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The Necromancer's Reach

 
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Sheryl Resendei
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Joined: 05 May 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: The Necromancer's Reach Reply with quote

The following is the conclusion to this thread: Triskelion


The great bear's breath was heavy and ragged by the time he reached the Sanctuary on the other side of town, every other huff coming out as a rumbling growl.  He had crossed RhyDin at a full sprint, and moving his one-ton body at that speed took most of the energy he had.  Heads had turned, Watch whistles blew, but no one was foolish enough to get in the bear's way, not when he seemed equally content to leave people alone other than scattering them from his path.

"Sheryl."  He snarled her name, twisting his head back into one of his massive shoulders to try to look at her.  So much blood...

He did not waste any time on ceremony.  When they reached the gates of the Sanctuary, he let out a great bellowing roar to announce their presence.  By the time the roar was done, they were twisting into human screams, Sheryl's form sliding off of his naked back to rest beside him as his body once more returned to the shape of Roland the human knight. 

A bellowing roar in the somber stillness just after sunset was one way of getting attention.  Not to mention when it was paired with and gave way to human screams.  The Sanctuary was already on high alert as the construction had started on the new Temple next door, and it was Delphinea who saw the bear in the dim light and sent up the alarm.  After only a few moments was the front courtyard of the Sanctuary flooded with warriors.  The first and front of them being Isuelt.  "What...."  Her dark eyes looked from a naked Roland to a bloody Sheryl and back again.  "What in the hell happened?" 

Roland himself was not untouched.  The bear's wounds were his wounds too, and the flesh of his right shoulder was burned where Dracina's blade had seared it, and the shadow's touch still chilled him to his core...  "Bhaalite witch.  She tried to keep us from the artifact..."  The knight shook his head heavily and knelt to scoop up Sheryl where she slay, still clutching the holy chakram.  "She needs healing.  She was clawed by ghouls, there may have been other necromancy, I cannot be sure..."

Isuelt listened to what the knight said, though she was little more than still lightly confused.  Even still, she wasted no time in doling out orders, "Phin, ready them beds.  Poultices, rinses and...the usual."  Though Sheryl's predicament seemed, according to Roland, to be anything but usual.  "Nimue, get your Sister inside.  I'll help the knight."  Delphinea and Janie did as they were told with outstanding speed.  Isuelt stooped to help Roland up, being careful of his shoulder.  "Talk to me."  Perhaps she wanted a bit of clarification as they had a quick moment of privacy, heading inside.

Roland's attention lingered away from Issy, following Sheryl until she was out of sight with a worried frown... "The chakram she is clutching...  We found it in the library we set out to investigate today.  Made with the lost art of Damascus steel and inscribed with Scathach's battle prayer.  I am not sure what it is exactly, but there is a holy power in it, I am sure... enough power that one of Bha'al's treacherous acolytes, sought to take it from us with her undead minions." 

The thoughts running through her head were numerous and one darker than the next.  She could almost feel the fetid breath of Bhaal breathing down her neck as Roland spoke.  They moved through the open doors, lined with a few other (wide-eyed) Scathachians, and through the hallways into what seemed to be a large bedroom.  Sheryl was already in a bed and the room was swarming with priestesses cleaning her wounds and mixing herbal remedies.  Isuelt continued quietly as she helped Roland to a bed, making sure that the blankets were there to cover his modesty.  "This chakram...I believe I have heard of it."  She glanced around the room, not seeing the weapon.

Roland looked as well, thinking the same thing, with a frown.  "Sheryl has it...  What is it?  Did it belong... to your goddess?" he added quietly, and then grimaced as he eased back into bed, trying his best not to let anything make contact with his shoulder.  When his eyes opened again, they were not searching for the artifact, but looking over Sheryl herself.  Her wounds, her condition...  One hand balled into a fist in his sheets.

The basins of water for washing as well as the once-white linen sheets were now both deep crimson.  There was so much blood surrounding Sheryl, though her Sisters worked effortlessly to stop the bleeding and assess what they needed to do.  At one point, Delphinea looked up and over to Isuelt and Roland, a dire expression on her face.  Sheryl's face seemed to have lost its rosy glow, she was so pale now and her breathing quite shallow.  "We're going to need help here, Iz," Janie looked up from the bloody rags in her hands and Sheryl's lacerated legs and over to her elder and the knight. 

