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Graybeard
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Re: Background noise

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[OOC: Ricardalho, the key encounter in this is adopted from a personal story you told me many years ago that I have never forgotten; if by some miracle you're reading this, get in touch.]

"I'm getting tired," Therese told her partner as the dance came to an end. (This was untrue.) "Thanks, but I think I'll sit the next one out." She moved to the side of the room, hoping the Tsuirakuan would read her body language accurately enough not to follow. He obliged and went in immediate pursuit of a buxom woman more nearly his own age as the music turned to a boisterous, almost disco-like rhythm. They sure have eclectic tastes here, Therese thought, feeling distinctly glad to be off the dance floor for this one; this hyperactive, modern dance always made her feel like a cow on ice. [OOC: Bonus points if you catch the reference; hint: remember that Therese is tall. /OOC]

As she sat there nursing a drink and feeling sorry for herself (I should be above thinking like this, she scolded herself, but she wasn't), she began noticing the other dancers around her. They were a remarkably diverse lot. Anfisa and Desiree had gyrated off to the far end of the room, which was probably just as well. The improbably mini-skirted Sister Marilyn had joined them, dancing with a young, brown-skinned man who Therese guessed (correctly) was her fiance, now done with his briefing session for Sister Rose and Tim and starting to kick back and enjoy himself. This the Veracian couple were certainly doing, getting into the dance with a sensuous enthusiasm that raised a few eyebrows even among the Tsuirakuans in the room. Therese permitted herself a soft smile; apparently at least some of the Veracian clergy weren't too hung up to enjoy themselves. Her smile got a mildly evil twist to it when she imagined Rose and Argus, who by now had gone back to their inn, doing the same thing ... but that seemed unlikely, the older pair were just too respectable to be behaving like Miguel and Marilyn. Well, they had their own way of enjoying each other ... and that was fine too.

The smile broadened still further when she saw Marilyn's and Miguel's complete opposite numbers, celebrating the dance -- and each other -- in a very different way.

The oldest man and woman she'd seen in years, both at least in their eighties (and given the Tsuirakuan skill at life-extending magic, probably much older than that), were dancing all by themselves, away from the madding crowd. Not for them were the frantic twitches and contortions of the majority of the dancers, most of whom could have passed for their grandchildren. Instead they were dancing the "old" way, holding each other close, staring into each other's eyes with an unabashed love that had only deepened in the seventy or more years that they'd shared it.

Touched, Therese watched as this ancient couple drifted closer to the table where she sat. By the Five Great Mothers, if I could only have a life partner to love that deeply and that long... Strangely, her main emotion was neither envy nor resentment; it was pure, vicarious satisfaction in seeing two lives lived long and well together ... and in knowing that this pair showed it could be done.

She was still glowing as the couple moved slowly close to her table, and watching their every move -- watching it carefully enough to notice that the woman's face had suddenly gone ash-gray.

The old woman didn't even have time to look surprised before she released her partner and collapsed on the floor with the proverbial sodden thump.

There were screams from the nearby tables, and the music stopped. "LIFEMAGE! SOMEBODY GET A LIFEMAGE!" a loud voice called from somewhere, but Therese was already on the scene, jumping over the table and starting to pray to the Five Great Mothers for energy to pump into the woman's body, trying to restart the heart that had obviously ceased its pumping ... and knowing, even as she did, that it was already too late.
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Drusia
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Re: Background noise

Post by Drusia »

It's hard to be upset with Anfisa - she looks so sad when I scold her. I shake my head a little and induldge her for a bit.

"You really should dance with Therese tonight," I tell her. "She's..." I'm not sure what she is, but she's something, and....

"LIFEMAGE! SOMEBODY GET A LIFEMAGE!"

I release Anfisa and run towards the shouts. There's an old woman on the ground. Therese is next to her already, and looking grim.

I drop down beside her. It doesn't take magic to tell that her heart is dying, and that Therese can't stop it. She's compitent enough that I doubt I'll have any better luck.

However, a heart is only a pump. When it stops, the mind starves. That I can do something about, at least for a little while.

"Keep trying," I say to Therese. While she attends the heart, I bend over the woman and press my lips against hers. I breathe into her, calling on Anilis to aid me. I fill her lungs with air and magic. While I keep breathing into her, I draw one hand around and move it up her back, up her neck, and over her head. The magic in her blood follows my hand. I pull her blood, which her heart can no longer pump, up into her head.

