Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:50 pm
In the wake of the Summer of Red and Gold - and in the wake of all of Myrken's troubles - both Militia and Constabulary were worn ragged from the Troubles, the deaths and the retirements - both voluntary and forced - exacting a heavy toll. Thin as they were, there were some things that they were unwilling, or unable, to handle. Sometimes some of the more militaristic-minded religious orders would stick their necks out, a night of holding drunks or addicts until they sobered up. Small things, low risks. The Constabulary could breathe, could work towards higher goals.
The man who calls himself Irons had a hard time sorting out which he would prefer. On the one hand, the Constabulary didn't have the patience or the desire to do much more than rough a fellow up and toss him in the drunk tank to sleep things off. Or fight. Or fuck. They didn't much care what one did in there, so long as everyone stayed quiet and no one died. A potentially terrible night, and at the end they'd kick you out with a sour belly, a sore body, and vomit cloying in the nose.
The priests, at least, stuck you in your own cell. Gave you a good breakfast.
The damn preaching, though.
The initiate handling Irons dropped him to the ground with all the skill of a farmer handling potatoes. It was a fair assessment. Irons was fairly certain that he, himself, currently had the mobility of a sack of potatoes. It was difficult to tell which way was up, and Irons had the vague, muzzy thought that - maybe - he's overdone it this time. There's the copper of blood in his mouth, his arms from knuckles to shoulders are throbbing, and it's something to focus on as the Priest drones on about the sins of carnal pleasures and base, animal needs.
Irons pretended he listened. He made the proper affirmative noises. He grunted as the initiate dug his knee into the small of his back. Irons was rather proud of his ability to disassociate. It made everything easier. Unless it was around that damn Elf. He let his thoughts focus on that, instead of whatever they were saying or doing to him. Hasn't seen her in a good, long while. Hasn't come around for whatever drug du'jour he had for that day.
Next time we see her, gotta make sure we don't offer her whatever we took tonight.
He agrees with himself that this is an excellent idea.
Might be worth it, though.
They're cutting off our hair.
Great. It's knotted. It's disgusting. Fish oil and sweat and salt. Too hot. I'll buy us a hat.
It's our hair.
I said I'd try it. Didn't say I'd keep it.
Is this what we do, now? We sit here and take it? A good little ibhethri once more?
This isn't like that. It won't ever be like that. No one knows who we are. No one knows what we are. They don't know what we're supposed to be.
The Elf does.
No she doesn't.
There's a tub and there's water and it's a Bath and they're taking it all away and they'll see and they'll tell the Elf
Sudden and overwhelming panic gave his boneless body a strength he didn't know that he had in the throes of the alcohol and the drugs. He wasn't fully conscious, hadn't even fully tamped down the babble of himself. He squirmed under the initiate, flipping his body over so that he could bring a knee into the small of the man's back. Irons' hand, slick with blood, gripped the man's startled wrist, and with the strength of hauling nets and tossing boxes onto boats he flips the man up, over, away. As soon as the weight is off him, before the man can even finish his startled grunt of impact, Irons is on his fingers and toes, poised a moment for another attack.
It does not come. His consciousness slams back into his body. It hurts like hell, all of him, his vision swimming from whatever he took tonight. He straightens without even thinking about it. The initiate struggling to his feet is a hazed noise in the back. There's a bare, straw-stuffed mattress. There's a half of an old beer-barrel filled with water, a ratty but clean rag, a bar of soap. He hasn't seen soap in a long time. The priest is staring, not at him, but at his body, and Irons can feel a similar stare from the initiate.
Irons doesn't consider how ridiculous he looks, snatching up his shirt, holding it against his chest, modest as any virginal girl.
"C'n dewt mysul'." What did he say? Irons blinks. It's slow and shuddering and when he opens his eyes, the priest and the initiate are gone. There's words in his ears - some babbled assurances, some platitudes - the snick of a lock - and Irons is sure he swears, or at least says something more like himself. Something lewd, something embarrassing, something defiant.
He knows he hasn't. He missed his opportunity, at it's mumbled to an empty room instead.
Good little [i/]ibhethri.
His head feels strangely light, floating away with the drugs and the absence of filthy hair to hold him down. His own voice mocks him as his body automatically cleans itself. It wasn't [i]his, this body. It belonged to the State. It belonged to everyone.
He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to swear, to shout obscenities, to tip the barrel over and laugh at the mayhem. Whatever he took was meant to facilitate that. He was far too rattled, too far gone. He was only able to clean himself because that was what he'd been trained to do, no matter how he felt, whether or not his bones were water and his muscles were lead and his head was floating, floating right off his body.
He sat on the bed, and he stared at the door, knees drawn up to his chest.
At least he got breakfast in the morning.