• Completed • Stitches (Graded)

3rd of Cylus 720

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Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:32 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Full time nuisance
Renown: 292
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Wealth Tier: Tier 1





Stitches (Graded)

The 3rd of Cylus 720

Oberan sat down on the cold and slightly damp forest floor between the roots of a large tree. The earth was still soft, despite the decline in temperature now the cold cycle had rolled around. There hadn’t been any frost yet, and the underground hadn’t had a chance to freeze solid just yet. Like every year it would come to pass rather soon, along with the falling snow. At the moment the cold was still bearable. As long as the wind didn’t poke through one’s clothes with its wintery fingers. Unfortunately, the Mortalborn was shirtless by necessity, unprotected. The alcove created by the roots of the tree sheltered him somewhat from the wind, but not completely. As a result he was shivering more or less uncontrollably.

Tensing his chest and abdominal muscles seemed to solve the issue, though it made the pain in his side flare. Which, coincidentally, was the reason he’d partly undressed in the first place. The shirt was stained with blood on the inside and the outside both, lying crumpled next to a bundle of equally, if not more, bloody bandages. The culprit was a puncture wound in his side, a couple inches deep. While it didn’t leak as much as before, Oberan was still losing blood from it in a steady stream. Adrenalin had dulled the pain, but it had made it easier for the thief to make things worse by moving, and fighting and restraining a struggling target.

He’d have gone to a doctor, if not for his choice of escape route landing him far outside the city. Close enough to make for a healthy walk when uninjured, which Oberan had hoped he’d be. Of course, he could create a portal back into the city, but Sintra’s minions were likely on the lookout for Rupturing portals. Too great a risk, especially now he’d made some headway. No, he’d stay here and do it himself.

Next to his body, on top of a relatively flat rock were a couple items he’d summoned from his Vault. Needle and thread, a lit oil lantern, fresh bandages, a leather belt, a waterskin, and a bottle of spirits. Oberan wasn’t a doctor. He knew next to nothing about medicine or surgery. All he remembered was basic first aid. However, he’d seen enough people sew wounds closed. He’d done it before a couple times too. If memory served, it wasn’t that hard. The result hadn’t been pretty, but that did not matter. The most important part was to work with clean tools and a clean wound.

So he rinsed the bleeding flesh with water from his waterskin, wincing as the liquid splashed the sensitive insides. He tried to be thorough, sucking in air through gritted teeth, enduring what he figured was the easiest bit. Most of what washed out of the injury were fibers from his shirt, but not too many of them, thanks to wrapping it in bandages almost immediately after getting stabbed.

Next came the threading of the needle, which took entirely too long, and frustrated Oberan to no end. His fingers trembled, no longer skilled and dexterous. Even when wetted, the thread resisted sliding through the eye, bending out of the way each time he tried. One time he managed, but accidentally pulled it back out by moving the needle too far. Eventually though, the Mortalborn somehow succeeded at the hellish task. He guessed at a length of thread, opting to err on the side of caution. It was better to have too much afterwards than too little. Once the thread was tied together in a knot, he held the needle into the flame of his lantern until it glowed red-hot. Why it was necessary he failed to recall, but everyone who’d ever stitched him up had done the same. That probably meant it was an important step.

The last of the preparations was numbing the flesh, for which Oberan had the bottle of liquor. He uncorked it and took a big swig, and then another. It burned his throat to the point of tears forming in his eyes. Strong stuff reserved for small shots. He coughed, then took another gulp. He swapped the bottle for the belt, folding it a couple times. It came to sit between his teeth.

Needle in hand, he took a deep breath—

And stopped. His hand went back for the bottle, and rinsed the wound with alcohol, just in case. It burnt worse there than in his throat. He bit down hard on the belt, hissing and growling. Then the needle returned. Hovering above the edge, close to the skin. It needed to go deep, from one side to the other, and then back up.

Right. Easy. He could do this.

It took more force to break the skin than he remembered, but once he was through, getting to the other side of the gap wasn’t that difficult. Even with trembling hands and while chewing onto the belt like a rabid dog. He paused a few seconds, then pulled. The feeling of the string moving through his flesh disgusted him, and evoked another furious chomping. The little knot pulled the thread taut, closing one small part of the injury. He was breathing hard already. Panting and sweating like he’d sprinted all the way from Etzos to Fosters. The belt fell from his mouth. Oberan took three more swigs of his bottle, then put it back.

He braced for the second round.

While the pain certainly didn’t get any better, the Mortalborn’s next loops went smoother than the first. In and out, in and out. Several times, the needle dove into his skin, peeking from the bloody laceration, and emerged from the other side. The thread followed in its wake, trailing behind like the tail of a snake. Together they pulled the wound more or less closed, allowing Oberan to cut the thread and tie it off.

Another rinse with water to clean his skin from the blood allowed him to better evaluate his handiwork. Sloppy and uneven, likely to leave a bumpy scar, but it’d do. He then wrapped his abdomen in a layer of bandages. If he’d known where to find and identify it, Oberan would have put some kind of moss onto the wound. Divolt used to swear it had healing properties, and was very absorbent, making it perfect for bandages and poultices.

He wasn’t going to get up now though; the booze was starting to work its magic. Hitting him all at once. The world was spinning and bobbing. A dull ache began forming, chastising him for drinking too much too fast. Slowly and carefully he put his shirt and coat back on, then leaned as far back into the alcove as he could, hiding away so he could sit and wait in peace for a while. Some rest before he continued with the second task ahead of him.

