The Day after the End of the World (Private)

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The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Within the space of a week, the Unseen University had gone from being besieged by a necromatic army of war machines to being besieged by mud. It was a slight improvement in that the mud wasn't actively malicious... yet; one could never tell with magically-saturated residue. What was certain was that the caustic muck lapping around the University wards could eat through a boot straight to the bones of the feet in less than 5 minutes.

Looking out from over the parapet, one could turn in all directions and see the newly-made wasteland, result first of a leveling by war-golems, second by the residue of alchemical traps set by University to trip up the invasion, mixed in with the magic of all the spells slung in that desperate battle, all sent in a great seismic heave to ultimately bury the invasion in an unmarked mass grave.
Nothing organic now remained visible; the bodies of invader and defender alike now dissolved into the muck. The wood of the town which once stood here also was gone, and even the very stones were crumbling and flaking away. Only the wardstone scraps stuck out like outcroppings in the badlands, and perhaps they too were undergoing a more subtle desiccation.


The Dean surveyed the land grimly, before turning her gaze to the main gate. The University, and the civilians it housed, had spent the first day after the battle in dread of the next, but after it had been fairly determined that Vedicus had left no reserves, recovery efforts were begun with energy borne of the conviction that idleness was intolerable, even if the task was paralyzingly large.

Besides the care and feeding of the wounded, the most pressing task was re-establishing contact with the outside world. To that end, earth mages were working on clearing a walkable path to the main trade routes through the Duchy of Wexlar. Close behind came the roadbuilders. Some of the Dysuhlian contingent had offered their expertise in constructing a new road, built of layered sand and stone, resistant to weathering and providing a smoother ride to merchant carts than any yet devised. Whether it was out of camaraderie, or a simple desire to not spend one more day housed within University walls than necessary, no one asked.

The Dean sighed, brining to her nostrils the strange scent of a magical war; the organic smell of rotting flesh completely overwritten by the wet-tin smell of used magic, laced with more caustic odors. At least no infighting had yet been observed between the townsfolk, University people, and the Dysuhlian refugees; the casualties of war had cut too cleanly across all boundaries for them to be so quickly re-established. The Badger wasn't so optimistic to believe this state of affairs would last forever, but it was one less thing to worry about now, and plenty of other things were clamoring for attention.

As Dr. Martin descended the stairwell, she greeted all she knew on the grounds; there were many out today. Some bustling on some errand, others just wanting to get out of the crowded halls. The University actually had enough building space so that no one would have to sleep outside, but that was mostly because of the severe dispopulation from battle casualties, and the lodgings were makeshift at best.

Due to the recent death of the Archancellor, the Dean was now the highest singular authority within the University walls, subject only to an Octariat resolution. Since two Octariat Members had perished in battle, there would eventually come a need to appoint new ones, and that was when the trouble would begin. A chance to influence power in the University, and thus the future of all peoples under its wing, was prize enough to bring out all sorts, that Dr. Martin knew well enough. No one was thinking about it yet, but a general meeting was being held this evening, and it was doubtless going to be raised there.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rainwhisker »

The week passed in haste. It was a consistent period of business, with Feres living the life of a wartime healer. Never in his life he'd imagine taking up the role; he had only started the apothecary business relatively recently and all he was used to were customers coming by to request cures or asking opinions. But the long week involved waking, freshening up, then checking on the rows of injured in an already packed infirmary. Thankfully, it began to filter out over the week and made it easier on the feline's nose, head and ears. He would be reapplying bandages, casting healing spells, and would carry the dead overnight out. By noon, he would be convening with other healers for efficient techniques and understanding the threats that they faced over lunch. Then the process of preparing remedies would ensue afterwards, as is his forte. On other days, he would be searching for medical herbs, but the long, arduous trek had to be made to find an actual patch of grassland or forest that had been untouched by the war - it was a logistical nightmare for the healers who had to haul piles of herbs, grasses, barks, webs, or even wild animals back. It was arduous and tiring, leaving the lynx with aching knees, a wounded pride (there were plenty of better informed folk than he was) and fatigue. He would crawl into his bed by the time his shift was over, ready to do it all over again when he woke.

Feres had a brief - a very brief moment of reprieve, sitting in the courtyard with a half-eaten piece of jerky in his paw. He tore another chunk off, chewing as he pondered quietly. Galvan had left. The cat had told the silver furred feline everything that he had heard, and he barely had time to sort anything out in the whole week. If Batym was out on a crazy quest to gather L'Immortel's artifacts, and the animosity and ruse to lure out Zack was just to grab the soul, then where was his father, Cliff Matthiews? Galvan wasn't the sort to share his full plan, that much he knew from their previous interactions, so his trip would involve side-treks and pre-emptive or on-the-spot improvising. The general direction Galvan went was towards the center of Gawain to Der Nebel Wald, where one relic was.

