|Ashur|| A bull of a man launches into the clinic. He's a storm in motion-- heavy and high and loud. Stomp a booted foot on a steel-gleaming floor tile, swing an arm bulging with muscle laced by a canvas of veins, push open a door and rumble forth-- Ashur, the former Legionnaire, comes.
The wild braided mane of his dark hair is wet with water. It moistens the coils, makes them glimmer; so too does the water cling to the dark curls of his beard, and wetten the braids of it as well. The many wounds his body bears are concealed from the naked eye, tucked beneath a tribal outfit and Legionnaire's armor-- a sight darkly familiar to any who has experience with those slavers and misogynists.
"My Kumo," he calls, heedless of who else might be present. "Come and tend to me. I've wanted to see you."
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Looking up from her newest acquisition, Kurokumo raises a brow at the broad display. It's a sign he's not dying, at least. "Could you keep it down? The rats are trying to sleep." Sarcastic humor comes easily, the woman being inured to Ashur's behavior. The backpack she was checking out is set down, eyes calm and clinical as she motions for him to follow.|
|Iris Lark||Iris walks out of her office, the noise drawing her like a curious moth to the flame. Her piglet follows her and after a few moments it turns and skitters back into her office. "Is everything all right out here?" She asks quietly, peeking around to see if her help is needed.|
|Ashur||"The girl from the saloon," Ashur rumbles, golden eyes alighting upon Iris and soaking in her form head-to-toe. "You enjoyed the story of the bear, didn't you? Come, then-- I've another." He follows after Kumo as she sweeps him into a room, ducking his head low to avoid striking it on the door frame and settling down upon a bed. It groans protest at his weight, that unbearable fusion of muscle and metal. "I have been released from the militia's medical center.. I spent the day stretching, light exertion. I wish for a check-up before I retire for the night."|
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Sighing heavily, Kurokumo can't help the rather boisterous behavior. "Everything is fine, Dr. Iris. Ashur simply wants to see his favorite Doctor since I patched up his eye. Hopefully 'light exertion' doesn't include Deathclaws again, hmm?" She's shaking her head, torso moving this way and that as she tries to take in the healing wounds from a squad of Brotherhood of Steel.|
|Iris Lark||"Just Iris, if you would. I'm just a healer." Iris murmurs as she follows the pair into one of the exam rooms. "Another story, you say?" Her eyes on Ashur as she moves to the side and stands away from the examination bed. "Is it as fantastical as the first one was? I still think you should have kept the bear part as a trophy, I'm sure there is someone in town who could have stuffed it."|
|Ashur|| "Perhaps I should have seized its skin and had a mantle made," the soldier contemplates, glancing down toward the armor that marks him as part of the Legion-- especially the cloak behind him emblazoned with Caesar's golden bull. "But in my bloodlust, it did not occur to me. Such is the nature of battle; to thrive in danger, you must learn to covet it like a woman, master it and let the desire overtake you-- you must hurl yourself against it even as your bones break and your flesh tears. The pain becomes nothing against the lust and the rage."
The boisterous Legionnaire is.. less boisterous as he speaks. There's a fiercer aspect to his features, those bright eyes darkened. "There will be other bears. I trust the tribals we assisted made use of all its parts." A look to Kurokumo then. "A jog around the town's outskirts. Some shadow boxing. To work out the soreness. As for the next story.. it all began when we heard a distress call from a trader near Roswell."
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Rolling her eyes, Kurokumo looks to the Heavens through the ceiling of the clinic. Eventually, Ashur's going to burn himself out. "You wouldn't know rest even if took it to your grave." Unbuckling one of the belts that holds the armor together, she takes a look at the mow slightly soiled bandages keeping the beast alive.|
|Iris Lark||Iris settles on a stool to listen to the story, her eyes on the door in case anyone else walks into the oft busy clinic. She doesn't comment on the overdoing it, or the bear, she just folds her hands in her lap and crosses her legs.|
|Ashur|| "The body must mend," Ashur concedes with a long look at Kumo, grasping her by the meat of the ass as she steps in to unbuckle his armor. "But staying still too long leaves me irritated. I will be cautious, my Kumo; nothing strenuous until I am healthier." A firm squeeze, a smack at the flesh, and then a release of her to let the football padding be peeled off and set aside, the helmet following along with the arm pads.
Beneath, his torso is a mass of scar tissue, striated muscle, and bulging veins-- a statue of a Greek god hewn from dark marble and wounded by a cruel artist's brush. The scars thread through the dark curls of his body hair, and speak to a history of abuse; a discoloration over a nipple from a brush with infection a decade ago, a knot of raised flesh over his liver where a tribal's spear took him, a smooth point on his lower back where hair no longer grows from skin that was burned black in an ancient fire.
