an investigation. And this town hardly had the library that the Hackett estate had... and neither did the church here.

"[#00CCFF Hm. I see...]" the man trailed off, eyes following as he thought, crossing towards the door. But Christopher's arm coming out to stop him made his eyes snap towards the man, features twitching with threat. Don't touch him.

"[#00CCFF No,]" Nathan responded in a flat, inarguable tone, moving to push Merlot's attempt at obstructing him out of his way, face frustrated. He was in [i no] mood for this self-sacrifice and was about to say so when the priest continued, mercifully, and Nathan just tightened his jaw and stood still, holding eye contact with the mousy little man as he scurried away.

Hissing, the man paced across the room, flexing his hands. Christopher reminded him of Zachary in all the worst ways at times. It took cajoling and pressure and mess in order to get him to act, too; more willing to try and avoid something. Reactionary. Unless he was dashing after Anna at the expense of everything they were working for, whoring himself out for her more willingly than himself. As if it mattered anymore. Perhaps that was what had frustrated Nathan the most, realizing this was a familiar situation.

He turned when he heard footsteps down the hallway and noted the two of the cloth returning. His eyes followed the nun curiously before turning towards her, "[#00CCFF Sister Nancy?]" he drew her attention, explaining to make note of any change in Mrs. Cannes' condition for him and went to his bag, pressing a little item into her hand. "[#00CCFF Keep this. I have a theory about what's going on, and this may help keep her from you.]"

When she opened her hand, it was a small, crystalline geometric piece of stone that looked like a piece of petrified, slightly oil-slick luminescent stone.

He then pulled away with a nod, switching his gaze to Merlot who seemed now to be holding his gaze. Nathan sighed through his nose- so now it was a contest, was it? And gathered his bag, taking it along with him.

"[#00CCFF I will take my coat from my rooms before we go,]" he said as they passed out of the room, taking the lead.

Walking was relatively silent, and short, as the distance on foot from the church to the mortuary only down the road and a few over. Once there, Nathan pushed the door open and swept inside. In his quarters now, he passed the body he was preparing in the back and quickly covered it, locking the door behind himself. If Nathan wasn't looking at Christopher before, he wasn't now as he dropped what looked to be a satchel by the man. It had a five pointed star on it seated within a ring that was marked with sigils on it perimeter.

Disappearing again, Nathan had to mount the stairs to the second floor, his private apartment, and went to the wardrobe.

When he appeared downstairs, Nathaniel had donned a coat. It was hardly the black or the dark blue one that the man was often seen wearing. This one was a heavy, long what looked to be either oiled canvas or potentially leather and closed up his throat , and black. His eyes were removed from the priest, knowing those eyes were on him for the change in attire, or perhaps they weren't. Perhaps he was still staring at him in that competitive, stalwart way, or he was looking for some form of response, assurance, something.

"[#00CCFF I'm ready now,]" he said colorlessly, looking to Christopher.
  Tweedy / 1y 200d 6h 44m 26s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" Saying he was caught off guard was an understatement. Nathan had already said it would be suicide to find them, and now he was yelling at Christopher for not doing it...

He flinched, forgetting about avoiding Nathan's gaze as he looked back in shock, feeling pain rise in his chest. [b [#483D8B "I didn't [i leave] her! You were the one that said it would be a suicide mission!"]]

It only took the next lines of Nathan's scolding him to get Father Merlot to clench his fists and feel panicked anger rise in his chest. [b [#483D8B "I'm not- I didn't-"]] He could barely get any words out before Nathan was continuing, calling him on his faith, questioning it, making Christopher question himself, for he knew he was no longer the pure man of god he used to be. [b [#483D8B "I am not [i hiding]!"]] His voice rose, but he was trying to hold back. He was trying to calm down.

But there was only so much he could hold back. [b [#483D8B "I'm not a [i pillar] of anything!"]] He was trembling now, nails digging into his clenched fists. [b [#483D8B "I'm only a [i man], Nathan! And look at how far my preaching has gotten me, they're not rallying together! They're hiding! Cowering in their homes, trying to escape town!"]]

The next words made him shut up for a moment- cutting him deeper than the rest. He used to be who was called for when people needed an exorcism. He was the best for it. And now look at him. His hands trembled in panic and anger and his eyes clenched closed. And he ignored [i everything else Nathan said]. [b [#483D8B "I [i can't]! At most I could [i bless] her but what good does that truly do?! I know, okay?! I don't need [i you] to tell me I'm sitting idly by! I have the scriptures memorized! I've done it countless times before, [i BUT ALL IT WOULD ACCOMPLISH WOULD BE PUTTING THE NAIL IN HER COFFIN!"]]] He looked up, trembling, tears streaming down his face as he glared at Nathan. [b [#483D8B "I don't need [i you] to remind me what I can't do! They sent me here so I'd never have to do another one! I can't [i do] them anymore, Nathan!"]] His voice broke, and he clenched his eyes again. [b [#483D8B "I can't do them anymore...not when they keep dying... They sent me here because I was useless. They sent me here because every exorcism I've done has ended in tragedy. This was supposed to be safe- I know I'm useless...I don't need you to remind me."]]

He put a hand in front of Nathan, stopping him from leaving. [b [#483D8B "You know it would be suicide, Nathan. I'll gather one of the sisters and go. I know Sister Nancy was cleaning the attic today, but someone must stay with Mrs. Cannes, and you have the most medical knowledge."]]

Screw his damned self, screw penance, Nathan was right. There was an illness they didn't understand. He could not sit idly by. He had to at least do what he could. [b [#483D8B "I'll be fine. I'll bring them back. Just...stay with the widow."]] he allowed himself a single glance at Nathan, wiped his tears away, and then paused. [b [#483D8B "Or...Sister Nancy can watch Mrs. Cannes. So far, both of us have the most experience with this, even if it's not much. We might stand a better chance together."]]

Screw hell. He needed Nathan in order to solve this, and he couldn't be idle anymore. If he could not exorcise her, he could at least find her children. [b [#483D8B "I will retrieve her, give me a moment."]] He pushed past Nathan to go up to the attic, lightly clearing his throat to get the nuns attention. [b [#87CEFA "Yes, Father Merlot?"]] She asked as she turned around and set a box down. [b [#87CEFA "I heard you calling for the doctor earlier, is everything alright?"]]

He couldn't lie to her, but he couldn't tell the truth either. [b [#483D8B "With luck, it will be. Mrs. Cannes is downstairs, I need you to watch after her while me and Nathaniel retrieve her children."]]