Her eyes open and she gasps. I pull back to give her some space, but I keep my hands on her head to keep her blood flowing.

"You're heart's stopped," I tell her. "I not from around here, so I don't know if there's anything that can be done about that. If there's not... you have time to say goodbye to your husband." And if there is, I hope someone who knows what they're doing gets their ass over here soon. This bypass spell isn't going to last long.

-- Desiree

OOC: I have no idea if Tsuiraku has heart transplants. Or artifical golem hearts. And neither does Desiree.
OOC2: Oh, and the woman is probably in a fair amount of pain - muscle death is quiet painful. Unless Therese's attentios are soothing that pain somewhat.
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Re: Background noise

Post by Alberich »

Anfisa slipped through the crowd but stayed in the background of this scene. She had nothing to contribute to this healing, being magically less adept than one of Iokim's stone chessmen. All she could do was watch discreetly, to see whether these two healers were starting to solace each other instead of the patient...
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Graybeard
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Re: Background noise

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Therese was still trying to figure out what more to do to help this poor woman -- if any help was even possible -- when she became aware of Desiree's presence next to her. She was also aware of something else. At the edge of her vision, there was a sudden blur, and Sister Marilyn materialized at her elbow as though teleported there. Well, not quite; later she would decide that she'd seen the young nun sprinting toward her at an extraordinarily high speed, an uncannily high speed ... and she would wonder about that for a long time.

"THELMA! YOU CAN'T GO AND DIE ON US!" Marilyn practically screamed, and then she started her own magic ... but it was too late. The old woman's eyes had already rolled back in her head and set, her pupils dilated and unequal. Both Marilyn and Therese (and presumably Desiree as well) knew exactly what that meant: the brain wasn't controlling them any more.

Marilyn was the first of the three to give up on the hopeless task some minutes later, just as her fiance arrived, puffing yet already starting to summon magic. "She's gone," she told him, and then she turned to the old man who was watching, with a look of unspeakable horror on his face. "I'm so sorry, Elmer," she said, her own eyes starting to fill with tears as she embraced him, turning him slowly away from what had been his wife; there would be other, better times for him to see her for the last time.

Brother Miguel, for his part, knew all too well that there was nothing he could do. Besides, these weren't his people; they were Marilyn's. She was the one who'd spread Luminosita's Word, and more importantly, done good works, among the people of the entertainment district. She obviously knew this couple; he did not. Well, there was one thing he could do ...

As the crowd drew back from the scene, he began to chant the last rites of the Veracian Church.

Therese, not knowing the liturgy but certainly getting the idea, stopped her magic, and murmured softly in the language of the far north.

"And may the Five Great Mothers convey you to paradise."

[OOC: Excuse me for being gruesomely clinical at a moment like this, but I'm wondering about a thing. Followup in the OOC Discussion thread.]
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Drusia
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Re: Background noise

Post by Drusia »

Graybeard wrote: The old woman's eyes had already rolled back in her head and set, her pupils dilated and unequal. Both Marilyn and Therese (and presumably Desiree as well) knew exactly what that meant: the brain wasn't controlling them any more.
OOC: Just a quick thing - for that to have occured, Desiree would have to be no longer casting the spell. Which means either the woman said "okay, let me go" or something similar, or Desiree has passed out from the strain and is unconscious.

... or she could have had a secondary clot give her a stroke, I guess. In which case Desiree will stop, because without 60 ccs of heparin, a stroke means game over.

Edit: Okay, based on other discussion, I'm going to go with "she said her goodbye and Desiree released the spell. The stroke idea is too sad, and Desiree just passing out doesn't fit with her previous magical endurance.
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Re: Background noise

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[OOC: OK, that works ... although I'm going to add just a tiny bit of ambiguity as we move forward. :?: ]

Therese felt herself trembling all over as a team of Tsuirakuan lifemages arrived on the scene.

She'd done everything she could, as had Desiree and Sister Marilyn. Alas, it hadn't been enough. The poor woman was clearly gone, and although the lifemages went into their own frantic binge of spellcasting, they couldn't bring her back either. The last thing she saw, before leaving the suddenly silent bar, was one of the lifemages gently closing the woman's eyes, a pained expression on his face.