He pictured what Galvan would see and his lust for adventure threatenedto break loose. In a short moment, his legs wanted to spring to action, but he suddenly felt contracted, pulled back into the stone slab he sat on. He flicked his tail irritably, standing up and shoving the rest of his jerky, heading back to the infirmary.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Sade »

The rat Antinom observed the Dean brooding up on the battlements, and as she came down the stairs he stilted over to her on crutches. The healers had learned after the first day that though the magic here might as well be inexhaustible, their endurance wasn't. If they used magic to heal any more than the severest of wounds they would quickly succumb to thaumatic exhaustion and the effectiveness of their spells would be reduced. Herbology and the humble splint and cast had taken on new importance.

He took a guess as to what might be troubling her, "the racial tension you expect may not return as quickly or ferociously as you think. My people fought together with yours, and we all survived. As small a role as we played, it will send a message to those who still favor separation.

"The victory mandates further cooperation." It went beyond that. By fighting for the winning side, Antinom and the few others had amassed an enormous amount of soft power which their necromantic rivals' destructive magic could not counter. "Most of the Dysuhlians will fall into line behind me, and you have my support. Even those who disagree will go along with the group. We can weed out the remnant troublemakers as they pop up."

"Worry after the war, Dr Martin," he suggested. "For now, as your people say, 'war makes strange fellows in the bed.'"

He walked with her as she went about doing whatever it was she did, which was a whole lot these days. He was interested to see all that was going on, but his thoughts drifted again and again to the coming meeting and what might be decided there. "We still have an enemy to defeat. Whoever or whatever they are, I can't believe they would sit idle after a setback of this magnitude."

*****

The Dysuhlian Spellsword Nessus and the refugee Marcus were waiting for Feres at the entrance to the infirmary. Marcus was standing uninjured with a small flower put full of caustic muck in his hands and pockets full of seeds and bits of plants. Nessus appeared more cast than rat. He had taken extensive damage during the fight; a broken leg, a broken arm, several broken ribs, and various injuries to his soft tissues and organs. Almost from the moment he regained consciousness he'd refused to heed the healers warnings and lie still.

He pointed a questioning finger at the lynx and asked for the twentieth time in five days, "your name is… Feres, right? You helped me in the ruined house during the battle, and you carried my message to Telemain. Successfully, as I understand it." His eyes turned to the sky and buildings and people out and about, "I still can't believe it. They tell me Vedicus is gone for good this time; destroyed…"

The should-be-bedridden rat turned his attention back to Feres, "listen, I wanted to thank you for helping me, and helping my people, and the University people too I guess. I appreciate it, and I know my people appreciate it to, even if they don't exactly show it," he managed to put his free hand on the fur's shoulder without losing his crutch. It would have been a more impactful sentiment if he hadn't already had this same exact little talk with Feres four times in the last day.

What came next though was not amnesiac repetition. He motioned toward the younger rat next to him, "this is Marcus. He needs you to… do something…"

"Yes," Marcus picked up as Nessus' thoughts trailed off, ears perking, "I- I'm helping the botanists with a project, an idea they had, with all of uhh, this." He hefted the pot full of muck, "we're trying to find a way to get plants to grow in it, or find a plant that will already, so we don't have to clean it all up."

"We have these," he accidentally spilled various seeds everywhere, "they, well, they don't die as quickly. We want to have something to show off at the meeting."

Nessus laughed, "you have plenty of time! The meetings not for another few days now!"

Marcus ignored him. The meeting was, of course, this evening. "The other Dysuhlians want to turn the muck into some kind of weapon…" and, it went unsaid, the botanists and others wanted a less dangerous alternative on the table, so to speak.

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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rainwhisker »

Feres nearly let out a purr of frustration when he caught the heavily medicated scent of Nessus from around the corner, the rat's own scent mixed with the pungent cures left it unmistakable. Almost a warning sign, he figured. It wasn't that he was annoyed - perhaps that element was there, but there was that awful, sick pity that caused his stomach to lurch with every meeting. In fact, now the scent would be enough to trigger the reaction.

