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Elsie It was pandemonium here, once. The desk was used for treating patients, and as a result is stained with blood and gore of every kind. Papers have been further scattered and stained, there's even a bloody handprint across the wall where someone tried to hold themselves up against the weight of their pain. In the corner and along the wall are piles of dirty clothes and rags; this apparently became the dumping ground for a lot of those materials as wounded were treated inside and out.

But one person now claims this place as residence. Perhaps not actively, but she's the only one here, so. It's Surelda. Her silver dyed hair has been left down and could use a good brushing. Her face, however, is clean. She's clearly been seen to. She's wearing a short-sleeved, long, loose nightgown of undyed wool that appears to be similar to some sort of Old West chemisette, with the neckline off the shoulders. It makes her look rather washed out, truth be told.

She's laying on the floor with some blankets, her back propped up against the wall. She's been crying, it's clear, and she still has the sniffles. Her right leg is bandaged from the top of the foot and the ankle up above her skirtline. Her bag sits beside her, and the AK is propped up against the wall.

She's in pain. That's what those sniffles are from. Sitting there, she lets her head roll back to look at the ceiling, and drags her fingers firmly through her hair, as if to distract what's going on in her leg.

She knows no one, and is unknown.
Ashur The battle left Ashur riddled with burns and shrapnel bites -- for all his superhuman triumph and claims of invincibility, he remains a man, not some beast of steel and God's blood. A red-haired witch in a forest of scrap cast a healing spell on him, flooding his veins with some unknown pain killer, methodically prying twists of metal from where muscle had swollen around it, cleaning wounds and spreading ointment across future scars.

When that had finished, he had to celebrate. He'd stalked the Shantytown seeking out drink, food, and an easy woman -- all things normally found with ease, but in the sheer desperate grief and agitation of the city, it turns out his usual brand of future single mother was uninterested; the thrill of death and conquest does not arouse the locals the same way it does the Legionnaire.

Plus, a lot of them were newly homeless. They just weren't in the mood.

With all lusts unsatisfied, the agitated Legionnaire had stolen a bit of sleep beneath his cloak in an alley, dragging himself out afterwards. Chance saw him near the town hall and the post office, which, while unable to provide him any of the services he so obviously needs, is nominally a place of leadership in the city.. whoever is organized there might have something interesting posted up.

Imagine his surprise, then, when after following trails of blood and viscera, and the cloying sweetness of abundantly-used medical supplies, the unwashed brute, still caked in ash and black char, comes upon a sobbing Surelda.

"So you survived."
Elsie Post-sobbing, thank you much. She's wet from the tears but she's no longer held captive by them. The sound of someone approaching causes Surelda's head to swing around, to face toward the door from her little corner on the floor.

Imagine her surprise.

Well, you don't really have to. Flat are her words, but her face bleeds expressions, every thought and feeling she has are written there. First there is a slight twitch of her nose at the sight of the unwashed man. A slight recoil, too. That probably didn't help matters when he was slumming, but that's neither here nor there.

Then it's a flash of disbelief in the eyes. She saw the spider explode, saw him on the spider. So can this really be true?

At last it settles into anxiety, particularly around the newly-tightened shoulders and her arms, which turn to hide her speckled underarms and hug herself around the waist.

She sniffles again, and a hand must be freed to wipe those tear track away. Then it goes back to its previous position. "I did," she says, in her flat tone. A pause. Another. "There's no doctors in here, if that's what you're looking for. No medicine either." If there was you can bet your ass she'd already be huffing it.
Ashur His eyes linger. They burn -- twin suns dawning with obvious scorn at the sight of the marks riddling your arms; that stern brow slopes downward, the lips pressed into a line. It's an expression anyone in your position is intimately familiar with: junkie hate.

"Who dragged an injured girl to town hall and then left her?" is his first question, an irritated snort flaring the bull's nostrils. "Or did you crawl here yourself with one good leg?" The skepticism is thick in that thunderous growl. Others might have managed to pull themselves up, bear the pain, and find shelter; but not a glorified crack whore.

"The Vault doctor and the Shantytown clinic are both flooded with the wounded," he mentions, striding forward. Papers crush and slide beneath his feet and he crouches next to you, beneath a dried and bloodied handprint. "Do you want to go there?"
Elsie There's no shame in Surelda's responding look. It's not that she's suddenly courageous, far from it she's terrified of this man. No, she is immune from judgement and the shame and stigma that should go with it, particularly so in this case. She just watches him, like a trapped little mouse who knows she's about to be toyed with in the best case scenario.

