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Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:35 am
by Veil Walker

It had been a strange sight when the pair had arrived. A hulking, mountain of a man with a massive broadsword strapped to his back, and a tiny woman, with glasses, pale skin, and a bun that could be charitably described as haphazard. Slowly, they moved in to the small home at the end of the street with the big, barren garden. Nobody had wanted to spend extra for a garden in which nothing would grow. Not in this city of constant dark. Yet this dainty lady had paid for it. She had wanted the space. From the way people looked at her, it seemed new neighbors were something of a rare thing here. People fled Duskburg. Only those with a shady background came here. So it was with suspicion that they had viewed the little wooden sign above her door, the one that simply said 'Healer.' They were suspicious of her gifts, her cooking, and her kindness. But the more time that passed, the more they realized she was what she seemed to be. It had taken her two months to get her first patient, but word had spread quickly. Someone who could heal the sick and the infirm, and charged nothing. Who cooked and cared for the community. Who against all logic had FLOWERS growing in her backyard. Now it had been a full three months since she'd moved in, and it was a rare day when there was not a line at the door of people who need healing, or feeding, or simply wanted to spend time with her. She brought a vibrancy to the neighborhood that it hadn't even realized it was missing. The name Healer's Home had spread through Duskburg and even partly into the outside world, though there it was dismissed out of hand. Nothing good happened in Duskburg.

It had been another early day for Aliria, rising before the sun so she could cook and store more food for the impoverished people of her community. Her country and western playlist, currently belting out Conway Twitty's "I'd Love to Lay You Down" served as the background noise as she finished her early work. She still had a few minutes before the day truly started, so she pulled out a copy of "Not Dumb, Not Blonde" by Dolly Parton, and waited for the first knocks upon her door.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:00 am
by Internal
Healer Home Clinic - Heart of Duskburg - Millennium City

It really didn't take too much to hide from people in Duskburg. Take a hoodie just too big from a clothing donation bin, and then pull up the hood, zip it up to your chin, and shove your hands into the way-too-big pockets. Easy-peasy. It helped that she looked younger than she was, too. Nobody suspected a teenage girl of anything too insane, even somewhere like Duskburg. That was usually their mistake, though. It was an easy way to wake up strapped to a bed with no choice but to watch that innocent-looking girl take them apart, piece by piece.

Never trust anyone in Duskburg, people cautioned, but there were usually bigger problems than suspicious-looking teens with true albinism, not that fake bloodless baldness that you'd see in the local Nozzie population. Bea looked as easily breakable as a toothpick, and did go through the motions of not putting herself into the situation she liked to put others in. Of course it'd be fun to see someone try, sometime. Today wasn't about her, though, was it? Nope! Today was about somebody she'd wanted to take a look at for a long time.

Oh, she'd heard aaaaaall the rumors, too, about this place and its dainty lady. The flowers, the line, the man with the big sword. It was all fun and exciting in its own turn, but she'd heard the more important rumors. That the dainty lady didn't heal the normal way. That she was like Mommy, if Mommy had bothered to use her powers "right." She hadn't found anybody like Mommy before, but it bothered her, for some reason, that someone could use Mommy's special touch in a way that just healed without hurting first. She didn't know why it bothered her. It just did, and that was enough for her to want to see the dainty lady with her own two eyes. Maybe do more than look, later on. Do a little peeking if the rumors were true.

But for right now, seeing was believing. She'd already considered cutting herself somewhere, maybe removing a kidney for dramatic effect, forcing an injury, but decided instead on a test that'd be way less conspicuous, that already existed. Some scars just never healed over, she supposed, but if helping was what the dainty lady did, she'd at least try, and that'd be all Bea needed to see.

She stopped staring at the front of the house, closed her eyes, took a deep breath. She'd need a lot of self-control to pull this off. Just take it easy.

A few seconds later, she'd skipped her way to the front door, and pulled her non-scarred hand out of her pocket.

Knock, knock, knock-knock, knock...knock knock.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:52 am
by Veil Walker
Aliria let out a groan at the knock. They were fifteen minutes early, and she had been just about to finish her current chapter. Standing stiffly, she moved to the door. Today she wore a simple grey cardigan over a white t-shirt and light blue jeans. Quickly, she tried to pull her hair into its signature bun. She was only partly successful, and the wild gathering of hair bore no real resemblance to a bun, but it was out of her face. She opened the door, prepared to utter a rebuke, and saw to her surprise, an albino child on her doorstep. Odd. She had never worked on an albino before. She was only vaguely sure she could match the skin tone, if need be. Still, someone was here for help.

