Sess 32, 229: Close

Summary: Valarius Misha proves himself equally capable of cleansing body and soul when Kierne Kincaid finds himself close to dying.
OOC Date: 20-22/03/2014
Related: All Things Infirmary
Kierne Valarius 
Still the Infirmary.
Sess 32, 229

Back in a corner of the infirmary, surrounded by screens to shield the eyes of those passing by either the indignity of being presented with the mostly bared form of a half-conscious squireling, or else the uncomfortable visage of a young man about to perish, depending on which way the gods move their pawns. Kierne's tunic has been removed; a blanket half-scrunched across his lap and thighs provides a bare minimum of modesty. The wound itself seems well-stitched and on its way to mending, but his lower abdomen is somewhat swollen, incredibly tender to the touch, and sitting up, bending, or any sort of motion that involves the incorporation of his core sends him into paroxysms of agony and vomiting. One arm is lifted above his head, the other lies at his side, and he doesn't seem to mind being bared to the world, thus. At least the cool air on his skin is a relief from the heat and the sweat.

Valarius had heard of where some people had been moved, checking on a few faces he had known after personally securing the healing of Prince Logen and eventually, later, his wife Princess Draventa. He was exhausted dealing with those two alone, since Logen had suffered wounds to just about every part of his body. Not to mention Valarius had himself taken a hit from one of those assassin fellows, a moderate lash of a blade that ripped through his chest and would give him a memorable scar - maybe one day he could pretend he could weld a weapon. Now though, he's checking faces and hopes he isn't too late. There were so many that were taken out … dead from their wounds. He searches the faces and eventually asks around for a man named Kierne. He's pointed toward the back, where they put the most desperate and worse cases, those who had about ninety percent chance of dying. Val frowned and quickened himself over, as if too late already. He pushes passed the screens and at once inhales at the condition that the young squire is in. "K…" he licks his lips and moves over toward the young man's side, putting a hand on Kierne's forehead to see if the temperature of the man's skin was hotter than it should be. He does not fail to notice the swollen abdomen, brows narrowed for the failure to address such a thing.

It's not as though someone were negligent in care; in the middle of so much tumult, it was easy to stitch the open wound as they'd sticked dozens of others just the same. It's only recently Kierne's been awake enough to express the severity of the pain, and even more recently the swelling discovered and the squire removed hither for closer observation and the development of a plan. Surgery is a great undertaking, after all, but it may well be necessary if the boy is, as it seems, still bleeding, but without the outlet through which the blood might drain. His eyes hadn't quite been closed, the whites showing between cracked lids, but at being addressed the hazel-colored irises appear, sliding down from where they'd been rolled up underlid, and they take a while to focus on the visitor. "V," he mouths the letter, even if he makes no noise behind it, his breathing very shallow, given that deeper breaths jostle his presently very sensitive innards. If he feels warm, himself, his skin is rather clammy, giving no sign of fever.

"Don't worry. I'm here now… I won't let you get away from us," he says with a fond smile, encouragement in his voice, confidence too. "I'll be right back. I need my supplies. Don't go anywhere, K." Val looks down at the young man and brushes his hand over Kierne's forehead, "You still owe me a better hair cut." And then he's hurrying back out of the screened off section of the infirmary. His voice can be heard asking hurriedly for medicial instruments and herbal poultices. He will dart out of the infirmary and run to find his own supplies. For some reason, he's got to have his own stuff there with him. It's not the same if he doesn't know the tools he's using. In either case, it's probably a good thirty minutes before he returns back, nearly out of breath for it. The castle was huge and he had to sprint all the way back to Logen's room, check on the prince, and then sprint back down. But time may not seem as long to Kierne, who is lying in such a fragile state.

Once back, Valarius goes about making up a tray with a scalpel, herbal pastes, bandages, and other such measures, including a bowl to which he dips and washes his hand in - a herbal mixture to help keep his own fingers clean of vile contaminants. "K, I'm going to have give you something to drink. It'll help with the pain and will relax your muscles. I cannot risk you going to sleep though, so I have refrained from using such herbs. Please drink this…" he moves over with a small wooden cup, not much more than an ounce of herbal juice within it, but it's vile and will taste horrid, as well as having the pulp from all the herbs thrown together. "You can have a sip of water after this, to help keep it down."

