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    Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 23/01/12, 09:02 pm

    It never failed.

    It was difficult enough to get all the children at the make-shift orphanage to sleep at the same time. Invariably the drow and goblinoid babies were more naturally inclined to a nocturnal schedule and fussed endlessly about being put down in the evening. And as soon as Kallista DID manage to get them all quiet, Kallista could be almost certain that something would happen to disturb them, whether it was the crash of some rubble being torn down or a loud ruckus in the street, or even just the light of a passing torch.

    This time it was a knock at the door. Kallista had just put the last of the kids to bed and had collapsed exhausted into a chair near the small fireplace when there was a quiet rapping sound at the front entrance. Eager to silence it before any of the children woke, she shot out of the chair and moved quietly to the door.

    She opened it quickly and raised an eyebrow at the two elven women standing on the doorstep. The one in front carried herself with an air of dignity, and Kallista guessed she was probably highborn, although what she was doing here, she had no idea. The other woman looked nervous, constantly glancing from side to side as though she were eager to be gone. Kallista saw that she carried a bundle in her arms and knew before even seeing it's face that it was a baby. At least that explained what they were doing here at this hour.

    "Dropping off?" Kallista asked, glancing at the child. She kept her voice low so as not to wake the others.

    "We should have room for another child. I'm the only one here right now, though. We're kind of short staffed. Where did you find him?"


    Last edited by tuck on 24/01/12, 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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    elanya
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 23/01/12, 09:58 pm

    Jacinthe smiled politely at the harried looking Tiefling before her, glancing beyond at the tiny room packed with small forms that were, by some miracle, all quiet at the moment.

    "No, he's mine. We're volunteers."

    She kept her voice low, and stepping past the woman to get a better look inside. Marys followed with trepidation, and Jacinthe hoped that now, at least, she might leave off her nagging. The children should distract her, if she knew her nurse at all. She held out her arms and Macen was returned to her - he was awake, but quiet for the moment.

    "I am a healer - Marys is a licensed nurse."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 23/01/12, 10:24 pm

    "Volunteers?" Kallista asked, slightly incredulously as she opened the door for the two ladies. She eyed their clothes curiously.

    "You two don't look like volunteers. I haven't seen you around Undertow before."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 23/01/12, 11:34 pm

    Despite Kallista's incredulity, Jacinthe had taken pains to dress down. Her dress was quite simple and plain - it was still exquisitely crafted, and of a style inaccessible to most lower class women, who would have scoffed to hear it described as practical. It certainly did nothing to hinder the pink-haired classic Elven beauty who sported it, however. Marys's clothing was a little plainer, as suited her station.

    "No, you wouldn't have. We're not from Undertow. There should be a shipment of supplies arriving in the morning as well - mostly blankets and cloths, but some medicines and milk as well."

    Macen was starting to squirm more - really he should have been put to bed long ago, and she whispered at him in Elven to settle down, dear one, that he would sleep soon.

    "Can you show me somewhere I can put him for now, and then tell me how you have been running things?"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 09:52 am

    Kallista quietly closed the door behind the women and lead them through the maze of makeshift beds and cradles to an empty spot near the back. She gestured to the empty bed and waited for the nurse to put the baby down before leading them both to the small room off the back of the house.

    She closed the door most of the way, but kept it cracked enough to be able to hear if any of the children woke up.

    "We can talk hear, but try to keep your voice down." she said as she lit a small oil lamp on the table, keeping the light low.

    "Sorry about the confusion." she said with a sigh as she sat down in a rickety chair, "I'm happy to have the help, actually. It's just me and one of the local midwives who've been running this place and we're kind of drowning. We have over twenty-five kids from new-borns to about six years old. At this point it's basically all we can do to keep them clean and fed."

    She offered the women a tired smile and extended her hand.

    "I'm Kallista, by the way."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 10:54 am

    It was all quite shocking - everything had been, from the time she joined the latest supply wagon - to hear how the city guards were talking, to see the state of undertow (though she suspected she may still have been shocked by it even before it had been ravaged by the explosion, for entirely different reasons). but she was determined not to be put off by it. There was a chance here for her to be of use, and a room full of helpless innocents that she could help. It was almost a little disappointing that they were all sleeping, but she imagined she would come to know them all well enough very soon.

    She took the offered hand lightly. "Jacinthe Callais, and Marys Ciran. I'm sure we will be able to help improve matters. Are they all healthy?"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 11:11 am

    Kallista frowned slightly.

    "Mostly. All of the really bad ones are in the hospital pavilions. A few have minor burns and cuts and things, but those have been healing well. There's a four year old human girl who breathed in a whole lot of smoke and has been having breathing problems. One of the older goblin boys is missing a leg, but that happened well before the attack and he gets around just fine."