He turned the corner and saw Nessus, but not alone. He noted the younger rat's presence, whose name escaped him yet he knew his face. Nessus came by and began his usual routine - confirming his name, then followed by reminiscing. Lately he began to repeat himself by giving him his thanks for rescuing the rat and delivering his message, a trend that at first washed the lynx with a warmth. But now it was only unease and pity that he felt every time the subject was repeated. His healer's duty sprung up, with some of his empathy.

"Thank you for the kind words, Nessus," he nods to the rat, flicking one ear sharply. He paused, dragging his tongue along his black lip before doing what he always does after every meeting with the spellsword. "I hope this brings the Dysuhlians and the university closer in this time of strife...but please," he reached out to tap the rat gently on the opposite shoulder of the one Nessus' paw rested. "You should lie down and take the herb we gave you. It'll help you recover faster." the words were said, but the lynx felt there was a half-truth to it. He wasn't sure if the rat could recover - not quickly. He was no physician of rodents, but there had always been something to Nessus since their first meeting, he felt.

He turned to eye the younger rodent afterward, the lynx screwing his nose after he took a whiff of the caustic muck. He leaned down to pick up one of the seeds that spilled on the ground, twitching his snout in a sniff. Purring quietly as he tried to identify it, his eyes lit up. "Ah yes...the meeting. Perhaps it doesn't have to be a weapon, but...I've a few thoughts on it myself." Feres played around with the seed between two digits, turning it over. "Edwin has a few marshlands which has some rather corrosive mush but plants that grow there...it's a suggestion, but I don't even know how the land will recover unless we find a miracle tree to remove the mud for us so we'll have decent soil again." he says grimly, pursing his lip. "I'll be at the meeting, though. While tempting, the idea of using the gloop as a corrosive weapon is hardly on my mind right now." he drops the seed back to the ground, nodding to the pair. He peeks inside the infirmary and motioned for Nessus to follow him in.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by osprey77 »

There was at least one fur grateful for the healer’s break-neck schedule: Crisena. Though she technically specialized in defense spells, her magic type could easily be turned to healing constructs, and she was healthy enough to need no healing herself. In the days following the battle, that was all that was needed to qualify even the newest of students for infirmary duty.

And she was glad. The grey dog had taken to heart was she’d been told during the battle, that grief could wait until after the work was over. As long as Crisena spent every waking hour concentrating on those she could save, she could block the black cloud of sorrow from her mind, build walls around it, hide it. Indeed, some days she was almost cheerful, since it was quite easy to imagine that her brother was somewhere else, perhaps helping with reconstructing some of the damaged masonry.

No, days were easy. It was the nights that would’ve gotten her, if she hadn’t always been so exhausted that she fell asleep the minute she closed her eyes. Crisena relished these hectic days, but if she ever thought ahead, it was with a trepidation that was almost panic—someday, the number of wounded would decrease, and she would be one of the first healers released, since she was the least skilled. Then she would face the trial of telling her parents that Giolen would not be coming home.

The door to the infirmary opened, shaking Crisena out of her thoughts, and she looked up to see that lynx…what was his name…Feres! Following him were two of the Dysuhlians, one a stranger to her, one the object of much groaning among the healers…Nessus, the rat who refused to listen.

She saw the flowerpot in the young rat’s hand, and her nose was assaulted by the same caustic odor that seemed to be everywhere these days. So, they’re working on that problem. She’d overheard furs throughout the University wondering, but she tried to avoid the discussion, for ti reminded her too much on one earth mage in particular.

Crisena nodded to them as they passed, not expecting much in the way of response. After all, Feres was the only one who might know her, and the healers hadn’t exactly had much time for socialization since the battle.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rackenhammer »

The Dean greeted Antinom cordially, as you would do a comrade-in-arms. Whatever her personal opinions, and they were far from wholly hostile now, it was undoubtable that he had played an outsize role in keeping things from blowing apart among the Dysuhlians before the great battle, as well as fighting bravely in the battle itself. Few now among the Dysuhlian rodents could touch his leadership stature, making him something of an equal in rank, she supposed.

"I am glad to hear your prognosis on that account, but that only leaves me free to worry about more immediate concerns." She sighed, briefly contemplating the ramifications of Antinom's knowing the inner politics of the University. Ultimately, though, considering the outsize role in leadership the University was now assuming, he had as much a right to know what would dictate the policies of its governing body. "The process for Octariat appointment will likely begin tonight. It's rare that two positions open up at once, and one of them being the Archancellor only compounds the issue. What's more, we've lost some of our best candidates in the war, and what's left is divided between the very new faculty, the sort that stay locked up in their studies for years, and the nakedly ambitious. Add in the current situation, and I'm sure you can picture what follows."