Kierne might otherwise have laughed to be reminded of the butchery he'd managed to V's locks. As it stands it all comes out a feeble whine of sound, breathy and abbreviated, unable at present to keep the fear out of his eyes. He's not going anywhere… or his body isn't, at least, the vaguest motion setting off the pangs of agony which are all too frequent, each one bringing him closer to blacking out entirely. So still as possible is the orer of the day, his muscles aching stiff with having been so long thus poised. A muscle relaxant will no doubt be a mixed blessing.

When Valarius has returned, a hot pricking of tears tries at his ducts. All attempts to get him to drink even the slightest thing up 'til now have ended in terribly painful vomiting. But what can he do, otherwise? A degree or two of jerky bobbing of his head along with a short hiccupgasp of air marks some manner of terrified assent. The consolations of all the great philosophers come to very little, don't they, when it comes to facing the realities of pain and death, about which no theory will ever live up to experience.

It's a bittersweet blessing knowing a young priest personally. It's certainly comes with the ability to relate with one on the same level, but such a man would not let a proclaimed friend slip into the absyss of death without some torture first - er, healing. It's an absolute refusal of letting go. Valarius has a determined look in his eye as he notices the fear in Kierne's gaze. "If you cannot take it this way, I will have to force it into your body another way…" his eyes glancing down toward where the blanket is keeping Kierne somewhat modest in this, but it might come down to that if the poor squire cannot drink it. He gently helps to lift Kierne's head with his free hand, settling there holding up the remedy to the other's lips, "Drink. Just three tiny swallows and it should be enough to ease your pain. I am here to save you Kierne. Be strong just a little while longer."

Kierne is become a prisoner to what his flesh wills; a tiny sip of tea yesterday triggered his vomiting all over his soon-to-be Auntie Nylie, all without his consent, to be sure. Still, he will drink as bidden, and what might happen will happen when he does so. In an effort to seem helpful he tries to move the arm tucked behind his head, but the motion of his arm shifts the muscles along his ribs and down his flank, making his nostrils flare and the edges of his vision grey slightly with the deep shock of pain, and he gives up his effort to take the cup, letting Valarius, instead, cradle his head, his neck suffering a faint stiffness of the musculature even there, though Kierne himself resists it not. A trembling lower lip parts from its upper twin in order to touch at the lip of the cup, welcoming the effort as his eyes twist up to look to V's face.

Valarius is certainly gentle with his motions, watching vividly as a muscle movement causes that ripple of pain to travel all the way down Kierne's form and back up again, to the point of those flaring nostrils barely containing such need to scream in agony. Val's gaze falls back to find Kierne's own, encouraging as he settles in close to cradle the other's head to position the cup to those lips, "Here. Drink slowly now," his fingers gently tracing through the other's hair in a soothing gesture as his arm pillows the other's head just enough to get the right angle so that Kierne does not choke, "It's lightened with honey, lemon, and ginger, so it shouldn't taste too bitter, but it will still be bitter regardless. I'm sorry for that, I hadn't time to do much more. You'll be okay though. You've got me to look after you now." He continues to talk as if to distract Kierne from the actual task of swallowing, "You probably don't know much about me though, other than I'm the odd duck who wanted a hair cut in your lord's temple a few days before he got married, and the one who goes into dark alleyways in a sad attempt to be a hero. I should leave that to guys like you. You know how to fight." He looks down and smiles a bit at Kierne, "But I've spent all my life, as far back as I can remember, learning my way around the human body and how to heal it. Animals too, but, not as well. I grew up in a rural Temple in Stafford, a village in north Weston, if you haven't been there. I don't think it's still standing though… last I heard, the raiders got it and burnt it to cinders." Every time he breaks for a moment, he is checking to see how much Kierne's managed, "I saw war a few years ago. I'd see men come dragging themselves in worse shape than you into our doors. I learned there, how to really help cure a body of injury. And I took that again, with me, the following year when they needed healers on the battle field." There he stops, checking on the sipping progress yet again.

Kierne gives the solution a little bit of a suckle, enough to get the damper portions of it at least into his mouth, slaking his tongue and the insides of his cheeks, trickling somewhat down his throat. The actual act of swallowing is more difficult to engage in, and for a long while he simply collects that herbal sediment along the back of his tongue, finally huff-breathing his way through a pained swallow as he cranes his eyes upward again when he's attibuted with the ability to fight. As though in silent challenge of the fact, given the outcome. Perhaps he's better at the gentlemanly sparring of the games than facing down actual murderers. He swallows again, tears leaking from his eyes in an unbidden expression of pain, eyes otherwise remaining fixed upward upon V. Will he be able to manage a third swallow? He breathes loudly in short, sharp bursts for a while, trying to build up to it, straining to do so and not lose that which he's already swallowed.