"I don't remember. A woman; she doctored me. A woman and her horse, and someone else."

Then he's approaching, and Surelda lifts her arms to press her palms back against the wall, searching for some friction that she can use to pull herself up. She starts that way until he crouches down beside her. She lets herself settle on the floor again, though she angles her torso away from him. Just a little distance, thx.

Those big black eyes flit all around his face in confusion and concern. Eventually she shakes her head, silver hair rustling with the gesture. "No," she tells him simply, eventually meeting his gaze. Searching there too for what the future might hold in this encounter.
Ashur The brute's eyes slide across your form as heavy as hands, taking in the injuries, the anxiety, the clear discomfort at him being so close. It's only natural -- he violates personal boundaries with unsettling apathy, the sheer size of him blocking off the most immediate means of egress should the situation turn dark. The desk hems in the other.

"Sparrow," is his first guess, being the only cowboy healer he knows; what others might lurk are beneath his notice. "But I'd expect a bit more consideration from her." He rolls one thick shoulder and pops his neck. All around him, that massive white cloak has settled -- spreading through the stains and over the papers, more than ten feet of hooded fabric that bunches near his shoulders and extends well past his feet, dragged like some king's ermine. It makes him seem all the larger.

"Don't lie to me," he snarls. "You'd rather whimper under a desk and pound your hands on the wall until a needle rolls out from one of these shelves?"
Elsie The snarl makes her jump. Well, jump-y. She can't exactly jump now, all things considered. But his words bring confusion to her face. Her brows draw together, telegraphing the emotion. Black eyes flit over the man's face again.

"I'm not lying; I don't have any reason to." Her mouth draws tighter into a frustrated pout. "If I'm not supposed to be here, if you want me to go, I'll go," she informs him. "I didn't come here asking for trouble."
Ashur Anger washes over the man's face again and he strikes the wall near your head with force enough to crack it. That power fist hits like gunshot, but fortunately doesn't trigger -- even then, a sheaf of papers that hadn't fallen yet does so, scattering across the floor with a dry whisper.

When the anger fades, fast as it came, there's something else -- an expression difficult to read, all brief frowns and falling cheeks. Guilt?

"I'm not talking about trouble," he growls, "I'm talking about your leg. You are injured. The clinic is where you should rest."

He seems keen on getting you there without having to say he's keen on getting you there.

His hand falls away from the spiderweb fracture in the wall. A little calendar hanging above the spot shakes, tack loosened, and falls right upon your lap with a dull whack.

"I'm bringing you."
Elsie Remember when we said that Surelda isn't courageous? She's not courageous. When the man cracks the wall, she yelps and turns away from him, pressing her face and torso against the metal file drawers. Such a shame she can't crawl inside one! It almost seems like she might try.

Her heart is beating so fast he might almost be able to see the veins in her throat throbbing when she turns back to him. Those tears, those are back too. She's afraid, pure and simple.

"No," she manages, shaking her head at him. It's a chocked word, eeked out while trying to keep the crying inside. She manages.

The calendar falls; she starts again, as though her skeleton might come up right out of her own skin. She looks at it, then back to the man.

Once more she's shaking her head, silver hair fluttering around her from the gesture. Her voice still holds that same choked sound. "They brought me here because they said the clinic was full," she starts sputtering words quickly. These words do have emotion to them. "And ... and ... something about a militia. They were full too. That's why I'm here, I didn't ask to be here, they found me and they brought me here. Please," she sniffles. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Dude is pretty fucking terrifying.
Ashur "They've had time enough to work," the behemoth says, visibly tiring of your rebellion -- here he is, trying to make up for failing to protect you from injury in his way, and you're being so damned difficult! "There will be room now."

He looms over and reaches toward your lap. His fingers pinch the end of the calendar and draw it away from you, tossing it aside with a noisy clatter. Leaning in this close, he seems all the larger -- a monster of muscle and mass, his hair in long barbarous braids, bronze skin caked in ash.. the face, especially, turned near a skeletal mask from the powder, though it's been partially cleaned by sweat and idle wipes of his cloak.

He is not a gentle-looking man.

"Come. You don't want to stay here." Said in a tone of slow, halting patience, reserved only for those times where one has none left.
Elsie Surelda treats him like she would treat any threatening animal so close.

Remain still. Do not look him in the eye. Try and fail to control your breathing.

Her chest rises and falls in quick, breathy successions as the fear threatens, like those tears, to break free. But it doesn't, not now, not yet.

