The early morning snowfall has long since turned to hail, which now mercilessly batters against the glass walls of the Blackfield Skybridge, the shards of ice appearing as if from nowhere from the inky dark of night. This is where Hannah finds herself, called away from whatever else she may have been doing in order to handle a patient who the orderlies have described as "unruly," among several other even less flattering terms. She has a few moments before she reaches the operating room where said individual is presently bound, assuming she heads there right away. What might she be thinking along the way? What might she expect?
Hannah irritably tromps down the bridge between the Union and the East wing of the Clinic, some terrible, grind-filled coffee in her hand in a cup without the sleeve, burning into her palm as if to test that she should still feel at all. Her eyes, once a swirled mocha, take in the iced windows with a listless deadness, her default stare one now a thousand yards long. But she continues, her slacks swishing in much the same way that her scrubs once did, the fluttering wings of her lab coat brushing against them. These are the sounds that announce her, that did then, when she wore her soft-soled boots, and that do now in her ballet flats. These are the sounds that have emptied these halls of students, patients, and colleagues, but now... Forget it.
You think; "Fucking worthless orderlies"
You feel annoyed, a persistent mental discomfort burrowing like a beetle into the recesses of her consciousness.
You recall the last time a patient was unruly, some days ago.
You recall the autopsy
You feel smug, accomplished
You recall the spawning pools
You feel nervous, guilty.
>> Things have changed, perhaps, in the long days since October 31st, but at least one stone-faced orderly is eagerly awaiting Hannah's arrival at the mouth of a dreary operating room all the same. Behind him, two of his compatriots do battle with a dark-haired gentleman who has, somehow, escaped the confines of his straight jacket, burning red eyes wild as he tries to wrestle away from the table's leather straps. "Doctor Schmidt," the orderly greets on her arrival, just as a sickening -crack- heralds an intimate connection between the patient's fist and an orderly's chin. "I suppose you'll have to do. He insists on speaking with someone...The sedatives don't appear to be working."
Hannah watches the scene unfolding, some fell pleasure unfolding her heart like the blooming of an Angel's Trumpet flower in the face of the moon. No smile comes to her face, as if she's forgotten the motion in the past months. Her own eyes find the smoldering coals in the patient's sockets, nothing registering in that half-lidded, vapid stare that has settled into her countenance to live there for the rest of its days. She settles a hand, wordlessly, on the stone-faced orderly's shoulder, either pushing him to the side so that she can pass, or leveraging herself around him, achieving the same goal either way. A spindly-fingered hand lifts to push hair off of her forehead, the woman getting a better deadened look at the fellow as he struggles, even as she continues to walk, pace unchanging, up to the man and the scene he's causing. Heedless of potential attack, she'll invade the man's personal space, a two-fingered gesture shooing orderlies nearby.
You think; "Some sort of demon blood, perhaps, or a xenoscience procedure. Not worth the loss of humanity to do, I reckon, but people are stupid."
You feel superior, intelligent.
(Internally) Hannah isn't keen on getting so close to what appears to be a dangerous man, but often, the boldest measures are the safest. Perhaps her boldness will confuse or impress the man.
You feel anxious, worried.
You recall being punched, headbutted, bitten, by more patients than she'd like.
You think; "How stupid of me..."
You feel small, stupid.
You recall coming out on top of all of those interactions.
You feel smug, triumphant
You recall what that meant for those patients
You feel a dulled guilt in the empty tundra of her being.
>> The stony-faced orderly neatly steps away, giving to the push upon his shoulder. Likewise, his eerily similar companions in the operating room part like the red sea in response to the motioning fingers, one clutching at a bloodied nose. Hannah's bravery is rewarded with a sudden calm, and the gentleman sets a fiery glare upon her, lips twisting back into a sneer that reveals a few crooked teeth. "So they've finally sent someone. You people have never understood how to properly greet a guest of honor." His growling voice is far deeper than one might expect from the man.
>> [If Hannah has been in the habit of dealing with the more...normal patients that the Clinic occasionally entreats, she might recognize the fellow. If it weren't for the red eyes, he'd look exactly like a fellow who has regular appointments with one of Blackfield's therapists. Every other monday, generally.]
"My husband is the Cardinal of Pride." Hannah lulls quietly, an arm out to stay the orderlies in their position, lest they get any ideas about coming back. "I thought it only fitting to personally see to the welcoming of a potential cousin." Her chin raises, a cheekbone lifts, her gaze sideways over it as she studies the dark-haired fellow. She doesn't mention recognizing the man, if she does, nor does she draw any attention to any past encounters the pair might or might not have had. Instead, she takes a small step to the side, still deep in the red-eyed gent's bubble, heedless now of the muscled sycophants taking up space in the room. "How can Blackfield be of assistance?" the doctor wonders, her hands settling into the pockets of her lab coat
You feel dishonest
You think; "Michael's just your fiance, you liar."
You think; "Fiance, husband, either way."
You feel the cold steel in the pocket of your lab coat
(Internally) Hannah imagines ending this conversation with a flick of the wrist, imagines the blood spraying, too-hot, as demon blood often is, out of the man's common carotid artery, imagines the steam rising from her clothes and face in the cold winter evening.
(Internally) Hannah imagines drawing a smiley face in the fog on the window the steam would make, her bloodied finger smearing blackened ichor without intent.
You feel sick
You think; "What's wrong with you?"
You feel bemused.
You think; "I know what I am, do you?"