    The tiefling was trying hard not to let her exhaustion show, but her eyes were puffy and dark, and her posture slumped. It was easy to see she hadn't had much sleep lately.

    "Of course, there's the usual sniffles and coughs, but so far we've been able to keep them all from coming down with anything major."

    She gestured to the shelves that lined the small room they were in. There were a few boxes of food and clothes and basic supplies, but it was mostly empty.

    "We've been scraping together what supplies we can get. If you're right about that shipment tomorrow it'll help out a lot."

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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 11:41 am

    It didn't sound as bad as she'd feared, but she made up her mind to make a visit to the hospital as soon as she could.

    "They'll be here in the morning, after the rest of the distribution is assigned. Where have you been staying?"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 11:48 am

    Kallista raised an eyebrow.

    "Me? Well... I've got a cot at the adventurer's union hall. Most nights, though, I've been sleeping here in case they need me, when I sleep at all. There's some extra blankets and it's pretty warm out by the fireplace."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 01:09 pm

    "Oh my lady!" Marys put in, looking briefly shocked, but then dropping her voice down. with a glance at the cracked door "That will never do! I beg of you, please reconsider - just think of Macen, you can't keep *him* here. It is better, I tell you, to come down during the days if you must, and return to stay with mi'lord Callais."

    Jacinthe turned to her nurse with a faint smile, but ultimately her look was one of unshakable resolution. "It will do, Marys, for myself and my son. We will make it less abominable - that is why we are here."

    She returned her attention to Kallista, leaving marys to her overprotective frettings. Once the nurse settled in to dealing with the childre, jacinthe was sure she would relax, or at least that the work would distract her. And afterall - other managed to - even had to - live in such places, and surely so could they. if there was any sign at all that Macen was out of sorts, she could remove herself, but she thought that instead perhaps it might suit him to have so many other children to play with. "Thank you Kallista. Why don't you go get some rest now, and we will settle in as best we can."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 01:31 pm

    Kallista tried to hide her instant distaste for Marys. The woman was obviously devoted to her mistress and her son, but she was just as obviously not used to getting her hands dirty. At least not THIS dirty. Jacinthe, on the other hand was more of a conundrum. She was certainly a noble, and she'd probably never done a day's physical labor in her life, but she seemed sincere, and at the very least stubborn. Kallista could respect that.

    Of course, none of that meant she was simply going to leave the children to them while she went and took a nap.

    "Thank you for the offer..." she said, "But I'm not just going to leave these children with outsiders that I hardly know. I you want to..."

    There was a loud crash from across the street, possibly a burned timber finally giving up the ghost and falling, or perhaps a cleaning crew loading wood onto a cart. Whatever it was, several of the younger babies woke up almost immediately and began crying.

    "Avandra help me..." Kallista said under her breathe as she stood up, "It's a moot point now. Come on, let's see how you guys are with kids."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 01:59 pm

    "Oh bless their little hearts..." Marys sighed and turned to follow the Tiefling. Jacinthe, who hoped that her slight flinch at the loud crash hadn't been regraded too poorly, followed after. Once of the crying voices was Macen's, for sure, and she headed over to him straight off. He would be the easiest to settle, and it would be good to let the nurse get down to work right away. In fact, the other elven woman only hesitated a moment before picking up a squalling goblin, and making a resigned face as she sniffed its diaper. "Where's the changing station?"

    Macen was easy to put back in to trance, especially when he was already worn out, and Jacinthe quickly joined the others checking on the other children. She knew abstractly that putting them back to sleep would be a little different, but the basics as far as she understood them were the same - make sure their physical needs were met, try and calm them, hold them... The first one she came too was a dirty little hobgoblin child who looked to be not quite two years old. "Hush now, little one, its still time for resting."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 02:50 pm

    Once back in the main room Kallista seemed to perk up some, and was soon scurrying around efficiently checking on her charges. She picked up a crying one year old half-elf and patted him reassuringly.

    "There's a table in the corner..." She said quietly to Marys, gesturing towards the back of the room, "The box is for soiled linens. There's fresh ones and rags under the table."

    At least the nurse seemed to know her way around children.

    She saw Jacinthe looking slightly out of her element and came up beside her, smiling gently as she held the half-elf to her shoulder.

