[Memory] Still Breathing

Kirrah gets a visit from a badly beaten Tom.

Old Rose Harbor is Anaxas' main trade port; it is also the nation's criminal headquarters, home to the Bad Brothers and Silas Hawke, King of the Underworld.
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Tom Cooke
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: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
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Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:52 pm

Kirrah’s Hideout Old Rose Harbor
After Midnight on the 9th of Vortas, 2715
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It was the small hours of the morning by the time he’d got to Castle Hill all the way from Voedale. The time passed like a dream: it was him putting one foot in front of the other, such as he could. Swimming through the dark and the pain like he always did, knowing that he’d either get his head above the water or drown, and not feeling much about either option. He was still hazy, thick-headed with the sweet reek of blood and the heavy blows and the adrenaline – struck dumb by the sudden silence in the streets, the Vortas chill, the smell of petrichor and fresh earth and rotting fish.

Couldn’t focus on being quiet anymore. For such a big kov, he usually moved quiet-like, slipping like a shadow, but tonight, all his limbs felt heavy as iron; he could hear his boots scuffling the stones, threatening to make him stumble and trip. He’d taken such a beating that it hurt to fill his lungs up with air, and he could hear his breath wheezing in and out, whistling in his throat. He couldn’t tell how bad it was, but he didn’t like the funny, sharp pain that shot up through his chest every time he coughed.

He was still breathing, though, and he reckoned that counted for something.

Tonight, the broad, well-lit ways of the merchant district were for other people, with their bars spilling out music and bursts of chattering laughter, glowing warm against the cold. Ne – Tom took himself and his heavy steps, his bruises and his blood, down narrow alleyways where the buildings leaned, where the old wood creaked and popped and groaned.

If he’d paid attention, he might’ve seen the scurrying shapes of rats in the dark, heard their pattering feet splash through the stagnant rainwater that still clung to the cracks and corners and potholes. He might’ve seen a candle that glowed faintly in a third-story window, wavering in a draft, snuffed out as he went by; he might’ve heard a hushed argument behind a locked door, might’ve seen a little face peering out at him through gnawed, threadbare drapes that pulled tightly together as he drew even with the window.

As it was, one of his eyes was swollen halfway shut, and he squinted through the dark with the other, wincing at the pounding in his head. It was only when he saw the familiar curve of the familiar street, the apothecary’s sign with its chipping paint barely visible in the dark, that he paused. Relief washed through him. He’d gone to Grey for beatings like these a few times (and for the passive’s other, more lucrative talents, a few more), but the way was a warren, and punch-drunk as he was, it was a wonder he’d gotten where he’d meant to go.

He gulped down a deep breath, too deep – greedy – and then winced at the spear of pain in his side, hissing through his teeth. He stumbled, fumbled against a nearby wall, leaving a smear of blood where his hand scrabbled at the stone.

“Gods damn it,” he wheezed, “gods damn.”

He ran his other hand through a tangle of long, black hair, knotted, a little slick with what must’ve been blood. (Whose? His? He didn’t know.) After a moment, a moment thick and heavy with pain, he fumbled inside his old greatcoat, searching for a familiar weight in the inside pocket. With his hand unsteady, it took him some time to get out the handle of whisky, and then took him more to get the lid off.

It was worth it, though. He took a long drink. It was cheap chroveshit, but it was familiar, and he thought the burn of it in his throat eased something inside him; didn’t steady his hands, but steadied his nerves, maybe. A strange cold had seeped into his big frame, cut right through his coat, but now he felt a warmth inside him, waking up his blood a little more. Just enough, he thought. Anything to get him back to hama in as close to one piece as he got these days.

He reckoned Kirrah Grey could help him with that, too. Hoped, anyway, otherwise he wouldn’t’ve come stumbling through the dark to her door at this witch’s hour.

Tucking it back into his coat, he braced himself, then pushed himself off the wall. Not much further, he kept thinking. Still breathing; not much further. Like a mantra. He went a little further, tracing the stone with his fingertips, then made another turn, down an even narrower alleyway. This time, he heard the squeaks, felt the patter of little feet flee out in front of him to even darker and danker hideaways.

