RP:Dredging Up The Past
Synopsis: Penelope finds her past laying in the woods with an injured lung. After years of not speaking, the woman is shocked to run into the metallic-armed elf, Linken, in such a terrible state. After bringing the man back to the hut at Yerrel's in Kelay, the two healers take care of him. Days pass before Penelope comes face to face with the Linken she does not know. There are two sides to him. Penelope stares in the face of a demon. Hell exists.
Location: Kelay Forest
Penelope is hunched over with her head pressed against the stone of the wall. Her fingers twiddle through the grass, and she plucks it and places it in a jar that she is holding in the other hand. Her shoulders are eased and her face is calm and collected. The woman is draped in casual clothing – black skinny pants that are a little over-worn with some holes due to hard work, a flowy grey tunic with a thick knitted cardigan that makes her look overly petite. Her hair is a frizzy mess and easy to identify if anyone knew the girl by heart. Penelope is always Penelope.
Without warning, the birds of the surrounding woulds would up and flutter away, the source of their disturbance unknown. Then, within moments a quiet noise grew from the north, becoming more amplified with every few passing seconds until two distinct sounds could be heard; both of them voices, one of them much louder and sharper than the other. As their words became more clear, so did the sound of their footsteps, their paces mismatched "Hey, lady! Help!" "No, stay away from her! Don't go near her! Arthur!!" Two figures approached Penelope rapidly, and as the first one came screaming and tumbling to his knees in the dirt before her, it revealed itself to be a boy, no older than ten, and swift to climb back to his feet and brush the dirt from his tunic before waving his hands in the air frantically." Ugh... uh, hey you! There's a guy back there who's hurt! You have to find he- Oow! Hey!!" The second figure, a woman, bum-rushed the child, his arms and legs flailing about as she snatched him up at the waist and whipped him away from Penelope. "I told you to stay away from her! We have to go now, they'll be coming!" As the child struggled to break free, he continued his plea, pushing one palm onto his mother's arms with the other pressed to her face. "No, you can't! Mom, he saved you! We have to- " "He did it to save us, and if we stay were dead too!" growled the woman through her son's fingers, snatching his arm at the wrist and prying it down before hoisting him off his feet again and throwing him over her shoulder, kicking and screaming all the while. Eagerly turning her back, she began along the path as fast as she could beneath the weight of her son, who would screech louder and louder to overcome her voice as their distance from Penelope grew. "Don't leave him there! Please dont leave him there! Go find someone!"
Penelope’s hands halted as she heard the screaming amplified. The woman, at first, thought that it may have been kids playing roughly. As the boy runs in the herbalist’s direction, the pale, freckled woman raises moss eyes, but remains in her kneeled position to keep on his level. “Whoa, slow down—what?” The child was not making any sense, and the mother came tagging along to retrieve her son. “Miss, whe—“ the healer was cut off. El blinks at the child as he is being carried away. She is speechless. The grass could wait. The jar drops. “Yerrel! Yerrel!” His hut was only so far. He had to be able to hear her yelling in the distance. He was protective of the apprentice. Minutes passed. “Forget it,” she sneers before Yerrel comes trotting out of the forest on a horse. “Miss Halifax? What is all the ruckus?” Penelope cuts him off, “No time,” she cuts him off short before forcing him back for room on the horse to take lead. “Someone’s hurt. I don’t know where, but we need to find him.” Yerrel tries to resist to have them take a moment to think, but Penelope squeezes the horses sides with her knees to get the horse to move forward. Penelope and Yerrel to the rescue!
Linken coughed harshly, a deep wheezing permeating his breathing as his hacking spattered blood all over the page of his journal, whatever was previously written now masked by blotches of the same thick red that ran in a line from the corner of his mouth. "Heh..." So much for his last will and testament. The journal slipped from his bloody hand, landing flat upon the stone path with one corner dipped in the ever-growing pool of crimson beneath him as he used the last of the strength in his legs to push his back up further against the wall. 'It's a shame,' he thought to himself, his head rolling backwards as he gazed at the birds stirring overhead, a collection of fuzzy blurs moving swiftly across the backdrop of blue above. He would have loved to say goodbye one last time, but he knew they would be fine, all of them. Ready to embrace his fate yet again, his wheezing breaths became more of s a struggle, and as his eyes fell shut, well and ready to embrace the darkness that awaited, a distant sound would catch his attention, his eyes opening once more when the echo of hoof beats became more recognizable. 'The boy,' he thought, 'there's no way he could have...' The odds were stacked high against him, but that didn't mean it were impossible his pleas would be heard. As Linken's head rolled to the side, watching the blurred figure come into focus as it rapidly approached, he'd recognize the figure leading the steed toward him, and were it still possible a gasp would have left him. The corners of his lips would turn upward into a weak smile, a deep sense of irony washing over him as he began to slide to one side, an almost inaudible, "Isn't that something," escaping his lips as he slid to one side, his wound leaving a streak of blood on the wall in a quarter-circle behind him before falling completely limp, and everything faded to black.
Penelope found the man on the path. “There, Yerrel!” The pool of crimson is what caught her attention. She pulls back on the reigns of the horse and jumps off immediately. The woman runs and skids on the path to stop herself from fully running into him. Him. Him. Penelope’s heart pumps almost too hard that she hears buzzing in her ears, and she feels light headed. “Linken,” she breathes out in panic. Yerrel comes with the medical bag behind her. “El, get yourself together – now and move,” the elven man was stern and stoic. “Yessir. Right.” In a moment, Penelope’s face switches to a lack of empathy and fear. Yerrel was teaching her to not lose herself in heavy situations. “Linken, you’re not dying today, you idiot.” She sounded angry and sad for a moment again. What were these games he was always playing? Moss green eyes slide over him to see where his injuries are coming from. His mouth drips blood. “Yerrel, I think he is bleeding internally.” Pause. Yerrel speaks. “We need to get him on the horse.” Penelope shakes her head. “I don’t think he has time.” The woman analyzes the streak of blood. Ding. His back? The human begins to lean over to feel about his body to find the injury. Blood tainting her fingertips.
Linken 's injury would be found near the center-left of his back, underneath his arm. This could only be discerned by the large pooling of blood beneath armor in that spot, however, for there were no punctures or breaks in his armor for a blade to slip through. If he were to be treated in time, swift work would have to be made of the many belts and straps that held the plate to his torso, meant to protect the vitals in that very spot from injury.
Yerrel finally agrees with Penelope to keep the man here and get him stitched together before taking the man back to the hut. Penelope cannot find any puncture marks in his armor, but the blood is coming from his backside. Either way, he is bleeding. “Get the armor off!” She screams in a hostile voice. Yerrel gives her a very dark and strange look. She has never acted this way with him. With anybody. Both of them loosen the straps around his armor to take it off his limp body. His weight makes it hard to wiggle him around, but the girl has adrenaline. Penelope also tugs his shirt over his head to leave him bare. The source of the bleeding is clear. It was underneath. Though, how was he bleeding? What hurt him? Only time will tell. Yerrel pulls out a bottle of cleaning solution. A yellow liquid. “Pour over the wound to see the damage. Once we see, I can mend the wound internally and you can finish the rest when we get him back.” Penelope nods as she takes the bottle and begins to clear the blood away from his back.
Linken's blood rolled away from his wound as the liquid sanitized the area, revealing the incision to be approximately two to three inches long (about the width of a dagger) and most likely deep enough to have punctured one of his lungs. The amount of blood leaving the would had dropped dramatically, however, meaning the elf did not have much time to spare if there were any hope of saving him.
Penelope was shaky once the liquid clears the blood away. It is not oozing out as fast. Linken is dying. “Y-Yerrel…” The elven man moves the girl to the side and he rests his hands on the half elf’s back. A blue light begins to take over. The older man’s hands tingle. The light spreads for a moment and he looks as if he is analyzing a book. “His lung is punctured.” His vision seems blinded as he does not look at the herbalist to his side. “We came just in time,” his hands then turn into a darker shade of indigo to reach internally. A swirl moves into Linken’s backside into the wound. The mist would swarm around the part of his lung. Linken is out-cold, but if he was awake the mist would feel like needles and feel warm to stretch out the organ tissue to sew tight. “I’m patching up the lung. The rest I will have you do back at the hut.” After a few moments, the mini surgery is done, but the wound is still open. “Let’s gauze him, throw him on the horse, and head back.” The magic of gauze happens for temporary support before the two lift the elf – Penelope grabbing his feet and Yerrel his arms – and they rest him on the horse while he leans back against Penelope. Yerrel walks. To the hut they go!
Bells chime as they are brushed against by the opening of the door. The hut is indeed as cozy as the exterior suggested, with plants and flowers of all varieties lining bins against the walls and counters. Sitting peacefully in the back, a robed figure of obviously elven descent greets you by name. Pointing to a list hanging on the wall over his shoulder, he offers his healing services.