There is no kindness to be seen on that body. The recent burns and cuts and claws only worsen it.
"We answered a distress call that the Lone Star Caravan reported. A trader of theirs veered off-course into Roswell, and was on the run fron a cohort of ghouls. With all haste we rushed there and found him on the outskirts. His wagon was surrounded-- nine ghouls, each rich with the poison of radiation, glowing bright in red and green and blue. Commanding them, a beastly rotting monster, near twice as tall as I."
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Despite being 5'10", Kurokumo is still rather thin, and her body rocks with the playful slap. Her expression is one of outrage, skin flushing red and splotchy as she refrains from stabbing a particularly nasty gash with her own fingers. "Don't do that while company is here..." As if Ashur would actually listen. Still, she tends to his wounds while Iris looks on.|
|Iris Lark||Iris has seen some things in her lifetime so the grab and the slap doesn't faze her much. She doesn't comment, she keeps her gazed fixed on the storyteller, her face impassive. A grin does make her look impish as the story begins in earnest and she leans forward slightly so she doesn't miss a word.|
|Ashur|| His wounds are many, but they show signs of frequent attention; the militia did not neglect him. Still, there's much to do-- dressing to be cleaned, ointments to be applied, bandages to be tightened and swapped out. The pain-numbing salve one of the medics applied to a patched-over spot where a laser literally burned a hole through him has worn off, and he suppresses a wince when Kumo finds it.
"Shh, my beauty, don't interrupt the storyteller," he says to her with a brief, teasing flash of teeth. A look over to Iris-- the man focuses on her as distraction from Kumo's tender ministrations, though his hands never slip far away from the taller woman's body. "The massive ghoul barreled toward me roaring a challenge; the earth shook as he came. But he was slow for his size, and relied on sheer power more than skill; I easily dodged the first blow with a leap back as he stumbled to regain balance. By then, the others had opened fire on the smaller ghouls, riddling them with bullets. The wagon made a desperate bid for freedom with our distraction and rallied behind us."
As he weaves the tale, he uses one hand to animate the story-- whirling it through the air to represent the wagon, striking down with it when he describes the giant ghoul's assault.
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Idly does Kurokumo listen to the tall tale, from such a tall man, her eyes and hands remain focused on his recovery. Her head shakes subtly, a constant negation and chiding of the lengths to which Ashur exerts himself. The Wasteland holds no mercy, even on missions of peace and extraction. There's a faint scent of herbs, something freshly mashed and strained into the salve she made this morning.|
|Iris Lark||Iris chuckles softly as the story progresses and her eyes go a little wide as he describes the ghoul. "This sounds very impressive. Do you look for trouble?" She asks her head slighlty canted to one side.|
|Ashur|| "As the ghoul tyrant and I battled, the others closed the distance. Here is where an interesting phenomenon happened-- simply being near the lesser ones accelerated the regeneration of the greater. As if he absorbed their radiation, his muscles swelled and his flesh knit around bullet and blade; all the world's light was soaked into his degenerate form, and his corpse-rot countenance broke wide with bladed teeth. It was then he ripped a chunk of me out-- I misjudged his vigor in their presence, and my attempt to strangle him failed."
He shows his right arm to Iris and Kumo. There's a healing cut there that didn't require any medical attention. "A few bullets from the others grazed me as I clambered upon him."
When Iris questions, the Legionnaire rumbles and hrms, a low, beastly sound in his chest. "Such is how a man makes a living; I was raised by the Legion. What use would I be if I fled from danger?"
A wave of a hand, and he continues. "Fortunately, the brute's obsession with me left him open to the rest. His body was broken apart, and with their leader gone the minions soon followed. It was then the patrol came upon us-- a contubernium of Brotherhood members. Two of them walked in ancient suits of power armor and had thunder in their footsteps; the rest did not, but bore advanced weapons. Lasers, mostly."
He has a lot of laser burns.
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Kurokumo looks at the collection of burns and inflamed flesh, wincing from her gazes's pass. How is he still alive? Her hand smooths the salve into one of the burns along Ashur's rib cage, ever so gentle and careful of the wounding surrounding it.|
|Iris Lark||Iris watches Kurokumo as she tends Ashur, but she's still focused mostly on the story. She shifts slightly on the stool and after a few moments she releases her lingering glance and gazes back towards Ashur. When the large man mentions the Legion she goes still and her shoulders hunch slightly, her brow furrowing. She is still listening but she no longer looks at ease.|
|Ashur|| "Their commander-- a man who called himself Paladin Grant. A juggernaut in the most advanced power armor I'd ever seen, chewing an old cigar. Behind him his army, and with their support the Profligate felt braver than he should; he marched upon us and demanded our submission. Savages, he named us, unfit for the weapons we wielded-- but in his great magnanimity, surrender to his will and the deliverance of our ward unto his possession would be met with a benevolent pardon."