Well, maybe the spellcasting had done some good ... or maybe not. No, it had. It had to have. She succeeded in convincing herself that before the victim's eyes had finally set in death, she'd seen something important. The dying woman, she thought, had managed a fleeting eye contact with the old man, now being gently led away by Marilyn and Miguel and looking twenty years older than he had while he was dancing, and silently mouthed something at him... something that could only have been "I love you." Maybe Desiree's magic had accomplished what it had been cast for. Or maybe not ... but she wanted to believe that it had, and there would be no way of knowing for sure until she herself crossed to the distant shore where the Five Great Mothers reigned in peace and harmony, so why not assume that it was so?

"That was an incredibly compassionate thing that you did," she said quietly to Desiree as the bar closed (quite early) for the night and they headed back to the inn, leaving the lifemages to the grim but necessary task of tending to the body.
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Re: Background noise

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The woman murmurs goodbye to her husband. He still too shocked to respond, but he nods. She smiles against the pain, then nods at me.

With a gasp I release the spell. I'm a little faint headed. When a woman pushes me aside and starts screaming, I fall to the side. I'm not hurt, just tired.

"THELMA! YOU CAN'T GO AND DIE ON US!" Marilyn practically screamed,
"She's gone," she told him, "I'm so sorry, Elmer," she said,
"And may the Five Great Mothers convey you to paradise."


They begin chanting... about Luminosa? Ugh, can't I ever get away from this church? At least this branch seems to be the nice kind, like Rose.

I have no place in this, but then, neither does Therese. She prays to her Great Mothers. I get up and move over beside her.

"And may Senilis guide you on your path," I murmur.

"That was an incredibly compassionate thing that you did," she said quietly to Desiree as the bar closed (quite early) for the night and they headed back to the inn, leaving the lifemages to the grim but necessary task of tending to the body.

I smile wanly at her. "Thank you," I reply. I pause, frowning, as Anfisa takes my arm again.

"We never got to finish our dance," I say to Therese. "Maybe... soon? I feel like every time I try to get to know you, something happens and it's..." I wave vaguly back in the direction of the bar we just left. "Bad," I finish lamely.

-- Desiree
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Re: Background noise

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"I'd like that," Therese answered, so softly that she wasn't sure anyone could hear it but herself.

She waited as Anfisa ushered Desiree away, then slowly walked back to the inn, alone with her thoughts.

[OOC: So on that less-than-cheery note, should we rejoin the main thread?]
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Re: Background noise

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"I'd like that," Therese answered,

She says it softly, but I hear, and nod. I'd like that too.

Anfisa wants to get back to our rooms. I let her lead me that way.

-- Desiree

OOC: I'm good. Back to the main thread.
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Re: Background noise

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[OOC: Some behind-the-scenes stuff pertaining to what's happening in the Far South, and will soon begin to happen elsewhere...]

"How are you feeling this morning? You look a bit green," Mr. Stagpoole asked his wife, with a solicitude few would have believed him capable of.

"I am," Elke replied. "Not sure whether it's the morning sickness, or the rough ride, or ... him." She jerked her thumb back to one of the hydrofoil's "secure" cabins, where the young Veracian priest lay incapacitated. "I don't get why we had to bring him up top-side rather than getting him all the way there through the system. He gives me the creeps."

"Had to be done, though," Mr. Stagpoole answered. "I've been through the system more often than you have. It gets marginal down south, things don't always go where they're supposed to. We wouldn't have wanted him or those goons to pop up in Tsuiraku or the Anuban Colonies, where they might have been inconvenient." (And had to be disposed of in public rather than in private, Elke reinterpreted that last line; they hadn't been married long enough for John to know that she wouldn't need the euphemism any more than he would.) "Besides, once we get him dropped off at a terminal we trust more, we'll be closer to Tsuiraku ... where we have one last pickup to make."

The Eisenfaust woman's face went blank with puzzlement, and then illuminated in a smile that would have been positively beatific if it had been considering a more ... uplifting subject. "John! You mean..."

"Yes, a candidate for the Wizard of the West has finally been identified," he beamed, an occurrence so rare outside present company as to be frightening to those who had seen it. "We're finally getting close to ready."

Morning sickness or seasickness or whatever aside, Elke threw her arms around her husband as the hydrofoil sped north.

---------------

I have to get away from those two for a while, Arsoro Kurou thought as he took a warp gate down to Tsuirakushita, well aware that Haniko Goto would still be watching him ... at least for a while. Maybe not for long, though; the Crystal-net message he had received had been ... intriguing.
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