"Hello there, dear. I'm Aliria Herzog. Can I get you something to eat, or is the matter urgent?" She gave the child a warm, welcoming smile, as she stepped back from the door to let her enter. Poor thing looked far too thin to her eyes. Definitely something with carbs and protein, to add a little meat to those bones. She had avoided using her powers out of principle. She recalled well the paranoid and frightened looks she had received upon powering up, and even the people who had run out the door, never to return. So she would wait until she felt this newcomer was comfortable, before revealing her gift.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:11 am
by Internal
So this was the Dainty Lady. Aliria. That was a funny name. It made her want to say it out loud, but that could wait. Right now she was noticing things. They were the same height, for example. The Dainty Lady actually looked more like her than she did Mommy. She had a nice face, nicer than Mommy's had ever been, and her hair was too light and to messy. But her voice was welcoming. That was like Mommy's, at least.

"I am hungry," she admitted, shuffling in past Aliria, taking in the room and its music. No sterile technique, no white walls, no hospital beds. It looked like a house, not a clinic. Mommy wouldn't approve, nor would most doctors. But it was a good sign to Bea, a sign that there was more to the healing than just good medicine.

Keeping her thoughts to herself was already harder than she'd expected, but she managed. Maybe pretending to be sullen would help with that. Yes, there. Just don't smile, seem a little too wary. Duskburg made kids like her all the time; it was nothing suspicious to watch the Dainty Lady just a little too closely, to stand around and wait to see what she did instead of taking the initiative. It was still hard, but it was easier than being herself and pretending to be someone else.

Now just to see if Aliria would actually buy what she was selling.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:36 am
by Veil Walker
Aliria saw the wariness in the child's eyes, and it nearly broke her heart. This was why she was here, to assist people like this, to ease their burdens. Quickly Aliria passed through into the kitchen, though she was still visible to the child. She fiddled and fretted over what to give the poor lamb before deciding upon a hearty gumbo she'd made that morning, served over rice. Perfect for a growing girl. She plopped some of the thick concoction into a bowl, and set the bowl into the microwave. The food heated quickly, and the heavenly scent of Aliria's cooking soon filled the small house. Grabbing the bowl and a spoon, Aliria plopped them down on the table in front of the overstuffed chair that usually served as her bed these days.

"Here you are. Eat that, and I'll get you some nice dessert. After that, perhaps you would even be willing to tell me your name." Her gentle smile rested upon the child, before she began moving to tidy up the container and her serving spoon. There would be many a time that spoon would be cleaned, if today was any indication. She then moved to the front door, hastily putting the "In Treatment" sign on display as she remembered this child might need any manner of assistance. Then she took her seat across from the girl, and continued reading her book. The best way she knew to approach these situations was to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, and let them come to her. So she sat, and waited.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:22 am
by Internal
Oh, lordy, Aliria fell hard. The genuine concern in her eyes and voice, the way she bustled around. If Bea could, she'd feel bad for her. Actually, she probably could've if she'd wanted to, but she felt like it would take too much effort to really try. It was already taking too much effort to be convincingly sullen, but she was proud of herself for pulling it off so far.

And if nothing else, the food smelled incredible.

Bea had a habit of spending most of the money she'd acquired on new medical equipment, which was unsurprisingly common in a place like Duskburg with its different illicit markets. Most guys seemed surprised to see her as the face behind the meeting arrangements, but quickly changed their minds the second she opened her mouth. She wasn't one for suspense, after all, not unless it meant snagging a particularly interesting patient.

But anyway, what all of that meant was that she couldn't normally afford decent food, so she'd come to rely mostly on soup kitchens or charity for that. It was decent, not the best, nothing like Mommy's cooking, but it filled her up when she remembered to eat. That was the other thing, she tended to get distracted by patients until she got so tired or hungry that she couldn't focus. This was going to be a nice break.

She sat down willingly in the chair indicated, letting her sweatshirt hood fall back to reveal her face fully for the first time. The stitch-shaped scars in her lip could be ignored, maybe, and the ones along her neck were fairly invisible. She pulled her feet up, crossing her legs on the chair under her, and pushed some of her hair out of her face before picking up the steaming bowl of meat and rice. She blew on it a little bit, and then dug in greedily, ignoring the heat. Her patient was momentarily forgotten while she gulped down the first truly hot meal she'd had in ages. For someone so small, she was fully capable of eating a lot in a very short amount of time. It came in handy for those times when she forgot to eat at all.

She scraped the last scraps out of the bottom of the bowl only a few minutes after starting, then set it back down on the table and wiped whatever was left on her face on her already-dirty sleeve. The promise of dessert hovered in the air now, but she somehow managed to keep the same straight face as she looked back up at Aliria, peacefully reading across from her.

"Bea," she introduced herself, keeping her voice soft. There was no point in lying, considering she didn't exist to the outside world anyway. "I'm Bea."

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:52 am
by Veil Walker
The poor creature had devoured the bowl of food, and Aliria found herself wishing bigger bowls. She almost gave a glowing smile at that, but something tripped her up. No child she had ever known had not asked about the proffered sweets. Aliria tried to dismiss it, but it lingered at the back of her mind, and refused to let go. Well, if it wouldn't give up its grip, she'd simply shift it, and so she moved it to the back of her mind where it festered.