Once at the hut, they unload, that is—well, she would not say easy. The frizzy woman now stained in the elf’s blood makes sure that Linken is lying on his stomach, so the woman could get a good look at the wound. “Now, remember, Miss Halifax… We have to give nourishment to the organ after it has been stitched. Feel the earth around you, girl. What gives nourishment?” Penelope is almost sweating cold. She is scared and overwhelmed, but Yerrel prepared her for moments like these. She would not make the same mistakes after Sauriangate. Hands lift to her moss eyes to stare at her palms. Think, Penelope, think. “Soil,” she says with finally a calm look and Yerrel gives an encouraging smile. The woman inhales through her nostrils and her eyes close. The thought of the cold ground clouds her mind. The smell of soil drifts into her senses. Suddenly her palms grow a faint red color and she places her hands on Linken’s back. Minutes would pass. The red was warm as it would sink into the elf’s back. The nourishment was helping the lung by making the puncture a little smaller than what it was—however, Linken would still take long to recover. “Now, Miss Halifax, stitch him. Change his wounds. Nurture well. Let him rest at ease.” The woman would nod and grab the needle and thread to begin to sew him together. She would prod into his skin and weave the stitch to the otherside and pull the skin tightly together. Time passes. Once done, the woman would grab a nearby numbing salve and place it on the wound, so the elf would not be in too much pain when he woke up. Then, gauze. All the essentials. Now, it was the waiting game. Hours? Days? Who knew.
Days passed by. The woman waited and waited. Waited some more. At times she would apply salves to help him heal quicker. Was he too long gone? Had he died on the table and lost brain activity? What was going on in Linken’s mind? She was stir crazy. “Linken, please. They need you…” His kids. She had left to visit to make sure they were okay, although not pleased with the flighty woman, they appreciated her moves of caring. “You are not going to die from this. It’s petty,” her voice is soft. The woman lingers now at a window to water Yerrel’s herbs that she had provided for him. It was now a waiting game.
Linken did not give much warning when he awoke from his dormancy; there were some signs, however, though too faint and short lived to provide ample warning for his resuscitation. It started as a faint cold sweat, and over the course of a few seconds transitioned to a faint tremble and a grimace, and not a moment later the elf's eyes bolt open, accompanied by a shriek of terror the likes of which could send chills down your spine. Linken flew upright from his cot with the momentum of someone already in a full sprint, seemingly propelled by an unnatural force as he charged headfirst straight in the direction he was facing, blinded completely by fear. "NOOOOO!!! NOT AGAIN!!! PLEASE, NOT AG-Oomf!!!" Arms flailing about in front of him to deter his 'attackers,' and eyes clenched shut, the panicked elf failed to detect the completely obvious wall directly in front of him, slamming face first into the surface with such force as to knock down a number of portraits drom their arrangement. Bouncing back and landing on his side wth a loud thud, the elf gasped for air amidst groans of agony, eyes now paralyzed by the light as he struggled to piece together where - and when - he was. "...Oh, gods, Oh, no...No, wha- what? No, just, just, just...*inhales* Oh, god no..."
Penelope automatically turned when the shriek was present throughout the room. Goosebumps travel up the girl’s back and moss green eyes are stern. She shuffles quickly to his bedside draped in a rustic orange flowy shirt with bell sleeves. “Linken,” she tries to soothe him as he pounds into the wall. “You’re safe.” Her arm grips one of his, even though there is possibly a danger to his panic state. “It’s Penelope, Link. Shhh, you’re okay now. You’re safe. Nothing is going to hurt you.” The woman tries to bring him down with her silken tone of voice. The woman tucks a strand of frizzed hair behind her ear. “You took a terrible hit… We stitched you back together. Your lung—it was punctured severely.”
Linken panicked at the first sign of her touch, his heels squeaking against the clinic's floor in an attempt to scurry away before reaching out and snatching her wrist, his metallic fingers locking like a steel shackle as he locks eyes with Penelope, and they told a tale of primal fear and absolute terror so intense that it almost seemed contagious. "...Who are you?.." Were the first words that slipped through his pale, stuttering lips, and not exactly reassuring words to hear from a newly awakened comatose victim. However, as Penelope spoke to Linken, her reassuring and familiar voice helped the elf sift through his shattered mind and find where he was, right here and now. "No, but... I know you...Pen..." His trembling would fade until ceasing entirely, as quick, panicked breaths steadily receded to a more relaxed pace. His face, however, would take to a look of confusion, his brow furrowing as a visual indicator towards how exactly surprised he was to see her kneeling before him. "...Penny? How did...Why are you here? Where am I? What's going on, how did I?..."
“I don’t know,” she quickly intervenes. His metallic-armed touch is nostalgic and her heart swells. She is weary from his grasp, but remains poised. “I’m here because… I live here. I help Yerrel. I own my own herbalist shop down the way. You’re not supposed to be here, Linken. You’re supposed to be safe and happy with your children.” The woman looked just the same as he always saw her. “How dare you do that to your kids?” The herbalist places her hands on him. “I let them know that you were safe. You’ve been out for days now. I’m just very glad that you’re awake.” Her doe eyes are wide to his furrowed brows. “Either way, you’re safe. We have you healed enough to recover. You can’t put yourself in those situations especially with your kids, Link. Please..” Her eyes trail to the side. The woman should have not been so worried. He was Linken, he always pulled through.
Linken shook his head in disbelief at her words, quickly brushing off the concept of children. "What are you talking about?" The elf's memories were fragmented, hinted at by his slightly-off demeanor; His slight movements, the way he talked, the deep, overwhelming emotion that flooded through panicked, oceanic hues. He seemed to feel harder, this being due to the fact that the Linken who sat before her, trembling in fear, was a psycological manifestation of his younger self, untrained and inexperienced with the world, and suffering from no recollection of his recent memories. And yet, for some reason, he could still remember her. "...What are you going on about? How could I possibly have childrrrraaAAAHHH!!!" As he denied any recollection of fatherhood, he would fold his arms across each other, attempting to rub warmth into his bones and get his blood flowing. It was then that he felt the colt touch of steel on his left arm, and it was that moment, as he looked down, that he would realize the current state of his physical being, and reacted accordingly to the discovery. "MY ARM!!! What the hell did you do to my ARM!?...It's.. It's gone! MY ARM IS GONE!!! What did you do to me!?...AAAAHHHHH!!!?" His bare torso draw his attention next, littered with the scars of battles he'd never fought and wounds he'd never healed, and though not as polarizing as learning about his prosthetic it was still far too disturbing for him. "My body!! They're all over me!! What the hell did you do to me!!??" His hands patted frantically across his chest, fingers grazing and scratching at the thick, callous flesh as his eyes lifted to her for some sort of explanation, filled with fear and streaming with tears. "What happened to me?? What is going on??....Who did this to me? Did YOU do this to me!?..."
Automatically, the woman comes down to sit in a nearby chair for steady stability. “You don’t remember your—?” The clear panic invaded the room and for a moment she is a startled deer who gasps backwards into her chair. The woman then quickly leans forward. What was going on…? Did he have amnesia? “No, Linken, no!” The herbalist shook her head quickly as she attempted to rest a hand on him. He is talking fast, so she begins to talk fast and try to yell over him. “I didn’t do anything! Linken, you’re panicking and you need to take deep breaths. This is how I met you, don’t you remember?” Her heart was fluttering too fast at his intense reaction. He was blaming her? Did he think of her as monstrous? Her voice then begins to lower as she realizes that she may be making anxiety in the room increase. The vocals return to grace and she leans forward. “Linken, listen to me.” Her voice is stern now to force attention. “I think something happened to you that I don’t know about. Yerrel and I found you in the forest because a kid found you. I don’t know what actually happened to you. You’ve had these scars and metallic limbs for ages, and right now, I think you’re feeling ghostly pains.” Pause. “I’m going to fix this… I have to fix this.” She stares blankly through him now and puts a hand on the back of her head as if to scratch her head in a confused way.
Linken screamed and swatted her away, scuffling across the floor in a panic before backing himself into the closest corner, bringing down a chair or two along the way. "No! Don't touch me!" As the elf sat there, curled up and guarded from this unfamiliar environment, his face would jump from one direction to the next, taking in whatever observations he could and looking for an escape as he tried to think of where he was and how he found himself in this situation. The act of thinking took a heavy toll, however, due to the shattered nature of his mind, and a sharp pain would begin to pierce his skull. "You're out of your mind! I've never lost a limb for any reason! Why the hell does my body look like mice meat!? I don't know what the hell you're talking abooouuuaaaAGH IT HUUUURTS!!" The more he tries to understand and remember, the more the pain intensifies, until it reaches a point where nearly half of his motor functions fail him. Toppling over to his side, Linken's hands flew up and smacked himself in the forehead, fingers digging into his scalp with almost enough force to draw blood as he curled into a fetal position and trembled in absolute shock, his own screams growing deaf to him beneath the ringing in his head. "God, make it STOOOOP!! Why is that happening to me!?!? Please, I'm BEGGING you, it HURTS!!! DO SOMETHING!!!"
Penelope is straight-faced when he swats her away. After their history, she deserved that. She was not trustworthy in his eyes. The frizz-haired girl abandoned him after Pakellin Leroy Halifax. As he scrambles throughout the hut, she stands, but she does not move an inch towards him. Instead, she is dead silent to let him throw his terror tantrum. Penelope LeAnne Halifax would not be the one that he would lean on for support in this time. As he screams to make the pain stop, the woman searches around the hut. The mirror. Hanging on the wall in the small left corner for the patients to view themselves. The woman shuffles quickly and grabs the hanging reflection before moving it towards Linken. “I can make it stop… you just have to trust me…” Her voice is fragile at this point. If he would let her, she would cautiously try to place the mirror into his armpit, so instead he would not be able to see his metallic arm. The reflection of the mirror would only be his limb that was actual flesh. Something in the mind would normally cause the pain to slowly go away from the ghost limb. “You lost your limb, Linken. A very very long time ago. Before you met me. Please, Linken. You have to believe me.” Her voice is straining at this point and she is trying to hide the sadness in her eyes from his pain. How did this even happen?