By now, she'd reached her office. No one else had accosted her on the grounds, possibly because it appeared she was having a high-level appointment. *There may still be those by my office, though.* That was a price for keeping an open door. "Well, hopefully the war effort will prove more straightforward. I have to finalize the agenda for tonight. Do you have any pressing issue that ought to be brought up?"

~***~

Within the infirmary, there was at least one who had been heeding the healer's advice to stay still. He didn't feel like moving at all, and was in no great hurry to rise from his bedridden state. Not that he could, at any rate

Caraennyn hadn't broken quite so many bones as Nessus, but his body was more covered bandages, due to the higher number of surface and flesh wounds he'd sustained trying to wrestle a construct hybrid. He was convinced that the one who'd bandaged him had overdone it (he hadn't been in any condition to see who it was), but the feline couldn't complain. His mouth had been bandaged over, and opened only for a nourishing gruel.

Today, however, most of the more excessive wrappings were being removed, and he was allowed solid food for the first time in days. A feline of simple pleasures, he chowed down upon the bread, grateful just to be alive. Sitting where he was, he could see a small group come in, one which he recognized. "Hey, uh, Marcus, was it? How are ya? Have the botany boffins come up with anything good lately?" With little to do but sit and listen to the gossip, he was well-informed enough of the goings-on.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Sade »

Antinom listened with particular interest as the badger explained the octariat situation; the ruling body of any ally was of interest to him and the others below him. He thought he heard a veiled invitation of sorts, but after stilting along in silence for a few moments he dismissed the thought. Making a play for an Octariat position would be premature considering how little he knew about the University and how it worked. And it would be a distraction. His people would need his full attention and leadership in the coming weeks to steer them away from colossally stupid actions.

Perhaps there was a rat less vital but equally trustworthy and not, as the Dean said, 'nakedly ambitious,' available for the job. That last criterium cut the candidates down quite a bit though.

"I don't believe so," he replied when asked about the meeting, "however I will be interested to hear what direction you expect to take this war. A defensive stature will not destroy our enemy.

"Now that I think of it, I have had a troubling thought. You've said there are at least two golem manufactories. If there are precisely two, the enemy will know where to concentrate its forces after we destroy either one of them. Taking down both simultaneously would be best, but I don't think we have a large enough force to do it alone. I apologize for offering problems without offering solutions, but it is something we will have to keep in mind."

"There is one other thing," he added, "your people seem capable of managing their own egos and doing what must be done. If they see a need they attend to it with little expectation of recognition. I've seen it many times now. My people, however, are not used to working this way. The road-builders will probably be expecting some kind of token accolade for doing their job."

He almost walked away when another thought struck him, "also, it would be best if you… avoided bringing to light how many of us failed to fight in the last battle. Rubbing salt in wounded egos will only make them harder for me to manage.

"I appreciate your time, Dr. Martin," the rat bowed slightly, nodding again at her closing comments as they parted, and stilted away as the badger woman disappeared into her office.

As he meandered, he wondered for the thousandth time at the nature of the enemy they faced. He knew so very little, and he was sure the University furs were not keeping anything from them. But, a sneaking, unnerving suspicion had crawled into his thoughts as of late that a certain mouse with a very big name knew more than all of them.

*****

Nessus followed the lynx with little thought about where he was going. A near-permanent little smile fixed in his expression indicated the cause: he was so heavily medicated that the world didn't make all that much sense to him, and nothing seeming particularly significant, whether they were memories or requests or orders. Everything was just… fantastic!

He smiled more broadly at the grey dog as she nodded to him. He rather liked the grey dog in his dopey state. Her fur was a similar color to his. He saw no need for more of a reason to like someone at the moment. There was a niggling annoying in the back of his head at the way she and the other healers often looked at him. Part of him warned in a dreary, muffled voice that he could glean information about his prognosis if only he paid attention. But he never did.

Marcus, meanwhile, took a subconscious step back when the big cat struck up a conversation with him. He remembered his name; Caraennyn. He dreaded ever being asked to write it down or spell it. The athletic feline had always made the slender, decidedly unathletic little rat uneasy for all the obvious reasons, but now… well, ever singe the battle, all of those preconceptions seemed to matter so very little.

He came over, carefully placed the pot on a nightstand, making a "stay put" gesture at it with his hands without thinking. He took the opportunity to lean against that same nightstand. Their was a shortage of chairs in this infirmary. "We- they- uhh yes, well not really, no.