It was only when he’d come to the end of the alleyway that he stopped, ducking his head to fit his near two meters underneath the cramped archway, half-slumping against the little wooden door. Gritting his teeth, he raised a fist, then knocked three times: thump, thump, thump.
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Last edited by Tom Cooke on Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 906

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Kirrah
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: The viper
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Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:15 pm

Somewhere between the begining and the end of times
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Lullaby of the night.
Cries of the damned souls, either condemned to never see the light of day again, or to actually see it illuminate the filth that was their life in Old Rose Harbor.
Lullaby of the night
Cries of the damned souls, condemned to pay the sin of living.


Though used to burn the midnight oil, Kirrah was actually embracing some respite into the strangely monotonous chaos that was her life since she embraced the Bad Brothers six years ago (Or rather since a boot embraced her face and was then offered a very limited amount of choices).

Still, the twenty-two years old girl came to quite enjoy this dynamic and ever-never changing rhythm that had became her life. A continuous cycle of everyday monotonous research, and impromptu visitation from spirits of all horizons.

The knock on the door woke her up immediately, yanking her from the sweet dreams of an “upon a time” world of bliss.

Barely awake, and only wearing a long, man-sized, tunic she wore as night garment, Kirrah walked barefoot on the ice-cold stone of the floor to open the door, not really giving a damn about her appearance at the moment.

She fought a bit with her way-too-long sleeves to turn the knob, finally offering her half-closed eyes the sour portrait that was Tom Cooke at the moment.

Taking a second to fully boot her brain, Kirrah merely answered with a sigh:


- Again?

Kirrah made a slight turn, offering some space for her old friend to enter the familiar space.

Kirrah lab was well organized to a familiar eye, everything always at a specific space, and a total landfill to anyone else. The addition, with time, of way too many things had transformed the lab into a museum of horror, where a batch of opium of the finest quality was patiently waiting next to a brain in a jar.

Stash of document were piled accordingly to the on-going project they were linked to, some corner of the sheets eaten by the lab rat Kirrah kept in cage to try-out new theory, or new products.

Kirrah walked like a robot, her mind still half numbed by sleep, and cleared a space on the table to allow Tom to lie on it. While doing it she threw some medical tool into the small sink, picking some alcohol to clean them of the dry blood remaining from the precedent patient a few days ago.

– One day, I pray tell it’s the parts of your undead body that’ll need to sew back together.

Kirrah finally wraped a lab coat around her shoulder, picked a saw bone half as big as her, holding it over her head and asked, with a sudden glint in her half closed eyes :

– So, where’s the “outchie” this time?



word count: 509
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
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Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
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Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:12 pm

Kirrah’s Hideout Old Rose Harbor
After Midnight on the 9th of Vortas, 2715
Again?

Tom scowled, though he didn’t think it looked too intimidating, given the quarter of his face that was swollen-up with bruises. He curled his lip and spat on the ground, but when his gaze moved back up to meet hers, his dark eye glittered. “An’ I see you been gettin’ the usual amount of sunlight,” he shot back. For all his that, when she turned aside to let him in, he followed, ducking and nearly banging his head on the doorframe.

First time he’d ever been in here, he’d been more than a little off-put. To each his – or her – own, he reckoned. By now, he was used to it, so he didn’t gawk much at all those laoso jars with their floating who-knew-what; still, he couldn’t say that wrinkled lump of a brain didn’t surprise him just a pina mant. Other, more familiar things sat here and there, herbs and fungi he could almost identify, if he thought hard enough – and his eye lingered on the bundle near the pickled brains, though not for too long. He couldn’t tell if she had all this organized, or if she just tossed things to one side and let them live wherever they fell.

Tom thought he was dubiously glad to be inside, though. After that benny jaunt through the alleyways and back streets of Castle Hill, chill, wet, and dark as pitch, the faint light and warmth in Grey’s little hideaway was a relief, if a damp one. Creepy chroveshit notwithstanding, ’course.

A few feet from the door, he paused, tugging his coat tighter around him one last time, shoving his hands deep in the pockets like he could find some warmth there to take with him. Maybe he could; a moment later, he was searching for the inside pocket again, taking out his whisky and taking another long drink. As he did, he watched Kirrah, looking her up and down proper for the first time that night.

She had that white coat around her shoulders, but there was just a shift underneath it; he reckoned he’d woken her up, but you never knew when she was sleeping. He’d been taking the piss at the door, but there was truth in the words: she’d had the complexion of a corpse for as long as he’d known her, and she wasn’t getting any better. Rumor had it the chip came from Gioran stock, but he’d never asked. He’d never asked her much of anything, come to think of it. Didn’t fancy starting, either. They talked drugs or they talked injuries, and that was about the extent of what he wanted to know.

