|Ashur|| Ashur sits atop a table in one of the clinic's examination rooms. His toga is unfolded from his upper body, pooling loosely in his lap and hanging low around his feet. As Kurokumo has seen so many times before, a lifetime of injury is writ upon the parchment of his flesh; knots of pale cut ribbons, burn marks, strange little indents where he's been crushed or bone broke and healed strangely. Beneath that sun-burnished gold is a body that has been abused beyond all fairness.
But this is new. So very new. In the thick matting of his chest hair is a burn of queer design: a hand! The shape of it is clear, even the gap between spread fingers; the hairs around it are charred a crisp black, breaking and falling away to stubs at the slightest of pressures. But the area around it shows no heat damage.. even if the wound itself is still hot to the touch.
"It is an evil land, my Kumo," he rumbles.
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Every day, it seems that Ashur drags himself in to get patched up. Well, not -every- day, but enough to give Kurokumo the long term tension of fear from losing a loved one. But this? She openly gapes at the pattern, deciding to wipe away the charred hair with the faintest touch of her finger tips. "Where did you go?"|
|Ashur||Where her finger touches, yes, the hair crumbles away, exposing the shine of the still-hot burn. As if some elemental had rose from the earth and seized at his heart! "To Dunwich, in the north and west," he declares. "Since Roswell was made safe for travel, the highways leading out of it have become areas of frequent travel; they are lined with settlements and danger. Feral beasts, the ghoul-rot mongrels, in most of them-- things of trifling insignificance to me, my little one. But there comes a point, in travel westward, where the sun turns away in shame, and the air grows cold; where one's voice echoes in places it never should reach and dies mere feet ahead of you."|
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Shivering, the Asian woman is oddly reminded of her Mother's stories while she collects a container of burn ointment. Of spirits lost, in between here and there, of waylaying travellers... Kurokumo was just a little girl listening to bedtime stories, but now they've come very close to real for her. "Why did you go?" Her fingers dab in the fluid, before gently touching the burned skin from the hand print.|
|Ashur|| "All men feel the urge to explore," he replies, breathing in deep in the wake of his story's beginning. "An innate desire to find more worlds to conquer; I saw a road, and I followed it, that I might know where it went." He holds still as she caresses the ointment into his skin. Whatever tenderness might be there, it does not show on that stern face. "At first. I thought it a queer place, a curiosity-- perhaps it or the area around it would do for the settlement I claim, if there was some worthwhile resource. Yet strange things have happened each time I go. Strange ones, indeed, little girl."
His brow furrows. "I have been followed by swarms of hungry birds; I have seen wriggling insects that crawl and sting in clouds of black fury. I have seen the dead reach from their graves to claw through my armor, felt the breath stole from my lungs, felt my heart seize in my chest-- and I have found and killed strange men and women, only to return later and see them gone. To walk there is to find yourself lost where nightmare and the waking world melt into one."
A broad shoulders rolls, shrugs. "It frustrates me. What is it? Is there some dark power there? Is the air toxic, from some old ruin, and being there too long makes one hallucinate?"
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Kurokumo breaths out, her eyes still blinking at the insanity of it all. Closer and closer to Death Ashur becomes, and one day she's afraid he'll actually wrestle the ghast in combat! Having smoothed the salve into his skin, Kurokumo peers around to find any other signs of damage. "Hallucinogens might be the case."|
|Ashur||"I have had nightmares as of late," the man confesses, as if it were a shameful thing. "I have not slept so poorly since the Legion first took me; I awake in cold sweat, seeing things that should not be seen." Her examination reveals a host of lingering injury and wounds; abrasions, bruises, cuts. When is he ever not hurt, in some fashion or another?|
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Shaking her head, the Doctor goes to work finding the myriad scratches, tears, and mysterious injuries that she can treat. "You should not be ashamed of spirits. You should be frightened! No mountain of man can stand their ground against the unseen and unformed."|
|Ashur|| "That is why I return there, again and again," Ashur growls with a sudden frustration, clenching a fist and punching it down into the table with enough force to shake it. "What does one do with an enemy they cannot grab and choke and break? I think hallucination, but awaken with ghostly burns and wounds-- what does that mean? If it is some strange, unknown power.. must it always dwell in Dunwich, and ne'er cross the walls of our home-- whether here, in New Rome, or elsewhere?"
He breathes, calms, but his hackles are raised, the hairs on his neck and arms standing on end, his heart pushed by protective adrenaline. "Something I cannot kill is not allowed to live."
|Kurokumo Mibojin||Having done everything she could with visible injuries, Kurokumo hops up on the exam table with Ashur. She slides an arm around his back, hand moving in soothing circles. "Does anyone live there? We could always burn it to the ground." Wow, of all the things a Doctor would suggest.|