Linken continued to tremble, his left hand clenching half of his face as he continued to hyperventilate, two unblinking eyes locked on the woman upon her approach. Being backed into a corner, he had no choice but to allow Penelope to inch closer, placing the mirror between his torso and his metallic limb and staring intently into the reflection, broken only to occasionally eye the woman who seemed to know more about him than even he did, all the while trying to control his breathing. "...I know who you are...I don't know how I do, but I know I do, or I wouldn't know your name." What an astute observation, and one made in a much calmer voice no less. Then again, they were in extremely close proximity, and yelling would't serve to help anyone's hearing in the long run. "How do you know so much about me? Gods, how can I even -understand- you? I don't even know what language I'm speaking right now, but I can understand you perfectly..." The pain has begun to recede for the time being, yet Linken would only trade his expression of agony for one of fear and isolation instead, tears still continuing to streak down his cheeks. "...You're telling me I've been like this for a very long time... exactly how long? And how did I get here?" The elf would suddenly reach out and take her hand into his own, still trembling and warm to the touch, now holding tightly onto the woman who happened to be his one tether to this reality. "...Please, you have to help me. If you know me, then you're the only one who can. I need you."
Penelope held her breath when he did not remember what her significance was in his life. Her unpainted lips are a flat line as she stares at him with that doe-eyed, mossy stare. A silence falls between them for a moment or two. Her stare does not leave his blue gaze. “You loved me once.” Her words linger in the air as the past hangs in the room now. “I lived with you and your children for a while after my brother passed away,” she would not give him the details that he was the one to kill Pakellin, for the man would only be in more pain. She wanted to take it all away. The woman sits down criss-cross in front of him, but she keeps her distance. He was a fragile bird, and she wanted to make sure he would remain in a communicative state. “Before my time. You’re a lot older than I am…. You told me once that you were cursed. We haven’t spoken in years. You’re a good soul, and you always fight for good. That’s why you bear those scars of yours.” The freckled girl inhales. “You have two children. A boy and a girl. They’re not… yours, but you have an obligation. Like I said, you’re good. Not like the rest of us.” Quickly she adds, “And you speak the common tongue--you’ve been around a while, like I said. That’s how you can understand me.” As he sobs, the woman feels a chill run down her back. The woman was thinner due to plague in the past, not as if he would know. As he touches her, memories come flooding in, and she is still as can be. “I’m not going anywhere, Linken. I’m not going to leave you. Not like this.” A hand slowly wraps generously around him, and she gives him a squeeze for reassurance.
Linken listened intently to her words, and judging by his reaction he did not expect the first words she spoke to be what they were. "...Wait, -loved- you? Do you mean we...?" This Linken was still young, and vrey much inexperienced with such things, and after a few moments of silent observation of the woman claiming to be a past lover (and acknowledging how beautiful she was) all of the remaining blood in his body seemed to rush to his face, beet red with embarrassment as quickly averted his now-sunken gaze. "Oh...OH my, I don't- I, um...I'm so sorry EEK I MEAN NO I'M NOT SORRY!" The elf winced, turning his head away from her, and quickly waving his hands in submission of this entire conversation, which seemed to have him in a stranglehold. "I'm definitely not sorry! Or maybe I am I don't know, I DON'T mean to offend you!..." As she continued to speak, however, his gaze would turn ever so slowly back to her, his eyes sinking further back with every word of news spoken to him on his life. "...Old....C-cursed!?...These scars, I'm...a fighter?" He'd pause, letting the mirror slip from between his arm and chest as he looked down at his hands, observing their calloused, grizzled stare before his gaze finally settled on his prosthetic, his own reflection staring back at him from the palm of his hand. "...So, my arm...and children?" He'd look up to Penelope once more, embarrassment once more overtaking him as he struggled with his questions. "You were being serious, then? I actually have chil- Wait a minute then, d-did we have...? Oh, no, thats right," the elf chuckled nervously, "you said they weren't mine...Wait, are they YOURS?" Linken's questions would fall silent as she took his hand again, and her words of reassurance left him dumbfounded; She was beautiful, gentle, and seemed genuinely concerned with his well being. In this strange place, in a strange time, this woman had managed to make him, if only for a short while, feel safe, and the next question that came to mind he found to be asking himself: ("If I loved this woman at one point, then why on earth did I stop? Better yet, did I?") His drifting mind didn't translate well into their conversation, however, his only given response being a nervous gulp and a long, awkward stare. "...Uhh...."
The herbalist looks sheepish at this point. “Yes,” she answers his cut-off question, but love to her was natural now. It was as if she was staring into her own reflection. Linken was now the embarrassed one that she used to be when he first met her. What timeline did he think he was in? The woman raises her hands as if to brush his words away. “Don’t apologize, really.” She then looked almost embarrassed too at the man before her. “No, the kids aren’t mine. You told me you had a love intensely long before me. Like I said… obligation and good deeds. You wouldn’t just abandon those kids. Plus, they’re a lot older now and quite able to take care of themselves.” Moss eyes trailed down his body to his hand. Her small one covered his revealing the octogram star that symbolized her twin relationship with her brother. She looks as if to be biting back something. “I need to be honest now, Linken. Really, I hurt you. I left you without a word of goodbye. I was young back then… you met me as a young girl who was just a simple baker-- I felt as if I was causing our relationship harm by the situations I was wrapped in. You were always trying to be my saving grace, and meanwhile, I was taking pieces of you that you shouldn’t have allowed me to take.” The woman with the frizz hair was cautious at this point. “Because of you, I am now what I am. A healer, an herbalist, someone who found peace to care for others the way I never thought I would be able to.”
Linken furrowed his brow, the elf's gaze averting to the ground as he shook his head slightly in confusion. "Long before you?...I don't..." His eyes closed, and he'd try his hardest to remember, but even the mother of his children was a distant future beyond the memories of this Linken. "...No, I... I feel like you're right, but... I really don't know who or what you're talking about." The elf sighed, reaching up to rub his eyes before throwing his arms down in mild frustration. "Damn it, none of this makes any sense! What you're saying about me, these stories about old warriors, and curses, it's- it's the stuff of fantasy! It's stories! I'm just a woodworker, a carpenters apprentice," he'd say, shaking his hands in denial as he spoke. "I've never picked up a sword, how could I fight...wait. " He'd pause, his eyes opening once again as his narrow gaze fixates on Penelope. "Wait, thats right, I'm... a carpenter. Or I think I am?..." If there were any indicator as to what point in time this Linken had stepped from, then this would be it. There was only one time Linken had mentioned he was a carpenter, and it was before his life was changed forever; Still an innocent young man, he's never taken a life, never faced the atrocities or suffered in torment as his future resigned him to. For all intents and purposes, he is helpless. As Penelope continued to speak, the elf listened to her confession, a dour look on his face. "I see..." He'd ponder it for a moment, but his serious would leave him the longer he thought on it, quickly finding humor in the irony of her words given the situation. "I appreciate the honesty, I really do, but why now? There's no reason. How could I possibly be mad at you for something I don't even remember you doing?
Penelope did not know much either. Afterall, there was a lot to Linken that the girl never knew. He had a complicated history. One that she would not understand. As he speaks of being a carpenter, she tilts her head. The woman had never heard of that. Perhaps he was… younger than expected? Afterall, he still remembered he was Linken. Also, what was the significance with her? Why did he remember the simple girl with the freckled face and upturned nose? The baker. “I’m not sure what you are or who you think you are, and I know I sound absolutely insane,” she admits. Her gaze is focused on him while he asks her questions. Why was she actually telling him this? The human tucks a chestnut strand behind her ear idly. “You ‘were’ in love with me. You ‘loved’ me.” However, the woman did not know whether the fighter ever moved forward after the years that passed. The woman squints in thought. “I’m telling you this because I think internally my instinct towards you is always pushing you away. We always fall back into each other in different ways. It’s like Lithrydel is trying to set the world where we always collide into each other. Also… like I said, I take pieces from you. Perhaps I’m warning you,” she was really unsure why she was letting the innocent man know about their history. Her hand is now wrapped in his and a painful, yet warm, comforting sensation filled her chest. Her other hand raises to massage over her chest where her heart is. His words take over her head and the memories she tucked deep in her mind start to boil to the surface. The man was the only one who could tug deeper strings within her. No one had been able to pull the vulnerability from the woman, but everyone seemed to put her trust in her with their darkest tales. In a moment, she feels a connection as he wraps his hand around hers, but her eyes shift away in distant nature. Why did she always have to pull away from him? “Either way, besides the past, we need to think of the future… Do you only remember me vaguely…? Who else? What else?”