Valarius watches each time that Kierne takes the solution into his mouth how much he's admitting and how much could possibly be getting into his system, absorbed through tongue, cheek, and finally the stomach. He continues this talk, "I was terrified of being out on the front lines when it really hit me what it was all about. I can remember being panicked and stricken with fear as the roar of the sides clashing took place. But then, I seemed to ignore all that when I first heard the cries of those struck down. I couldn't stand it. I rushed to help them. It was my calling, it is why I follow Sheat so closely, because he put me here to give aid to those who need it." He notes the tears and yet cannot dab them away entirely, he uses the fingers of the one hand helping to cradle, brush them off one cheek, at least. "It became that I could hardly tell who to heal, friend or foe, I ended up attending both, for all were crying for help." He's waiting for that third swallow, talking on, "It was while I was doing that one day, that a Laniveer soldier came upon me. His name was Warrick, I found out later. He thought I was a thief and robbing the dead, he was going to slay me where I knelt, until he realized I was trying to aid one of his commrades. He was confused, because he knew me not and I wasn't adorned with their army attire. He spared me and asked me to say a prayer. I did. I felt, complete in my understanding then of why I was here." He finally pulls the cup away, "I'm here to heal, no matter what side one fights for. All men are equal in pain and I am their salvation." He gently settles Kierne back to his pillow, "There. That will be enough. Now, before you get too relaxed, I want you to know I will have to open you up, for your abdomen needs to be cleaned of old blood. But know, if I do not, you will not make it. Trust in me K, I will not let you down."

Kierne keeps waiting for that resurgence of herbs bubbling up from within him, but said resurgence never comes, the slackening of his muscles registering to him with a faint warmth against the firm stiffness of the posture he'd been stuck in. The arm behind his head slides off of the pillow and to one side of the cot, finally able to move without dragging all his other hypertensed muscles along with it. Not that he much notices his change in posture, his eyes fixed on the priest's mouth and the words issuing therefrom, words which resonate strongly with chords so deep in him he wishes to sing back, but is unable to more than mouth a few words back to him in a silent echo. Then comes word that he will face being opened again, this time by friendly hand. He'd of course figured on that being a possibility— not a welcome one, but a possibility, no less. And now that the herbs are taking hold of him, he doesn't even register much in the way of fear, anymore. He is here, in this place, at this time, and will either go on living or will die soon enough. And if there will be a pair of human hands opening his flesh and working at his innards, it will only be one more thing in a life which, even if he should live to one hundred years old, will only be a mote of nothingness in the great history of unending forever.

Valarius assesses the measure of his work as the herbs start to ease the tension from the body and some visible change is witnessed. The young priest, who almost looks too young to be doing this, smiles quietly at Kierne for the acceptance that is found there. The fear, should it linger, seems to have vanished as the bile does not resurface and the pain does not aggreive Kierne. A very good thing, as a cool liquid is rinsed over Kierne's stomach with a sponge, alcohol for those strong of nose, then once over his own hands yet again. He rinses and applies, hoping that it'll be enough to keep infection back once the wound is reopened. A fresh sheet is placed over Kierne's upper chest and then towels, tucked in on either side of Kierne's hips, along with a bowl to capture the blood. He goes about these things rather methodically. There's no one else around to help him. He's on his own and therefore Kierne's life is in his hands completely. There's a hand that sweeps down to brush across Kierne's forehead again, a tender gesture that is an expression of faith and indeed, there was a prayer that went along with it. It's not exactly death rites, but it was clear that it was prayer that was most reverent to the situation. After such a preparation, he turns back to wound that Kierne initially had stitched up, a scalpel in his hand. A minimal tug could be felt as he brings the scalpel to the stitches, popping each of the chords that held the flesh tightly together.

