[size20 [font "Times New Roman" [center [i There's nothing for you here, kindly leave.]]]]
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[right [pic https://imgur.com/ApSscIo.png]] [font "Trebuchet MS" There were many things that could be said about the satyr-tiefling known as Nova Nevamir. For starters, if you told him the toll for entrance into the town was 100 gold, because the town was to be hosting a party for the politicals, he would believe you, even if it made no sense for a guard to be collecting an enterance fee just because a party was being hosted- especially not when they've never charged any enterance fee when he's come through before. Another thing to note about Nova, is that if you tell him about a party happening in town, he will plan to go it whether he has been invited or not.
They're great places to meet men, you see. That was another thing about Nova; he was, how you say, a hopeless romantic.
So before he even knew how to get in, he went to the market and spent money on new clothing, jewelry for his horns and fingers, a gorgeous carved comb, and a tube of fiery red and orange pigment. Only after having tucked all these luxuries into his bag did he decide to go to the nearest guild building to ask around about the party. Likely a job to go with it, as well...he [I had] just spent...almost all of his coin.
So he walked in, an image of fire with an axe on his back, and asked around.
[#FF4500 [b "Know anything about that fancy party the guards are talking about?"]]
[#FF4500 [B "Do you know how to get in?"]]
[#FF4500 [b "It needs money?"]]
After a bit of questioning around he decided to go straight to the guild master, flashing a charming smile and resting his weight on one hip. [#FF4500 [b "Hi, I'm Nova. Do you know how much money it is to get into that party everyone's talking about and do you have a job I can do for that much?"]]]
There were many things to be said about the satyr-tiefling known as Nova Nevamir; for starters, he was not the sharpest sword in the shop. So when he walked up to the gates of this new town and was told he needed to pay an enterance tax- he didn't question it. Just asked [b "How much is it?"] and reached for his pouch. When followed up with, [b "One thousand gold,"] however, he did pause. [b "That's nearly all I have on me. Why so high?"] The first guard seemed to hesitate, but his partner answered Nova's query to his satisfaction. [b "The party. Haven't you heard, we're hosting a very important party here, so we guards have to take the toll from folks like you to keep those political folks safe."] Sadly, it was believable enough to Nova. He reluctantly handed it over and walked in.
More important than the money, to him, was this supposed party. The town seemed busy, the market busier, the stands selling clothes or jewelry the busiest of all. Must be a pretty big party for people to he flocking to fancy things...
He needed to find a way to get in. He also needed to replace the gold he just lost so he could make himself look nice enough to attend. Replace these bloody clothes with a little something else...
He figured the nearest guild would give him what he needed. So he headed there, asked who was in charge and made sure he looked acceptable as he walked in. [b "Firstly, I'm Nova Nevamir. Secondly, do you know anything about the [i ever so fancy] party the guards had to toll me for?"] Nova it was a scam, clearly. [b "And most importantly,"] He looked up properly from fixing his clothes, finally, flashing a smile at the person in front of him. [b "What's the highest paying job you have available?"] Now, perhaps some might consider it rude to be so blunt with a guild leader you just met, but- who could hate this clearly capable Saytr tiefling as they smiled so friendly at you.
[right [pic https://imgur.com/ApSscIo.png]] [font "Trebuchet MS" When the hand was extended to him he grabbed it like he'd just found an ancient flaming weapon: as in, with no grace, a very strong grip, and seemingly no intentions of letting it go anytime soon. He slurred out a [b [#B22222 "You're so nice, thank you."]] As he clung to the half-orc. Once he got to the bench he hesitated, swaying slightly with the rocking of the boat and wondering if sitting down was actually the best bet, or if he should be asking this nice [s and attractive] half-orc if he could take him up to the top so he could get sick.
He decided just sort of standing there staring at the bench was the best option until the man suggested water and made eye contact. [b [#B22222 "Poisoned?"]] He gasped. [b [#B22222 "The elf was right I won't make it that far! I was poisoned and I didn't even know..!"]] Nova, sweetie, no-
[b [#B22222 "This isn't fair I'm too cute to die!"]] Nova if you start crying in here- and there he goes. [b [#B22222 "And it was gonna be the next place I'm sure of it! But I'm gonna die alone on this stupid wood thing in the water before I even get there!"]]