    "Her name is Haven." she said, gesturing to the hobgoblin child that Jacinthe was comforting, "She likes it when you sing to her."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 03:17 pm

    She nodded, still looking down at the little girl who was eyeing her with uncertainty. "Would you like a song, then, Haven?" The little girl didn't respond, exactly, but she screwed up her face a little differently, and less when Jacinthe smiled down at her, and less so when she started singing an Elven lullabye. Working with the others, they managed to put down most of the others, save for a little Drow boy who was determined to eschew sleep. Marys offered to sit up with him for the time being, while Kallista helped Jacinthe settle in to the space more.
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 04:25 pm

    Over the following days, the elven women became all too familiar with their new charges. Kallista was impressed with how quickly they adapted, especially Jacinthe, who seemed determined to succeed by pure force of will if nothing else. The woman was a natural leader, and she soon had the orphanage running more efficiently than before.

    Two days after their initial meeting, Kallista and Jacinthe decided to take a walk to the nearby hospital tent to check in on the children there while Marys minded the orphanage. It wasn't very far to the medical tent, as the crow flies, but the streets were busy and narrow, and often blocked with traffic or rubble.

    As the pair set out, Kallista smiled at Jacinthe. Since the pair had shown up she'd finally been able to grab a decent night's sleep and some of her normal character was beginning to return.

    "I'm really glad you and Marys decided to come help us", she said, hoping that conversation might shorten the trip, "You're still the only person from Overlook that I've seen set foot down here since the attack. Well... outside of Union members, anyway."


    Last edited by tuck on 24/01/12, 04:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 04:35 pm

    Mentioning the guards that still came down to escort the supply deliveries seemed untoward, so she refrained. In any case, she understood that they did not actually enter the subdivision, and were mainly a show for those on the outside.

    "When I came, we were still being told that the whole area was unsafe - I had better information."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 04:48 pm

    "Well, it's not exactly a day spa..." Kallista said with a glance at one of the burned out buildings nearby, "But I'm glad you came all the same. I'll admit I was kind of angry at the noble houses for not acting. It's good to see that at least someone cares about these people."

    She smiled at Jacinthe warmly.

    "How'd you hear it was safe?" she asked.
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 04:57 pm

    It was, she was sure, only a matter of time before there was more aid available, if not more volunteers. Her grasp of politics was not extensive, but if nothing else she knew that the other houses would hate to be shown up.

    "From my father-in-law. Frankly I believe he thought it would be politic for me to come down. His son has been here since the initial disaster, and they have been in communication since information began to travel back out of the area."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 05:51 pm

    Kallista considered that for a moment before responding.

    "So what was your brother-in-law doing down here when the attacks happened?"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 05:58 pm

    Jacinthe paused, realizing that she'd been unintentionally misleading. It was an unsociable habit, but she couldn't seem to break it on her own. She frowned slightly, continuing on through the pathway cleared in the debris field. "My husband. He works with the Explorer's Union."
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 06:28 pm

    "Oh", Kallista said, slightly taken aback. She'd never heard someone refer to their husband as their "Father-in-law's son" before. After a moment she decided it must be some kind of noble thing and shrugged it off.

    Suddenly, something stuck in Kallista's mind. Two dissparate thoughts collided with an almost audible explosion. Callais... her husband...

    "OH!" she said, pausing mid-stride, her mouth open in surprise.

    "You're... oh my gods, you're Vedran's wife!"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 08:39 pm

    Jacinthe's eyes widened at Kallista's pronouncement. Vedran's wife. Of course, she had known Kallista was attached to the Union. It was perfectly reasonable that she might know him. And of course the structure of an adventuring guild likely meant that certain notions of formality were overlooked. But the descriptor still felt... uncomfortable.

    "Are you acquainted with my lord husband, then?"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 08:55 pm

    Kallista's eyes widened and she grinned from ear to ear. She laughed happily.

    "Acquainted? Hell, we fought a factory full of automatons together! I helped him persuade the dragon to stop attacking Undertow! Hell, if not for you people's weird monogamy thing I would have slept with him!"
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by elanya on 24/01/12, 09:24 pm

    It was impossible not to stare at the Tiefling in amazement after such a pronouncement. "Our... you would..." And what had led to that? Kallista was too earnest to think she was being misleading - surely she hadn't slept with him. But it still stung, unexpectedly, and she couldn't quite grasp why. She struggled to recover her wits. "How...gracious of him, to keep our vows in consideration." But was that it, after all?
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    Re: Flash back:

    Post by tuck on 24/01/12, 09:41 pm

    Kallista was far too excited about her revelation to notice the strange look she was getting from her new friend or the slight trembling in her voice.

    "I know, right?" she said with a laugh, "I mean he's really, really devoted to you. He must be, right? I mean I don't think I'd ever had anyone say no to me before. But yeah, he's a great guy. I mean, if you have to be stuck with one guy forever, he's a hell of a good choice. I can't believe you're his wife! How cool is that!"

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