[b [#87CEFA "Oh...oh, dear. She didn't catch [i it], did she?"]] Christopher looked away, and Nancy Smith knew the answer. [b [#87CEFA "Alright, Father Merlot. I will head down now."]]

She entered the room with Nathan in it, nodding but keeping her head down until she passed him and sat next to the woman.

Father Merlot took a moment to follow behind her, stopping into his room to grab a...safety measure. Just in case. And grabbed some holy water, and salt, in hopes that it would help protect them. Only then did he come back to Nathan, not avoiding eye contact but forcing himself to keep it...un-soft. He didn't want to make it worse, but penance wasn't going to cure this. He had tried. Perhaps if he could stop this, however, God would go easy on him when he was judged.]]]
  Merlot / indulgence- / 1y 215d 8h 30m 1s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/7d/4f/cc/7d4fcc935b1455e54f7ec0184a551fc7.jpg]]
[size14 [font "Times" Nathan stared at Christopher's sudden change in tone. He didn't want to go look for the children? He was stunned at the man's ease at abandoning them, at condemning them even if the odds weren't in their favor at even finding them. Without even trying. He was the one who had suggested it. It wouldn't have occurred to Nathan to look, but now he felt a tightness in his chest seize him and take his senses hostage. Nathan's eyes were hard on him, confused, taken aback by the sudden refusal, and it took him a moment to gather his thoughts.

"[#00CCFF Are you just going to leave them?]" he finally managed to say, incredulity lacing his tone and bridging dangerously close to accusation. He saw the shaken look in the man's eye as he turned to Nathan. "[#00CCFF Did you leave Sister Patrice as well?]"

"[#00CCFF They're [i children],]" Nathan breathed, shaking his head. "[#00CCFF Don't you care? They need you, you are a pillar of the community.]" he gestured at Christopher. "[#00CCFF They would pray to [i you] before they would god with how young they are. Too little to be indoctrinated like the rest; they see your face in His place. Will you abandon them?]"

His eyes distanced for a moment, twisting into disbelief as he looked at Christopher. Abandoned to the forest, to the monstrous world. Left because they were believed already gone. Nathan's lip curled, remembering what that felt like. In his eyes lit an energy that suddenly flared up from behind the shock.

"[#00CCFF You of all people, a man of god, aren't you? Aren't you supposed to be full of scripture, leading them, giving the people hope, direction in this time of crisis?]" Be it true or not. Be they dead words to Nathan. "[#00CCFF And yet you [i hide] and let them discover their dead alone. You stand there whimpering and shying from them, like they're the monsters.]"

Nathan's eyes traveled over him, recalling Father Crimmage's face. His steely brow, his condemnation. Nathan remembered believing him, believing lies, but [i being] led. And in Father Merlot's now all he saw was weakness. "[#00CCFF You're supposed to be a moral pillar of the community, aren't you? Telling them to work together, to love, to- to believe in something?]"

It was bringing him back to his village, images of portly men from the city, looming behind pulpits and pointing fingers at townspeople below them. Upon him. Condemning him after all he had done for them, all the blood on his hands. Anger and pain flashed in Nathan's eyes, trying to focus on the now, not then. But it was all squishing together, it was all coming out and he couldn't stop it. He had bottled it away so long it was all coming out now.

"[#00CCFF I have seen you preach action, activity and faith in the square,]" Nathan said, shaking his head, flexing his hands. He didn't understand.

It was insulting that [i he] was the one that kept being handed these fatalistic half-solutions from the priest, not the other way around. After all the church did to him and his family he was the one working; he had for years, actually solving the problems that the church ignored. And once he had moved, thinking perhaps those years were over, leaving Zachary and the remnants of Morvale he was back in it.

He knew they didn't understand, the church, and he still had much to learn about the situation, but it would at least be able to rally people to do [i something]. And yet, after all this time, after all they took from him it was still the faithless Nathan being the one who was about to go and save these stupid, god-fearing people. it would be he who would rally them behind him again, if there were any left by the time he managed to investigate properly.

Nathan now paced, pushing a hand over his face. He had to calm down. He had to be reasonable. His fingers pushed through his hair, letting out a sigh. He had to stay under control. But this- his thughts were already racing.

Nathan turned back to Christopher. "[#00CCFF Aren't you supposed to be the one with the power to cleanse this? Were you not taught your script, your Latin, your [i magic]?]" Nathan was almost begging now, confused. He had no conviction in him, this priest. There were almost no bones in Christopher. "[#00CCFF You keep [i saying] so. I've yet to see you give one thing more than a suggestion to me of your action. You [i could] bless, you [i could] exorcise, you [i could] do anything to help these people and yet all I see if you [i cower] like an apprentice boy.]"

He actually missed Zachary now. He at least would have been working alongside him in this. Looking at Merlot, was he wrong to expect his support? Nathan barely knew him. Perhaps he was arrogant to assume.

His tone harshened, as did his expression. The raven haired man's eyes flashed, literal and real; flickering for a moment in their depths an amber gold as he bared his teeth in anger. Nathan shook his head, "[#00CCFF 'Men of god',]" he sneered. "[#00CCFF are men of inaction and negligence, hypocrisy and superstition, all of you.]"

He turned, moving over to his open doctor's kit as his hands passed behind himself to untie his apron. "[#00CCFF I'll be cleaning up the church's mess just like I have been for [i ten years].]" he hissed, more to himself this time, frustration painting his pale face flushed. It was a good thing he still had his kit at the mortuary.

"[#00CCFF You watch Mrs. Cannes,]" he spat, balling the item up and tossing it into the leather bag. "[#00CCFF At least do that for me.]"

He then let his sleeves down from where he had shoved them up, buttoning the cuffs. "[#00CCFF I will go into the forest and see if I can find them myself, and bring them back. And then I will write my company and send for them.]"
  Tweedy / 1y 221d 5h 52m 56s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" He felt dread. Anxiety bubbled up in his stomach and Father Merlot tried to keep his eyes off of Mrs. Cannes, off of Nathan- but his eyes wandered between both as Nathan spoke. This [i was] much better than he being dead, but he still found himself wishing for anything else right now. Wishing for wine. Wishing for time for penance.

But for now, having someone to study was enough. He just wished for time. Time to figure shit out. Time to study her. Luck to figure it out.


[b [#483D8B "Yes...I'm sure she does."]] He eyed the woman, eyeing her body, taking in the look of her eyes. She didn't look much different than the corpses they'd found. He felt he was staring at death as he looked at her, and he almost got lost in his stares.

He was really only brought out of his distraction by a demand to see his arm. He instictively pulled into himself defensively, turning away slightly. [b [#483D8B "I am fine, don't worry. Mrs. Cannes should be your focus right now."]]

