62nd of Zi'da, Arc 716Alex was carefully folding up her essentials, her life boiled down to a single suitcase. At last she was done- ready to return to Etzos. Etzos might not be the most forgiving place in Idalos, but by Aelig it was a far sight better than Andaris. Of course, as a poisoner the issue of being found at the scene of the crime was hardly a serious one, but their assumption of guilt was… well difficult, to say the least.
Undergarments and the few small odds and ends that she had picked up in her travels all went into the suitcase. The prize of her trip, the large Claytona plant, was carefully wrapped. Once she had safely stowed herself on a ship she could bring it out, but she didn’t want anything to happen to it. It was large enough that she could handle smaller cuts by removing a single leaf, and the plant itself would continue to grow.
A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts and Alex turned, expecting to see her father’s face. Instead, a familiar yet unknown face peered through the crack, pushing the door open as he recognized her.
“Alexandra McKay,” he said flatly, and Alex furrowed her brow.
“Your job is not complete.”
The words were said in the same tone, but Alex caught a flash of contempt in his eyes. Was he… he must be. The Cauldron operatives here were watching her, she knew, but for one to approach her, well they had to have a good reason. Besides, she hadn't given out her full name to many in Andaris.
“What? How do you know?”
He blew air out of his nose, shaking his head at her. “That’s not important. Just know that you’ve not managed to kill off Lady Andaris. Your job is not complete yet.”
He turned and went to leave, pausing in the doorway. “She is comatose at the moment, and they think it was an accident. Should she fail to awaken soon, she will begin to waste away and the matter will likely be ignored. If she were to wake up, however, the authorities would be... confused, shall we say. How a woman who has regularly taken Mist for all her life, and who doesn’t recollect taking any more than normal, would suddenly be stricken by overuse… Eyebrows would be raised.”
With that he turned and left as quietly as he had arrived.
Keeping the woman under would be hard- she would only be able to sneak in once, so whatever she poisoned her with would have to last a while. Unless… Alex wracked her brain, trying to recall the complications that came about as a result of comas. Obviously the most common danger with that was serious brain damage, but Alex wasn’t sure if the Cauldron needed her dead, or merely out of the way. Brain damage would be easy to cause, but might not kill the woman. The brain was an odd thing.
She smiled, the memories of Mr.Gardener’s life-saving lessons coming back to do the opposite. Blot clots were a serious issue any time a patient failed to move for a long time, and should one reach the heart or brain… well the patient nearly always died.
But she couldn’t remember if that was realistic to happen to someone without any history of poor health. She wrapped up the last of her belongings as she tried to force her mind to work, but she couldnt recall. Sighing, Alex realized she’d need to ask a doctor.
She closed the door behind her, smiling as she met the eyes of the older man. His grey hair had thinned across the top of his head and he wore a serious expression. His body was still thin, though his cheeks hung low and reminded Alex of a bulldog.
“So, what can I help you with today?”
Alex let the smile fade off her face and her eyes to well up. “I needed some information and help
... I came to visit my sister and just found out shes in a coma, but the doctor who first treated her is gone, and I can’t find him anywhere. What are the complications? Will she be okay? What can I do?” Her voice nearly broke on the last words and she lowered her head. Don’t overdo it Alex.
“I’m terribly sorry to hear that… I’m afraid my answers will depend on how she entered into that coma, however.”
Alex sniffled, and looked to the side as if embarrassed. “She… she took too much Mist.”
The doctor clucked his tongue and nodded knowingly. “It’s dangerous to use if you don’t know proper procedures and dosages. Many women simply use it immediately after the act, and while this works, it also brings with it the most risk,” he said. “But you don’t need that lecture. Did she lose a lot of blood then?”
Alex nodded, her eyes locked on the floor.
“In that case she will likely recover. The only issue I could forsee is seizing. Often those who use Mist will find a buildup of it in their systems, and this can react in odd ways when they are unconscious. The odds are rather high, I’m afraid, but there is little you can do to prevent that.”
Alex wiped at her eyes, as if brushing away tears, and nodded. “Thank you. I’ll do my best to make her more comfortable then.”
They exchanged a few more questions, Alex feigning ignorance for handling bed-ridden patients, before she begged her leave.
She paid the man for his time, and left quickly. She had worked to do.
Back in her small room, Alex pulled out her supplies. In the last season she had spent more on gear and tools than she had in the previous three arcs combined.
Seizure. That should could do.
Drawing on her medical knowledge, seizures were caused by many things. An intense dose of Mist should be enough to induce seizing, and it wouldn’t reveal much if they decided to do an investigation into her death. They knew she used a lot of Mist on a regular basis, so findig an excess wouldnt be unheard of. Alex doubted they would investigate, however. Based on what Tristan had said, the woman was slutty and loose. The fact that she had died by using Mist would be used as a cautionary tale for this generation of young ladies, then forgotten. Alex would be safe.
Alex sliced the root into thin slices, which she then placed in a handheld press. By squeezing tightly, Alex could get a small dribble of liquid from each root- perhaps two drops per slice. Breaks passed as Alex filled a small beaker, using fifteen roots in all. It was expensive, to be sure, but Alex didn’t want to take any chances.
She had changed her disguise several times as she went to various markets to purchase the roots. A very young woman, barely into puberty in one, then a middle aged woman with the haggard look of an overworked mother, and finally an old woman purchasing it for “a friend”. Alex was sure that even if asked, the shopkeepers wouldn’t be able to identify her as the same woman.
The trial had turned to night by the time she was done, and Alex carefully moved the beaker over the burner to let it boil off. She switched arms as one tired, waiting until the water had all turned to gas. All she was left with was the purified root extract, and Alex filled a syringe with the clear liquid. The needle would leave a mark, but Alex would have to find somewhere not noticeable to stick her with it. She supposed she could get the woman to breathe it in, or ingest it, but both of those left more obvious traces; a bit of powder left around the nostril, or a clump of unswallowed poison stuck on her teeth.
Those were all good ways to get herself caught and hung.
Alex hauled a bucket of clean water up to her room, carefully washing out each piece she had used and tucking them into her bag. She had bought them now, she might as well bring them back to Etzos with her. That done, Alex washed her hands, a pointless task since Mist, or pretty much any medicines or drugs, didn’t affect the Yludih. But appearances were everything, even when she didn’t think anyone else was watching. Better safe than sorry.
That done, Alex dumped the water out the window and curled up under the covers. The next few trials would be difficult and Alex needed the sleep.