"There's these trees in Piriqui that only drop their seeds in the heat of a wildfire, but the seeds don't grow in the muck. They don't die either, so there's that I guess. All of these," he haphazardly gestured with a handful of plant matter, promptly scattering the rest of it on the floor, "all shrivel and die or just melt."

Their attention was drawn to an infirmary bed across from them where Feres and a few other healers were trying to get Nessus to lie down. The rat had cooperated at first as some of the medicines began to wear off and his body began to ache again, but he'd apparently decided he didn't want to lie down and was sort of wrestling with them in slow motion.

Marcus turned back at Caraennyn, "Feres said there's corrosive marshes in Edwin. I don't think we have any plant samples from there on hand, though."

"And you won't be getting any, because the botanists are wasting their time," another rat appeared; the rat foreman from the wall construction site. His name was Mus, which was an ancient word for Rodent. He grimaced at the seeds strewn across the floor as he came over on crutches, dark eyes glowering, "that muck eats through anything, and you want to waste it as fertilizer? It is potent stuff, we have potent enemies, we are going to use it against them. Anything to level the playing field."

A female rodent appeared in the infirmary, not a grey rat but a somewhat more lithe species of desert rats with tawny golden fur and a furry rather than naked tail. The slender but athletic and physically powerful jird named Zodt had had a particularly overbearing presence of late, and she positively radiated low key hostility towards everyone in the room. She had came through the door with obvious reluctance, seemingly repulsed by- everything, and now made her way over to a familiar lynx and a less familiar grey canine with equally obvious reluctance.

"Have you healed him yet," she demanded after a long, long pause, "a week has passed and he has hardly improved. I- we, need him," she stammered, "In the fight. Sooner rather than later."

"He was- IS, your responsibility," she said for the third time in three days. She was most emphatically not suffering amnesia. This time accusation had crept into her voice. The rodent looked like she might say more, like she wanted to say more, like she wanted to scream at the lynx in particular, but at length she remained silent, waiting for the report she insisted on every single day.

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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rainwhisker »

Feres offered the grey dog a gentle smile and a curt nod as he walked by, his shoes making slight taps against the floor. He didn't know her name, but within 5 days he had known people by their faces and mannerisms, attributing them with nicknames, titles or just mental notes. He scrunched his nose once the smell of heavy medication reached his snout - one that he had gotten so used to but its intoxicating grasp prompted a cough all the same. He gave Caraennyn a brief look-over before he made his way to the small little workspace - unfortunately located near Nessus' bed. His station was clean and neatly arranged every time he left it so that he could return to a bit of order in the form of an empty bench. All his tools and reagents were always stashed away in a cupboard within arm's reach or in a rack drying after a thorough wash.

He motioned for Nessus to return to his bed, half-idly as he wasn't fully expecting him to comply easily and that wasn't something he was willing to bother with. Shaking his head, he listened to Marcus and the feline's conversation about the acidic mud while he began to arrange the reagents for medicines he was tasked to prepare for the day: universal remedial herbs and roots such as pomfrey and ginger, various Gawainian equivalents of the kinds he'd also use in Domus, and a few others that he had never heard of. He reached for the mortar and pestle, intending to turn some of them into a dilutable mulch for a salve.

The lynx had tossed rimeberries into the mortar when his ears sharply flicked to the boisterious scoff from the rat coming from the other side of the room. He briefly considered the sharp retort, and held the pestle mid-air.

"Who's to say we can't find a use for both?" The grey feline shrugged, slamming the tool down to start grinding the berries. "Seems to me there's plenty to go around if a corrosive weapon is something we desperately need. Can we even hold it in anything?" The berries' sweet scent sprung out from the contents spilling out from its skin, though with it an awfully annoying scent mingled with it - a distinct female jird's'.

Feres looked up, ears perked and jutted ever so briefly with his hackles half-raised, only to see Zzot storming in towards him. She stood still after, eying him sharply one minute, and condescendingly the next. The lynx simply inclined his head slightly, unsure of what to say, though he knew what was coming. His mind scrambled for a retort, reluctant to deal with this rodent that had done nothing but constantly nag him concerning Nessus' condition.

"Have you healed him yet," she demanded after a long pause, "a week has passed and he has hardly improved. I- we, need him," the jird stammered slightly, prompting the lynx to flick his ears. "In the fight." She added more to her words, in bouts. "Sooner rather than later. He was- IS, your responsibility,"

That reminder was something the lynx immediately wished to dismiss. His reply would never change to that for all the multiple times she had sought to try and pin the blame on the lynx for Nessus' lack of recovery. At the very least, she was a lot more bearable compared to others, but her attitude, her scent was just the right amounts subtly frustrating to raise the hackles along Feres' neck without making it directly obvious. It was uncomfortable. For what it's worth, the various dialects and accents - and perhaps just as importantly, attitudes - were putting the lynx's skill in Gawainian to the test.