No sooner was Roland eased into bed, it seemed, than he was halfway out of it, having just enough presence of mind to cinch a blanket about his waist.  Normally he would have been more respectful of the priestesses in their own Sanctuary, but he did not hesitate to part the bodies in his way so he could better see Sheryl -- and there, too, he could see that the sisters were confused.  This seemed to be their healer, after all. The knight cast another look back at Issy, and then said to the others, "You, and you... help me apply pressure.  Hold your hands like this, here... tighter...  That's good.  You.  Needle and thread, and keep those bandages and poultices on hand when I need them.  You.  Alcohol, and... in my bag, in my quarters, there is a blue glass vial with a black stopper.  Give her three drops at a time as she needs them, but no more than twelve.  It will help with the pain.  Quickly! "All knights were ready (to varying degrees) to treat their brethren on the battlefield when needed, and while Roland did not feel he was the best at it, he was calling upon all of his experience now for Sheryl's sake.

It was Delphinea who spoke first, "Well we know all of that, it's just that....well, look at her!"  Phin pointed to the flesh that had been cut by the ghouls claws.  It was not just pink flesh, but beginning to gray, with black veining beginning to web out from the wounds.  "It's...not like anything I've seen."  Though she was pressing down and preparing thread and needle.  Meanwhile Janie, who was actually not entertained by a blanket-wrapped naked man, dashed out of the room with two of the other Scathachians to fetch the rest of the supplies needed. Isuelt walked up to Sheryl's bed, nostrils flared and jaw set as she looked over the situation.  She placed a hand on Sheryl's forehead for a moment.  This was her one-time student, like most of the girls here, and it pained Isuelt to see someone so young in such a state.  Isuelt would have traded places with her in a heartbeat.  "Send for a healer.  This is magic.  We'll need magic to fight it."  She glanced then to Roland as the priestess behind Delphinea took the order and sprinted out of the room. 

Sheryl then whimpered as Isuelt's hand came away from her forehead, her eyelashes fluttered and she opened her eyes after a small battle to do so. The young blonde warrior began to cough, and as she finally regained her breath, she spoke in a whisper, "Roland....it's over there..."  Her chin turned weakly toward the small table beside the bed.  A glint of metal could be seen underneath bloodstained cloths.

"Issy," Roland said, nodding the woman towards the artifact in question.  Important as it was, he was unable to tear his attention from Sheryl at this point -- and stopping the bleeding would go a long way in helping her fight the foul magic that was poisoning her body.  Too often he'd seen comrades succumb to blood loss or infection while fighting off a curse or hex...  "It's safe.  We did it, Sheryl," he whispered.  "And now... I want you to focus on me.  Will you do that for me, please?"

Isuelt reached for the metallic object, pulling it free from the blood-soaked linens.  As her dark eyes washed over the artifact, her heart rate picked up.  It looked like the fabled Chakram of Scathach, the prayer was etched into the blade, indeed.  She was quickly mesmerized by its beauty and the thought of what it could mean if it was in fact the actual Chakram of Scathach.  

Sheryl's large blue-gray eyes, however, were not on the chakram.  They were on Roland.  "Sir knight," she smiled softly, her voice quiet.  "You are safe?"

"Only slightly singed, and quite safe," Roland replied with a little dip of his head.  "You have seen to that well...  You are very brave."

Delphinea arched a brow and briefly looked up from her stitching, though she said not a word as she returned to her work of closing Sheryl's wounds.  Athena had come into the room before too long, her red hair streaming down her back and stood next to her one time bunkmate, Isuelt.  The two of them, being the oldest quietly conferred on the significance of Sheryl and Roland's find.

Sheryl winced lightly as she felt a stinging throughout her limbs, yet she knew that she had earned the pain as she had fallen in battle, something for which she would chastise herself for incessantly later.  "You...Roland..."  She was beginning to remember something from a dreamlike state.  Her voice dropped to a private whisper and she reached out to the knight.  "I remember...a great beast.  A bear.  With fur as warm as winter's fire...and grace as strong as the sea..."

"That was Arctos... Guardian of the Bretland Wood... and I will tell you his tales," he whispered, with a glance at Issy and the others, "in the days to come.  But he aids me and my comrades when I call on him."  Roland let her hold onto his left shoulder, leaving his hands free to work.  "Poultice, please...  Thank you. "Then he shared a smile with Sheryl.  "Grace as strong as the sea, you say...  You were impressed?"

She exhaled as her smile widened, she closed her eyes and nodded her head, "Yes.  You are quite full of surprises, sir knight."  Opening her eyes once again, she was aware of the activity around her.  "Is it bad?"  She looked to Roland; and keeping her fingers on his shoulder, gave it a small squeeze. Delphinea had finished with one leg and was now onto the less severe other leg.  Janie and a few others had returned with all of the supplies that Roland requested.  Several of the basins were replaced with clean water and fresh linens were brought in. 