Linken sighs and shakes his head, his eyes falling shut as he pressed one hand to his forehead. "I don't know, it honestly hurts to remember...The harder I try, the more the pain intensifies...I can sense bits and pieces, but its like trying to walk the shoreline in a hurricane..." The elf visualizes the fragments of his memories as they pass him by, little snippets of his work, his life, and his love. and yet all the faces of his past kin remain blurry, save the face of Penelope. "...I can remember...things. Small things. I see traces of my life, my...family. A family, but I don't think it's the one you know. As I said, I don't recall having children." His gaze returns to meet hers, narrowed in confusion as he tried to comprehend the depth of her significance. "It's so strange... I can picture a woman. I don't believe its supposed to be you, but...it's you that I see in her stead. Just you." At that moment, several loud bangs resonated from the front door, interrupting the elf's stroll down memory lane with a near-cardiac-arrest. "OH MY GOD what WAS that!? " he shrieked, as he backed into a counter and grabbed his chest, subsequently smacking his elbows off it's surface simultaneously and letting ot a muffled grunt of agony, crossing his arms and cupping each sore spot with the opposite hand. "Ow, god, my funny bones, oooooh, not both of theeeee-he-heeemmm..." The banging continued, this time followed by a deep, grizzly voice bellowing past the weak wooden structure blocking it. "Oy, open the door! 'Ere lookin' for summin, an' we 'eeda check the premiseez, make sure e'ain't mopin' 'round back'ere! 'Mon, hurry up now!" Linken's pointed ears began to droop as he listened to the monstrous roar outside, rapidly looking back ad forth between Penelope and the entrance as he pointed towards the dor. "Do you, do you know who that is? Who is that? Whats going on? I don't like this. Pleeeease tell me this has nothing to do with me."
“When I was around completely, the only family was your children. Time has past, perhaps you found family?” The woman wanted to be optimistic, but surely, that was probably not right. The herbalist stares at him with a very soft gaze that lingers for too long before the knocking on the door. The freckle-dusted woman shakes her head out of a daze of old thoughts. He is nervous, and she had never seen him in such a state before. The girl rises to her feet. She had grown braver since she left him behind. The woman looks at Linken quickly and uses a tone that is not audible. Hopefully he could read lips. “Hide, underneath the cot,” she points towards underneath his cot just in case. To not seem so suspicious, Penelope remains in her confident posture and moves towards the door to open it. She slowly creaks it open and her body is fully visible. “Do you normally disturb the ill? Do you have an appointment? Have you ever heard of patient confidentiality? What are your credentials? You know it’s Kelay law. Unless you speak with secretary Mr. Erickson who resides at Halifax Roots, you should not be anywhere on Sir Yerrel’s property,” honestly the human was speaking nonsense. The woman did not know for the life of her. There is no sense of fear. Perhaps she is the new and improved Linken. If old Linken was functional, he would be impressed. This was a different Penelope. A Penelope who was not afraid of death.
Linken grimaced when told to hide from those intruding on his safe space, his teeth chattering and grinding as he rapidly shook his head in acknowledgement before dropping prone to the floor, scurrying across the room like a startled cave lizard before slipping beneath his cot, all the while watching the events before him unfold. As the door opened, a large, burly man clad in leather and cloth tried to welcome himself into the establishment, only to abruptly stop by nearly colliding with the woman blocking his path, and she would be met in response with a puffy chest and a pointing finger. "Aye, watch 'ere'ya goin' little lady, I woodin' suggest gett'nin our way. I'dun givva dunkey's arse 'bout no cre'dentals nor no pathient confectuality, the man 'ere after gutted three'o'mah boys, an' were combin' the woods lookin' tah serve 'im right for!" The brute tossed his thumb over his shoulder, lending his acknowledgement to the five other men that accompanied him in tow, each one equal to or lesser than their leader in bodily mass, and none of them looked as though they earned their wages in an honest manner; They didn't look happy either. "Now, unness you can pruv that meat 'aunch innit 'ere, 'en we're gunna' afta' come in an'-" "Boss, over there! By the cot!" The highwayman glanced over his shoulder at the quickly approaching underling, who ran into him with almost enough force to bring the two of them down before grabbing his shoulder and fitting one hand past him though the doorway, pointing directly to the elf. Linken's eyes sunk so far back into his skull he could nearly see his brain, his fingernails digging into the floors surface as he let out a whimper, accompanied by a nervous gulp. "Oh no," he whispered, " they see me, they see me, they see me..." The angry henchman snarled, shouting, "That's his stuff right over there! That's his armor and his sword, I couldn't forget it! He nearly killed me!" And of course, sitting right next to the cot, within arms reach of the elf and out in the open for all to see, were the many layers of his armor and wardrobe in a neat stack, along side them his bow, quiver, and sword leaning against the wall. "He's in' 'ere lads," screamed the thuggish brute as he moved to shove Penelope out of the way, "Get the bastard! He's in 'ere, summare, an' wen'ya find 'im, KILL 'IM!!"
Penelope furrowed her brow at the bitter man saying he does not care about credentials. She slows her voice for the man in a mocking way. “Patient confidentiality,” she then pinches her finger together to end the phrase. Then, the one who cries wolf screams. The herbalist peers over her own shoulder at the stuff sprawled across the hut. “Oh shi—“ as the burly man tries to move her, she throws an elbow into the man to try to hit him in the gut to knock the wind out of him. “Keep the hell away from him!” The woman did not have a lot of strength, but a lot of speed—for now, even though she was still healing from the disease that took over her life for a while. Although, she was quite bony, and that knock with her elbow would have hurt if it reached the burly man’s gut. Either way, she slides across the floor to grab a piece of his hefty armor as a weapon. She was not handy with a sword, but she can definitely swing a plate of armor at someone’s face if they came near Linken or her. She was ready for anything. The woman was a lot braver than before, not as he would remember. “Linken, do not even move. You’re in recovery. Let me handle this,” she was forceful. Though, his sword was sitting there. If anyone budged, she was going to unleash a little bit of hell. Like the narrator said, she was changed since years prior.
Linken was unable to heed Penelope's warning as the highway robbers raided the clinic, for he had already abandoned his post beneath the bed; However, not before shrieking like a defenseless girl and attempting to burst out from beneath the cot and run, only to smack his head on the underside of the frame and leveling himself, opting to roll out through the opposite side instead. "AAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!-*ting* OW! Oh, god stay away!" Before escaping from beneath the furniture, he'd managed to swipe one of the personal effects mentioned by the marauders: His satchel. Not the sword, but his satchel. "Oh, no!" The elf weaved in and out through the multiple cots and furniture, ripping open the bag and rummaging through its contents for something - literally anything - that could deter the attackers. After all, he was supposed to be some heroic warrior, right? He had to have some useful tools, or knives, or something on his person to defend himself. It was about this time that Penelope had driven her elbow into the large one's side, a move that proved effective, though not as much as one would hope. Cursing angrily and contorting to the side, the gang boss decided to focus his attention on the woman as the others rushed in past him, all on a direct course with the elf. "Ooooww, you stupid lil' wench! You're 'onna regret 'at!" Drawing a cudgel from his side, he'd give chase as she retreated to the cot and armed herself with a piece of armor, bringing the weapon back and over his head to swing down at her with crushing force... only to be interrupted by a flying book having struck him square in the face. "Ow, my nose, dammit!" He shouted as he reached up to clench his face, the journal falling to the floor and landing open face down at Penelope's feet. "What the?-" "Leave her alone!" shouted the noble, yet terrified elf, having halted his evasive maneuvers to take a stand. "I won't let you hurt her AH MY GOD Stay back!!" The remaining five approached him rapidly, and it was a fraction of a second before Linken was on the move again, fumbling over himself and the furniture as he grabbed everything he could from the bag and began chucking all of it at his pursuers: Inkwells, scrolls, bottles, a bag of gold coins, everything went flying and the debris scattered across the clinic as each article either struck or missed his assailants. "The hell's wrong with you, Bram?" one laughed at the other, "This man's a wimp! You expect me to believe he kicked your ass!?" "Don't mess with 'im, Ivan, you dunny know what he's capable of!" "Nonsense!" he shouted back, their pace having slowed to a walk as the elf had not only exhausted all throw-able objects on his person, but managed to back himself into a corner. " Oh, god no," cried the elf, dropping the bag as he began to wave his hands dismissively, "Please don't, I swear I don't know what you're talking about!" "Oh, shut it," snarled the eager one, drawing the sword at his side and swinging it overhead at the elf's skull. "Eat steel!- huh, WHAT!?" Linken winced and screamed, reaching his hand out to shield himself from the surely-lethal strike as he closed his eyes and turned away, unable to face his own death.... until his scream dragged out for quite some time, eventually fading when he realized he was not dead yet. "AAAAAAaaaaaaahhhh?" His eyes opened cautiously, nearly doubling in size from the shock of seeing the blade clenched tightly within his steel hand's grasp. "...Wha? How did i..?" Hey! LET GO, DAMMIT!" shouted the flabbergasted assailant, yanking and jerking his arm in an attempt to free the weapon from Linken's grasp. "What!? No! Hey! Woah! Stop it!" The blade wobbled and bent amidst their struggle until it could no longer stand the pressure of his grip, snapping clean in two before dropping the sharp end on the floor. "Aaahhh! Oh my GOD, did I just break- OW!" Wasting no time, the bandit drew his knife from the sheath on his shoulder and reached out with his left hand, snatching Linken by his prosthetic's wrist and pulling him closer in an attempt to plunge the knife in his heart, and it was that moment the elf unknowingly tapped into his reflexes. Automatically, without even realizing it, the elf reacted as soon as he was grabbed, his steel hand slipping free and snaking around the bandit's wrist before barring his finger against it and pushing up. The snap is what would draw the attention of everyone in the room, but the sight before them would be sure to keep their attention: The bandit's arm was folded in two at the center of his forearm, both ends of his bone jutting upward through torn flesh and running blood that oozed from his arm and dripped to the floor. Both the unknowing bandit and the elf stood in silent shock, looking down to examine the sight before them before looking at each other in disbelief. And then they both began screaming. "AAAAAAAHHHHH!!! MY AAAARM!!!!" "OH MY GOD I BROKE IT!!!" "IVAN HE BROKE YOUR ARM!!!!" "I'M SO SORRY IVAN! I DIDN'T MEAN TO, I SWEAR!!!!"