"Bea. A Lovely name." Her smile was true, as were her words. She even fought back the horror that would have normally come to her face at the site of the poor girl's scars. This poor creature probably had enough of being gawked at. Albino, and scarred? She felt nothing but a great wave of pity, and that wave drove back her suspicion as a mark of cruelty. Scars were surprisingly easy to mend, and she hoped that was why the girl had come. To be set right and whole as she should have been. For no one should strike a child, and those that leave scars should face their own malformed idea of justice.

"Well, you finished your food, and I shall fetch you a streudel shortly. But I feel like you have come for more than a hot meal, so, and I apologize for being blunt, but why have you come?" There was a part of her that hoped to be asked to treat the scarring. Her own scars had taken years to fix, but that had been her own fault. If she could remove those reminders of pain from the girl's mirror, she would consider the day's work an absolute success.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:38 am
by Internal
It was almost funny how naive this Dainty Lady was. She was so sweet, and so gentle, not just her face and her voice, but her little movements, her little concerns, they told the whole story. Aliria Herzog was soft.

That was why she smiled while the strudel was mentioned, because though tempting as dessert was, there were admittedly other things that made her break character much more easily. Having her tied down, a scalpel against her cheek - or maybe her hands first. Might have to gag her, but that would be worth it, in the end. After all, the soft ones always squirmed the most.

Patience, she chided herself, as Aliria asked to know about her trouble. This was the moment of truth, then. She took a deep breath, then nodded, falling sullen again. Strudel later. Peeking later.

Quietly, she unzipped her sweatshirt and peeled it off, revealing a tank top underneath that clearly showed her scars. One batch swirled up her right arm, stretching from the middle finger to the elbow. She remembered the pulsing muscle underneath all too clearly, when Mommy showed it to her. She'd learned not to cry by then, and Mommy...Mommy had made sure not to heal these ones all the way. That had hurt much more. She'd cried at that, and for once, Mommy hadn't scolded her for crying.

The other batch, the ones that reached down from her chin into her shirt, reached down to her navel, and intersected a v shape that branched over her shoulders and met under her heart. Almost like autopsy scars. These were mostly invisible, now, but they still bothered her more than the ones on her arms. Those did itch, though, and she scratched at them, idly, as she pretended not to think about how she sometimes still dreamed about getting the other ones, no matter how hard she tried to forget.

Moment of truth, dainty lady. She avoided eye contact, and didn't say anything, as a genuine lump formed in her throat, as she felt her red eyes grow hot and wet. Aliria was currently the first living person who'd seen them, besides Bea herself, and them, obviously. But they were a different problem from all of this. They weren't her problem. Not right now. Soon, but not right now.

She watched Aliria, from the corner of her eye, but felt like the injuries didn't need any more explaining.

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:35 pm
by Veil Walker
It took all of Aliria's control not to show the horror that rocked her very soul. The barbarity of the scarring was bad enough, but to do such things to a child? For a moment she even began to feel like her brother. Kenneth would have hunted this 'dragon' down and killed it. She pushed that aside. That was not her way. She was a healer not a killer, which was so much worse. She could heal the physiacl scars. She knew how, and while it was draining, it was an oddly simple matter. The emotional ones, those she feared she could never even hope to touch, let alone make whole. She knew now her instincts had been right. The slow, cautious approach was needed here, otherwise the unfortunate child would bolt. Already she saw the signs of stress on her face. Slowly, each step carefully measured, she approached Bea.
"Oh child... who did this to you? How were you hurt this way?" Her soul shrieked out in pain, and at the opening of her mouth, the tears flowed. She cried quietly as she stopped a foot or so away. Her voice was soft and soothing as the unfortunate question was stretched between them.

"Bea... in order to heal you, I need to touch you. Is that okay?"

Re: Healer's Home [Open]

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:39 am
by Internal
Bea didn't want to answer the dainty lady's first question.

She made up reasons why not. Aliria was crying. Mommy wouldn't approve of crying, especially not when Bea did it. Bea was her favorite, after all, and if she cried she was just like all of the others. Explaining would take too long. Wasting too much time or telling too much about herself might alert Aliria to the danger she'd be in if she succeeded and then let Bea leave.

She didn't even realize she'd made her own small figure as small as possible, in the chair, curling up tight, until the Dainty Lady asked about touching her. Was she scared of this pathetic woman? No! That was ridiculous! She had no reason to be! Aliria was soft. Even her voice was soft. It was...

It was nice. It was comforting, the kind of comfort Bea wasn't familiar with, and she didn't know how to handle it, and so she was trying to keep her distance from it. It wan't Aliria that scared her, it was the softness of her touch. And now that she'd realized it, she realized just how ridiculous that was. She closed her red eyes, took a deep breath, and forced her limbs to relax. She didn't have to be scared of Aliria. If anything, Aliria should be scared of her.

Still...still, something nagged a little, and her gaze was suspicious as she unfolded herself.

"Will...will it hurt?"