"Not so very bad... and as my brother Seamus would say, 'You should see the other guy.'  Janie," he nodded to the sister with the pain medicine, and then explained to Sheryl, "She's going to give you a little bit of medicine...  It will taste terrible," he warned her with a smile, "but it will help with the pain." Where wounds were cleaned, poulticed and stitched as needed, Roland began wrapping her wounds with bandages.  "I must take more care with libraries...  Every time I go to check out a book, I end up in battle."

The surfer nodded and shifted through the supplies, figuring she'd found the correct item.  She poured the measured fluid into a small cup and held it to Sheryl's lips.  Sheryl drank and resisted making a face of any sort.  It was Janie, however that made a face.  Seemingly, she had just realized that Roland was next to her in nothing but a blanket thrown about his waist, of which it was partially slipping.  The bombshell's attention was momentarily split as she gave the knight the once-over with an approving grin.  There may have even been a small lick of her lips. Isuelt and Athena, however, had moved toward the door and were continuing to speak in urgent, hushed tones.  Athena now had the chakram and was nodding vehemently. 

Delphinea was joined by another priestess as they finished up stitching Sheryl's leg wounds.  And Sheryl winced at the binding she was feeling, though she stared at a combination of Roland and the ceiling.  "I'm sorry."  She sighed and tried to reclaim a bit of humor, "Think I'll ever get another dance?"

"Of course.  You will dance for many years to come," Roland answered her with an encouraging smile, and double checked the bindings she winced at before continuing his work.  Eventually he too realized his blanket was slipping, and took a moment to tie it tighter, only then noticing Janie's attention but not tying the two together. "Janie... are you feeling alright?  Do you need water?"  Unlike many of the Order's more handsome knights, Roland had never gotten used to, or been anything other than oblivious to, the attention they often received.

Janie's sultry chuckle was familiar enough to at least Delphinea that a bark came from the hulking priestess, "Janie, take these sullied rags and wash them out.  Now."  There was a shrug of indifference from Janie as she did as Delphinea asked, though as she went, she looked over her shoulder at Roland with a bit of a whistle.  

"Excuse her, knight.  She has the mind track of a lemming."  This from Delphinea as she gathered the rest of the supplies and ushered the other priestesses away from the bed.

"I do not fault her, it is easy to become distracted in a stressful time," Roland replied, still frazzled enough himself that he still missed the point of Janie's attention.  He did look to the doorway, offering a silent prayer, several mouthed words of Latin, that the healer would arrive soon..."Sheryl... how do you feel?"  There was less and less that he and Phin could do now, and he touched the hand that clutched his shoulder.

"Fine..." She tried to laugh.  "Sore.  A little sick."  Her Sisters, not giving modesty a second thought in a time of triage, had left the sheets away from Sheryl's body.  While her legs were bandaged from the knees down, her thighs were left uncovered.  The grey veining that emanated from beneath the dressings were starting to spread.   "Here..."  Still clutching at Roland's shoulder, her other hand rubbed against her ribcage.  There was a shallow lump that was red and beginning to take on the same appearance as the grey webbing that her legs were sporting.  

Though the pain began dully, its heat was picking up.  Still, Sheryl's attention was pulled once more to the knight.  "Your...your shoulder.  You're hurt."  Without thinking, she tried to sit up.  She blamed herself for his wounds. 

"I will be okay," Roland assured her, but right now he was frowning at the lump on her ribcage and doing his best to keep her level.  "Isuelt.  Athena," he called to them, and turned his gaze back to whatever it was that Dracina had inflicted on her. "It appears to be a cyst," he murmured, keeping his voice low.  "Where it came from, I cannot be sure, but there was some sinister magic I saw that witch casting..."

Athena looked up first, followed a second later by Isuelt.  The pair now realized that the room was practically empty as they had been so deep in discussion.  They walked toward Roland and Sheryl, both of them wearing similar sour expressions.  Athena was first to speak, "Cyst.  It's gray.  Where the hell is that healer?"  She turned her strong chin toward the door. 

Isuelt leaned over to lightly run her fingers over the cyst on Sheryl's side.  She looked to the young warrior, "Does that hurt?"  

Sheryl shook her head, and looked from Isuelt to Roland.  "Not too bad."  She lied.

"The New Haven Lodge has healers," Roland offered, looking at them.  "I know a shortcut, I can be there and back quickly with one of them."  His wound still burned with pain and the shadow's exhaustion wore him down, but he kept focused, repeating a mantra in his mind whenever he felt himself slipping.  He had maintained himself in such a state for far longer than this before...

