Blood on the Hand

(Rei) The answers behind Dominek's death finally come to light.

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Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Patrick
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Blood on the Hand

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Blood on the Hand

Vhalar 112 716, 20th Break

Location: Patrick's Apartment

It had gotten dark out apparently. Patrick tossed over from his left side onto the right as the frame squeaked, the cushion of his bed ruffled from the movement as a light brightened the dark underneath his eyelids. He opened them slowly as he drifted in and out of sleep, his mind retraced to earlier today when he would've lit the lamp... but he didn't. He'd remained at home all day and indoors, the need for a nap came earlier due to lack of actual rest from waiting. Ever since he'd found his home ransacked he knew it was only a matter of time, before someone would dare try and pay him a visit once more. That time had finally come however.

A figure sat at the table with his features highlighted by the lamp, bronzed skin with dark hair and the usual goatee... It was Kar. He'd sat there just watching, waiting for Patrick to come around. "Sleep well?" He muttered as he leaned back into his chair, his eyes faltered to a metallic object between his fingers. It was a dagger. "Course you did. You would've heard me come in otherwise." Patrick rose slowly as he sat at the edge of the bed, his heart already in a frantic beat as he watched Kar with wild eyes. "Please. Don't get up, just... stay put." He pointed the weapon to Patrick as he rose from the chair, his eyes cold and yet somehow worried.

Patrick raised his hands in the form of a surrender, a hard swallow sounded as he finally found the will to speak. "I- uh, I could use a drink." He requested with hopes Kar would humor him on his behalf, the knight held an icy stare until a smirk cracked from his lips, the dagger lowered as he moved over to Patrick's cabinet. He knew where it was kept after all, because he'd been here once already. Patrick spent the entire previous day cleaning up what mess was left of his place, but overall nothing was really stolen or broken like one expected it to be. All that trouble just so Kar could find a book, one little black book he so desperately wanted. Here he was now in Patrick's own home, threatening him with a dagger even no less. Patrick scratched his chest for a moment as he looked around, curious as to how the knight managed to get in through the door.

Kar brought him the only bottle left it seems, the last drink for the last night on this earth. Just what was this drink? Bourbon. Something he was never particularly fond of, but all things considered he didn't have much of an option now. Kar handed it over cautiously and Patrick took it with ease, the cork pulled out as he went in for one good swig. He could hear the knight chuckle as he watched Patrick, a moment to savor the flavor of the spices transpired before he finally released a breath. "Good stuff you know."

"Yeah... Yeah I know."

"Now that you've wet your whistle, let's have a little chat before the end. Hm?" Kar encouraged as he took a seat once more, the daggers tip pointed on the table as he spun it at the pommel from his fingertip. "You've got somethin' that belongs to me Pat, somethin' I would like to have back before anybody gets hurt."

"The book." Patrick posed as he leaned forward a little with his eyes down on the bourbon, curious as to how much he could drink before this conversation was over. Kar seemed to smile in his casual demeanor as he gave a nod.

"Yeah, the book. I knew you had to be the one who found it. Surprised you didn't turn it in honestly, just what would your brother think?" He retorted with another chuckle and Patrick felt his grip tighten on the bottle. "Oh that's right. You probably thought it'd help you figure it out didn't you? Reveal just who exactly killed Dominek that night?" His chuckle grew into a small laugh that died just as quickly as it manifested, the dagger still while its point remained anchored at the table. "Well I'll save you the time. I did."

Patrick's eyes widened as his stomach twisted in a knot, the bottle in his hands nearly dropped as fast as his heart did. Kar... It was Kar who killed Dom? He felt tears start to well in his eyes as he went in for one good chug of the bottle, one quiet word uttered after his throat overcame the burn that followed from the chug. "Why?"

"What? Why did I kill him? Or why tell you?" Kar retorted as his lips cracked a menacing grin once more. "Well for starters Dominek was too stupid, he didn't realize just how much he was getting in my way. As for you," The tip of the dagger slowly started to scrape along the wood towards, "well you're not going to be much of a problem either in a little bit."