Penelope’s eyes grew wide as the elf from beneath the cot scrambled and hit his head. Are you joking? No more noble Linken? Ah, cripes, now he is throwing random crap everywhere. Why did this even have to happen? And with her being the only familiar one? Today was just an odd day all around. A shadow then hovers over her as the big man creeps to her to strike her, she was about to swing as she stood tall, however the injured man beat her to it as he throws the book at his nose. As the journal lands on her feet, she sucks in a small stunned breath before furrowing her gaze. “Serves you right stepping in here like that!” Automatically she is near Linken’s side swinging the armor at any of the five that come near the two. However, as Linken breaks the man’s arm, she stops just like everyone else does. Everyone holds their breath to see the reaction from each other. The girl looks up at one of the big burly guys with a knowing glance of “this is crazy”. This was, surely, a comedy. The man did not know how to fight anymore, and Penelope was the non-fearful one. The panic floods the room and, at this point, Penelope is mentally face-palming. Moss eyes are stern and are full of anger that is never present within the medicine woman. “No, Ivan, he meant to!” She screams to stand the ground. “Get the hell out of here before he or I break another arm that I won’t fix or have any other clinic fix for you! By the time you end up at a different clinic, word will spread like wildfire that five chumps got beat up by a girl and a sick patient and they attacked the innocent!” She spits on the floor for that petty dramatic effect. Okay, she was a little more gruff than the old her. “Do you want a broken rib?” Her eyebrows raise in a serious matter. She steps forward as if to act like she was about to swing the hefty armor into one of the five’s gut to hit a rib. A threat to the threats of society.
Linken quickly released the marauder's limp, broken arm, taking a few steps back to distance himself from Ivan, who gripped the dangling appendage tightly, before spinning too quickly in an attempt to flee and slipping on his own blood. The impact was hard (and laden with enough screaming) to jar the rest of his comrades, who maintained their dumbstruck visage until their leader waved his club around, barking his orders and demanding results. "The hell is wrong widd'ya!? Mince tha' sunuvaa' bish RIGH' NOW!" The one closest to the elf screams and charges his with his axe raised high, another circling around his mangled friend to follow suite with a pair of daggers in hand. The elf bellowed a panicked shriek in response, lifting his shining arm once more as a defensive shield, though as the cleaving weapon drew ever closer, his heart rate accelerating due to fear and adrenaline, something happened that Linken did not expect: The weapons, their movements, everything had slowed down. The elf's movements seemed sluggish as well, but his mind was processing everything so much faster that he had a hair shy of ample time to figure out how to deter his attacker. However, given that the elf had no experience in combat or implementing strategy, he merely screamed in slow motion, closing his eyes and awaiting whatever fate had in store. What happened next would all play out in a matter of moments, and the escalation of the forthcoming event couldn't have been predicted by anyone...nor the consequences.
Linken's body, acting entirely on his reflexes, intuition and muscle memory, reacted to the assault with the grace of an expert in martial combat, first by hooking the curve of the axe's blade on his metallic wrist, rotating it around and down to his side, then by gripping the handle in reverse and jamming the wooden end of the handle into the thug's stomach. As he keeled over in winded agony, Linken drew the axe to his opposite side and brought the handle upward against the side of the thug's head, sending him spiraling put of the way just as the knife wielder approached. Charging the elf with a thrusting attack, Linken responded by using his speed against him, stepping to the side at the last moment and snatching his wrist and throwing him over his shoulder, then lifting a leg and delivering a swift, straight kick to his center of mass just as he landed upright. The assailant was fortunate enough to land on his feet, however, stumbling forward and smacking his head off the counter before bouncing back and turning around, only to be met by a straight, metallic arm extended like a bar. The 'ting' of the impact was enough to give anyone a headache, especially the man who just clothesline'd himself, the poor fool leveling himself out in the air a good three feet from the ground before hitting it with a loud smack. It was around now that Penelope's threatening speech would have reached it's climax, and just as the elf would turn to see her stand her ground he'd barely afford himself the time to admire her bravery, for one of the remaining three highwaymen approached her from behind, his sword already in a cleaving motion towards her back.
Linken felt his heart drop into his stomach; he knew he wouldn't be able to reach her in time, or shout quick enough to warn her. Or so he thought, for it was this moment that it finally happened: Everything came to a grinding halt, save for his own thoughts, and just as soon as he began to frantically question his sanity, as well as the transpiring events, a voice would reach out to him. ~Do you want to save her?~ It was foul. Like dripping tar in the form of sound. 'What? Who are you? Why can I hear you, where did you come from!? What's going on!?" ~Do you want to save her?~ 'What the hell?? Are you in my head? Why can I -feel- you!? It's like you're inside of me..." ~Do you want to save her!?~ It's volume escalated startling the elf out of his ramblings and causing him to stare in silence for a few moments in deep contemplation. He owed her his life, right? He could very well possibly be in love with her, for all he knew. How could he not? So, with deep hesitation, and an exasperating mental sigh, Linken closed his eyes and caved. '...Yes.' The disembodied voice hissed with delight, ~Then LET ME IN!~ before his chest throbbed with agony, the internal pusing so intense he felt as if his heart would explode. It was enough to make him want to vomit, his vision growing darker around the edges of his eyes until all that remained in focus was Penelope and her attacker. Darting forward at speeds unparalleled, the elf leaped and dove through the air, his momentum carrying him a good twenty feet forward as he soared over the bandit. While passing above, he would flip upside down, wrapping his steel limb tightly around his neck before continuing his somersault and landing on his feet crouched, bowing the thug over backwards and immediately snapping his neck over his shoulder. His momentum still carried him further, the corpse's heels leaving skid marks on the floor as they dragged themselves to a stop directly at the leader's feet, and before he could even react (or the body could hit the floor) He found himself staring face to face with the elf, his eyes black as coal and his body engulfed with black veins, thick with evil and venom. Stricken with terror as if staring into the maw of death, the bandit immediately vomited where he stood, turning about to flee only to see that his last remaining comrade had already abandoned him. "'E's POSSESSED! Stay away, FILTHY DAEMON! Dun' ya lay a HAND on MEEEEEeeeee!!!" His voice faded into the distance, leaving the elf standing in place, unwavering, unblinking and completely unresponsive.
The moves of Linken’s combat had returned, and although Penelope had not processed, well these thugs were doomed. The herbalist did not react until th wooden handle pierced into the thug’s stomach. A gasp unleashed. The elf she knew. He was back to sweep the thugs away from their own agony. Not that the elf even gave the herbalist a chance at swinging that armor at a face. Well, actually, bang! She would knock a stomach anyway. Linken had given her bravery throughout the year. She hears a shrill, but yet, she does not know how hard she struck the blow, especially as being a weak as she was lately. The woman would barely recognize the sharp steel against her back. The steel came in a contact blow towards her shoulder blade leaving a deep indented mark in her tissue. “AH!” The woman was brought down to bent knees momentarily. Old Penelope would have caved completely. The fresh wound oozes and the woman is darker than ever with pupils dilated. She swings the armor in her arms and knocks a random thug against his cheek-bone. “One,” she gasps for breath before looking up at Linken who was a completely different being. His eyes were black and lifeless. The veins in his sockets were a form of evil.
Penelope drops her armor that is covered with enemy blood. Even his body was covered in ebony veins. The herbalist is in a form of shock with the events that have been happening. The wound on her shoulder is now numbing. Perhaps he was a demon, but for now, she could not let the man calm down in the face of terror that busted through her doors. The woman was, at least, brave enough to let them run away. Even though she was bleeding and in a bit of pained agony, she would look at the frightened men, even though she was frightened. Her lips part in a monotone verbal tone. “Death is knocking. Run,” she acts as if she is a victim, as well for part. Hopefully the men run because she is in shock at her own wound and is looking for another weapon to protect the demonic Linken that she has never known. What was he? She had yet to stay to find out before. This was a different being and a different curse.
Linken remained statuesque as the remaining bandits heeded the woman's warning, bot Ivan and his unnamed friend scrambling to their feet and shambling towards the door while the third remained unconscious on the floor. Ivan, due to the shock of blood loss and having his arm broken, was far outpaced by his companion, who had just managed to slips past the elf and pass through the doorway... before he snapped backwards, an outstretched hand having snatched him by the collar. "Shame on you," spoke the elf, his voice tainted with an eerie, unnatural bass-filled tone, "leaving your friend behind like that. How could you abandon Ivan? He's injured." Linken turned back to face the terrified bandit, shaking in his boots as he clenched his nearly-removed arm in his opposite hand. "Well? Go on, then," he'd continue as he wafted his steel arm in a wide motion towards the door, ushering Ivan past. "Now's your chance to catch up." The look in Linken's eyes shook poor Ivan to his core, his own darting back and forth between the elf, the door, and his panicking friend trapped in his grasp before making his move. Feet dragging behind him, he fumbled towards the door, managing to make it not an inch past Linken before he stopped, light glimmering off its surface as the elf's steel limb whipped past his face and gripped the back of his hair. "Now that Ivan's managed to catch up," he spoke boastfully, the wounded man's body separating at the neck and falling slump to the ground at his feet as he turned and gently placed Ivan's head within his friends hands. "Do take good care of him, will you? Good friends are hard to come by these days." The last one that remained had gone pale with pure terror, his paralysis so intense he had forgotten how to breath, only remembering and gasping for air as the elf patted him on the shoulder and sent him on his way. "You're still here." With that, the man screamed louder than he probably had in his entire life, breaking into a full sprint down the road with Ivan's head locked in his fear-fueled death grip. Then, with no conscious being remaining in the clinic, save one, the entity who stood in Linken's stead turned ever so slowly, a devilish grin stretching from ear to ear as his empty gaze pierced Penelope's soul; He had no iris in his eyes to see, but it was obvious he was looking dead at her. "I... have been waiting ~quite~ a long time to meet you."