Ashur's voice drips with naked hate and venom; beneath her hands, Kumo can feel the muscles tense and tighten, the heart accelerate, the skin flush with heat. Such is the boil inside his tempestuous heart that his eyes narrow and his lips peel back from sharp teeth in a feral half-snarl; his nostrils flare, and he doesn't realize Iris' discomfort.
"My weak and pathetic companions sought to parlay. Like beaten dogs, men with stern voices and an upraised hand made them tremble. I would not have it-- I charged him alone."
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Her head tilting, Kurokumo does notice Iris' distress. There's a pained look, mixed with tired pleading as she continues to work. "You musn't get so worked up, Ashur. It's done and over with." Her words are murmured, affection coloring her thorough movements as new bandages are applied.|
|Iris Lark||Iris wraps her arms around herself as she watches Ashur, lost in his story. Some memory nags at her and while she tries to smooth her face back to an impassive stare, she can't seem to do it. Her eyes briefly meet Kurokumo's and she gazes down at her knees then, a frown still on her face.|
|Ashur|| "A rage came upon me. The world slowed to a crawl. I struck his armor and it did nothing; he laughed, and swung his hammer. Like a serpent I darted from it, and retaliated with a blow to his face. I could feel his jaw buckle and dislocate, and I followed it with a shot to the temple. Pierced the flesh, cracked the skull. Bleeding and confused, he again came at me, but was too stunned to manage much. All the while, his men fired upon me; I could feel my body breaking apart, but it was nothing next to his. He hit me-- or he didn't. It is a blur. But I struck again, and shattered his head clean open. He died like a dog."
The man forces an exhale to calm himself. The heartbeat slows. "I lost consciousness then. I awoke in the militia's medical ward. I've spent a few days recovering.. and am now here."
Those golden eyes cut toward Iris, and now her struggle to remain neutral, and her downcast gaze, arouses a certain curious sympathy. Ashur's dealings with the locals have softened him.. just a little. "What is the matter, Iris?"
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Sooner or later, it would come to this. Kurokumo manages to tidy up the remaining loose ends, patching up the threadbare Ashur to the best of her abilities. For now. The Asian woman would say something, but the question hangs in the air heavily. Instead, Kurokumo picks up the solied bandages to take tot he pot.|
|Iris Lark||"You remind me of some men that I knew once, they were not always very nice." Iris says, her voice low but not a whisper, yet. She gazes at Ashur and she asks the question carefully as if she doesn't really want to know the answer. "Did you leave the Legion?" She glances back down at her hands and then sighs softly. "Or were you cast out?"|
|Ashur||"I left the Legion," he admits, still watching the curvy healer. "I could no longer abide living my life for the dream of another. I was taken as a child, trained and groomed to be their ideal warrior-- and never was I asked what I wanted. Never did my ambition matter. Be true to Caesar, they commanded, and die in his name. Or die defying it." He scoffs, and clenches a hand into a fist. "I took back what they stole from me, and when at last I saw my chance, I abandoned them. It is my will alone that will guide my life now. Never again will I bear humiliation or control."|
|Kurokumo Mibojin||The only sound coming from Kurokumo is the sound of crackling coals and disturbed water. Droplets fall, thunking noisily into the water as she goes to squeeze out the excess from the cloth. She knows all too well about humiliation and control. And those who seek to take it. Her ebon hair obscures her expression from the other occupants of the room.|
|Iris Lark||Iris nods once, and then after she lets out a soft sigh she nods again. "I thank you for your story, and for..the additional story that you didn't have to tell, but you did." She gets to her feet and smiles at the pair of them, her hands clasped behind her back. "I've got to go, but..it was nice to visit with you and I hope you both come see me again soon?"|
|Ashur|| The man recognizes that look; downcast eyes and a furrowed brow, sighs and self-dismissals. Iris has experiences with the Legion of an unkind sort-- and being an abundantly pretty little thing, he knows exactly what happened to her.
"I always have reason to come here," he remarks in dry humor. "It is my home away from home. Be well, little Iris."
His gaze falls then on Kurokumo, and there it stays.
|Kurokumo Mibojin||"Goodnight, Iris." Kurokumo's head turns, a friendly smile being offered as she continues to work. Luckily, the room didn't break out into an uneasy stand-off as she was fearing.|