He froze when called his first name, however, caught off gaurd, and it gave Nathan the perfect chance to grab Father Merlot's arm. And then he froze [i more], staring tensely at where Nathan's hand made contact with his sleeve, then his skin.

His mind wandered into corners it couldn't be and he dragged himself out of it with thoughts of death, thoughts of loss, thoughts of losing a loved one. For a moment, Nathan wasn't a comfort: he was a sign of Christopher's damnnation.

He needed to do penance. It didn't matter that Nathan was here, he needed to do penance. Beg for fogiveness. God forgive him, this was surely his fault. All of this started when his mind turned into those soft places. He should have ignored them better, he new it was a sin.

When Nathan realeased his arm, he released a breath he didn't even know he was holding. [b [#483D8B "...Okay."]] His response was deflated. His mind was wondering. He needed to purge this warmth in his stomach, kill the burning butterflies, because surely they were a sign from hell. And god, he hated people worrying about him anyway.

He glanced down, barely listening. He needed to find the kids somehow, he was sure he could handle it. And perhaps if he went into the forest anyway, and died, the curse would stop. After all, he was sure he was the cause-

He listened to the next response more, and sighed. [b [#483D8B "I suppose all we can truly do, is hope they leave. Eventually the search party will gather all the bodies they can find..."]] He almost glanced at Nathan, but stopped himself and looked away again. [b [#483D8B "Let us hope the children are not among them."]]

He paused, eyeing the floorboard, tracing a certain wine stain in the wood. It tempted him more than it should have.

[b [#483D8B "Do you need help with anything else, Nathan? I'm afraid I...have a few things in the church I need to do-"]] All of which included future scars. After all, flogging himself until he bled wasn't necessarily going to leave his back in pristine condition, but for the penance...he'd do it for the penance. He knew he was full of sin. He knew he deserved it. [b [#483D8B "But I can put them on hold, should you still need me."]] He still couldn't allow himself even a glance.]]
  Merlot / indulgence- / 1y 221d 7h 16m 21s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/54/3a/35/543a359e5216277a705047c8e50017d1.jpg]]
[size14 [font "Times" Nathan's brows arched that she could not see, his hands coming out to immediately examine the woman, but he stayed his hand for now, especially as Father Merlot continued speaking with her. She was in a delicate condition and it was best, especially if she couldn't see, not to come at her for now. He had wondered at the cloudiness of the eyes- but then again, he rarely ever had the chance to look at a body living, let alone intact enough to observe all of its tells around decay and destruction of course. But there was no hiding the interest in his gaze as he listened to the exchange.

He got down on a knee next to her, laying his fingers across the woman's pulse point at her throat. "[i Just me, Mrs. Cannes,]" Nathan said softly as he took his watch out by the chain and timed her pulse. The man's brows pushed together again, watching the minute tick by. His lips pursed, taking out a pen and pad from his pocket and jotting it down, and a few other notes.

With that the items were set aside again and he reached forwards, introducing everything he was about to do again in as soothing a voice as he could muster now. A pad of his finger raised her eyelid, soothing her as she startled at his touch, telling her she was fine, just fine. Pupils near covered with cloud, how interesting. A sign of decay, usually, like this. It wasn't a cataract visibly for what he could tell; it wasn't white. The pale pallor, the lack of air in the blood. His frown deepened, humming in his throat.

Was this... undeath?

It could be... That would explain the hunger, he had seen shambling creatures like this. Sick and sad, and suddenly wild dogs, tearing at the nearest warm body within reach. Sinking in and out of sanity. It was all so familiar. He remembered...

Anxiety pulled tremors into his touch as he then went to the woman's ashen mouth, pushing up her upper lip and peeking at her gums, seeking, seeking... what? No slits, no fangs that he could see. So. Was this [i just] undeath?

He was barely listening to Christopher. "[#00CCFF Catatonic and intact for observation is better than missing in the woods,]" he responded in a curt tone. He was thinking, he was [i thinking] Christopher. It was hard to differentiate his own thoughts from the man's voice and he didn't want to lose them. He didn't want to lose his train of thinking.

Nathan's fingers pushed through his hair, writing this down, and then turned to the priest, "[#00CCFF It's a start,]" he said, looking up at him. "[#00CCFF there have been no extant victims to observe. I believe Mrs. Cannes has many secrets for us.]"

Blood? He blinked. Blood. [i Arm.] "[#00CCFF I need to see your arm.]" he said, not in an arguable tone, putting a hand out for it; but was met with resistance.

"[#00CCFF [i Christopher], this is no time to be [i modest]!]" he hissed, advancing on him and taking his arm in his, wrenching up the man's sleeve to see a blue and purple half moon of teeth. No broken skin that he could see, no blood... His eyes, wide, searched over the bite, turning his arm. Nothing that showed any sign of irritation, or infection. A breath escaped him in relief.

Nathan's light eyes flicked to Christopher's. "[#00CCFF I will need to observe you, as well, you understand. We don't yet- completely know what we are facing.]" He released his arm and sleeve, nodding his head in a sort of an apology that was mostly half-hearted. Usually he wouold advocate for the lack of touch in a plague situation, but he the doctor needed to see his patient, and being difficult would mean rough treatment in the interest of the whole.

"[#00CCFF You can't go alone,]" he said. "[#00CCFF That's suicide, certainly. Why don't we gather- why don't we get-]"

Nathan couldn't finish his thought again, derailed by Christopher speaking over him and pushed a breath out, eyes twitching away. "[#00CCFF I don't know, I haven't seen the family,]" he explained, words rushed. "[#00CCFF Not since their eldest was ill two summers ago.]"
  Tweedy / 1y 222d 10h 57m 35s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" His first thought was [i Oh, dear.] She was coming off it. He didn't know what to expect. If she would be alright, or if she would go to ripping at her throat, or theirs- He glanced over at Nathan, eyes lingering on his face, taking it in as if it would be the last time he saw it. There was no telling in this town anymore, when would be the last time he saw someone. There was no pattern that he'd been able to spot, so far, just bodies piling up in the woods, and closed casket funerals.

He glanced back when she asked where she was. He stared at her in worry as Nathan replied. Her eyes seemed to drift, still grey, still kind of unfocused. But...more there than they were earlier.

[b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes."]] He moves in front of her eyes, and they found their way to his eyes. [b [#483D8B "How are you feeling?"]] He repeated the unanswered question. [b [#5F9EA0 "Where am I?"]] He narrowed his eyes at her, eyeing her up and down in concern. [b [#483D8B "The church."]]