* * *

Oberan rose languidly. There was a pleasant buzz in his head. Ingesting an excess of water had stopped the nausea caused by the alcohol considerably, though it had taken a long time. As a precaution, he steadied himself using the massive trunk of the tree as he stood, but was pleased to find it unnecessary. The fresh stitches tugged and hurt when he moved certain ways, used some of his abdominal muscles. While not unexpected, he cringed and hissed all the same. Not wanting to tear them and undo his hard work, the Mortalborn was mindful of the his motions, to the point where he felt incredibly awkward.

There was work to do, however, something he’d prefer got done immediately. Sure, he could postpone it, but doing so would only make it less pleasant than it already was.

He began gathering wood. Fallen branches found on the floor all over the place. As much as he could find. It didn’t matter to him what kind. Thick and sturdy, thin and whip-like, old and brittle, or young and flexible. He tried to look for ones that were dry, but this time of year that was rather difficult. Most were damp. Oh well.

They were carried back to his previous location, where the threw them on a heap which grew larger with each armload he added. It took him a couple hours to create a sizeable pile of firewood, not due to a lack of wood or having a hard time finding suitable branches –he took all he came across—but because of his efforts to not strain himself. Oberan gauged the amount he’d gathered, trying to figure out if it’d be enough.

He wasn’t building a campfire, after all, but a pyre. One that could consume two bodies. The amount gathered wasn’t sufficient, he decided. Another several trips back and forth, adding more bundles of broken branches. Until he was satisfied.

The bodies were brought out then. An old man with mangled fingers, and a young woman. Both clad in robes of the Webspinners. Underneath they wore ordinary street clothes, inconspicuous. The old man’s face, or what was left of it, made the Mortalborn retch. His stomach contracted painfully, the sutures not helping matters.

It had melted like candlewax. Features blurring and blending with each other. The hair on his scalp stuck together in patches, blobs of skin serving like glue. Boils and bubbles deformed the face even more, stretching and squeezing parts. Dried red streaks ran from his nose-holes and eyes down his skin. A crust of grey-brown-crimson matter plugged the old man’s ears, which had partly melted and stuck to the sides of his head. Recluse’s mouth grimaced at the world, teeth showing. Triumphant. The expression was mirrored above the nose, the emotion preserved in the cloudy, deformed eyes.

Oberan tried not to look at it while he searched both corpses, looking for objects that wouldn’t burn. He found pendants, small purses with coin, sheaths for daggers –the weapons themselves already taken beforehand—and various bits and bobs that likely had sentimental value. He left whatever would not survive the flames and took the rest.

Then, he dragged them onto the pyre, grunting and huffing. The Recluse first, he dropped him in the middle, not being gentle at all. Grey and red goop started to leak from his ears again as his head smacked down and the crust broke. Stomach lurching, Oberan felt vomit rush up, forcing its way out of his stomach, throat, and mouth. Mostly liquid; water and booze. Bitter. He wiped his lips, and dragged the girl onto the old man. Summoning vials of lamp oil from his Vault, he drenched them both in flammable liquid, ensuring they’d burn. He spread more on the wood around, in case it was too wet to catch flame. Lavishly. There wasn’t enough oil.

A sigh and a pained glance. He poured the rest of his bottle of spirits all over the pyre.

Finally, Oberan used his lantern to light the cigarette he’d received from Magpie last season. He took a drag on impulse, regretting it immediately. It evoked a coughing fit that yanked hard at his wound, making him fear for the integrity of the thread. Fortunately, he got his breathing under control quickly, but the filthy taste of tobacco stuck around.

He spat one, twice, trice. The taste did not leave. Scraping his throat to throw up phlegm didn’t help either. Another splotch of spit splattered on the floor, and Oberan flicked the lit cigarette onto the corpses.

For a while nothing happened, making the Mortalborn feel foolish. The cig simply rested on the body, smoking without igniting the oil. He scowled, grabbed a twig, and held it into the flame of his lantern after dipping it into the fuel. Just when he was about to throw the lit twig on the pyre, the heap of wood and corpses finally spat out a blazing spurt of fire.

It roared to life, reaching out and quickly spreading to the oil-and-liquor soaked branches. A wave of heat blasted forth, leaving Oberan feeling scorched. He stumbled back and sat down, watching the blaze devour the bodies. Keeping his nose closed off from the stench of burning flesh.

He watched until the two dead Spinners were completely unrecognizable. The fire cleansed any evidence and clues he might have left on the corpses. Left no traces behind. Hopefully it’d give Sintra’s cultists a hard time identifying the culprit behind the breach of one of their dens. Maybe it’d make it also more difficult to use magical means of gleaning information from the dead. Especially if the bodies were completely burnt to ashes, but alas the fire hadn’t burned hot and long enough for that.

Last edited by Oberan on Mon May 04, 2020 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 2166
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

Mortalborn Abilities | Die Roller | Capstones
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Re: Stitches


Experience: 10 no magic xp


-Medicine: Disinfecting with alcohol
-Medicine: Sewing up a wound
-Medicine: Sterilizing the needle with fire
-Medicine: take care not to tear the stitches
-Investigation: searching corpses
-Investigation: burning evidence

Renown: none

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: The haphazard stitching ends up leaving a bit of a bumpy scar, that'll likely even out over the rest of the cycle.

Consequences: Probably none.

Comments: I enjoy all of the details you included into this thread. What might've been a somewhat mundane convalescence was made more exciting as Oberan struggled (as he should with a sort of low medicine skill) to stitch his wound together. It was quite suspenseful for the fact that Oberan wasn't in direct danger at that moment.

The healing would go neater with a bit of needlework xp or a higher level in medicine, but meh.

Enjoy your Webspinner barbecue.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.
word count: 169
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