"The knights 're on patrol, all I gotta do is whistle an' they-"

"Won't come." Kar stopped there as he rose a stand once more. "See I knew they were around and I also knew... that your girlfriend was on her way." Patrick's eyebrows furrowed as he thought back, the only one that he would've.... Rei. Rei was on her way? Shit! How did he know this?! Did he have somebody working with him?! "I figured it'd be romantic if she got to watch you bleed out, didn't do much good when them fod-sacks from the Dust failed to kill you." Patrick's jaw actually dropped as he immediately reflected back to when he was a hostage at the infirmary, and Rei had to suffer at the hands of those ruffians from the Dust Quarter because of their fallen companion. "Yeah, that was me too." Kar looked over to the window and then back to him with a devious grin. "Sorry."

"Kar... Why go this far?" Patrick finally muttered as he looked back down at the bottle, aware that the knight drew in only a few steps.

"Because Pat," His voice grew low and angry, "you screwed up like Dom did. And now Rei's gonna be distracted by the knights just long enough for me to deal with you, and then leave as if I were never here to begin with." Pat doubted it were that easy, but he didn't care any longer now. Rei was on her way and hopefully with help behind her, something that gave Patrick energy to fight back compared to earlier. "It really is tragic though," Kar mused as he slowly drew closer in to Patrick, "sorry it had to end like this."

"Yeah..." Patrick's eyes fell to the floor where he watched Kar's feet, the bottle in his hands twitched as he felt its contents swirl within. "Me too!" As Kar had taken a step forward Patrick lunged at the knight, bottle in hand as he readied himself for a fight. It would be a fight for his life he didn't dare to lose.
word count: 1243
"Freedom is everything."


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“What do you mean he’s not here? Are you sure? Are you just not telling me because of what happened with Wendell?” Rei never thought she would be speaking with Sugar again, but it had been six trials and she hadn’t heard from Patrick in any form since he had given her the book to hide. It was safely tucked away in some nook on a very dusty shelf in the Infirmary where no one would be bothering it. “Not that I wouldn’t love to help you, but he’s not here. He never showed up.” Sugar was giving her that look- a look that seemed to suggest that she hoped Rei burst into flames.

From the back Madame Rose came out from an office. She had apparently noticed the fuss and didn’t want one of her harlots busy talking when she could be out on the floor or stage making money. “Miss, is there a problem?” Sugar rolled her eyes and left to go tend to her customers. “Actually, yes. I’m looking for Patrick. I know he works here. I’m worried something might have happened to him.” Rose smirked at her as if she were the needy girl stalking around one of her hounds. “Honey, he never showed up. So if you do see him, tell him I am looking for him.”

Feeling rather defeated, Rei sighed. “Well, thanks anyway.” She turned to leave the establishment, looking a bit out of place in her pleated wine colored skirt and pale yellow blouse. Sandy locks fell down past her shoulders and had been carefully brushed out this morning. Almost as soon as she made it a few paces down the street, intending to head to Patrick’s house, she was greeted by a pair of Lightning Knights that seemed far too concerned with her safety.

“Is something wrong?” She asked impatiently. They exchanged looks, something that was not a good sign, and then one of them piped up. “Miss, there’s a murderer on these streets we haven’t caught yet. He could be out there right now, waiting for us to leave. Why don’t you run on home.” Rei’s blue eyes narrowed. There had been a murderer on the streets for a while and no one had bothered stopping her before. “I have somewhere I need to be.” She said it plainly and went to step ahead of them but her arm was suddenly grabbed and she was prevented from leaving.

“We really insist that you go home.” That was it. Something was amiss with these two. Rei turned like she was going to address the man who had grabbed her arm, effectively getting him to release her arm. In one quick motion she grabbed his shoulders and drove her knee hard into his groin before sticking a foot out to trip him as he staggered back. She took off in a run, the other knight occupied by trying to get his buddy off the street. She ran and made several twists and turns before she came to a stop, her chest heaving as she took in big gulps of Vhalar air. Rei pressed herself against the wall and peeked around the corner. No one was there.