Isuelt was watching Sheryl closely as she listened to Roland.  However it was Athena who spoke up, "Do it!" 

Roland lingered for only a moment, watching Sheryl's face...  Then he swept out of the room, his sword flickering into being again when he called upon it, catching it in one hand.  "Bring my horse to the gate," he said, ducking into his chambers long enough to change, which -- like any good soldier -- he did in a matter of moments.


Isuelt sat down besides Sheryl and leaned her elbows on the bed, bowing her head forward into her hands.  She felt as if the world was crumbling.  Bhaal was tipping the Scathachian scales into his favor, and Isuelt was scared to death that they were going to lose another of their Sisters.  Athena, meanwhile, stayed near the doorway.  Her arms folded and her expression was hardened.  The pair looked to each other and seemed to have a conversation without words; the women had come to the Island together and had known each other for more than half of their lives.  They were to a point where they could nearly read each other's mind.

They waited...
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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
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Sheryl Resendei
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 44
See this user's pet
Jobs: Priestess, Scribe
Can Be Found: Rhydin
5157.26 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The knight returned as swiftly as he'd promised to, leaving his poor horse out of breath and himself in a similar state. Every move irritated the wound on his shoulder, and every step felt as if he were climbing a steep hill. He was followed by a man in a similar state of dress, wearing the crosses of their Order, but where the knights' long coats concealed straps for swords, knives and guns, this man held potions, herbs, focusing stones and other arcane tokens for the healing arts.

"Brother Timnes, Order Acolyte," the bookish man introduced himself breathlessly, and shoved his coat into Roland's arms to better reach his implements. He knelt beside Sheryl, and offered her his best reassuring smile -- as a healer, his bedside manner was decent. "Roland's told me a lot about you already, Sheryl. Now let's get you taken care of, aye?"

Isuelt stood up as the two men entered the room, with Delphinea on their heels. Athena too, pushed off from her lean against the wall. "Isuelt DeRomiano. Thank you Brother Timnes." Her dark eyes looked to Roland, she knew that they would have to see to his wounds as well. She flicked her eyes toward Phin to try and convey this. Delphinea got the message and moved to Roland, murmuring something about his shoulder.

Sheryl's eyes meanwhile were gazing glassily at the ceiling and she made little movement toward the Acolyte. There was only a slight flicker of her lashes to indicate she had heard him at all. Her skin had taken on a sallow gray pallor along her thighs and abdomen. Her lips and cheeks were pale, which ironically made her blue-gray eyes stand out all the more.

Roland did not resist with any more than a grunt, shrugging out of his coat and pulling off his shirt to let Phin see to the wound. His eyes, though, were on Sheryl, as long as they kept him within sight of her.

Timnes rubbed his hands together, frowning over her condition. "Necromancers... may the rancid lot of them rot in Tartarus," he shook his head. "But, I have seen worse. Now..." He looked over his shoulder as he raised his hands over Sheryl's form. "You might want to avert your eyes." He only gave them a second or two of warning; then brilliant golden light gathered in the palms of his hands, before dimming again as it spread across Sheryl's body. "And, I do apologize... if this seems rude... but this work is more... meticulous, than it appears... so I will not be conversing until I am done. Sorry." It did appear to be meticulous work, if one judged by the way his eyes worked and the frustrated frown his brow knit itself into. Already a bead of sweat was trickling down from his scalp, running past his temple.

Isuelt backed away from the bed, a hand covering her mouth thoughtfully. Clearly, she was feeling the pressure of her station. Athena moved closer to aid Delphinea in removing Roland's shirt and aiding her in attending to the knight's shoulder. The hulking blonde began to clean and debride his wound and looked to Athena to ready the thread.

All of the Scathachians, however, paused to look at Timnes and the golden light hovering over Sheryl. Sheryl herself made no sound, other than the labored rate of her own breathing, which sounded more like soft grunting at times. Her countenance fluctuated and bent to the sensations she was feeling; and from the look on her face, she appeared to be in great pain.
Isuelt had to look away, her jaw flinching as she dropped her head. She offered a silent prayer, hoping that Scathach...or anyone...was listening. Her Sisters, from their standpoints likely were doing the same.

Timnes was quiet for a little more than five minutes as he worked, though the silence of it and the tension no doubt made it feel like an eternity. Then suddenly he shifted from his kneel, eyes widening, then narrowing in a frown. "Someone get me a knife! Alcohol! Poultice and bandages!"