[b [#5F9EA0 "Can you turn the lights on?"]] He glanced over. [b [#483D8B "They are lit, Ma'am."]] [b [#5F9EA0 "But I can't see a thing. Are you sure, Father?"]]

He paused, glancing down at her in intense worry. But also relief. She was speaking to him. [b [#483D8B "Positive, Mrs. Cannes."]] He paused again, then glanced at the doctor. [b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes, I've the doctor here. Would you let him talk to you about what was going on?"]] he went to grab a notebook and quill, ready to take notes of need be. He wanted to aid as much as he could, in this.

Especially if it was his fault. God, he felt punished. His eyes should not have lingered. Their lips should have never been so close, hand never should have been on his robes. This was his fault. This trail of death was following him. He crossed himself, and waited for the woman to speak. [b [#5F9EA0 "What was going on? I don't... Where was I last? I remember being in the kitchen cooking and...how did I get here?"]]

Could she really not recall? [b [#483D8B "You left town recently, didn't you Mrs. Cannes?"]]

She paused, seeming to think it over. [b [#5F9EA0 "Yes, I took the kids and...um...what was I saying?"]] [b [#483D8B "You took your children?"]] [b [#5F9EA0 "Yes, I took them and then when I came back I told them to wait in the woods for me-"]]

He dropped the notebook. He suddenly felt sick. [b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes I-"]] [b [#5F9EA0 "I need to get back to my children!"]] He flinched. Her voice was doing it again. It didn't sound quite like her. But she made no effort to move. Just...spoke and gripped at the blankets.

[b [#5F9EA0 "I need to get to them! We need to go in deeper! I told them I would come with them!"]] Merlot stood, rushing to her bedside. [b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes why did you take your children into the woods? What were you thinking?"]] [b [#5F9EA0 "It calls me so loudly!"]] he grabbed her in a panic. [b [#483D8B "What does?! What calls you?!"]]

She bit him, tried to rip flesh, and he yanked his arms away. And then she fell into quiet mumbling again, incomprehensible. He remained where he was, shaking mildly, near tense, but he brushed it off. [b [#483D8B "Well,"]] He started, [b [#483D8B "She's not running. Yet, at least. And at least we got some information out of here before she..."]] He eyed the woman with sadness. [b [#483D8B "Went back to that..."]]

Stay on the positive. It'd make the pain fade a bit. He glanced at Nathan, but wouldn't allow his eyes to linger. He was being punished enough. [b [#483D8B "Her blood still worries me, Nathan. Is there some sort of test you can run on it?"]]

He frowned again, thinking of what she said. [b [#483D8B "Should I...try and find her children, Nathan? Do you...think they stand a chance? Maybe they're still alive...it's possible, right?"]] It was unlikely.

And despite everything, Nathan was a comfort. [b [#483D8B "I could...take some holy water. My rosary. I'm not showing any signs, and I could fend off the ones who-"]] He didn't finish it. He knew Nathan had seen the bodies torn up. [b [#483D8B "I could make it back..."]]

The forest didn't call him, as it did the others. But the wine did, and the cheese and bread, and then the gun he kept hidden in his bed chamber.

And the bites of Mrs. Cannes, that he was avoiding letting to doctor check. [b [#483D8B "Were the children showing any symptoms? Do you know?"]]]]
  indulgence- / 1y 230d 7h 18s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/54/3a/35/543a359e5216277a705047c8e50017d1.jpg]]

[size14 [font "Times" Nathan's brows drew together at Father Merlot's saturated pessimism, glancing up at him. Had he no faith? What a question to ask. This was a terrible time to be critical. But. It was disheartening, to say the least, that even he sounded like he had no hope. Had she been showing signs?

"[#00CCFF Thank you,]" he responded with a glance at Merlot. He wouldn't look at him. Nathan felt himself bristle slightly. He knew he was imposing, but in this big empty church, nothing else was going on other than amassing in prayer. It was hardly the stronghold of goodness and protection people thought it was. If he had another option, Nathan would be out of his hair. But for now he had to swallow it, whatever Merlot's opinion of him.

Nathan nodded to the father again, thanking him again as the man of the cloth swept out of the room and down the hallway. Once alone, he sighed. "[#00CCFF Oh, Mrs. Cannes, if only you had come down ill closer to home.]" he said, dabbing a little at her forehead.

When Father Merlot appeared again, Nathan had arisen, pacing quietly to keep himself busy as he started formulating his letters in his mind. He would request Merlot watch her later and then write. But he must do it soon. They [i needed] the help. His forehead was leaned in the crook of his index and thumb, leaned on an arm crossed over his body, and from that he looked up at Merlot, hair falling over his shoulder.

"[#00CCFF Never bored in this town,]" Nathan said, exhaling. "[#00CCFF I'm sorry to hear that.]"

The man nodded towards the still form of Mrs. Cannes, "[#00CCFF No change. She's been sleeping. I imagine the draught still has her down for now.]"

But his words were skirted by the sound of the woman beside him. It wasn't like she was comatose still, she still had a small amount of movement to her, so initially Nathan didn't put anything behind Father Merlot until he heard a bit of the woman's voice. That drew his attention down to her.

Nathan looked at her as sluggish eyes opened. She wouldn't be up and about for a little while, during which the draught worked out of her system. But she was mumbling in slurred speech, asking where she was.

"[#00CCFF Hello, Mrs. Cannes,]" Nathan greeted, leaning down a little towards her. "[#00CCFF You're in the church. You had a nasty spell while you were here earlier, and have been resting. How are you feeling?]"
  Tweedy / 1y 230d 7h 59m 44s
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[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" Father Merlot merely shook his head at his questions. She broke skin. He should really get it checked. They didn't know [i how] this spread. But...he just couldn't allow himself that. Especially when he knew Nathan's touch would likely be kind and-

He gulped. [b [#483D8B "Yes...sooner than later. I believe Sister Patrice was close to Mrs. Cannes, she will likely be able to do the job. Once she comes back from the market."]] He paused. [b [#483D8B "[i If] she comes back from the market."]]

He nodded at Nathan's response, avoiding glancing back as his head originally turned to do. [b [#483D8B "I will make up a room tonight, so you at least have somewhere to retire when you can."]]

An hour or less...god, that wasn't much time. [b [#483D8B "I will...see if I can find Sister Patrice, and be back shortly to bless her and lend a hand with watching her. But for now, feel free to find anything you need within the church."]]

And with that he hurried out.

Yes, he needed to find the nun. But he also needed air. Purge these thoughts out while they could, who knows when they'd find the time to do penance again. For now, he just needed air.