Drops of crimson dribble on the floor. The woman is pleased as the men run away due to the twisted elf in front of them all. She watches them scramble as Linken snatches the man who tries to slip away from fear. At this point, the woman squints at the agony that the elf is bringing the men before him. The room is eerie. The metallic man brings the room to doom from his vocals. The eyes of him are like death. Black and endless. Terrifying. As the elf rests the head of Ivan in his friends’ hand, the woman falls backward on the cot. Her hand slowly moves towards her open-wound on the back and the other hand curls upon the other shoulder to hold herself for a moment at this small bit of terror. Ivan. Was this absolute horror? Ivan’s body was on the ground. Head in friend’s hand. Moss eyes stare at what is a nightmare and she is in a blank state. How dare she let this go so far? Perhaps she wanted the men battered, but dead? One of them dead? Crimson felt like it was also on her hands, not just Linken’s. As the black eyes shift towards her green, doe-eyed gaze she is stunned for a moment or two as he speaks to her. “You’re not--” she meant to say Linken while she pauses because her throat his heavy and dry. She then releases her feared hands from her shoulders. Her other hand covered in blood. The woman knew that she was not allowed to have fear. “And who am –I- speaking to? Surely this isn’t Linken… Considering –you- are now meeting me,” her brows pull together in frustration. The woman is now standing up slowly again. She was tired an weary from the confrontation. The woman was not as strong as she had used to be.
Linken bellowed a hoarse laugh, turning about on his heel and taking one sow, methodical step after another towards the wounded and shaken woman. "You know," he spoke with a jestful tone, lifting silver digits to suck the blood from their tips as though he'd just cleaned his dinner plate. "The last time I was let out to stretch, Our boy didn't have this...shiny, new toy." He'd pause, allowing the prosthetic to fall limp before wobbling it line a noodle with an amused chuckle. "...No, he still had the fleshy one. This one is so much more fun, though..." It was ignoring her question deliberately, whatever it was. Even if she had enough vocal chords strong enough to pronounce it's name correctly, it did not deem her worthy of knowing it. Linken paused for a moment, his stride coming to a halt as he stared at Penelope with a shaking head. "....Tsk, tsk, tsk. You honestly don't even know what you've done, do you? In all honesty, I should be thanking you." The elf began moving once again, moving closer and closer to the woman until he stood looming over her as she sat upon the cot, going as far as to kneel down and meet her face to face, only a mere few inches separating them as he breathed the stench of death into her face. "After all, he may have let me off the leash, but you? You opened the cage." His next movement was sudden, and intended to startle, as he quickly shot around her and very heavily plopped down on he cot beside her, crossing one leg over the other as his left arm came to rest across the back of her shoulders. "Now, I'm sure you have ~plenty~ of questions, and know that I honestly don't care, but I'm sure yours will be answered in time. On the other hand, I'm leaving it up to -you-" The elf reached over with his steel arm, gently pressing the cold, bloody tip of one metallic digit into her collar bone,"...to answer -his- questions. And let me tell you," With a chuckle, he leans in even closer, barely whispering into her ear, "...and believe me, he is going to have plenty. After all, he is watching. And he can hear everything we say...see everything we do..." The disturbed being began to trace the cold finger aross her body, along the rim of her coller bone, then over her shouder and down her arm, leaving a streak of red in it's path. "It will be all up to you to tell him about his past...who he was... and the -oh- so terrible things he's done...all the people he's murdered in cold blood..." It became clear that this entity was using the conversation to shed light on the negativity of Linken's past, forcing him to face the revelation of the atrocities he's committed. What was his plan?
Penelope’s eyes traced over the shiny, metal arm that the being was ogling. This was not Linken. The echoing linger of “our boy” lingers in her ears. She had done this? What had –she- done? Was it because she left him behind? Why was –she- so special in Linken’s amnesia? As the man lingers over her, she falls back onto the empty cot and stares up at the possessed elf. Her stomach tightens and the air is almost too thick to breathe as his dark eyes stare into her lively ones. “I don’t even know what you’re talking about. How could I open anything? What did I do—“ the movement is sudden and she inhales sharply as the man sits before her. Whatever was inside of Linken was not human—it was almost dark magic—demonic? Who had she been talking to? As the tip of his metallic finger presses against her collar bone, she flinches a little. The woman could not answer these questions for Linken. It was as if hell had now caught up to her and she was paying the price for her wrong-doings. Bringing up the past would destroy the man. Perhaps that was the biggest reason the other one was alive. Linken was at his weakest state. As the whisper of death rolls across her ear, she wants to shudder. The dark being is now dragging the finger across her arm. “Linken deserves to make a new life if he chooses. Besides, I only know so much. I –can’t- tell him –everything-. So perhaps it’s your loss,” she raises her brows in threat, but her heart is tight. The woman is scared, but she masks no emotion in the sense of reaction.
Linken could smell her fear, and it was enticing, the woman's proclamation of knowing little to nothing of his past falling on deaf ears as he closed his eyes and drew in a deep satisfying breath, the ends of his lips curling with delight; That is, until hearing her assumption that his vessel was deserving of his freedom, an absolute affront to the entity's superiority. His eyes snapped open, reaching up to cup Penelope's chin in less time than it takes to blink and forcing her to face him eye to eye, their noses nearly touching. "His life belongs to me." His response was immediate and strong, the intensity of the demonic baseline beneath his voice magnifying greatly in response to his irritation while the clean tone of his voice remained nonchalant. "I am the reason he has lived for so long." As he spoke, some sort of black, tar-like discharge began secreting from his mouth, followed by his eyes and nose as well, the liquid oozing from his orifices like boiling blood made from darkness, the horrific sight intensifying with each moment in passing. "I am the reason he lives at all. I am the source of his strenkth. Without me, he dies. He has been defiant, but he will obey. All of you will." The moment Linken finished his statement he smiled, and within a fraction of a second all of the vile substance that leaked from his face had receded, as if it wasn't even there. Was it even real? "And believe me, sweet girl, you know enough. I know what he has told you. Of his past, where he came from, what happened to his family....and himself." Continuing his monologue, the possessed elf slowly twisted himself off of the seat, his face remaining perfectly at eye level with Penelope in an almost gyroscopic manner as he contorted around before stopping directly in front of her. "How he took his own life like a coward, and -I- saved him. -I- restored his life. -I- gave him the power he needed for the vengeance that he desired so fervently; Oh! How I could smell it, like a swine on a spit roast, and I -still.- -Do.-" The elf leaned even closer, knowing his approach would force her to lean back even further, slowly crawling his way onto the cot with both arms pressed down on either side of her, preventing her escape. "Or do you think me deaf, girl?" His head slowly cocked to one side, his hair now dangling below and tickling her face as he loomed in dominance. "I know everything he's told you, everything he's-" Linken flashes a wry grin, "...-done- with you because I've been listening. I am -always- listening. Just becuse -you- couldn't hear me, doesn't mean he couldn't as well. And even when he could not hear me, I was always watching. Waiting. For ~soooo~ many years, I've been waiting. So you'll be a good little girl, and tell him -everything- he needs to know. That is, unless you wish me to do something...drastic? hmm?"
Moss eyes squint in irritation as he cups her chin. The herbalist tries to pull back from his firm grasp, but there they are with intense eye contact. The woman looked into a soul that appeared to be nothing. The feeling of grazing against this other being made her ill. She was in the face of death itself. The demonic voice makes the goosebumps on her arms creep and the feeling of pain on her sliced shoulder vanishes. As the tar began to ooze that is when Penelope tried her hardest to push him away. The girl did not want black ooze to seep all over her, especially when all she could smell was death. Penelope knew death, but this was another side of it all. This was her worst nightmare. Anyone’s worst nightmare. Everything was real in this moment. Perhaps the girl did know about Linken, but she wanted to push it all away. She had left the man behind and she never thought she would see him again. Eventually, the woman falls back and scoots her body against the wall of the cot. The being slowly inches towards her and keeps his darkness hovering. The freckled girl is now fearful and showing fear. Her breath picks up as she feels trapped and the room becomes smaller. With a buzz between her ears, the woman is now shaking her head. His words were a blur in her head. The man reminds her of the things that they have done together. Linken and Penelope. The death of Pakellin. Their love. Their murders. Everything. Penelope had even killed a man after everything the two had gone through. “Y-yes. I—“ But would Linken want this? What would happen if Linken died? Would this other being die? But Linken had a family and he felt young and innocent. “No!” She shouts. “No, no… I’ll tell him..” She seems ashamed that she is being selfish for others and letting Linken remain miserable. Her eyes are cast down at this point. Too upset to even stare the being in the eyes. The last thing she wanted was anyone else in the world to remain hurt. Penelope Halifax was about to take Linken’s innocence forever.