She began to make her way towards Patrick’s house, though it would take twice as long as it normally might. Rei was trying to keep to the shadows and alleys to prevent being seen by those two knights or any knights for that matter. “Please be alive,” she whispered to no one in particular.
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Struggle had always been an option one could always take, but for Patrick this had become more than a simple struggle. This became a real fight, an actual matter of life and death that scared him beyond all wits. He'd lunged for Kar with his head hung low, shoulders hunched so that his lurch from the bed would result in a full on tackle. Kar was only some odd inches shorter than Pat, so the differences in their sizes could've played in part with his power. Patrick saw the dagger flash before his eyes for just a moment, and then with a shut of his eyes the world went dark as he felt the repercussions afterwards. He'd felt his shoulder and neck crash into something firm he could only hope was Kar's actual body, the two of them sent into a tumble as both men grunted from the collision.

He'd open his eyes with expectation to land above Kar, hopeful he could either disarm the bastard... or knock him cold with the bourbon still in his hand. The knight was far more experienced in combat however, and so Pat's consideration in terms of power fell short of standard. Kar was stronger and much more reflexive than Patrick, and in a single moment spent hitting the floor, the knight threw drew his legs in to kick out at Pat's stomach. Patrick felt the harsh force of Kar's feet blast throughout his torso, hurting his stomach immensely while he felt wind knocked free of his lungs. Next the floor came next as Pat felt his body crash, the sound of a thud resonated within his bones as he ground his teeth in utter agony. He wasn't meant for this. He couldn't win this. There was no way he'd get out of this alive.

He'd lost grip over the bottle as he felt limp all over, his eyes slowly opened as he could see Kar had turned over onto hands and knees. He crawled over with the intent to kneel above Patrick, dagger raised high with both hands grasped tightly at the handle. Patrick's eyes widened as he brought up his own arms defensively, hopeful that he'd cut off the path Kar's dagger was sent into. Life and death hung in the balance at this very moment, if Patrick could just stop Kar from doing this then he... he...

Kar bellowed out a cry for blood as Patrick nearly screamed aloud, the dagger drew in close as it'd made contact with his skin.

Blood. Warm, wet, and red blood slowly started to seep out of Patrick's wound, a few droplets fell onto the surface of his chest. The dagger had cut between Pat's middle and ring finger on his left hand, used to redirect the aim of Kar's weapon as it'd plunged into the left shoulder above. He hadn't the strength to fight back or fend off Kar's attack, but in this moment, this very moment right here... he had the bastard right where he needed him. Patrick reached for the bottle with his free hand, hopeful that it remained just within range of his fingers to grasp. He locked his left hand around Kar's main weapon hand, as the knight withdrew his other to raise it into a fist. Found it! The neck of the bourbon just shyly remained in reach, a failed first attempt led to a successful grab at the second one, and just as this happened Patrick threw his hand straight for Kar's own face. Blocked.

Kar used his left hand to stop Pat's counter and forced his arm back down, the bottle sent into a slide across the room once Pat's wrist felt Kar's fist and the floor crash against it. Ilaren damn him! No more! Patrick couldn't bear to fight anymore... but he had to! He had to otherwise he would die! Kar withdrew his left hand with force but the dagger slipped through his grip, both hands raised above him as he aimed to do a hammered fist to Patrick. Wrong move. Patrick reached for the collar of Kar's own tunic, the fabric tightly grasped as he pulled himself up hard. With his head sent forth and Kar's own body pulled into the counter, Patrick smashed his forehead hard into the lower half of the knights face, his eyes tightly shut as he felt the force of the blow reflect into his head. Kar fell backwards with a loud cry of pain as both hands fell to clutch at his face, the sight of blood only a momentary notice as Patrick hit him with everything he had.

Injured shoulder. Cut hand. Injured Wrist. Now; injured forehead. Kar really did a number on him in just a matter of bits, and all Patrick could do was maybe break his nose and bust a lip? Enough so that Kar lost his equilibrium for a moment, and when he did Patrick didn't waste time in shoving the Skich off of him. Desperate and hopeful he could get away Patrick crawled backwards away from the murderous knight, winces were made each time he felt a twinge of pain in his left shoulder. Where was Rei? Where were the knights? He couldn't keep this up any longer! "You feking bitch!" Kar growled as he rolled over onto his knees, quick to return to his feet as he looked down at Patrick with cold malicious intent. Blood trailed down his nose and out the left corner of his lip, his eyes bloodshot as he appeared to breath heavily from furious rage. Patrick looked from Kar to the door that remained open just a crack, the bottle of bourbon rested not to far as it remained way out of his range.