Kierne feels the pain, certainly, but it is sufficiently dulled that it feels like a stroll barefooted through springtime grasses compared with the bone-wracking quakes of shuddering pain he'd feld at every slight motion previously. When the fingers brush his forehead he only gazes up into the eyes of the priest praying over him, his eyes characteristically lethargic in aspect, a kindly, lazy sort of gaze that always made the squire look more at ease than ever he's truly been. Even the slight pressure of the sponge on his swollen abdomen makes him to utter a light "Hhmm!" and to roll his eyes back, but he's far too relaxed by the drug to protest further than that. In comparison to the pressure applied, the strange feeling of the stitches being snapped is nothing whatever. The axe wound had already been well on its way to mending, and the flesh pulls a little with the force of the swelling within, but does not part immediately on removal of the fibers. The hand laid at his side begins to flex and unflex his fingers, grasping at the side of his thigh.

Valarius doesn't remove all the stitching, but enough, to allow him the space he needs. Because there will be a moment that he considers the lower abdomen and the swelling localized there, near the general wound. There's a small incision made over the end of the stitched wound, to reopen it. He will inspect the fluids that come from it. If it is pure with blood or if there are other discolourations to it. He doesn't say anything. He said all he could and right now he was focused. The swelling had to be taken care of. The blood had to be let out. Fingers gently prod the general area of the swelling, gentle but it will still be a rather intense pain for the poor squire. At least, with that, he can gauge how deep he has to cut to remove the bad blood. Choosing the point closest to Kierne's side to open up, placing the bowl snug up against Kierne's hip. Silver blue eyes flicker over toward Kierne's face once, before turning the point of the scalpel against the flesh. The scalpel is cool to the touch and then slides through the skin with a solid pressure, pressing beyond the first layers of skin toward the inner issue, and creating at once a path for all that internal bleeding to follow… and that's out, into the bowl.

Kierne's fingers scamble for purchase, but there's none to be had, their grasp limp with the muscle relaxants he's imbibed. He couldn't dig his fingernails into his leg if he wanted to— and he sure seems to want to, a gurgle of pain in his throat as fluids are expressed from his wound; nothing out of the ordinary but for the blood, which colors everything in its dark, settled hue. The gurgling gives way to panting, the muscle relaxants giving him liberty to breathe more deeply, and then he tames the panting to a firm huff of breath through his nostrils, eyes craning their angle downward over the towels, drawn by the cool touch of metal to his flushwarm skin, then lifting them once more to V's eyes, making contact even as the incision is pressed into his person, his breath stolen away by the uncanny situation of lying quite still and being eased open thus, the sheer oddity of it almost overwhelming the pain of being cut into. Almost. Then— then, a sudden stirring of breath, a gentle zephyr of a sigh as the blood begins to drain, relieving the pressure that had been so agonizing him since he awoke after being sewn up. His upper lip twitches upward and his eyes close, lips poised thus as though the sudden relief were engendering in him a state of euphoria.

It was good that there hadn't been any clear, yellow or pinkish fluid from the first incision - it meant that infection was not the root cause for such pain. He simply reached back toward his tray at such a sight and put bandages there to soak up the blood while he made that second incision. The second does incur the rush of excess blood. He puts that bowl against the squire's flesh to collect as much as he can and not let it go sopping all over the place. His opposite hand settles on furthest point of the swelling, palm pushed against flesh firmly, drawing his palm toward the incision to encourage the blood that way. Internal bleeding it was, because such an incision wouldn't encourage such a flow, for it was only a few inches in length and less than that deep and yet, the blood was gushing. His gaze draws up only to see how his patient is handling such an oddity of being cut open when often, being cut open means death. A quiet smile settles on Val's lips as he notices the look on Kierne's face. Still, it could be a matter of another gash somewhere deep inside… an organ or the guts damaged, and if that were the case, the internal bleeding would not stop. So, once again he looks to soak his hands in that anti-bacterial (as much as it could be in this timeline) remedy, before he slides a finger into that incision, underneath the layer of skin, pushing his finger in just enough to see if he can feel any abnormal shapes or roughness to what he can feel. His other hand now working from the outside to do the same. Searching. Now if Kierne thought watching himself being cut open was odd, what's he going to think of seeing the other man's finger wiggled inside that open incision. After all, Val did pick the side that was just below the wound and would have likely ruptured if anything from the blow, versus the otherside that just swelled because the blood had no where to go.