Linken opens his mouth, a slowly paced, satisfactory laugh bubbling up from his throat as he reached up to her face, nitpicking misplaced strands of hair in front of her face and delicately fixing them. "That's a good girl. Now, I'm afraid..." The elf's finger slowly traced a line down her forehead and along the bridge of her nose, stopping at the tip with a playful 'boop' before he swiftly sat upright, drawing in a deep breath and issuing a regretful sigh. "...that I have to go now. I do wish we had more time to play together, but the boy's screaming is incessant, I can feel him clawing his way out." Linken maneuvered his hands to the side of his head, curling his fingers and shaking his hands in a demonstration of scratching movements, flashing and grinding his teeth in a humorous fashion as he mockingly 'loses his mind'. The display ends with with a fading laugh, followed by a faux-awkward stare, slowly shaking his head. "...Eh. No sense of humor I see." The elf arched his back, arms extending and twisting as he stretched the kinks out of his body while giving one last reminder to Penelope, "Oh, and please, -pleeeeease- don't forget to mention your BROTHEEEEERRRRR!!!!" The shift in tone was sudden and jarring, his voice elevating to a screech comparable to the tormented souls dragged to the depths of Hell, and without warning the entity slammed himself down on the bed in front of her and screamed his final statement into her face, the hot, tar-like substance within him spewing out of his mouth like an open faucet and hosing Penelope directly in her face, beforeimmediately reversing and sucking back into his face without leaving a drop or a trace on her person. The moment the last drip went into Linken's mouth, however, it was like a punch, picking him up by the throat and carrying him through the air before slamming him on his back a good thirty feet away. The elf hit the ground with a loud thud, rolling several feet before bumping into the corpse of the man whose neck was snapped by his hand. Panicking and gasping for air, Linken struggled to breath as he flailed his arms about, eventually grabbing the body's shoulder in an attempt to flip himself over off his back, though as he did, he would soon come face to face with the first man, as far as he knew, that he had killed. It only served to intensify his choking breaths, eyes going bloodshot with tears streaming from his face as he gagged, and gagged again, and again before pushing off of the body, landing on his hands and immediately throwing up the disgusting sound the only noise prevalent in the building as he ejected nothing but trace amounts of stomach bile from his body, due to having not eaten for several days. 'What have I done?' was the only thought that passed through his mind, physically unable to even bring himself to speak it through all the choking and sobbing. The elf's sobbing intensified, until he found himself on his knees, curled into a fetal position with his forehead pressed to the floor. as he prayed to whatever god was listening for forgiveness.
Penelope blinked every time the man touched the hair on her face. The woman was uncomfortable and sick. As the being booped her nose, she cringes and tries to tear away from his touch immediately. There is a sense of some relief that the demonic figure is leaving, but the mocking makes her frightened. Her eyes are wide and, at this point, almost full of tears and shock. The woman can barely speak at what she had just witnessed. Penelope does not lean into the dark humor that she witnesses, but a hand does clutch her chest as the man screeches himself back into reality. The tar spews onto her face and a very, shrilled scream comes out of her mouth as she closes her eyes at the illusion. She does not even see the being suck the tar back in its mouth before it disappears. The woman is rubbing her face and then she heard breath. She was too terrified to look before she heard the vomiting and sobbing of the elf before her. A mossy eye slowly opens when she realizes that she is completely clean. The woman looks at her hands and the black tar is now where to be found. The woman touches her cheeks before realizing the innocent one is on the floor. “L-Linken, Linken,” she falls forward off the cot in a thick, breathy tone. She gasps. “It’s okay, you’re okay,” the woman attempts to grasp and coddle the innocent man. “It was self-defense. You’re –okay-. Shhhh…. You’re safe now. We’re safe…” But were they? If the man would let her, she would hug her blood-stained form against him. “We are going to get out of here. We are going to my cabin. You’ll rest there. No one will harm you…” The woman would rock if he was in her arms. If not, well, she would at least stare sincerely. “You need to rest, you’re injured from your last injury. We will talk about this… But for now, I need you to trust me. Even though you’re scared and confused. Please, Link, please…” The woman looked as if she was in pain for him. There was fear, but strength. Hell had taken over.
Linken continues to shake and mumble incoherently as she approaches, and her touch would startle him immensely, causing a convulsion of terror and a stifled scream before falling back into his delusional mannerisms. "What have I done?....What have I done?..." he repeated to himself, not only in coming to terms with his actions tonight, but an honest question regarding what this thing that manipulated his body had said about his past. What other, horrible things could he have done? If this thing has been inside him for as long as he was to believe, then who knows what atrocities he could have committed in such a span of time. The potential gravity of his situation weighed heavy on his psyche, clinging tightly to the woman with arms wrapped around her waist as he buried his face on her bosom, his tears staining her shirt as his sobbing began to intensify. "....It's inside of me...Oh, god! Theres something inside of me!!...It's...I need t-to....What do I...?" I want to go home. This was the thought crossing his mind, but he didn't even know where 'home' was. He had nowhere, no safe space to return to, no one to rely on. Except her. "I need to go. I need to go. Get me out of here, -pleeeease-, just get me out of here." He rapidly nodded in agreement, taking a pause to cough and clear his throat before resuming. "Cabin, sure. Take me there. I don't care. Please, we have to leave. Just...Please..." Anywhere but here, with the bodies. His victims.
Penelope feels the seeping of tears on her bloodied blouse. “Shh…” she resumes to soothe him as best as she could. The woman would rock him a little. How had she grown so hardened? What was inside of him? Penelope was about to get down to the bottom of it all. “I don’t know, but I promise Linken, I won’t rest until whatever is inside you is gone. You’re going to be okay, I promise,” she says in a very soft, soft tone. The woman this nods to his agreed request and she would help get him to his feet. She would wait until he was steady enough to walk and go outside of the hut. How would she explain this death to Yerrel…? Tomorrow was going to be a long day. If the man came along side of her, she would wander across the wooded yard and follow a path of cobblestones.
There is a cobble-stone trail that leads from the healing hut through the thick brush of the forest to a small square establishment built out of wooden slats with a big sign that was labeled “Halifax Roots” on the lower level. The square appears to be two stories high from the looks of the height of the building. On the first floor to the outside, the building has long windows to make the shop more open. The glass doors are already open for anyone who wants to wander in. The doors are held open by tin buckets filled with ferns and snake plants. There is a clear view of the inside which is filled with different plants in various sized grant and hyde pots. The shop would have various shelving around the whole floor full of jars of salves, jars of herbs, jars of oils, soaps, and more with all labels and prices. Each item is decorated with a wine-colored string and gold lids to symbolize that the item is, in fact, from “Halifax Roots”.
Ahead through all the madness of merchandise, is a wooden counter with a handsome man with stubble and dark curls—Ruari Erickson. The man holds the establishment while the actual owner is running hither and tither. Behind the counter rests a stove, pots, a mortar and pestle, and many more utensils to help make the merchandise throughout the shop. To the right of the shop, leads a staircase with a closed door at the top which indicates customers are not allowed beyond that point.''
Once they enter the cabin, the cabin is an actual shop. Oils are labeled with prices and plants fill the entire room. Her home was a partial shop. She had mentioned she was an herbalist. On the right side of the cabin, a staircase trailed up to a door that was closed. “Up there,” she would breathe out. The wind had been knocked out of her tonight. “Let’s get you to bed,” if he would resume, she would lead him upstairs into her room. The woman would have a queen-sized bed draped in a colorful, rustic orange quilt and white fluffy pillows. A dresser with a mirror and stool would rest against the wall across. The dresser had different oils and make-up on it. There was a bookshelf with various books about herbs on the shelf and plants scattered across the room with abstract art pieces. The studio rested above the shop below. The woman did not own much. “You can sleep here for the evening. We will get you a place to stay once we figure out what is going on.”
Linken was too physically and psychologically drained to pay attention to the details of his surroundings, merely clinging to the woman that let him like a stray animal in whichever direction she pulled. "I..." His stomach ached with stabbing hunger pains, and though he'd attempt to shamble up the stairs as she directed him, Linken would slip and fall into the steps face first, barely catching himself before he'd smack his face. " Ahh! Oww...Oooohhh...I...I think..." Pushing off the stairs, the elf cautiously spun about until he was seated front-facing, laying backwards and resting both arms and his head on the staircase. "....I need something...to eat." His stomach gurgled ferociously, a pained grimace taking over his tired features as he pulled one arm over to silence his gut with it's grip. "...Honestly...I'd eat a damn rat right now....Literally anything- Ow! Oooh, please?..."
Penelope had the door open to her bedroom, but he did not seem to make it. The man was exhausted and starving. He had not ate in days. Especially since he woke up from the first attack he had encountered in his lung. The girl must have had something in the cupboards downstairs. Mostly the woman was used to eating with Yerrel or eating out with the funds she earned. The woman was well-off. Not rich, but she lived comfortable. “Yes, yes, I’ll find you something…” Hopefully. The woman slips from his lazy grip and wanders down the stairs. She shuffles behind the counter and opens a cupboard above the stove. A loaf of bread. A jar of cranberry jam. A jar of pickles. Really? Nothing else right now? Wait the fridge! The woman then wanders to the fridge. Turkey, butter, odd-looking cheese, and a half-eaten dessert. Wow, Penelope, you know how to live. The girl grabs some ingredients from the fridge to make a berry, turkey, and weird cheese sandwich. It takes a few minutes and she feels bad knowing he is on the stairs. Hopefully he stifles energy to move into her bedroom. If not, she is on the way. “I know it’s an odd sandwich but it will give you energy until I can make a market run,” she apologizes and she leans down towards him to hand him the sandwich. “This will hopefully help your stomach. You haven’t eaten in days.”