The bar keep was starting to get annoyed, mostly at himself for continuing to serve the teifling alcohol in the first place, but the rest of his annoyance was reserved for Nova and Nova alone. Nova finally released the half-orcs arm, flopping down on the bench and sadly looking at the floor, and then narrowing his eyes at the floor. Was it always swirly? Or this close-
He rolled over to lay on his back after his face had a proper introduction with the floor, laying half under the table and starting up at the half-orc. [b [#B22222 "If I give you some gold would you help me to my room so I can die there? I don't think I can stay down here."]] He glanced around, that look on his drunk face of "I'm about to tell you something important" and then [b [#B22222 "I think the alcohol had the poison in it."]]]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Eugene took a small glance around the room as Ms. Blackwood produced the hankerchief, though his eyes fell quickly back to the woman, and the delicate lace edge poking out of her suitcase. He had a personal one he kept, with lace like that. It would have eased him a bit, something vaguely familiar, were this any other situation. But he turned his head and paid it no mind, and as Ms. Blackwood handed over the cloth Eugene gave his hest attempt at a genuine smile and got to work.
But when he [i touched her]...
He felt like holding his breath. He tasted metal, something of malice, his skin felt like tar to him as she gripped his hand. But when she let go he felt like he was breathing in...something... Clearer than air. He froze at her comment, glancing up at the woman with a look of panicked confusion and then [b "Mostly fear, Ms. Blackwood."]
..? He didn't say that. He hadn't even tried to move his lips- he raised his hand only to-
...was this possession? It didn't move. [i "Ms. Blackwood?"] His lips didn't move. And in fact, he himself could move, and could see that in fact, his expression hadnt changed from the same nervous expression is had as he started bandaging her hands. No confusion, no panic as he could feel himself displaying. His body wasn't doing what he was-
...This was possession. And if it could- then what else-
What if it killed her, here? He didn't know it could...oh dear...
[b "There's been so many around town, you know. That's why you're here. I've said before that I'm scared of being blamed for this- [I these] crimes, but it's more than that I-"]
There was a pause, and Eugene looked up at Winifred, a sense of relief for his safety but also fear. Wrestling back control would no doubt have consequences, and there was also a matter of what to say. He gulped, looked down, and closed his eyes. [b "I- I fear-"] Stop stuttering so bad, Eugene. [b "I fear I"m being targeted, Ms. Blackwood. All these- these victims. I cared about them. They took me in when I- when I got here. This suit- it's from the woman that died this morning I-"] He paused for a moment, tightening his eyes to stop tears from falling. He could already feel it was angry. But it was too late to stop them from falling. [b "I don't want people to keep getting hurt. All of my friends are dying Ms. Blackwood and I'm scared. And you might be the only one who can stop people from dying but-"]
He finally looked the woman in the eyes, his own full of tears. [b "What if- whatever is- is doing this...what if it kills you too? Then we can't...you can't...stop it..."]
He gulped, took a second to stabilize himself, and stood. [b "I...I apologize Ms. Blackwood but I need to go-"]
He rushed out without another word.
The next afternoon Ms. Blackwood was called for. A house fire, spread from a woman's skirt after she had tripped and hit her head on the fireplace mantel, and then fallen in. Now, how do you fall into it from that angle? The police had no answers yet. Though they thanked Eugene for running all the way to the station to get them when he heard her fall. A shame about the fire, and the woman- he'd have to find another place to stay-
It told him to consider asking Ms. Blackwood, as she arrived. But he just tensed. More evidence against him. Soon she might say he's a killer. And then that fire- will be around him. Or worse.]]
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" Something wasn't right. Merlot could hear it in the air. Faint whispers, if he focused just so. As his eyes traced the forest line he came to a conclusion; the forest had seen this before, but this time, it was worse. His eyes narrowed and he tried to listen but- [b "Father."] His eyes turned to Nathan, full of worry and concern, and then focus. [b [#483D8B "Of course."]] He scanned the perimeter once more as he knelt in front of the girl, but barely got her legs up before catching something.
[#6B8E23 "...just a nun."]
[#2E8B57 "...maybe nothing, maybe it doesn't matter."]
It was faint, he didn't catch all of it, and he certainly didn't know how Nathan knew- but he couldn't question it, either. In this, he didn't have time. Like the sign on the bag, what was in it- there was no time for thought, in this. He eyed the girl in his lap, then Nathan. He was at a loss. [b [#483D8B "They need medical attention. We can't just- but Sister Nancy was watching Mrs. Cannes."]]
Sister Patrice stood.