Kierne's mouth opens further, wide, his head tossing back, ruffling his hair against the cot beneath him, the hand pressing the blood from his gut inspiring pain sharp enough to cut straight through the haze of drug and summon such frail writhing as he is able under the circumstances. But the squeezing is certainly not useless, causing all the more blood to jump from the incision into the bowl. When that sharpness subsides, he relaxes once more, rolling his head to one side, breathlessly finding the collection of blood with his eyes, then the hand probing the wound, the utterly baffling sight of the motion of fingers underneath his own skin. It's sore as anything, of course, but the worst is over, and the rest is being masked enough by the drugs that it seems mild in comparison, whereas on a normal day it might have him screaming his lungs out. Those keen fingers can easily sense something amiss, a feather's tickle of blood ribboning pulse by pulse up against his fingers from within the squire.

The squire would have to endure. That was all there was to it. Death might be a sweet relief, but who ever said life wasn't worth the pain to live it? Val squeezes his one hand over Kierne's wrist, as if to try and calm Kierne, or at least give him some measure that Val is still a friend and not some cruel fiend who likes to torture people. "Be a little stronger for me, just a while longer, then you can rest," his voice does eventually croon toward Kierne, as he does indeed feel something that was amiss within the Kincaid. There wasn't supposed to be anything that pulsed blood freely into the cavity of one's body. Not like that. The roughness of an internal rupture felt. He notes the location with his gaze. He slides his finger out, blood now staining the apron he had at some point put on, since his own priests robes were already ruined by the attack, he had only a simple blouse and trousers on and neither had he wanted to get stained too thoroughly - as he had nothing else after these. Even so, the blood was splattering just a bit now, fingers wiping off on the apron and then towels. He turns back to his tray and finds an agent to help cauterize the internal wounds. It was the best they could do, in the day and age they were in. The paste would help clot the blood, but the only real way was to ensure there was pressure applied to the point until it stopped or slowed. Val does both. He'll keep his fingers pressed and the other hand on top of the body, to apply steady pressure. What else could they do? He looks over at Kierne, "Well, I hope you don't mind getting rather close." He grins and then looks back to the injury, intense and hoping this would work and it was enough… and wasn't too late.

There is some fine line between healer and torturer, isn't there? But Kierne was in such intense pain before the draining, with such rigidity along his abdomen, he can't but feel blessed by the cold kiss of the priest's scalpel, even the pain itself a blessing by dint of it being a new and different pain from the one that had plagued him nearly unto unconciousness. So his lips waver into a smile, his head wobbles loosely in confirmation that he's up to the task. Blood keeps draining, but more slowly, now that the initial reservoir has been discharged. It oozes about V's fingers, but at this point how much of that is from the internal wound and how much from the incision isn't really clear. His raw throat moves in a swallow, and he makes his drug-dazed eyes focus up on V's, putting on a broad, goofy smile at the joke. "Not… much closer to get," he rasps out a reply.

It might be a while before the clotting agent and the applied pressure work together to seal the internal rip within. This is a defining moment to make one into a torturer or a healer. Val is clearly the latter. His eyes turn to witness the wavering smile from the squire and that wobble of confirmation, igniting his own good natured grin - as if they were sharing beers and his fingers weren't lodged into the other guy's gut in attempts to save him from what would have been certain death. That goofy smile and the rasping has Val chuckle softly, "They say that there's nothing better to bond together than to have your fingers in someone's abdomen, keeping them from bleeding out." He smirks as he steadily increases the pressure, using his free hand to dab up the blood that spills and falls around him. Most of it continues to go into the bowl while the rest soaks into the towel. Unfortunately, there will be some that spills to the ground but, for now, most of it is captured by the methods Val set out before them. "I could sing something to pass the time or… tell you more about, well, me? You'd probably get bored after a while though-" unlikely, since this guy is rather eccentric and the oddities could be endless. Either way, he will not remove his fingers until he feels the pulse subside and lessen.

Kierne doesn't suffer much in the way of blood loss, despite all the bleeding he's been doing— possibly due to the fact that most of that blood was already long 'lost,' having found its way out of his circulatory system. But now, between that and the new bleeding from the incision, not to mention the drugs and the strange euphoria which arises on the far side of life-ending pain, he's finally growing somewhat pale, keeping his wyed as focused as they'll become onto Val's face. "Tell me," he bids him, pausing substantially to keep his breath about him. "So I'll be ready. If I die. What then?" he asks. Not a religious man, then, obviously, to be asking such questions at such an age. He knows what the philosophers say, but as those aren't much comfort right now, he'll ask the priest.