For now, she tries to remain as calm as possible. She almost fails when he takes the calendar from her lap, squeezing her knees shut and tensing at his close proximity. The gesture is painful, and like everything else that shows on her face. She squeezes her eyes shut and opens her mouth in a silent scream. It fades eventually.

Once she's calm again, she glances at his close face a few times, as if hoping he might be gone yet. He's not gone; he's a presence, felt even when he's not touching her and she's not looking at him.

This must be what it's like to stare down a Yao guai.

"I don't seem to have much of a choice," she finally admits.

I mean, that's kind of close to consent, right?
Ashur Consent has never been something Ashur cares about. Obedience is more important -- and that admission indicates it enough for his satisfaction.

"Good girl," he rumbles, though it's doubtful he actually believes it; the casual compliment he normally reserves for his brides seems said more to settle his own irritation than anything else. And once it has settled, the giant begins to rise, those old bones creaking at the joints -- decades of carrying his weight around has worn them, but he's still strong.

Strong enough to partially kneel, and grab you, and with the most trivial of efforts lift you. Soldierly instinct says to go for the fireman's carry -- practical concerns suggest that if he throws you over his shoulders you're going head-first into too many hard surfaces.

He compromises: you're held like a child against his chest. Oh, sure, you might fight, and like this it's easy to struggle and scratch and claw him, if you really want to. But it might not be the wisest course.
Elsie There's no way being picked up is going to be comfortable. So, in Surelda's defense, she tries to argue it. "No, I can walk, I can-" but then he's hoisting her, and she throws her head back and lets out a choked cry as her leg, bandaged as it is, is jostled. Her backpack and AK-47 can be seen now where she'd put them; right in the corner of the room, behind and beside her, where she could protect them.

Keeping her knees together, she slides her rear back against Ashur's arms, trying to put as much distance between her legs and his body. She places the flat of her hands on his chest, pushing herself against the rock. He can carry her, alright, but she's not going to be a comfortable carry. She's a squirmer. And she whimpers.

Finally she seems to get a little comfortable, sliding to his right and turning her stacked knees to her right, across his body. It keeps her right leg from touching him, and keeps her legs together in this nightgown.

"Can I put on some clothes?" she sniffles, having lowered her face so her forehead rests against his chest in exhaustion, near where her hands are.
Ashur Glancing about, the bull stomps over toward the backpack and the AK-47 half-poking out of it. He scuffs it with a toe, pressing it to the wall and lifting it up until it's within arm's reach -- at which point he snags it, wrapping it around one of those shoulders as thick around as your waist, if not more. "I'll bring your things," he assures.

When you shift in his arms and slide back against his arms, a minor flex opens his grasp up and gives you slight wiggle room. It isn't much, but enough for you to make yourself as comfortable as you can, given the state of your leg -- allowing you to dangle it in whichever position you most prefer.

It's the only comfort he allows. Especially when he looks around to see if you have any clothes piled around, and one massive hand slides over your rear, supporting your weight on his palm. It isn't accidental -- he's quite blatantly entertaining himself with the feel of your ass. "Where are they?" A moment after. "Your clothes."
Elsie Well that's not comfortable! The more Ashur's hands move across Surelda's rear, the more she'll squirm and be annoying, like she's trying to get away from the hand that supports her. She'll lean forward, arching her back to try and pull as much of her flesh as possible up and away. It means she's supporting more of her weight on her hands on his chest, but honestly that's probably a superior way of doing things anyway, considering her leg.

"My bag," she mutters softly. Perhaps surprisingly, even with her discomfort, she doesn't blush. And she doesn't seem particularly angry or surprised by it either, save for a tightening of her mouth. "Just give me a blanket, please," she says, quietly. She's keeping her head down, so those emotions she often projects can't be viewed on her face. And the threat of crying seems to have passed, so her voice has returned to it's flat cadence. "I'll manage with a blanket." Those are piled on the floor where she was lying. "Really, I'm sure I can walk." Worth a try, right?
Ashur Your arching surge upward doesn't displease him -- it has the unintended benefit of thrusting your slender chest out for emphasis in front of his face. Perhaps that offering was deliberate, a teasing reward for his being such a gentleman. Either way, as you shimmy and squirm, his hand tightens on the swell of that ass, fingers digging in and firmly kneading to secure his hold. It's your own fault for not sitting still.

"I can walk carrying you faster than you can hobble," he bluntly remarks, uncaring of the ever-so-obvious desire you have to not be pressed against him and in his malignant clutch.