...But Sister Patrice was no longer picking up bread at the market. His eyes wandered up into the distance of the forest and his steps found it's way to the edge.

A discarded basket, and bread.

He crossed himself and turned around. He was no fool. He would not wander in after her. So he went back to the market, bought a loaf of bread and some cheese that looked appealing, and headed back to the church, and back to the doctor who had occupied his thoughts more than Father Merlot would like to admit. [b [#483D8B "You may have another body to prepare come morning, Nathaniel."]] He mumbled, voice heavy. [b [#483D8B "Should the wolves not get to her first."]]

[b [#483D8B "How is she doing? Any changes?]] He couldn't keep this up. He set the basket down and put his hands against a table, leaning over it and taking an inhale of breath to stabalize himself. [b [#483D8B "I will...have to find some other way to find her children. I'll have someone call for the mayor, I'm sure he has something in his records- he can handle it but I-"]]

Another deep breath. [b [#483D8B "I'm not sure how many more funeral rights I can give."]] He heard the blankets shift-

[b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes?"]] His gaze fell toward the woman.]]
  indulgence- / 1y 238d 6h 39m 0s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/54/3a/35/543a359e5216277a705047c8e50017d1.jpg]]

[size14 [font "Times" Nathan's head tilted to the side, frowning at the refusal. At a time like this, reserve wasn't a helpful emotion to possess. He dropped his arm at his side,"[#00CCFF Did she bleed on you at all? Bite you, anything?]" the doctor asked in place of pressing the issue.

His eyes returned to the man as he spoke about the children, feeling relief soften his features. Visibly, he sighed, shoulders loosening. Nathan nodded. "[#00CCFF Best do that sooner than later,]" he suggested, glancing at Mrs. Cannes. "[#00CCFF Who can you send to find out?]"

He nodded again at the man's thoughts aloud. "[#00CCFF Thank you,]" he responded. "[#00CCFF But this night, perhaps, I will stay with her. The affliction is in her now, active. And I wish to see its effects myself.]" Perhaps then he could root out whether or not it was an affliction like his own, or like he suspected otherwise. Or to stop her attempting to harm herself.

Nathan nodded again at Father Merlot's agreement. Half of himself stinged, howling at the fact that now it was certain. He had to write. He had to bring Armand into this mess after telling him to stay away, and he had to find Zachary and hope he would be swayed to assist.

"[#00CCFF Perhaps an hour, maybe less,]" the doctor responded, lifting the handkerchief from the injection site. She bled no more. Good. Her body was still healing. That was good.

"[#00CCFF You may bless her at your leisure,]" he said to Merlot again, inclining his head.

But his eyes remained on Mrs. Cannes, bringing the kerchief to himself and inhaling the scent of the blood. Acrid. But there was a hint of iron beneath. That too was promising. His eyes narrowed, bemused. What [i extra] was this then?
  Tweedy / 1y 238d 13h 3m 55s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" Yes, a good thing he stopped her. He let his eyes wander to the womans face, taking it in to remember in case she...she ended up like the others. If it was a closed casket, he wanted to remember who was in it.

He was brought out of that train of thought as the doctor asked to see his arm, though. He looked over with an expression of mild shock and worry, and then looked away, shaking his head. [b [#483D8B "It will be fine. She didn't do any damage."]] A clear lie. But he just couldn't have the doctor check.

[b [#483D8B "I am experienced with the children. I...I should be able to take them in, until we can find someone else for them. I'm sure there's a member of the church that would take them in until their mother recovers...[i if] their mother recovers."]] He glanced back at the doctor, giving him a comforting gaze. [b [#483D8B "I will find somewhere for them, that, at least, you don't have to worry about, Nathaniel."]]

He sighed and looked back at the woman. He'd have to ask around for her family. Ask if anyone knew of any relatives he could send the children to. Perhaps the mayor would allow them to leave town, at least, if there was no family elsewhere.

Once again, he was brought out of his thoughts by the doctor. And he felt anxiety well up in his chest.

Was his will being tested? Was God throwing temptation at him to see if he'd take the bait? He allowed himself a quick, worried glance at Nathaniel, and then fully turned away. No, no, it would be fine. The doctor was right. They were both needed to care for Mrs. Cannes. He was being selfish. He could purge the thought out of him.

Perhaps more penance would be in order...

[b [#483D8B "I can set up a room for you, if need be, but you are correct. I have no idea what to expect from her...but surely if I neglect my sermons a bit to take care of her they would understand-"]] He paused, eyes landing on his own nail marks in her arms. And he just...stared.

Until Nathan spoke again. He turned his head a tiny bit to catch what was said, and took a deep inhale at the last words, turning away again.

His chest felt warm and then [i sharp]. [b You and I]. Surely, he was being tested. His mind curved into corners it was not allowed and he was being punished for it. It curled up in soft corners and lingered around comforts it was not allowed and he felt sick. Penance, yes, was definately needed. To cleanse his mind. To purge this sin from himself. Who did a priest confess to when they were the one being tempted to sin?

[b [#483D8B "Ah, yes. Any...help we can recieve would be useful. The more time we can dedicate to this, perhaps, the quicker we can find the cause and-"]] He glanced at Nathaniel, eyes full of stress he was trying to ignore before he turned his gaze away again, running his fingers along his rosary beads to remind himself of who he was. [b [#483D8B "And put a stop to this tragedy."]]

Tragedy. Tragedy. It was all his fault. It had always been. Edgar's face filled his mind. He should not have been tempted. He should not have felt warm. He should not have let his heart wander into those places, should not have let the man hold it. Should not have gotten so close-

It was his fault. He should have been able to save the girl, but his mind was blurry. He was jealous. He was saddened by that ring on her finger. His words weren't as strong. And the demon was...god, the way her body twisted. He should have been able to stop it, and all of the rest, he'd done it before. He used to be so good...

[b [#483D8B "How long will she be out?"]] His voice barely came out. It burned, and he could not look at Nathaniel. He needed to purge this. [b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes, that is. I'm wondering how much time I've got to prepare before I have to worry about keeping her from leaving, again."]]]]
  indulgence- / 1y 238d 13h 32m 18s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/54/3a/35/543a359e5216277a705047c8e50017d1.jpg]]

[size14 [font "Times" Father Merlot didn't look convinced. Dr. Crane's lips thinned, chewing on the inside as he felt the press of obligation. He would need the father to be able to help him get rid of this in some capacity, he was sure. He had to give him some form of validation, or confidence. Notoriously Nathaniel Crane was incredibly unskilled at this. However, that the opportunity was arising, he felt himself compelled to speak. "[#00CCFF Logically,]" he began. "[#00CCFF we cannot move forwards without a subject to observe. Much better to see her here, than have her disappear to either commit some atrocity against herself or others. It is good that you stopped her.]" He tried to put some sincerity in his tone, his brows coming together over his eyes as he searched the father's to see if that helped at all.