"His physical condition has improved, miss. He has been healing, but his mental health hasn't." came the prepared answer, though the feline's ears drooped ever so slightly expecting some harsh reprimand. "He'd probably be declared physically fit soon, but that doesn't say much for his state of mind." The lynx eyed Nessus warily. "I suggest checking in with the mental physician, not the apothecary."
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Sade »

"The mental physician did not abandon him on the battlefield!"

For all that they were loud, it was the heart-wrenched agony in the words that plunged the room into silence.

"He did not leave him in the hands of that, that cat, that stranger, when he needed him most! It was you who let this happen!"

Marcus's ears twitched at the shouts just as he saw the sudden look of alertness in Caraennyn's eyes and the mirrored expression of shock on the rodent foreman. He turned in time to see Zodt coiling, drawing her arm around to backhand the lynx with a clenched fist, her eyes furious incendiary circles brimming with anguished tears.

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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rackenhammer »

The Dean opened her palm, as a kind of half-shrug to acknowledge Antinom's analysis of the war situation. "I had considered that. We've taken steps to secure allies, but I'm not sure how soon we can get them in. And there is the issue of the local authorities in each place of manufacture; that's why professor Vesperocci could not join us in the battle. He's our political interface, and he's been trying to cut a deal with the local authorities of Edwin and Domus for some time now. He sent a courier ahead saying he would arrive by this evening, I hope he brings good news."

Even though she was the de facto head of the University for now, the war effort, at least on the offensive front, was not her department. Dr. Martin had always been more concerned with the homefront, and it is hardly a good strategy to fight all one's battles there, as the rat had alluded.
Next, however, came politics, a thing she was more involved with on a daily basis. "I had been thinking of naming the new highway after them, if they would accept a collective accolade. As for us, well," she chuckled, "You so far have seen us at our best, when we are dealing with issues acknowledged to be serious and perilous. In peacetime, we tend to be more...exacting, especially in academic research." Indeed, the mantra 'credit where credit is due,' had been adopted with the fervor attached normally to Scriptures, with everyone concerned that they should not be 'done out,' whether by plagiarism or other means. Such squabbles had not come up lately, mostly because everyone was too busy to pursue any purely academic research in magical theory or practice.

"I'll not add insult to injury, but if any of them come up to me asking for any special favors... certain facts may have to be put before them." She bowed in return. "A good afternoon, then."

The badger approached her office with as much purpose as she could muster. If she let everyone waylay her, she'd never get anything done. If anyone was willing to dare interrupt the badger... it was probably important enough to warrant a few minutes to listen.

~***~

Caraennyn noticed Marcus' gesture at the vase, but thought little enough of it. For all he knew, it might actually be able to get up and go away; things like that tended to happen in a magic-saturated environment. One got used to it eventually.

He followed Marcus' explanation of the botanical situation better than any of the professor's explanations, at least. The boffins tended to get technical on their own speciality subjects, and the cat had often wondered how much of the jargon was just a cover for ignorance. With a grunt of effort, he pulled himself to his feet on a nearby crutch as Mus came in the door. Ignoring the foreman for the moment, he went over to get a closer look at the pot. "Well, the important thing is to get it so we can walk on our own front lawn without our feet dissolving. The stuff eats through wardstone... does ceramic hold it better?"
Caraennyn began to look worriedly at the vessel, as if it might suddenly explode. What actually exploded was the entrance of yet another rodent, Zodt.

He didn't know too much about her, honestly, though he remembered that Matteo had considered her a friend, and she seemed to be a frequent visitor to the ward, much to the annoyance of that new healer, whatshisname? Feres, right. Apparently, the hostility was somewhat mutual, and the cat could have sworn his fur was crisping from the sparks of confrontation.
This was nothing new. Today, however, things were escalating to the level of physical violence. This wouldn't do at all. Without thinking, the cat tried to put himself between the jird and the herbalist, but stumbled over his cast, putting himself right in the path of her blow.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rainwhisker »