This was it... this was the end.
word count: 997
"Freedom is everything."


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Rei’s heart was pounding in her chest like a drum, her nerves completely shot. She couldn’t trust the Lightning Knights and the only other person she could trust in this matter might be dead for all she knew. At that moment she would have given anything to have Wendell there. He would have known what to do with this situation. He could have fixed it. He would have done more than knee that knight in the groin and run away. He would have faced them down and given them what they deserved for being the corrupt pieces of shit they were.

Hugging the walls to take cover of the shadows and try to go unnoticed on the side of the building, it took her several alley hops to get closer to Patrick’s place. But she would have to cross the main street. She inched up to the corner of the building she was backed up against and peeked around the edge. Luckily there were only a few regular people hanging about- no knights. Rei took a deep breath and dashed across the main street in a blur of shadow. She breathed easier once more when she was out of sight.

It took only a moment for her to skip across a few alleys and make it to the back of Patrick’s house. Even from outside she could hear a commotion. Something wasn’t right. She ran up to the door and was surprised to find that it was slightly cracked. She heard a voice, a voice that wasn’t Patrick, swearing and bellowing. Rei bucked up her courage and took a peek through the cracked open the door and saw a man in a Lightning Knight uniform sitting above a very bloodied Patrick. When there was a noise, she eased the door open just enough for her to slip into the room.

Though Kar might be stronger than she was, few things trumped the element of surprise. Rei snuck up behind him and curled an arm around his neck and tightening it until she was certain she was cutting off his air supply. With her free hand, she caught his knife wielding hand near her face and reached down and sunk her teeth into his flesh so hard that his fingers flexed and the dagger clattered to the floor. She went stumbling backwards as Kar broke free of her headlock. “I’m gonna kill ye, ye bitch!”

Rei moved into the defensive stance that Wendell had taught her. Kar was so angry that it luckily diverted his attention away from Patrick so that he could get back on his feet. Rei threw her hands forward, hands grabbing his face and her thumbs pressing roughly into his eyeballs. He screeched in pain as she felt her foot bump against the dagger on the floor. She kicked the blade away and it clanged across the floor. Kar blindly grabbed her shoulders and slammed her into the wall with a loud crack. She felt the pain jolt through her back.

The opportunity opened and Rei’s angry hands gripped his shoulders and drove a kick hard into his groin. It was so rough that Kar was gasping for air and killed over on the floor almost instantly. She quickly grabbed the dagger, put of Patrick’s arms around her to support him, and burst out the door running down the street. In a few bits they were at her house and she hastily unlocked the door, got them inside, and locked the door firmly behind them. She got Patrick in a chair before taking the other one and wedging it up against the handle. If Kar was going to come for them, he’d have a hard time getting in. “Patrick. Talk to me. You have to keep talking.” Her voice was shaking as her hands went across his body, assessing his wounds. First thing was first- the stab wound on his shoulder.
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Just when all his hope seemed to diminish and he could expect the end to come, Patrick had once again been graced with the beauty of fates divine intervention. Though it had not been in the way he'd hoped he still had the moment to notice Rei as she crept in, quick to pounce on Kar with her own arms tightly wrapped around his neck. The two struggled and in the process Patrick's fear doubled, a sudden paralysis induced from the awe of what he'd witnessed. Rei was fighting Kar. She'd come here to save him? Alone? He dreaded what possible outcome could come next, as the sight of her form being forced onto the wall finally spurred his body into action. "Rei!" Patrick turned over and desperately tried to push himself onto his feet, the sound of a sharp and well placed kick sounded into the room.