[b [#1e90ff "The boy can make it to the church. His injuries won't be fatal. The girl-"]] She glanced at the child resting in Merlot's lap. [b [#1e90ff "I can treat her wounds, but she wouldn't make it to the church. I can-"]] She paused. [b [#1e90ff "I have a gut feeling, take it as what you will. But I- I [i do] have medical knowledge."]] Her tone quieted as she told Nathaniel. [b [#1e90ff "If you leave her with me here, I will return her to the church in health."]]
Merlot eyed the sister he knew carefully, then Nathan. He wasn't the one that needed convincing, with this. But he had no idea if Nathaniel would believe her. [b [#483D8B "At least one of us needs to head to the church. If she caught it- as much as I hate to say it at least we'd see what it looked like in the beginning stages- maybe that's an answer to...something. I could head back, you could stay here to look at the boy- or"]] He gently moved the girl off his lap and rose. [b [#483D8B "We can take the boy back to the church, see what's wrong with Sister Nancy, and leave the girl with Patrice."]]]]]
[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" The wall held. Merlot did not know for how long it would- but for now, in this second, despite the creeping feeling of dread across the priests spine- it held. The girl would make it, he was sure, though he dreaded it regardless. Just to the edge of the woods. Just make it to the edge of the woods. It kept repeating. She, the boy, [i Nathan] would be fine. Just make it to the edge of the woods. That was all. He nodded once, at the first question. [#483D8B [b "I can."]] Now, was he hurt? He did a brief glance at his arms, at Ms. Cannes nail marks, but for now? [#483D8B [b "I'm alright for now. I'm not hurt."]] His cassock, on the other hand- was another story entirely. It needed a wash- and mending.
His heart might also need mending, or at least cooling, as it warmed at Nathaniel's worry. Repentance- he thought, and then, [i no]. He wasn't acting on it. There was no need. Nathaniel was, perhaps, the only person truly worried about Merlot right now- and...and that was a comfort. An anxiety as well, given a worried doctor might actually [i check] for wounds but- still, a comfort, to actually be thought of- even in the heat of the moment.
Very rarely did members of the clergy think to worry about the man that was supposed to be leading them through this.
He turned and picked up the boy, her brother, bloody and dead weight, and placed the boy on his shoulder- the cassock would definitely need washing, now. But more than that, the barrier faltered for a moment and without thinking Merlot moved in front of the mortician as another, much more panicked, much louder, [#483D8B [b "Obice."]] exited his lips. He paused, waited to see if it would hold, and then turned. [#483D8B [b "Let's not waste anymore time- I...I don't want you-"]] He paused, his eyes on Nathaniel, [#483D8B [b "Or the girl to get hurt."]] Had he really almost forgot her, in Nathan's stead?
He didn't have time to think about it- to think about repentance or penance- he only had time to pick up the pace, and follow Nathan out of the woods, focusing hard to keep the barrier up- to keep them safe- as who- or what- was behind them, took a step out of the bushes.
Sister Patrice stood by the edge, arms behind her, dagger in hand, rocking on her heals until she saw Merlot and Nathaniel, two children in tow, approach the edge. She stopped, adjusted her footing, straightened her back, and turned to start approaching them. [#1e90ff [b "Living?"]] She asked. Merlot just nodded, and released the barrier behind them. [#483D8B [b "Perhaps just barely. The girl needs help, I'm not sure about the boy-"]] She eyed the young one on Merlot's shoulder, eyes searching, checking- something. The tilted her head in confusion. [#1e90ff [b "I can assist, doctor, in examining."]] She paused. [#1e90ff [b "I just ask you do not touch me, while I do."]]
Merlot set the boy down next to her, and she took no time turning to look him over for wounds. The young priest checked the woods over with his eyes. They seemed still, for now.
...Though there was an uncomfortable nostalgia with looking into a forest, like this. Looking for signs of life, for movement- for red, for...
Meanwhile, Sister Nancy was falling asleep [i watching] Mrs. Cannes. She'd made a cup of tea, taken notes that only consisted of "Patient still asleep", and...now she was drifting off in her seat, the stone softly resting in her pocket. She only awoke to the sound of a soft cough- from Mrs. Cannes? No...the woman was still asleep. She only realized it was herself when she doubled over in a coughing fit, pulling back after it was over to see blood on her hand.]]]
[spoiler One child is infected, and is attempting to kill the other. Cue Merlot and his carelessness for his own health but also ability to separate the two as safely as possible.
If they don't take the boy he won't be there when they get back.
At the point where most of the market has cloudy eyes, Merlot runs back to find Nathan to check his eyes. Cue relief when he sees he's all right/possible relieved kiss moment depending.]
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