The lynx flinched, bracing himself for the backhand as he saw the jird coiling. It never connected, however, as the cat named Caerennyn taking the smack for Feres, the lynx stumbling back. Feres hissed back at Zodt, making a strong attempt to lower his voice as to not disturb the infirmary any louder. "This 'mental physician'," he snorted at the somehow given title, leaning down to help Caer up, "had to leave to deliver a message." the actual importance of the message seemed to be a lot less valuable than when Nessus first conceived it, but Feres tried to brush that nagging thought off, pushing his importance. He sighed afterward, dropping his defensive posture slowly as he gazed at the jird's expression. Zodt was simply concerned over Nessus' well being - a personal worry. He saw her slightly differently now, like the close friend of a wounded patient. "He was stable when I left him, and I could've done little more. I'm sorry." he dipped his head slightly.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by osprey77 »

Crisena listened only half-heartedly to the botany discussion, but for all her attempt to ignore the issue, she was interested in spite of herself. She kept glancing over at the pot, trying to think like her brother, trying to conceive what Giolen would’ve suggested trying. The young dog had often thought in unusual directions, approaching problems form completely different ways, and it yielded unique, if not always workable, answers.

She checked briefly on Caraennyn, trying to do so without interrupting, and was about to drift off when two rodents entered nearly back-to-back. She felt her own hackles raise at the thought of the muck as a weapon—there was too much to move, and almost nothing that could hold it! How could they utilize it in a large enough quantity to remove it nearly entirely, and what quality of soil would be left? No, they needed something to…something to eat or destroy what had changed the soil, leaving good growing land in its place…

A thought began to grow in her mind, but was interrupted by Zodt’s entrance. The jird didn’t annoy Crisena as much as she seemed to get on Ferres’s nerves, but perhaps that was because the younger healer had never faced Zodt’s wrath directly.

Indeed, concern for a friend or loved one was a feeling Crisena knew full well, but any compassion she had for the newcomer disappeared after a patient was struck. Of course, Caraennyn was not the intended target, but to Crisena’s sleep-deprived mind, it hardly mattered. Tapping into her nearly-depleted magic, Crisena allowed a harmless flash of light, intended to get the attention of the quarrelers and stop any further violence.

“Just stop it!” the normally gentle Weimeraner snapped. “Miss, I understand your concern but physical blows against other patients or healers cannot be permitted! You must either reign in your temper and visit your friend—” Here Crisena gestured to Nessus’s bed, unaware if the slow-motion fight was still ensuing, “—or you must leave the room if you cannot control yourself.” Ordinarily, the student would not have had the courage to confront Zodt in such a manner, but the hard schedule had frayed her nerves and worn down her self-control.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Sade »

Time slowed for Zodt. She saw what was happening, but her frazzled nerves prevented her from quitting the attack now that she had committed. Her backhanded blow sent Caraennyn like a lump to the floor and only indirectly forced the Lynx to stumble. She was not looking at the Lynx now. She was staring wide-eyed like a deer caught in a lantern's beam at the injured cat. Hers had not been an idle slap; she'd intended to badly injure the healer Feres. A brilliant flash of light momentarily blinded her and broke her from her reverie, but, as quickly as the tension had built in the room, it now dissipated.

Zodt backed drearily away from them until she leaned up against the side of Feres' workspace. She heard the lynx apologize for what a part of her knew wasn't his fault, but she did not answer. Too many thoughts collided in her head. Her pain was great and she couldn't bear the thought of having nobody to blame for it, nobody from whom to force restitution, only an enemy already dead and beyond her reach. She might have just severely injured a comrade in arms, in an infirmary of all places. Last but weighing heaviest was… something she intended to keep private as long as possible. So, the jird leaned there, listless gaze wandering nowhere in particular, totally unresponsive.

Unresponsive, that is, until a grey weimeraner shouted at her. The jird's initial response was to gaze through her, but she then grabbed the woman's arm and proceeded to lead her towards the door. Whether the dog wanted to come didn't factor into whatever was going on in Zodt's head; Zodt simply exerted as much strength as required to force compliance.

Marcus ran over to Caraennyn once the tension of the room lessoned and the desert rat walked off with Crisena. He was worried about the two leaving, but the previously violent rodent did not look particularly angry now, just… empty. His immediate concern was for the cat, but he couldn't do much in that regard; the healers swarming around the fallen fur were the ones who would help him. So he backed off and stood next to Feres.

They both stood quietly for a few moments.

The rat foreman came over and grunted begrudgingly at the two of them, "maybe we can have it both ways after all. It's like you said," he nodded at the lynx, "there's an awful lot of the stuff.