Delphinea snapped into action, almost sensing what the Acolyte needed. The items were laid upon a clean towel on Sheryl's bed. Athena was left to finish sewing Roland's shoulder as the needle and thread swung slowly after being so hastily abandoned by Phin. Isuelt looked up from her prayer and bit her bottom lip. Her low brow studied Timnes and Sheryl both, she had a tightness about her expression that belied the sea of turmoil and angst she was feeling.

The healing light Timnes summoned from within himself became blinding once more. The cyst was out, the bandages applied, but it did not end there... Something foul rose from the wound, a dark mass hovering in the air, directing its malice vengefully upon the healer for disturbing its role...
"Begone!" he cried, and an unearthly shriek filled the chamber as he bathed it in his light. "Back to Hell with you, spirit, never to return!"
The light faded, and Timnes staggered back into the edge of the bed, catching himself roughly with one arm. "Saints above," he swore breathlessly, dripping with sweat, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling.

Sheryl's body arched as if the removal of such an evil tried to pull her soul along with it. Her lips parted in a scream that died just as it left her tongue. Limply, she fell back against the sheets with a light sheen of sweat covering her skin.

"Ifreann bréan..." Delphinea swore under her breath in Scathachian as she stepped away from the bed, upon seeing the mass. And at the blast of light she, as well as her Sisters, sheltered her face in awe. In the uneasy silence that followed Timnes exorcism of sorts, there was a ragged rhythm that came from the breath of each person in the room.

Isuelt's strong arms were behind Timnes to try and support the man, while Athena was leaning forward just past Roland.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," he assured Isuelt, though clearly he needed her help standing up, "only tired... Let's see, now..." He leaned forward to touch Sheryl's brow, checking her eyes, listening to her breathing... "She will be fine," he informed them, smiling, which elicited a strong breath and a few words of praise to God from Roland nearby. "Just keep her rested and make sure she is checked regularly by a physician for everything else that's happened to her."

"Brother Timnes. How...how do we thank you?" Isuelt supported him fully before he leaned to check in on Sheryl. Isuelt had no love for technology, nor magic. Though at this moment, she was immensely grateful for the latter.

"Sorry," Athena breathed to Roland as she snipped the last of his stitching and looked to Delphinea, stepping in that direction.

Sheryl's eyes slowly opened and her soft gaze focused on Brother Timnes, though it took her a moment. Perhaps she understood what he had done, as her lips gracefully curled into a tired smile for him.

"I won't say no to whisky and a warm bed, if you have either," Timnes answered Issy with an easy grin, removing his glasses carefully to better mop at his face. "And you..." He pointed a finger at Roland. "Be faster next time. You swore all of yourself to the Baron, not you minus a shoulder. Knights," he grumbled crossly as he was led out.
Roland lingered, however, taking a knee beside Sheryl's bed. "The chakram," he breathed, after a long moment. "It is what it seemed to be?"

"For you, we have both. And lots of the former." Isuelt breathed a bit easier as she left the room with Timnes, followed by Athena, who had taken up the chakram. She would see that it was put in a safe place. Delphinea stayed to clean up odds and ends. She glanced briefly at Roland as he knelt at Sheryl's side; only a light sigh was heard. Though she didn't seem to be too bent out of shape about it as she soon brought a cotton blanket toward the bed and covered Sheryl with it. She looked at the knight and though her words seemed stern, the tone let a bit of her appreciation slip out. Even if he was a man. "Your shoulder should heal as well. Make sure she doesn't catch a chill." Delphinea then retreated from the room, leaving the door ajar.

Sheryl took a deep breath and looked to Roland. "I think it is. I...it cut through those beasts as if they were nothing more than butter." The scene once more flashed through her mind, causing her mouth to purse as if she'd eaten something sour. "If it is...it is a great weapon indeed. And a blessing to us. Especially....especially if we are to fight the temple of Bhaal." She wasn't truly aware she had ever reached for him, but her fingers had found themselves curled around Roland's hand.

Roland squeezed Sheryl's hand encouragingly. "You have done a great thing for your sisters, and for all of us." He considered her fingers quietly, and then her face, before he turned a smile on her: "Would you like to hear about Arctos?"

She resolved to push the recent memories that were clawing at her mind back, back and away. Instead she chose to call upon more positive mementos. She put herself back at the masquerade ball. The costumes, the music and the dancing. She had had such a special time that night; it's memory would do perfectly. All the while, the young priestess was looking to Roland, recalling his role in the evening. A tale about Arctos? This would further spur a happy distraction. And she was all too eager to listen to his gentle voice.

Sheryl's blonde curls, crushed though they might have been against the pillow, happily shifted as she nodded her head with a brightening smile. "Yes, sir knight. Please."



(Thank you to Roland!)

_________________
It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
-Dolores Ibarruri

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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