Followed by the sharpest cry of agony Kar had ever given yet. Rei knew well enough how to induce true pain upon a man, that much was certain when Patrick saw Kar falter. The knight had to be nearly out cold from that hit, if not sick to his stomach from the aftershock that tended to follow. Rei helped him momentarily after she'd grabbed the dagger, her earnest urges to get him to safety matched with a new volition, a second wind that seemed to spur from the adrenaline that flowed throughout his cranium. They were bound for her home now as it were only a few blocks away, which much to his relief was safer than his place once they'd arrived. He'd been put in one of the chairs as Rei had used the other to blockade the door, her hands already rested on his flesh as she beckoned for him to speak. What should he have said? Kar just attacked and nearly killed him, and almost her as well once she stormed the scene, and now they were both locked away with hopes he wouldn't find them.

What to say? The shock seemed to get in the way as he processed everything, the feeling wet liquid slowly trickled down his torso and neck. The neck? He didn't realize how close the first encounter with the dagger was, in that one moment where he'd tackled Kar with hopes to knock him onto the floor. Just a small trail of blood trailed down behind his ear, a small cut had been made on the very top close to his scalp. Talk about a close shave. The adrenaline seemed to be wearing off as he trembled, a cold sweat covered his forehead and body as he looked from the floor to Rei. What was he suppose to say? "I love you." He murmured as he brought his right hand up to rest on her left, she could no doubt feel the rapid beat of his heart at this rate. The near death experience and the capacity to finally admit what he'd denied telling her for so long?

He'd been injured and while he felt aches and pains in several different places throughout his body, he didn't care about any of that right now because... well because of Rei. She was here and she helped him! Saved him! He felt his mind begin to go blank, his body felt cold suddenly as he shivered for a moment. He felt his consciousness fade in and out as his vision began to blur, the last of his sight spent on Rei's face before he finally saw the world fade to black. His breathing became shallow, and in turn he lost the capacity to control that as well. From that point on everything that happened next would be but a blur, as Patrick seemed to pass out in the chair with his head fallen forward to Rei.
word count: 654
"Freedom is everything."


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Patrick was simply slumped in the chair, his face paling and turning clammy with cold sweats. He was body was starting to experience the shock of his injuries now that his adrenaline from his fight or flight response was floundering. The dagger wound on his shoulder was the thing of most importance, though he had a gash on his neck, some cuts on his hand, and his wrist was beginning to bruise and swell. Her mind was flying through the process of what she needed to do, and she left his side to quickly start a fire in the fireplace.

Hastily she started boiling water and went through her supplies. She examined the cauterizing irons and their varying sizes, choosing one that was small enough to slip into the wound but large enough to burn the artery shut. While the water was boiling, she stuck the iron into the fire until the metal was smoking and glowing red. Rei hurried back to his side with a clean cloth balled in her hand. The words barely registered with her. I love you. She faltered in her actions for a moment, blinking, before she pushed the cloth into his mouth. “Bite down, this is going to hurt.”

The iron stuck into his wound and there was a sizzling noise and the scent of burning flesh pervaded the room. The bleeding slowed as the artery was sealed off. He was only bleeding from the surrounding tissue now. She set the iron down on the bricks of the fireplace and took the water off the fire, grabbing her bottle of antiseptic, some more fresh cloths, bandages, and needle and thread. Rei would have to work fast to prevent him from crashing. She dipped her hands in the water, her flesh turning bright red from the heat.

She poured the antiseptic into the knife wound and dabbed at it with a cloth, staining it pink and red. As soon as it was clean she took the needle and thread and started working stitches into the flesh, pulling the wound closed. When she knotted off the stitches, she broke the thread and hastily bandaged it tightly, securing it with bandage hooks. She dropped the bloodied cloth on the floor and dampened a clean one working next on the cuts of the hand. When those were clean she wound the bandages around his hand and fingers and secured them. Next came the gash on his neck and the same process was followed.

She allowed herself to slow her pace when the bleeding was stopped and everything was bandages. Rei took time to examine his wrist and grabbed some splints from the cabinet and braced his wrist and wrapped bandages tight around it. He wouldn’t be able to bend it. Hastily wiping her hands clean, her hands came to his face and urged him to open his eyes. “Open your eyes, Patrick. Talk to me. How are you feeling?” She had glossed over what he had said to her.