He pivots on a heel, turns, cuts through the room to that mass of bloodied blankets, and lowering again, carefully cradling you -- for all his belligerent, domineering attitude, his hold is actually gentle, so far as those things go -- and finds your whatever else of yours might be tucked away. If nothing, he picks up the cleanest blanket itself, and with his free hand throws it around your shoulders like a shawl. It's a thin blanket, but nevertheless warm and protective.

"Now hush, girl."

With that, he'll turn to leave.
Elsie Nothing is known of Surelda, but she does know her way around men for good or for ill. So when she feels his hand squeeze, and sees his eyes drop to her chest, she know's what's what. She swallows, hard, that fear and displeasure in her eyes in the brief moment he might get a look at them while she's fidgiting yet again with the blanket. She does what she can with it, wrapping it all the way around herself so nothing else can be seen thrusting unintended or otherwise. It doesn't help with the hand on her rear, but it does protect her in all the other ways, even only slightly.

This means her hands aren't free to hold her body weight up and away from his hand. She settles down, coming to terms with that unpleasantness at least, and instead just leans forward against his chest. She'll lay her cheek there, as her hands are busy holding the blanket from the inside, wrapping it tightly around her. It is her shield, her protection in the world.

Such shitty protection pretty much explains how the drug addict got to be where she currently is. Unknown, in a strange place, half her leg burnt off, and a gollum's hand on her ass.
Ashur Ashur's golden gaze is nakedly hungry; he has no problem fixating on your tits, in that brief bit of time before your body is covered up, even small as they are beneath your modest nightgown. For a moment, the tensing of his body, the rising of his shoulder, suggest he might move to grab you -- peel it down your arms, expose you. But even as.. differently moral as the Legionnaire is, he's self-aware enough to realize the extent of your pain and injury, and the lack of prudence it would show carrying a weeping, topless woman through El Dorado.

So he settles, and his eyes move away. You can curl up like the invisible shadow you wish you were -- cheek against his chest, hearing the strong stout beat of his heart, feeling the heat that washes off his skin in waves as strong as the summer sun. He's a lustful, vigorous sort, that Ashur; what could a man who fights and survives like he does elsewise be?

"My bride once worked at the clinic," he mentions, walking and stooping across the threshold, careful to keep you tight against him. "So I have been there often. We'll arrive soon. Rest, girl. You're alright."
Elsie If Surelda is surprised that he's married - and she is - she doesn't outwardly show it much. The pain of being moved, perhaps, or the disassociation that comes when you've no choice but to let a man fondle your ass and oogle you. Either way, the feeling of surprise isn't great enough to truly register.

So she does curl up, trying to be as small as she can, shivering with a sudden swell of a chill. Oh, but to be a snail and hide in one's shell whenever one desired! Yes, snails have the best lives.

"The clinic is full, they told me," she repeats for him. With her cheek against his chest, she has her face turned down and away, so any other emotions are not visible. "I just want to be somewhere quiet, where people won't look at me." She pauses for a moment, thinking and considering. "Someplace with water." Because dehydration is a big risk for burn victims.
Ashur " ... Fine," the man concedes, after a long pregnant silence spent brooding and debating internally. "I know where to put you, and I'll bring the doctor to you, after." If your continual disagreement irritates him more than he already was, it doesn't visibly show -- but maybe that swat to your ass, casual and sharp, makes his feelings known.

Who fights against an offer of medical attention, really? Damn chem-fiends.

He stalks outside the post office, makes his way to the streets, and through the rubble still being cleaned and the crowds still shocked and preoccupied, steadily advances on your new destination.
Elsie And therein lies the truth of it. In an overcrowded clinic, with people running around and screaming or quietly convalescing, chances of having some private little dark corner to oneself, in which to slip the cold metal of a needle into a hot vein and find solace from all the evils of the world, is unlikely. Who turns down medical attention? Someone who no longer immediately fears dying, but instead fears living without their fix.

And then comes that slap. It's a muffled sound through her chemise, but it still makes her jump in his arms, and wiggle a bit to try and find her comfortable position again. "Do you have to do that? You've already bruised every inch of it." Apparently that slap was just enough to get Surelda's dander up ... enough to quietly ask him to stop. Because that's all she can do, unless she's willing to pick a fight with him by screaming or fighting. As for any emotions from all of this? Perhaps relief, he'll feel that in the loosening of some tension in her muscles. But for the rest, she still has her faced turned downward, chin almost tucked into the blanket she's coiled around her.