"And, I think your botanists have found the long-term storage solution we need, Marcus." The rat pointed at the ceramic pot. Ceramics could certainly be extraordinarily resistant to corrosive agents and weathering, but that did not account for the pot's containment of the muck all by itself. The pot had been knocked over in the fracas. It was falling off the table in super slow motion. This ceramic was lasting such a long time because it was infused with temporal magic.

Marcus exclaimed all the same and rushed over to pluck the pot out of thin air.

"The-the meeting's starting soon I think. We should probably think about heading over…" over where? The town was gone. The meeting would be here in the University, which was all that was left. "We should figure out where it's gonna be and go."



Zodt appraised the canine warily, like the fur might suddenly turn into something monstrous and bite her head off. She recognized her now, on closer observation, and she remembered that the weimeraner had lost someone close to her in battle. A family relation or something. Yet Crisena had continued working to heal the wounded. Somehow this small fact spoke volumes to Zodt about her character. It wasn't that the desert rat trusted her, but she felt she could trust her marginally more than, say, the Lynx she'd just tried to knock out.

"I am sick," Zodt stated more forcefully than perhaps necessary. "I need something for vomitting, but I need you to be discrete about getting it. Don't let them see you take it. Don't tell anybody about it, or about my asking for it.

"Bring it to the meeting and give it to me there…"

Her gaze connected with the canine's. "Please…"

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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Between the time that Caraennyn was struck, and the time he hit the floor, there was at best about one and a half seconds. That was enough of a span, however, for certain distinct impressions to cement themselves upon his mind.

First was the shock of the initial strike, a sensation quite distinct from pain. The second was the whoosh of air rushing out of the feline's lungs, leading him to gasp right when the nerve endings at his various injuries decided to send a wave of pain through his entire body. Hitting the floor only repeated the process, leading the poor cat to curl up as best his injuries and casts would allow, and wimper.

The sight of a large athletic cat being so easily schooled by a small rodent might have been comical, had it not been so pitiful. It was clear that he was trying very hard to cry from the pain, but the sobs still forced their way out when he attempted to speak. "I don't-know-what you're so-upset about." Caraennyn's eyes were squeezed shut, so he had no idea if Zodt was even there to hear him or not. "He'll recover *hic* eventually. Some of us *choke* won't be seeing- again-"

All attempts at coherent speech were once again abandoned as another healer attempted to help him back to his bed. Sobs could still be heard, though whether from his pain, or from the remembered loss of his friends, no one could say.

~***~

Even though the meeting would not be for a few hours yet, already there was a gathering by the cafeteria hall. It was the largest room in the University itself; and even then would hardly fit all those who felt they had a right to be there, which was practically everybody. Wizards, burghers, students, refugees were all discussing animatedly, setting agendas, practicing proposals, arguing who would be delegated to go in, all out in the open air. The expectant hubbub was not yet chaotic, there were sill separations into different organizing groups.

About the only furs guaranteed entrance were the Octariat, the town Magistrate, Zodt, and Antinom; and it was to these that all here ultimately looked for leadership. Whatever was decided here, they would be the ones to do it, and such an agreement would affect everyone's future.
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Re: The Day after the End of the World (Private)

Post by Rainwhisker »

The moments of silence after the last word and spell was uttered by Crisena lasted a long, single moment of thick tension. Feres had been trying to help Caraennyn up from his curled up state as the jird stared at the fallen feline. He babbled something incoherent as Zodt took hurried steps out, dragging Crisena along the way, leaving the lynx in peace. The other healers came by to help him up and get him to the bed, while Feres stood still watching the whimpering cat with a sympathetic look. The war had taken its toll, and the sobbing form only made the lynx's expression more grim.

After a long moment, and Marcus standing by with him, the lynx resumed his medicine preparation. The medicine cat had just finished scooping a berry-and-herb mush into a salve jar when the foreman from before came by, swallowing his pride as he grunted an agreement to the lynx's suggestion. "Maybe we can have it both ways after all." he began, nodding to Feres. "It's like you said, there's an awful lot of the stuff."

The lynx offered the foreman a half-distracted smile, his thoughts jumping between Zodt, Caraennyn and his work. "Aye, far too much." He listened in on the musing afterwards, one eye looking up to see that ceramic pot falling in slow motion as the foreman brought it up. Feres' mouth gaped open in wonder how such a thing was possible, while Marcus yelped and darted to pluck it from its slow descent. He flicked one ear slowly in near disbelief, then rumbled his throat in amusement, a genuine smile creeping up his muzzle.

"As long as you don't launch ceramic pots that take moons to reach their targets," he snickered at the foreman, jokingly. "I reckon the enemy shouldn't be given that much of a quarter."
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