“Pat I… love you but as a friend.” A sigh escaped her. Out of all the times to be discussing this it had to be now. “I’m going to make you something to drink with some pain powder in it. You have to try to drink it.” She smiled weakly at him and walked into the kitchen once she was certain he was stable.
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With the loss of his vision and perception came the state of unawareness at what would come next, as Patrick only knew Rei would be working hard to mend his wounds personally. How did she feel? What did she think about him now? He just confessed that he loved her, and as of right now he couldn't even see her. How was he able to read into her, determine whether or not she might've actually felt the same? A cloth was forced into his mouth with instruction to bite down, the sound of hot metal rang into his ears as he obeyed her instruction. He didn't know what to expect but he knew she would do what was necessary, she had to in order to save his life once more. Patrick felt heat burn into his flesh as there came a sizzle from the contact, a sharp cry of agony echoed as a muffle into the rag when she'd cauterized his shoulder.

He felt so tired and drained. His body hurt all over from his fight for survival and to top it off his shoulder felt hot, like literal fire had been placed within to burn away his flesh. Deep hefty breathing followed as he tried to keep his head held up, he just wanted to sleep at this rate even though Rei needed him to stay awake. Slowly he could begin to see the faint light of the room, his vision once more returning as he slowly became aware of just what the hell was going on. Antiseptic was poured onto the wound, another harsh bite on the cloth came as he squinted his eyes in harsh pain. He hated this. He hated every trill of it, and worst of all he officially hated that bastard Kar that did this to him. The knight that been there to help Patrick cope, help him by investigating Dominek's murder... the man who killed his own brother just because of something stupid... There had to be reasons behind this, reasons Patrick did not yet understand.

He felt the tug of the needle into his skin with the thread pulling his wound together, each sharp prick followed by an irritating sensation as his breathing started to slow finally. He was awake now and fully aware of what was going on, thankful to Ilaren that he wouldn't have to endure any more hot stinging pain from the iron Rei had to use. As she finished with bandaging his shoulder Patrick took the cloth out of his mouth using his right hand, a wince occurred as he did this while she addressed the cut in the middle of his hand. He couldn't believe he actually did that. In just one spur of the moment, he'd used it to catch Kar's hand... with little regard towards the damage the dagger would've done. It was a bold but smart move that very well might've spared his life, lest he would've found his heart injured instead of the shoulder. Finally after she took care of that she'd looked to the one trail of blood on his neck, her hands used the washcloths to wipe away the blood until she reached the back of his ear.

A little antiseptic helped clean the wound as the bleeding seemed to reach a stop, which in turn allowed her to slow her pace and at last check his wrist. At this point he'd decided to rest his eyes for a while, hopeful that he could just drift back to sleep, and treat all of this as if it were a bad nightmare. That's what this had to be... a bad nightmare. Even if he'd told himself that aloud, the pain and shock of his ordeal already convinced him otherwise. It seemed as though he could no longer bend his right wrist anymore, the brace and bandages kept it from any sudden movements his mind signaled. Could he rest now? Was it finally over? He could hear Rei once more as she beckoned for him to speak, his eyes finally opened once more as he stared deep into hers. "I'll... be fine." He finally mumbled as he rested his right hand on hers, his fingers rested between hers even though he couldn't bend his wrist.

Though he pretty much just covered his trauma up with a simple lie, he knew in the end he would eventually mean what those words meant. Fine. Something that was never used as it meant to, only a cover up for how he might only truly feel at a time. Rei confessed that she did love him too but not in the same way, which of course was expected granted Patrick knew her situation. Wendell. She loved him and he... he loved her in his own different way. Now that he'd been gone though Patrick just... he didn't know what to think anymore, all he wanted to do was see that she were happy again. "Thanks." He finally muttered with eyes down to the floor while she'd gone to the kitchen, his entire body still felt chilled even with the fire burning. Vhalar had nearly reached its end it seems, and soon the Cold cycle would reach its peak as it transitioned into Zi'da.