Hissing through his teeth at another sharp pain in his side, he hobbled toward the table she’d freed up. “When I’m dead, madam, I plan on stayin’ that way, mujo mujo ma.” With another painful sigh, he set the bottle down on the table, then set himself to the struggle of taking off his coat. It took him some time – and a few more winces – but he managed, then heaved himself up to sit next to where he’d put his whisky.

When the passive took out that big bonesaw, Tom scowled even deeper, looking over at her from underneath a furrowed brow.

“Put that fuckin’ thing up,” he snapped, then coughed – then winced as the pain lanced up through his ribs, wheezing and snarling another string of curses under his breath. “I think I got a broken rib, an’ one of my ankles – shit. I jus’ need you to take a look, ye chen? Don’t start cuttin’ ’til you find somethin’ rottin’, you hear? Ain’t in that bad shape.”
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Kirrah
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: The viper
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Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:20 pm

Time Stamp
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Kirrah grinned at Tom reaction from the bonesaw. She then proceeded to put it back in its place. Adding with a light smile, seemingly half a smile that she was too tired to complete :

- You own me too much by now to be able to enjoy eternal rest, I’m pretty sure I own you up to your soul.

She walked through her lab, and picked some tools, especially a small lantern to get a better lighting on Tom wound:

- The other thing that sunlight that I’m not getting either is stabbed, unlike someone I know. You might want to consider the indoor life too.

She then slowly reached for the table, prepping everything to do her work.

- And If you reconsider the undead part, I really could use some zombie assistant to complete my unholy mad scientist vibe.

Kirrah helped Tom to take off his shirt, not even glancing at his naked torso which was old new to her by now. She scowled heavily when she saw the dark blue, nearly black, patch of skin where the rib was obviously broken.

Luckily for the thug, it didn’t seem like he had punctured a lung or any organ, or he might not have been able to walk to her door. But there was an abundant internal bleeding, possibly a shattered rib leaving splinter in his flesh.

- Good news is you’re not dead yet, emphasis on the “yet”. The bad news is that I might be the one to finish the job depending on what I find under your belly fat.

Kirrah pursued the line of his ribs with her index, isolating the ones that were still whole from the one that got broken.

She then walked to her cupboard, picking different jar and boxes. She then set them in front of Tom and asked:

- I’ll definitely need to cut, though, lucky you, “in” and not “off”. I know by then that you’re a sucker for pain or you wouldn’t get yourself done this bad every two week, but in case you’ve had your fill for tonight, then pick your poison. I’ll add it to your tab, not that I hope you’ll manage to clear it one day anyways.

In front of Tom Cooke was a whole array of drugs and narcotics, ranging from raw product to fancier ones, every single product existing on the market was here, most of a pretty decent degree of purity.



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Tom Cooke
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
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Location: Vienda, but also hell
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: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:02 pm

Kirrah’s Hideout Old Rose Harbor
After Midnight on the 9th of Vortas, 2715
Indoor life ain’t never put food on the table,” he muttered as she began to help him get his shirt off. Hurt like the hatchers now, oes, but it wasn’t worse than the beating had been. Still, he was grateful for the help; he felt useless, unwieldy, ’cause every time he raised his arms or drew his breath in too deep, he felt that godsawful sharp pain in his side, lancing all the way up. Even the scratch of his shirt brushing the bruised skin made him ache.

Soon as they’d got it off, he pushed it to the side in a tangle of cotton, hissing again through his teeth. He looked over at the passive, brow furrowing even deeper. Kirrah Grey was a hazy, pale face, the white of a coat, some motion in the shadows – and then that tsuter lantern forced him to squeeze his eyes shut, budding with tears, like he’d just looked into the sun.

Circle clock it, but his head ached. Like somebody’d stuck a sharp in it. So much of him ached and stung and twinged, he felt like one big bruise.

But Tom wasn’t hurting too bad to register what Grey’d said. He hissed through his teeth, making a face. “What you find?” he repeated. “You got to cut me open? Fuck that. Knew I should’ve jus’ –”

Waving her away with one big hand, he tried to push himself up to a standing position, fumbling with the table underneath him. He’d almost got himself to his feet when another sharp pain cracked through him like a thunderclap, and he fell right back on his erse, the table wobbling underneath him. “Clock it,” he snarled under his breath. “Fuck.” His head was buzzing fair bad, but, not for the first time today, he managed to ask himself the eternal question: why’d he get himself into this mess?