Nathan's eyes returned to Father Merlot's being then as something occurred to him. "[#00CCFF May I see your arm?]" he asked, holding a hand out to him.

Nerves pulled at him as it was looking slim whether or not they could find a place for the children. Nathan's mouth tightened, eyes darting down. "[#00CCFF I'm not... good with children.]" he said quietly, "[#00CCFF Else I would offer myself. But. If it's impossible otherwise...]" he said in a low tone. The idea of having children in his space wasn't appealing in the slightest. It was dangerous, and he often was accused of saying awful things to them. Children asked questions, and Nathan just answered them. [i What was that device?] It was a suctioned pump that he drained the blood out of a body with and may replace it, if desired, with embalming fluid. [i What's that?] And so on.

At Mrs. Cannes side, Nathan sighed, "[#00CCFF I'll just have to research then...]" It was more to himself, but he did say it aloud. Hopefully the notary, or town gossipers would be willing to speak. He didn't want to be seen asking after morbidity in town too much. It would make people mistrust him. But they hardly knew how important it was that he knew. Was this curse a manifestation of his own? Or something similar? Pain, agony and anger manifested themselves in many forms among people in the immaterial, and then became very material. Perhaps it was someone's gift gone awry, or some blood-related feud. The options were endless. And he didn't have the time to be thorough in exhausting his options, he had to be [i sure].

His thoughts were interrupted by Father Merlot again. Nathan looked at him, then back at Mrs. Cannes. "[#00CCFF As do I...]"

After a moment's deliberation, Nathan shook his head, "[#00CCFF No,]" he responded. "[#00CCFF You have enough on your plate caring for the people. We have no idea how much time and energy she will require. I cannot leave you to do that alone.]"

He needed help. They needed help. Father Merlot was right, he did have families of his own to attend to, and bodies to prepare. He knew he wouldn't succumb to this disease, if a physical disease it truly was. But his assistant could. But Armand could run the mortuary. Nathan was loathe to write to Armand to ask him back. Not when Nathan felt assured that he was away from all of this. But who else, then? He needed aid. Nathan's eyes searched absently as he thought.

His face tightened, reluctance lining it as he came to a potential solution. Zachary. He didn't want to write to Zachary, but, circumstances being what they are, he would need his expertise in their shared field. Anna was gone, missing. And he and Zach weren't on the best of terms in the wake of her departure. But who else had the background that they needed other than sweet Armand who was- willing, but common. He had the medical ability to avail himself, at least, but he was vulnerable.

Nathan swallowed, preparing himself. "[#00CCFF I can-]" his lips twitched just a moment, hesitating, "[#00CCFF write to my assistant. And another. Get us some assistance,]" he looked to Merlot again. "[#00CCFF You and I.]"
  Tweedy / 1y 238d 14h 34m 22s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" Christopher felt perhaps a tad bit of relief as it was confirmed a lack of oxygen in the blood could indeed make it appear as though it was black- but it was gone within the blink of an eye as the doctor continued. He remembered how roughly her fingernails to into his skin, how surprisingly strong the frail mother was... Perhaps he should have Nathan check them, while he was here- he was, after all, a doctor...

But he wouldn't. If God wanted him here...which he occasionally worried he didn't, especially within the presence of another man, then he would protect him from catching...whatever this was.

At least, that was Father Merlot's hope. Either way, he would not tell the doctor he was worried about the cuts. He had no need for a doctor...he would survive.

He wrapped his arms around his waist and let his glance fall to the floor for a moment, taking in an inhale. If he think it to be best... Even then, he had nobody to preform it. He couldn't. Him doing it might as well damn her. So he did no comment, only looked over at the poor woman and wondered if he'd really brought this one this town by showing up. After all...demons loved Father Merlot, and what else would be guiding people into the woods in such a state?

Perhaps if he himself caught it, they'd leave the town alone- no, he couldn't humor that thought. He knew demons too well to know that they would want him to suffer, not die like the others.

They would want him to feel as helpless as he did.

He allowed himself a glance at the doctor as he was told he did the right thing, eyes softening for a moment. [b [#483D8B "I...hope you are right."]]

Observe her. Perhaps that was the best idea. They didn't know enough about what this is, yet. This was the first Father Merlot had been able to catch before they entered the woods. [b [#483D8B "That does sound like it would be best. As for her children...I could perhaps ask around if she's got any relatives in town they could stay with? Or...there are extra rooms in the church, they could perhaps stay with me- but I'm not sure how they would react to the news, and with their mother here-"]]

He hated that there were empty rooms.

He glanced down at the hand that touched him as it did, then glanced back to Mrs. Cannes in order to not humor a thought.

Bless her soul. He could do at least that much. He glanced briefly back at Nathaniel, then nodded. He could do at least that much.

He blinked as the doctor moved away, watching him advance on the woman to stop the bleeding. His mouth went dry, forehead creasing in worry. The number that came to his sermons kept getting smaller. He hoped they were able to save Mrs. Cannes.

He didn't allow himself a glance at the doctor when he spoke.

[b [#483D8B "Other than the suicides, I'm not aware of anything else. I wasn't given any knowledge of the town, just that the priest was getting old and was starting to need help in his sermons..."]] He paused, sighing. [b [#483D8B "Not that he was around for long once I arrived."]] Father Merlot had only spent a day with late Father Thymeus before they found his body torn up in the forest.

What kind of plague caused something so terrible?

He eyed the poor Mrs. Cannes. You could truly tell how sick she looked. And her eyes when she looked at him... It sent a chill up to young priests spine. [b [#483D8B "I will help you observe her. If she stays in the church I can keep an eye on her, I've not much else to do anyway. And you've got funerals to prepare and people to take care of."]] Finally, he allowed himself a glance back at the doctor, eyes becoming soft again as he looked at him. Yes, Nathaniel had become a comfort during this pandemic. But it did not mean he thought it good to be around him more often. He did not need [i it] to be any harder to push down. God, he hoped this wasn't because of him. [b [#483D8B "I will have someone run for you should anything happen. But I would ease the burden of this as much as I can. I'm sure I have a notebook around here somewhere to take notes of how she is doing-"]]

He paused. [b [#483D8B "I do wonder if she'll go right to trying to leave, when she wakes up again."]]]]]
  indulgence- / 1y 238d 17h 6m 2s
[left [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/64/7f/b6/647fb6fb820a80b80409692ad05644df.jpg]] [font "Times" Nathan slowly felt himself relax somewhat when Mrs. Cannes did. It saddened and scared him to see her like this. Burying her husband just weeks ago it seemed had made her susceptible... If this was working like a plague that spread, of course. The pattern he wasn't entirely sure of. Sometimes it hit whole families, others it just hit. One, or none. He was still trying to figure out what all they had to do with one another. Rich and poor in equal numbers. He didn't know what to do with it.