You recall Bulgaria. Being the patient. Suffering the experiments, the beatings, the humiliation. Being pissed on, being kicked while she was down. Hiding her splintered rib, lest the staff there antagonize it just to see how loud she could scream.
You recall being used like a sex toy
You feel nothing.
You think; "Yeah, I know what I am."
(Internally) Hannah clutches, desperately, to her remaining humanity. What wasn't taken from her. What couldn't be.
You think; "Numb isn't strong. Emptiness is weak. Emotion is strong."
You feel dishonest.
>> "A cardinal," The red-eyed man sneers. As he lets the word roll of his tongue, he grips at the leather straps around his legs, pulls. The orderlies had managed to secure those, at least, and somehow this gentleman is simply not strong enough to break them. Still, there's no question that should he lash out at Hannah while she remains in such close quarters, it will hurt. He hasn't yet. "I am Tuvreis, the twenty-sixth, locator of the lost," he self-aggrandizes to Hannah in that voice which should not belong to that body. "My master's servant entered within the walls of this 'Blackfield' and did not return. He would be compensated."
"Strange," Hannah muses, turning her back to Tuvreis *, taking in the same view the man was afforded before she took up the space directly in his way. Her dead eyes tick to one side and then another, surveying the space, before the woman elaborates, "That my husband is a cardinal does not impress you: You believe your master to be superior. But Pride would never sink to such depths as to demand recompense for the loss of a servant, of all things. That your master places such a high value on this servant to embarrass himself, sending you to beg at my doorstep, well..." She takes one step away, her head shaking infinitesimally. "And even still, I am gracious enough to send you crawling home with a few coppers or a slave from our bunkroom for the loss of your dog, if your master needs it so much. It is the least I can do, for family."
You think; "Michael's ears would smoke if I assaulted his pride in this way."
You feel scared
(Internally) Hannah imagines it: The red-eyed servant, the man called Tuvreis, grabbing her from behind, snapping her neck.
You recall Bulgaria
You think; "Would it be a relief?"
(Internally) Hannah imagines her body falling to its knees, hands feebly rising, until the action potential can no longer reach her skeletal muscles, her body falling forward, head at an unnatural angle.
You feel annoyed
You recall the pools.
You think; "A minor setback."
Hannah turns back to face Tuvreis, her palms coming together, fingertips pressed against each other in front of her thighs. Her eyes latch onto his gaze, the empty wastes, like The Void itself, threatening to consume the smoldering flame, as a Cthonic horror will consume the mind of man, and inevitably, consume the world and the universe itself. Her iris gives one tiny, millimeter long tick, anti-clockwise, and she waits.
You feel eternity, patience.
>> The dark-haired gentleman's nostrils flare, and at Hannah's goading he lurches forward where he sits upon the operating table. She hears the legs of the thing crack against the tiled floor as he bucks. When she turns about to face him, he's reaching out with one hand. She feels the fingers brush against her hair, and then the offer of shiny coins and a slave gives Tuvreis pause. "Three slaves," comes the snarled bargain, that constant, barely contained rage pathetic and groveling, or nearly so, in its new light. A demonic tantrum. "We abide by the law of three," he repeats, pushing his luck.
"Three," Hannah shrugs, as if she's got no shortage of slaves to ply Tuvreis with, as if he could have asked for more if he'd only had the foresight. She dusts off her hands, and offers one to the twenty-sixth, stiff, unmoving, unbreathing. Her face may as well be molded from stainless steel, for all its expression. "The bargain is struck. So mote it be." Her gaze has picked up some semblance of life, even in the melancholy mask that she wears in place of a face. Some fey eagerness, some fell expectation. She says nothing, however.
You think; "Law of threes... I should take three of your fingers. Both thumbs and a ring finger. Send you back to your master useless. Hmph."
You feel annoyed.
You feel beaten.
You think; "Gave in to his demands that fast, eh? How will that look on you and Michael?"
You feel worried
You think; "We're gracious and fair, then, aren't we? We don't sweat the loss of three, when this guy's master is crying over one."
You feel superior, arrogant.
(Internally) Hannah wagers a look into the void of her mind, wagers in that dance with numbness, and returns with a calm that unsettles herself.
Should Turveis shake Hannah's hand, she'll then move to speak privately with one of the orderlies, asking that release forms be signed for a catatonic middle-age man and a pair of violent, psychotic twins, by their patients IDs, not by their descriptors, to be sent home with the man strapped to the table.
>> "...Three," Tuvries echoes Hannah, his snarling growl only subsiding momentarily. He is placated all the same, and accepts the doctor's hand in a surprisingly human grip. Far from firm, it's warm and moist with the sweat of his earlier struggling. "The bargain is struck, Doctor Schmidt," he agrees, perhaps having overheard the stoney-faced orderlies greeting prior; Though he says the title as if it were her first name.
>> With that done, the red-eyed gentleman relaxes. Somewhat. The orderly and his compatriots are quick to respond to Hannah's order as they always are, have been and will be. Nobody will miss the catatonic man, and the twins might make the news several cities away, in a few month's time. That's hardly Blackfield's or Hannah's problem, though.
"It has been a pleasure, Tuvreis, to assist you." Hannah comments snootily as she starts to head back the way she came, some intermingling of the cocky arrogance of triumph and the bitter annoyance of defeat coming to head in her posture, the way she paces away, head held high as if she's won, but moving too quickly to be strutting, eager to be away from the situation, obvious in that.
You think; "I'll have some explaining to do for those releases, but... I did the right thing."
You feel unsure
You think; "Right?"