When he opened his eyes back up – eye, rather, the one that wasn’t swollen shut – it took him a few seconds to adjust to the light again. Kirrah was standing in front of him, the lantern to one side, and offering him – something. He squinted at it, then squinted up at Kirrah, lip curling a little.

Then he shook his head. “Ne,” he said, a little sharply, “ne, ne. You got to cut me open, I want to be awake for it.” And if I’m to die, I want to be awake for that, too, he thought but didn’t say. As if to reinforce his point, he reached for the bottle beside him and took another long drink of whisky, spluttering a little when an uneven breath sent another knifing twinge up through his ribs. He’d drunk enough that night that he was squiffy anyway, thank the gods, and when he set it back down, he managed to take a deep breath through the pain.

A wincing glance down at the purpling, sick-looking bruise at the bottom of his ribs, then back up at Kirrah.

“Sucker for pain, like you said, hey? An’ bein’ honest,” he added with a wan echo of a grin, “I plan on bitin’ it before I ever pay my tab. You got a lot of competition. One of the many benefits of this line of work, ye chen?” He rolled his shoulders, listening to the flurry of unpleasant pops, then shook his head. “Get on with it, lass.”
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Last edited by Tom Cooke on Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 619
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Kirrah
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: The viper
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:16 pm

Somewhere between the begining and the end of times
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Kirrah rolled her eyes at Tom reaction.

– Come on, stop whining, so far you’ve never died under my scalpel !

She marked a little pause before adding with a grin:

- … yet.

When Tom finally settled, Kirrah poured some pure alcohol on a tissue, and started cleaning her tools. She then cleaned the patch of skin where she would be cutting soon, sending Tom into another fit of painful groan.

She looked at him and asked with concern:

– Sure about those anesthetic? That’s gonna hurt like a bitch. No? Your funerals …

Since Tom seem deadly set about it, Kirrah draw a chair that was the right height to help her focus on the operating table and started with a clean incision alongside the rib itself. The bruised skin, bordering on the black in color, crackled as Kirrah cut it, letting some half-coagulated blood slowly flow out of it. The good part was that internal bleeding was more or less a slow stream now, the human body having done its job to mend the worst of the injury.

Though, like Kirrah anticipated, there was little the body could do on the long term without some serious external help. The rib had splintered right into the middle, turning the flesh around it into a mix of blood and pus as the body was staving off the damages.

– Forget what I told you, it’s not gonna hurt like a bitch, it’s gonna hurt like the whole brothel.

Kirrah took a pincer, and start taking out bits of mangled flesh, as those would only rot as time goes. She stayed clear of the rib slinter for now, not wanting to cause further bleeding: the clean red blood would prevent her from seeing clearly and she needed to clean the wound beforehand.

This part was the less painful for Tom, as this bit of flesh were already pretty much torn of or dead, cutting the nerves liaison to them.

When she was finally happy with her work, the whole bit of badly damaged flesh having been cut out, she could clearly see the broken rib incased into the thoracic muscles. The rib itself wasn’t torn from the muscles, which was a good thing cause Kirrah would have had no idea what to do if that was the case, apart from experimenting with the moment’s inspiration spur.

– And now, for the real pain …


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Tom Cooke
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
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Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:02 pm

Kirrah’s Hideout Old Rose Harbor
After Midnight on the 9th of Vortas, 2715
Tom didn’t much like the logic, but he reckoned Kirrah was right. Then again, just ’cause you hadn’t died from something yet didn’t mean you weren’t about to. That was why, ideally, you avoided mung, dangerous things, and that way, you ran the risk less often. Ideally. The passive also had a point that he managed to pull mung shit like this every other week, and so he reckoned he couldn’t complain. All in all, every day you didn’t die at the end of was a good one.

He just nodded through Grey’s warnings, barely able to hang onto her words. Waved his hand, shook his head. He thought he heard concern in her voice, so he said, “Ne, ne. I’ll be fine.” He heard the clink of metal on metal, and he shifted on the table, trying to get comfortable. Again, he felt it wobble underneath him. He sighed, shuddered with another twinge.