Linken lay there groaning, eyes rolled back and staring at the ceiling above as his gut twisted itself into a Gordian Knot. "Oh, good god... I've never been so hungry in my life...except..." He was not sure. Something familiar stirred in him as a response to the intense hunger pains, but he could not put a finger on it. "...I...Huh....Oh well..." As soon as Penelope returned from her excavation into the uncharted depths of her kitchen, the elf grew more responsive, lurching upright with an uncomfortable groan and blindly taking whatever the hell she just put in his hand before stuffing it into his mouth. As he began to chew, the unexpected and mostly uncooperative combination of flavors brought forth a gag, followed by an awkward glance and a mumbled noise that could pass as an apology, though this would not stop him from promptly devouring all of it within a few moments. After swallowing the last mouthful of bread with a heavy gulp the elf fell backwards once again, briefly closing his eyes in a moment of recuperation as he tried to control his exhausted breathing. "...Thank you..." He could not lift his head to look at her; it felt too heavy at the moment. "...Not for the sandwich, I mean tonight...or, however long. Ugh, I don't know..." Linken winced, mildly shaking his head before continuing, "...All I know is I owe you my life. You saved me. Took care of me, you even defended me tonight when those...freaks came barging in looking for me..." The elf paused in contemplation, feeling a little guilty at his choice of words given the nature of tonight's events and what he had done to them. "...Either way, I'm not sure what are history entails, nor how you feel about me, but whatever I did to manage roping in a friend like you..." Linken lifted a hand, popping up his thumb in positive acknowledgement. "...I'm sure glad I did it... Thank you..."
Penelope may had grown rather pink when he gagged on the sandwich she prepared. She was not a chef, okay? Besides, the pantry had been bare enough. She just thought it would be better than a rat. It was the cheese. She knew it! The girl sits in silence as he downs the sandwich in his hands. “I still have pickles in the cupboard and still that loaf of bread if you need anything else… Yerrel will hopefully feed you tomorrow,” she exhales. As the elf thanks her, she shakes her head. “I took care of you, Linken, but this is only the beginning.” Pause. Her eyes linger downwards. She was not who he thought she was. Perhaps she was just as twisted, but she would keep her mouth shut for his sanity. The woman avoids accepting his apology and blows it off nonchalantly, so he would not notice. “Let’s get you to bed, shall we?” She forces a smile. Automatically, the woman is grabbing to force him up to almost drag him into bed if she could. Pulling was painful since her shoulder was still bleeding. Yerrel would help her in a heartbeat. “You need to get your rest. I’ll take your vitals tomorrow morning. Evaluate your lung. Get some more food in your stomach.” The woman is pacing a little throughout the room. She is all business at this point. “From there I’ll start research and have Ruari look after you throughout the day. You’ll need to company,” she suggests. She is planning out this man’s whole day for the next day. Penelope was a friend. A friend who had to rip more life out of the man by telling him the truth eventually. For now, she needed help. Someone to confide in. Tomorrow, was their new beginning.
Linken was not much help as the woman flipped him over and dragged him up the stairs , though he did manage enough effor to at least crawl with his hands and feet. It wasn't until he'd reach the top of the stairs, however, that he would notice the wound on Penelope's back, a brief rush of concern elevating his awareness and partially waking him up. "...Hey, woah...Hold on, there...Stop moving." The elf stumbled forward, accidentally bumping into her before grabbing her shoulder opposite the wound, both to balance himself and to hold her still for a moment or two. "You're hurt..." He could have swore he'd made it to her in time. Everything that had happened, and she still would up injured. "...At least get me some bandages, or cloth, or something...I'm no medic, but you need to get that wrapped up..." Perhaps it was fortunate he didn't remember much about himself at the moment. Regardless, he was intent on seeing her well before he could even consider resting. After all, he owed her. "Please?"
Penelope found herself sitting on the bed when he stumbled into her grabbing the opposite shoulder of her gash. She had forgotten about the pain until he pointed it out. The sting and throbbing would come into her shoulder. “Right…” She smirks in an uncomfortable manner. The woman is shaking her head. “I have supplies. I can do it myself—“ she was a healer after all, but his plead cuts her off. The woman was skilled. The woman of grace did not need the man to care for her. The freckled girl, however, caved in. “Of course…” The woman would trail as she stood up. He should have been on the bed by now. The girl making her way across the room to the dresser she owned. The woman would squat to the bottom drawer that had emergency medical supplies. Being an herbalist, and healer, one would never know. The woman rummages through the drawer for a while before she grabs some gauze and a yellow-colored salve. Her hands grip her blouse and lift up revealing a grey tank-top, undershirt. The gash is deep, but easily coverable and would heal in a week or two. Perhaps a small scar would be left in the end of recovery. The woman turns and she is cautious before approaching him again and placing the medical supplies on the bed. She tucks a strand behind her ear. The blood streak from the demonic figure is visible from her neck to her collarbone. The stain is haunting. “It may look deep, but there is no way to stitch it unless we went back to the hut. The salve will numb it until then. The pressure of the gauze will tame the bleeding.” The human inhales and exhales calmly. “You don’t have to worry about me, Linken. I’m more skilled than you think I am. I’ve handled a lot of pain in my days since I have last seen you. I can fully make sure I’m patched up properly tomorrow.” Her smile is small and rough, but sincere all together. The woman feels sheepishly vulnerable around him even though he is a stranger to her in his eyes.
Linken sighed with relief when Penelope finally caved, sitting down and patiently awaiting bedside for her return with medical supplies in hand. Apart from awkwardly averting his gaze as soon as she removed her upper garments, the elf issued a cough and gently pat the edge of the bed beside him, listening to her words as well as he could while applying some of the ointment to his fingertips. "The way you talk makes it seem like this happens a lot..." A he reached out to apply the ointment to her wound he would pause, questioning the validity of his otherwise rhetorical statement. "...Wait, does it?" He shakes his head, "No, never mind." The focused on the task at hand, remaining ever cautious as he gently rubbed the salve into every safely applicable location, "I'm sorry if I made it seem like I have any doubt in your healing abilities, that's not the case. I'm clearly here right now because of you. I owe you." Linken set the bottle aside, unravelling the gauss and placing the end of the roll on her hip before reaching down to take her hand, a faint blemish tinging his cheeks as he guided her fingers to the fabric to pin it in place. "*ahem* Hold here, please... What I'm trying to say is it looks like you've been doing the heavy lifting in all of this, so let me do something. For you, I mean-" Linken cut himself short, grateful for the fact that she was facing away from him as he tried his best to mask his embarrassment. "..Or at all. I don't know. I just...Ah. There." By now, he'd have finished wrapping her injury, gently smoothing the gauss out over her shoulder with his hand. "I just feel..." Right about now, he'd notice the line of blood left by his own hand, issuing a nervous gulp as he briefly recollected everything that happened from the moment he lost control of himself. "...Useless. After that I...have to do something to help. Anything." Perhaps Linken hadn't changed so much throughout the years, after all?
As she sat before him, the man would notice on her arm a long scar that traced down it. A tattoo covers the jagged edges and is a floral heather tattoo that runs down her arms. On her back shoulder blade is another plant tattoo with no scar, but since the blade is a lily. The meaning of the lily is now ironic. Hell was knocking at her door tonight. The blood drips down the flower. As he makes his comment, she shrugs a little. “It happened a lot with you,” she did not want to seem harsh, but it was true. The woman shifted her head to the side to give him a side glance. His hands glide across the wound and she inhales sharply with a small hiss to hold the pain. “Well, I thank you for helping me.” Her head shifts forward again to not look at him anymore with her moss, doe-eyed stare she always had. Her tone was more calm and gentle now. His hands trace her own to bring her hand to the gauze and her heart sort of skips in that nostalgic way, although she remains emotionless. The woman had created a hard shell and covered it with grace. The woman holds the fabric momentarily as he patches her up. “You used to carry me, so now it’s my turn.” As he finishes she turns around to face him. “I was a handful, Linken. You don’t need to help me anymore. Let me help you. Care for you in return like I should have long ago. You need rest. You’re in severe recovery. Least you can do is lay down,” she pats his arm.
Linken was running on fumes, and it took barely more than the force of her gentle pat to tip him off balance and send him falling over onto the bed, his legs hanging off of it's edge. "How can you say that?..." The elf was incapable of neither turning his head nor rolling his eyes to look at her, blankly staring upward into nothing as sleep took weighed heavy in his eyelids. Regardless, he'd done his share of self reflection over the course of their journey to the cabin, and taking into consideration the things that had been said, as well as done, it was simple for him to reach a conclusion: His future was a terrible one. A nightmare, even. And Linken was the monster. "After everything that happened tonight...How could you possibly....think you're worse than...than m-..." The last syllable sustained itself, droning into a heavy snore as he finally succumbed to the darkness; metaphorically speaking, that is.
Penelope stands and she then turns to grab an extra quilt to rest over the man. “Shh…” The woman would shake her head while he spoke. The woman tucks the man in as he slurs off. The girl was not up to discussing and arguing over the matter. He did not know the hell they went through together. Toxic. At least in her eyes. The woman looks around the room before moving towards the door that led to the downstairs shop. She needed to walk to Yerrel’s. Get the death out of the floors. The herbalist remains calm to keep the emotion from touching her heart otherwise she may had burst right there and then. She pushes back the darkness that was tonight. The girl softly walks across the room and gently clicks the door shut to leave the elf to rest. He was in for a whirlwind.