There certainly was the chance that Kierne could die, regardless of what Val had done. It could be the Priest came too late and that the young man was left too long aside from all others who had wounds more treatable and visual. Yet, that question which comes is not unexpected, it's just of course, remarkable in its sobering mood. Val hadn't come to do this to lose his patient. He had the best intentions and the highest of hopes. Even so, the question must be answered, as a friend and as a Priest might. "I have been visited by the goddess Cri and it seems to me, she spoke of having lived many lives and in this life, I go by Valarius Micha. In a previous life, it was something else entirely and before that, in the beginning, I can only imagine what I was once called. I truly believe, especially after the mother visited me, that our lives are not unending when we die. Instead, for a time, as we seek out one of the seven domaines of paradise, we wait for the touch of our gods to settle us into another life. If we are blessed and our souls retired, we are forever in the blessed embrace of paradise." There's a sadness to his eyes even as he smiles, "You must be cleansed of all sin before you go… otherwise if your sin is unclean and your nature wretched, I cannot promise Inouv will not come for you. As I stand here, I would give you this last confession so you may go in peace, if you wish it. But do not wish it so easily K. You have some importance left to fulfil and I promised you, I would not let you down and I will thus, keep you here in the mortal life."

"Metempsychosis," Kierne whispers. No magic word; only the technical philosophical term for the concept of reincarnation. He's not unlearned about the various theories of death, as he had amply proved in the Bardic to anyone who could stand to listen to him perform such circuits of philosophical reasoning in verse over the sound of his psaltery being tormented. But now he knows to what theory the Priest subcribes, which was, perhaps, his reason for asking. Or perhaps his line of sight on the concept had been much clearer when he was considering it from a distance than now, when the words of a holy man have far greater purchase than they might otherwise. His eyes unfocus in contemplation of the visitation of Cri upon the man with his fingers inside his stomach, but then come to a dull focus again upon his face when he is asked about confession, a strange, dryly humorous expression summoned up to cover a deep grief— badly, in his present state. "I trust you, V. You'll keep your word to me," he whispers, "At any rate, my sin is so unclean, my nature so wretched, you might not be able in such wise to cleanse it."

"There is no magic in cleansing a soul K," he states as he continues to put pressure to the wound that was inside Kierne's body, "You simply must unburden yourself of what wrongs you think you have committed in life. Once you've addressed such things, you can honestly start to deal with them. I will be able to absolve you of them, forgive you for them, so that you may forgive yourself and accept that we are all bound to make mistakes and none should hold you back from being the man I know you can be, that I see you can be." He smiles toward Kierne, truly believing in such, "If you allow me to hear it, you can start healing, truly healing, and not just from physical wounds."

Kierne's look of sharp humor fades into a sullen, drug-addled haze, his attention wandering downward from V's eyes to his neck, chest, arms, then, lofting back upward, he meets the smile with an expression stoic and somber. "Then hear," he utters quietly. The pulse of blood against the paste covering his internal wound ticks time against V's fingers, marking the seconds as they pass in almost a musical time. "I have had my fill of bread while others go hungry. I have eased my cares in wine while others endured the most bitter miseries unaided. I have been warm by a fire while others shivered in the cold. I have laughed while others could not but weep. I have had privilege upon privilege in towns where there are those who live in soul-crushing poverty. Have lived well while they have died of it," he sings a song of guilt and shame to the beat set by the weak throbbing of his heart.

The resolution to hear Kierne's words is met with a seriousness not often seen in Val's features. A confession, perhaps a man's last confession, was never one to be met with smiles, as he learned early on when he had looked into the first man's eyes that died in his arms. Those seeing death come for them were not gladdened to have a smiling figure of the Eight above them, unless it was a god. He does take his free hand and apply bandages around the incision, knowing most of the bad blood has now escaped and what continues to escape is what Kierne needed inside of him. He does what he can to stifle the flow. He's really trying with all the education he has, to keep Kierne alive. And now, to listen to his words of confession. Such that was said, is quite profound for the young priest to hear. Such words were often spoken from old men who had long sinced enjoyed their lives in richness others did not share. Then there's a faint smile for such a touching confession, "There will always be men who have and men who do not. It is those who choose to do with what they have to impact those around them that will make them virtuous in life. All men walk a different path and face obstacles that are given to them by the Gods. Each man chooses for himself how he is to respond to them, to figure a way around or over, or to sit back and mourn for his lack of effort to find a way." He pauses for a moment, "Nobility is a gift of the Gods. You have been granted a privilege to educate yourself in ways those of us who are born not to it, can't. I can tell you have a mind unlike many." His eyes never leave Kierne's, "Your heart speaks of guilt, though know and understand you are not guilty of any sins that you cannot overcome. You are young and these are the mistakes of the young." Rich, coming from a young priest. He just smiles, "So the Eight forgive you for your selfish gluttonous ways. Know that when you eat, or drink, or warm by the fire, that you could harness your resources, your mind, and what life you have been granted to enrich the lives of those around you. The woman I saw you with, you have changed her life by accepting her. You have good intentions, as most men do and will have. Yet, what will set you apart is what you will do and what you will commit to. Only you can make that choice and distinction. As for now, if I fail you, know I have given you passage into the Eights hall and vow your soul washed clean of such guilt."