Kirrah’d brought the lantern closer. Blurry on his periphery, he could see a few spiderweb-strands of her hair, stirring in the damp draught. Felt the light brush of her fingers against his bruised side again, then something damp and cold – damp and cold and stinging. Alcohol. He grit his teeth, squeezing his good eye shut, frowning deeply. His fingers curled round the edge of the table, and he let himself hold on tight, hold on ’til his knuckles were bone-white with the effort.

This wasn’t his first time. That meant two things. The first was he knew not to look. Maybe that worked for some kovs, but he’d never met one; at best, looking’d make the pain all the worse, because you knew where it was, because you knew what it was. At worst, depending on who you were, you’d be gagging on your own bile before your unfortunate physician could get much done.

Second off – and this, more than anything – you could never make yourself ready. That was why looking didn’t help, even if it didn’t hurt.

He’d had a fair amount of whisky. He could feel the burn of it in his mouth, the tingle of it down his throat; there was that familiar numbness in his face, that settling warmth like waking sleep. That’d help, he thought. It was helping.

That was why, maybe, when he felt the first of it, he didn’t do much but clench his teeth shut tight. The pain got worse, then, and he let out something like a strangled whimper, a gag. The crack of pain in his side whenever he breathed didn’t help, but he couldn’t seem to help breathing deep. He kept his eyes shut.

Forget what I told you, it’s not gonna hurt like a bitch, it’s gonna hurt like the whole brothel.

Tom let out a messy snort, despite himself – then a bark of a laugh. “Oes,” he managed. “But it ain’t half uglier.” His voice was quiet, just about swallowed up by his breath; he couldn’t much hear it for the rush of his pulse. Then the pain got worse, a hell of a lot worse.

He sucked in a breath through his teeth, hissing. Then, shaky:

“...in Old Rose so fair, a lady, she lived there –
A lady of great beauty and great might –
And unto this lady fair, I became a… servant...”


He swallowed thickly. He was mostly quiet, jaw clamped shut – just focused on breathing – but he sang in snatches as Kirrah worked. Whenever he couldn’t bear the quiet dark.
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Kirrah
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:23 pm
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Location: France
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: The viper
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:25 pm

Somewhere between the begining and the end of times
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Kirrah started humming the same tone unwittingly, which, in hindsight, might have been a little creepy. Kirrah stood up, walking to the fireplace and drew a thin branding iron with a really small round end. She sighed, addressing a quick prayer to whoever was inclined to hear it, too low for Tom to hear though:

– By all account, I don’t have that many friends, or even I have close to none at all. Please don’t have one of them die under my hand …

She turned walked back to Tom in the same unhurried pace she had since the beginning, concentrating, reaching the optimal mental state for what’s was to come, her humming stopping right when she sat.

The wound was bleeding but barely, inflamed to the brisk of rupture.

She offered a clean cloth to Tom to bite if he wanted, not looking if he did as she immediately start focusing on the splinters: She counted five, but she might be wrong, so she started slightly pressing the flesh with the tip of her finger, trying to feel if there was another, which triggered another spasm in her patient.

Though painful, her carefulness payed of as there was definitely another splinter she couldn’t see at first which got deeper into the muscle, risking to pierce through into the inwards.

Afraid further spasming could push it through, she decided to start with this one, finding the entry wound and getting in with her pincer.

She was going blind on this one, meaning she had to fiddle a bit to finally grasp the splinter and slowly pull it out.

When she finally managed to get out, blood started flowing from the puncture wound, but red clean blood this time.

– Sorry buddy.

Kirrah then mercilessly applied the branding iron on the puncture wound to forcefully close it, causing what would be an excruciating pain to Tom as intercostal nerves were awful fuckers.

When Tom finally settled down, and afraid he might faint, Kirrah start working fast on the other splinter, taking them with dexterity, one by one, cauterizing each wound with precision until there was no more.

Kirrah finally started breathing again. She was herself sweating abundantly, and her hand started trembling suddenly after going through those intense minutes of concentration.

She gulped down a mouthful of medical alcohol. The taste was awful, but the strong alcohol helped her settle her own nerves.

She then sprayed the wound with some copper flakes and start sewing her friend.

– Once again the great Tom Cooke have beaten Death. Careful though, you might piss the great reaper for good one day and reincarnate as a poor fucker barely scrapping by in some god forsaken town. You wouldn’t want that.










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