He thought hard and quiet about Kar and his motives, his reasons for wanting the black book so badly. He'd nearly killed Patrick for it, and openly admitted to him that Dominek's death was his fault. "Dom..." He whispered as he looked down at his left hand, and then at his injured shoulder which still held a dull throb around the wound. Would Kar know to look for them here? Would he even dare try to find them? Or would he retreat to avoid capture from the other knights? He waited and leaned forward to rest his head onto the table, a low thump sounded from the wood as he shut his eyes and ignored the smaller dose of pain inflicted on the spot of his forehead. Compared to his other injuries, a tiny bump on the forehead was nothing now. He felt tired. So damn tired. Yet he didn't want to sleep just yet, not until he knew that they were both still safe.
word count: 1066
"Freedom is everything."


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Blood on the Hand

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Rei waited for a new pot of water to heat up, standing near the counter and watching him carefully. He looked so very tired and there was no doubting that he would be. He just had a fight for his life and he had lost a lot of blood. The pot started wafting up steam, the water at a slight bubble. She pulled out two cups and put some tealeaves in the bottom. The steaming water went in and the leaves steeped slowly while she added a bit of sugar and a pinch of powder to Patrick’s.

He said he would be fine and thanked her as if she had brought him a gift or some cake she had baked from scratch. There was no need to thank her for mending his wounds, it is what she lived for. It was almost the all encompassing aspect of her life. Briefly, when he practically bleeding out on her floor, she had seen her father’s face on his contorted in agony and dying. Rei rubbed her eyes and cleared her thoughts. Now was not an optimal time to be thinking of that. “Well you won’t be dying, but I’m not sure how ‘fine’ you are. I think your wrist might be broken.”

She thought she heard him whisper something as she turned to pick up the hot cups of tea. When she turned back around he had slumped over and thumped his forehead against the table. Rei set the cups down in front of him and eased him back up. “Just drink this and then you can rest.” Rei picked up the cup doctored with the pain numbing herb and helped him get it down, as much of it as he could bear, before running her fingers through his hair.

“Let’s get you in my bed. I’ll rest in my chair.” With great care, she helped him stand up and make his way across the living room towards the bedroom. Rei edged the door open with her foot and sat him down on the bed, reclining him back until his head rested on the pillow. She pulled the covers snuggly over him and pressed her hand against his cheek. “Get some rest. I’ll make sure he doesn’t come back.” Her hand slipped away as she left the room, quietly shutting the door behind her. With a sigh she grabbed her cup and sunk down into her cushioned chair. Her gaze leveled with the door, watching it as if the door was going to burst open at any moment.
word count: 434
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Patrick
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:39 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Trouble
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Blood on the Hand

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He felt her hands nudge for his head to lift up and afterwards, steaming tea was presented for him to drink with its bitter aroma permeated within his nose. He didn't want it at first, but after his first sip the taste didn't seem as bitter as he thought it would. This time it actually seemed rather sweet, a boon he wouldn't take for granted as he started to drink it a little more heavier. His tongue felt a little numb afterwards which could've been a combination of the heat and pain powder, but much to Rei's surprise he shortly slurped it to the bottom within a few moments. He felt his scalp tingle when Rei's fingers danced through his hair, his eyes closed once more as he took in the moment.

He felt... safe. Protected from the dangers that hid outside her house, from all of the dangers of the world for once. He'd forgotten what it felt to be like this, to let his guard down and relax in the presence of others. He'd been so alone for a year, all because Dominek had been gone. Killed by his own friend, a fellow comrade who once shared common interest... or did he. Kar wanted the black book the Aukari had, and had the missing page at his own place in the Glass Quarter. What if... what if the book belonged to Kar? Wouldn't that make him an enemy? A spy for the Aukari? The thought wasn't entertained, as Patrick's worries seemed to melt away in Rei's presence. The drum of his pulse seemed to quiet throughout his head, and the burning sensations he felt in his injuries waned just a bit as Rei helped him up.

She wanted him to rest in her bed, something he didn't want her to give up, but again had little energy or power to argue. When he finally reached the mattress and eased himself on its cushion, he carefully turned to lay on his right side with a sigh. He felt Rei's hand rest on his cheek after the blanket snugly embraced him, his shivers from chills soon reduced as he felt warmth return once more. She comforted him. Reassuring that he would in fact not return, knowing her she'd probably kick him once more. In all honesty Patrick doubted Kar would be coming at this rate, it had been too long with too many risks. He hoped that such was the case at least, and with that he found it easy to finally slip into the lull of sleep. It wasn't as comfy as he would've wished it to be, but that was only due to the fact it was Rei's place instead of his. Still he felt safest here than anywhere else, and granted his own apartment had been intruded twice now... that spoke in volumes.