He gingerly got off of what part of the woman he was holding down, allowing Merlot to do what he wished of her. Looking up at the priest's greeting, he nodded in turn. They had done many together, and Nathan had been the one who often sent for him quietly with the servants so as not to distress the family. Or it was his assistant who- well, who used to go get him.

Nathaniel tried for a polite smile at Father Merlot's wonderment at his profession. The families were gentle to him and he tried to do what he could for them. Now that he lived alone he tried not to rely on the society of them so much, but he to an extent had to because of the lack of his own. "[#00CCFF I wasn't aware that you didn't know.]" he responded a little, feeling a bit awkward about it as he followed the man.

Nathan's eyes glazed for a moment as images of home flickered in front of his eyes. Of home, of all that had happened before then, and his hand in it, unwillingly. His features tightened a little as he blinked out of it and cleared his throat, reaching for logic to fill the anxious, earnest silence the Father was turning towards him. "[#00CCFF Lack of oxygen would, yes, to an untrained eye make the blood appear black,]" his voice was informative, polite, almost mechanical as he blocked out the anxiety thinking about the village her grew up in, where similar supernatural things had occurred. Prophetic and mighty and horrid. "[#00CCFF But- that lack wouldn't allow Mrs. Cannes to fight you as she did.]"

An exorcism. Nathan's lips thinned and curled at the corners in a pained smile. Oh, if only that would work if it was what he feared. But perhaps if divinity, if that higher realm truly did exist then perhaps that rite would shed some light on the situation. His eyes were drawn to Merlot's arm as he looked at it. Some were reddened with blood hovering in the broken skin, others simply purple from the pain.

"[#00CCFF ... if you think it best,]" Nathan responded, inclining his head vaguely. He wasn't a very large man. Tall, yes, Nathaniel Crane was hardly masculine. Pale, willowy, black hair left long with neglect and blue eyes prone to affixing on the immaterial. But he was smart. His lack of fortitude emotionally was waylayed by an intellect he had been cultivating these last years in an attempt to finish his studies. To forget what he had done. But this town thought on him kindly, at least, if strange. He could handle strange. It kind of came with the job of undertaker and physician.

He nodded in response to Father Merlot's words, some semblance of sturdiness reentering his features. "[#00CCFF You did the right thing.]" he pursed his lips.

"[#00CCFF Perhaps if I can observe her... I can see what the effects are. See what it comes to. If is subsides. If- [i what] can be done.]" he corrected himself, looking past Merlot down at Mrs. Cannes. "[#00CCFF But what is to be done about her children...]"

His mind was going to tests. To things he knew he could do- eyes flickering back to Merlot. That was where his worry lay. He wasn't aware how friendly this new priest was to the scientific method. Or to Nathaniel's more metaphysical methods to try and discern what was going on. Without being condemned as touched himself.

Firmness swept into his features as he put a hand out, stopping Merlot's and holding his gaze as he heard him spin off into concern. "[#00CCFF Perhaps,]" he reached for a cultured tone, "[#00CCFF you should bless dear Mrs. Cannes. Set her soul, wherever it be, in whatever state, at ease somewhat.]" It was something he [i could] do, at least, which may put the man at ease. Nathan arched his brows, asking him silently 'how about it?'

With that his eyes flickered to the acrid smell of the sulfuric blood that had caught his attention. Faint, barely there, but the doctor with his experience could detect it. Different than healthy, a tang of the ugly ichor of whatever was taking these people. His mouth went dry, even that reviled by the taint before him. He pulled out his kerchief from his pocket and advanced on the woman, pressing it down upon the rivulet of blood that he had drawn from the injection site.

Close now, he gazed upon the woman's face; lined in gentle age, pallid and breath wheedling. She had lost weight, it seemed, based on the fit of her clothing. His lips pressed together as his free hand went to gently ghost across her forehead, swiping flyaways from it. Feverish. Her skin tacky, but not overly warm. Just so.

But how should he begin to ask this? Nathan licked his lips quietly, turned away from the priest, and took a preparatory breath. "[#00CCFF Do you-d-]" he exhaled, turning his head slightly towards Father Merlot but did not look at him. "[#00CCFF Do you know of any great tragedies of late in this town? Beyond this,]" he indicated Mrs. Cannes. "[#00CCFF I admit I too have not long been here. Of all the duos to combat this, they are both strangers themselves.]" a thin laugh, hollow breathed out of him.
  Tweedy / 1y 240d 14h 14m 6s
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" She was getting hard to hold onto. She was shouting and struggling so much that in a panic Father Merlot had duggen his nails into her arms, which she had done in return to his. Part of him worried she would spread it to him, but he didn't dare let go. He couldn't have anymore deaths on his hands. He couldn't-

He found his mind drifting to the comfort of the communion wine, but he'd never-

[b [#483D8B "Mrs. Cannes! Please, just- Ow! I'm trying to help you! Please!"]] She wasn't listening or responding. And even with help from the other members of the church it was hard to keep her there- Honeslty hearing a voice other than the panicked church-goers and the mothers screaming was a gift- althtough he was. Mildly confused as he looked up and confirmed where he recognized the voice from-

[b [#483D8B "I- I said a doctor! She's not dead yet!"]]

[b [#9400D3 "That is the doctor!"]] He glanced at a member of the crowd in confusion. But he. Literally didn't have time to be confused. She was tried to claw at his arms and she called out for help behind chapped lips and all Father Merlot- Christopher- could do, was to the hold her hostage in his arms and sob as Nathaniel dug through his bag.

Although holding her still in desperation was not only hard on the muscles, but hard on the heart. He made eye contact for a second as Nathaniel asked what happened, and then looked back down at the woman in a panic. [b [#483D8B "She just came to the confessional! She was acting fine and then-"]] God what if it was his fault. She seemed fine the last time he saw her but she came to the confessional and-

He couldn't think of that now. [b [#483D8B "I fear she'd be the next if I let her go-"]] A tranquilizer? He felt terrible, but...this was the lesser of two evils. He just nodded once and kept holding her, doing all he could to keep her from struggling as Nathaniel injected her with the solution. And then it was a matter of keeping her from harming anyone else until she was out.