Kierne heeds the pardon of the Priest and Gods with an expression more stoic than actually serene, though the drugs relaxing his muscles do lend him a rather peaceful aura of their own. Pensiveness fidgits anxiously behind his eyes as once more he is exhorted to bring change to the world. Something easier said than done when one is occupied most of the day with his squirely duties, and terribly drunk the rest of the time. The former it would be a shame to his family to change; the latter an overwhelming personal obstacle. But in his ability to be educated he can put faith, at least: through careful research and consideration perhaps a plan will reveal itself. His face only registers a faint displeasure when his love for Treasure is cast in the light of an act of charity, which strikes his heart all manner of wrong, as accurate a statement as it may be, and compels him to append, "As she has changed mine by accepting me." And then he is pronounced cleansed— he hardly feels cleansed, but, then, he rather ascribes to the thought that he will be disbanded into nothingness, should he die, and so the pressing need to be rid of all this guilt he carries around doesn't bother him quite so much as it might others. Giving voice to his woes was certainly cathartic, and hearing the Priest's opinion on them gave him food for thought and perhaps an epiphany or two, not to mention giving him something to focus on other than the hand in his stomach, and thus the entire exchange could be considered a success all around. "Thank you," he whispers, in recognition of the fact.

The whisper is enough for Valarius apparently, for he quietly smiles to Kierne in response says, "I am just the bridge between two worlds, our own and the realm of the gods. Thank me for only delivering your words to them, for you've yourself to thank as well, to recognize what troubles you and to discover ways to cure heal your heart and soul." He finally feels that the ribbons of blood are not pulsating against his fingers any longer and that the paste has helped to clot the wound. He gently removes his hand from the inside of the other's belly, going now to the process of cleaning up the incision, but not stitching it up. He actually packs it with salts and poultices to keep infection out, before applying bandages to keep it firmly attached to the young man's torso. The other he does the same with, working quietly until such a point that he's confident that both wounds are now left to the gods to heal, or well, to the body. Wiping his hands off, he reaches for the eight pointed star around his neck, pressing it into Kierne's palm, while his hands close around Kierne's fist. There Valarius settles to a series of ritual prayers over the young man, asking for Sheat's light to shine on Kierne and that the Eight bless the squire's body with the strength to heal himself, and a more formal way of having inviting the purification down upon Kierne's soul. As the prayer comes to a close, he leans over and puts a kiss upon Kierne's forehead. A blessed act.

As odd as it felt to have the Priest's fingers inside of him, it almost feels just as much so to feel them withdraw, his innards shifting and settling back into place, left to their own devices after so much careful tending. The sensation is met with a sharp exhalation of breath from the Squire and then a choked gasp inward, just as quickly. But the pain is so muted now as to be negligible, the herbs on the poulticing producing a cool tingling effect. His hand doesn't quite know what to do with the object being placed into it, fingers fumbling shut under the guidance of the hands which come to grasp about it. The prayers are beautiful, if nothing else, and they move a soft shimmer of tears to the corners of his eyes. When V leans over him, a concerted effort on K's behalf has him lifting the hand not grasping the pendant, his arm faintly wobbly with the muscle relazant, his hand reaching numbly to V's cheek, drawing tremoring fingers over the skin, there, and back over his ear, touching unruly locks of hair and combing fingers unsteadily through it.

The fingers drawn across his cheek are left to do what they may, as Val looks down at Kierne, and encourages with a strong heady tone a single word now, that's: "Live." The choice was up to Kierne. This was his obstacle. Sit back and let the darkness of death creep over him or fight it and live. Finally, his hand comes up to the one combing through his hair, squeezing once more before Val settles the other's arm yet again. One final look given to Kierne, before Valarius starts to clean up all that blood.

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