While Patrick seemed to drift into his slumber Rei remained the guardian she'd become, the door her mark that remained inactive at least for a time. Someone did come of course, someone had to come eventually. Even with the psychological demand for sleep Patrick found himself alerted, hopeful that it wasn't the thing in this world he suddenly feared. Knights were at the door, but they weren't angry or aggressive. They had pleaded for Rei to open up and after much reluctance she finally did, but that was because they had to reassure her they were there to help anyways. They knew of the situation but didn't have everything they needed, and so Rei had to be talking with them, telling them everything that happened and why she had to take action. Kar. As it turned out he did just as Patrick assumed, took what pride he had left and ran for the shadows. There was no sigh of him at his place and sure enough many of his reports were missing, he'd fled into hiding somewhere while the knights would investigate.

That much was all he could make out between the conversations they had, before sleep finally took Patrick once more and drowned the world in a slumber. By the end of the night his words to Rei didn't change anything, nor did what she had to say in return. He loved her. He'd admitted it and he would do anything to see she remained happy after this, even if it meant she chose Wendell over him in the end.
word count: 762
"Freedom is everything."


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Rei
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Race: Mortal Born
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Blood on the Hand

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With Patrick asleep, her eyes bored into the wood of her door. The chair was still wedged against the handle and the lock was turned tightly. For a moment she even thought about pulling the table in front of the door too. If Kar had gone through this much trouble to try and kill Patrick, there was no telling what he would do now that she had escaped with him and he was very alive. Whatever information Patrick had, Kar obviously didn’t want him to have it. And there was the book hidden away that was causing all this.

There was a thump of a fist on the heavy wood door and the commotion of Lightning Knights outside. “Miss, open up. An incident was reported by some of the residences. Is the man with you ok?” Rei stayed still and quiet for a moment before rising from her chair. She glanced back at the bedroom door that was shut and housed Patrick safely inside. She hoped he was asleep. “You must understand my reluctance. The man who attacked him was a Lightning Knight and two of his comrades tried to detain me in the street. How do I know I can trust you?”

They were very patient. There was no sign of the frustration and irritation of someone who just wanted to get inside to finish the job. “We understand. Kar has fled the city and we have the other two knights, we believe, detained. We just need to get your descriptions to confirm. Are either of you hurt?” Rei’s muscles that were tense as a stretched wire waiting to snap finally relaxed a little. Their demeanor was too genuine and too soft for them to truly mean any harm. “He was hurt badly but I’m a healer here in Rharne. I’ve taken care of him. He is ok now.”

Light from torches slipped up under the crack of the door, illuminating a small slit of the floor at her feet. “Miss, we really need to get the story from you if we are going to look into Kar. We understand your hesitance but we aren’t here to hurt you.” Rei stood for a moment considering how much she could trust their word. But, she wanted them to get a hold of Kar and punish him for his misdeeds. Slowly she moved the chair from its wedge against the wall and set it aside. She unlocked the bolt and opened the door. “Thank you, Miss. May we come in?”

Rei opened the door fully and let them walk in, motioning to the chairs for them to sit. “Tea?” The Knights shook their heads. “No thank you, Miss.” Rei took her own cup of tea and sat across from them. “I’d rather not wake him. He took a beating and a knife to the shoulder. He needs his rest.” They both nodded and one of them got out a parchment with quill and ink. Rei told them everything from the general description of the thug Knights she had encountered, to what happened to Kar, and to how she patched Patrick up. It took at least a break to get everything straight and all the information out there. By that time, she had drunk her tea and was exhausted.

The Knights thanked her and left, Rei bolting the door quickly behind them and wedging the chair back against the handle. They had told her that her house would be closely watched tonight but it wasn’t something she trusted. She gave the fire a quick stoke before curling up in the cushioned chair with her blanket. Her head rested on the side as she slowly slipped into a light sleep.
word count: 624
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