He felt her go limp in his arms, and sighed in relief as he shifted to pick her up properly. Needed to get her into a bed, not out here. [b [#483D8B "Nathaniel. I don't know how many services we've done together, and I still didn't know you were a doctor. Makes sense, really, with how the families normally talk to you-"]] He turned, motioning for the man to follow him as he took Mrs. Cannes into a room that was...no longer in use.

...He missed Sister Margret. They hadn't found her body, yet. Father Merlot prayed she just ran away with the guy who'd been writing her, and not ended up like-

But he knew better. [b [#483D8B "She...said she left town for a while, but felt the need to come back. Said something about...cutting her hand and it being black? I...didn't want to jump to any conclusions, I'm well aware this doesn't [i have] to have anything to do with God, sometimes people just get sick but, Nathaniel-"]] He turned, pausing for a moment when looking at the doctors face and then looking down again.

He struggled to look any men in the face. He couldn't push past the guilt.

[b [#483D8B "Is there [i anything] that does that? Lack of oxygen, maybe? Too much iron in the blood? I'm no doctor but I- blood isn't [i black]."]] It was true, lack of oxygen in the blood [i could] cause black blood- but the priest could not help but feel a bit on edge after everything he had seen-

After all, [i hers] was also black before she died. He gulped, glancing back at the woman now lying unconscious in bed. [b [#483D8B "I almost feel the need to perform an exorcism, just in case but I-"]] He trailed off, shaking his head and allowing himself a glance of the doctor before moving his sleeve up slightly to look at the small nail indents in his arms. It...was probably fine. It wasn't his main concern, right now. [b [#483D8B "Surely, doctor, there must be something you can do to figure out what's going on. I will stay to help in anyway that I can but-"]] He took another glance back at her, lips chapped, skin pale, blood...black. [b [#483D8B "I truly feared she'd be next. I...I don't know how many services I can hold this month, Nathaniel. The church has been so busy, lately, as you well know-"]]

Admittedly, having the mortician- er...doctor? Nathaniel, here, had be a comfort. A familar face, although looking at him directly made Christopher feel...upset. No, guilty. Still, having a constant face throught this epidemic was something he would than God for, for he did not know how he would handle this if he didn't even have that. He feared the chance the doctor would get pulled into this-

But that was a thought for another day. [b [#483D8B "I also don't know how many more my psyche can take. The child last week I- we couldn't even open the casket..."]] Another quick glance was shared with the mortician, and it lingered for a moment longer with eyes full of sympathy before he looked back at Mrs. Cannes. [b [#483D8B "I can't imagine how hard your job must be, sometimes, Nathaniel."]]]]]
  indulgence- / 1y 243d 6h 59m 29s
[center [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/54/3a/35/543a359e5216277a705047c8e50017d1.jpg]]
[font "Times" Careful. It wasn't the best idea, but he had a headache and tea usually helped. Hands washed before dressing the body, so no threat of contamination. Tea just brought in by Arm- [i slam]!

Nathan's tea spilt as he jolted, slopping it down on the body he was preparing as the door was thrown open. "Nathaniel, Nathaniel Crane! Father Merlot needs you at the chapel!"

Nathan cried out as he saw the tea on the body. "[#00CCFF Stupid, stupid!!]" he hissed as the man came in, hurriedly mopping it up with his apron.

"[#00CCFF A-ah? Does he?]" the physician responded, now mopping himself up as he looked up at the man, seeing panic on his face. "[#00CCFF What's the matter?]"

Soon he was off, sprinting across town towards the congregation behind him. He may not be one of its denizens or participants, but he was certainly there to help them if he could. But worry weighed on his heart as he entered the chapel and heard the shrieks of a woman from inside. It slowed his step slightly, and he took a breath before striding inside.

The door was pushed open for him and the young man stumbled in, forgetting himself over an uneven half-step into the sanctuary. Hatless, still dressed in his working clothes- sans the bloodied apron, mercifully he hadn't forgotten to doff it- sleeves rolled up and bound at the bicep, coat off and waistcoat the only remaining thing over his shirt, came the doctor. Luckily there were only a handful of spatters of fluid on him.

"[#00CCFF I'm here, I'm here!]"

But his words were drowned out by the now enraged screams of Mrs. Cannes as she struggled against Mr- Father- Merlot, and some others who had begun to help him. The new clergyman replacing the elderly Father Thymeus. One of the first to fall to the strange plague, being rather advanced in age, Nathaniel suspected his physical delicacy making him particularly prone to susceptibility. It was a blessing that the man had arrived- despite how slightly uncomfortable the presence of god made the physician.

But it was hardly as discomfiting as how he felt hearing the rage-filled bellows of the woman as her attention turned to him. Her eyes grew wild, calling out to him to help her. He could help her. His limbs stiffened as he felt that anxious heat, so familiar, creep up from his chest to heat his face.

"[#00CCFF Oh dear,]" he murmured, coming up to the pile of people.

Visibly, Nathaniel paled at the sight of the struggle, blue eyes glancing over the situation- he heard, he saw, he could practically already smell the disease on her, beyond her pallor, and the dull, dead look in her eyes. Nathaniel moaned a little; setting his bag down, immediately beginning to rifle through it. His hands were shaking as he heard the ravings of the maddened woman.

"[#00CCFF Hold her still, please, don't let her smack her head on the floor like that! I've got something for that.]"

Soon he had a bottle, and his case of syringe needles as he started over towards the struggling group. Nathaniel glanced up to Father Merlot, "[#00CCFF What happened?]" he asked as he set his things down, opening the case and assembling his syringe, ensuring there was no air in the tranquilizer and swallowing. "[#00CCFF I've a tranquilizer.]"

Setting the syringe aside, Nathaniel approached closer, "[#00CCFF Mrs. Cannes- Mrs. Cannes, please.]" But she was spitting obscenities at him now.

Sighing, his face hardened a little. Set in some form of resilience as he snatched the woman's arm and leaned on it, bringing his knee atop it as he took up the syringe again and administered the solution. With it done and out of his hand, he reached to try and keep Mrs. Cannes still, helping to keep her from clawing at herself or anyone else.

And soon, with the tranquilizer administered, her fight soon softened, her lids grew heavy and Nathaniel breathed a sigh of relief, dropping his head. Looking up, he inclined his head. "[#00CCFF Father,]" he greeted.
  Tweedy / 1y 244d 8h 19m 33s
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