The Fire in My Blood: Ch 6

“Medicus! Got your man here,” I greeted as we entered the secondary building on our compound.  It had been a concrete block office at some point in it’s past.  Now it proved to be our hospital and infirmary.  Two patients at a time was it’s capacity.  If we had an all out war and enough were injured, space was set up on the warehouse floor, which meant a grouchy Clavis.  I tried to keep danger to my men low so as not to piss off the one guy that could actually mend our gear and transport.  I swear.  I tried getting him to take on an apprentice.  The closest thing Tempestatis could come to with him was test driving the fleet.  Clavis didn’t have to waste time driving and it got Tempestatis out from under his feet.

“Brought our patient?  Oh, that reminds me, I need to get a couple more vials of your anesthetic and coagulant while you’re here.  The vials are up on the regular shelf.” Medicus came around one of the concrete walls.  Iodine and alcohol.  Sanctus shifted closer to me.  Medicus backed up a step, giving the man at my side room to breath.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized.  Sanctus shook his head mutely.  “Would you rather have Hyacinthus see to you?” he offered with a soft smile.  Trust Medicus to try to make his charges comfortable.  He was a good man.

Sanctus pressed farther into me, hiding behind my height.  “We’ll call that a no.” Medicus shifted his glance from Sanctus to me, asking silent questions.

“He said Gemma keeps him in a cage when he isn’t being used for his gift.” I filled Medicus in as I pulled the box of vials down from the shelf he had indicated.

Medicus sighed sadly as his brows knit together.  “That’s horrible.”  He leaned up against the corner of the wall, giving an air of neutrality.  “What can I do to make this easier?” Medicus asked me.  I had brought in a number of Gemma and Mercurius’s ill-used cast offs.  Many of them had trauma.  It always took time to work with them.  Medicus had an entire wall of medical text and a full shelf singularly dedicated to psychology.  I could trust him to know more on handling the people I brought in than anyone else in Caeruleum territory.

I turned the question over to Sanctus.  “Do you want me to stay while Medicus looks at your back?”

Sanctus thought for a moment quietly.  His thumb brushed back and forth on the back of my arm as he pondered what was to be done.  Finally he nodded.  I took in a relieved breath and directed him toward one of the gurneys behind the concrete wall.  He went up to one of them willingly enough, but eyed it with uncertainty.  

“Are you okay with taking the coat off?” Medicus asked.  Sanctus started shaking worse than before, tears sliding down his cheeks as he peeled the coat off.  Medicus was good enough to hide his shock where Sanctus couldn’t see.

“Easy, easy, Sanctus,” I soothed as I pulled the spare sheet off the gurney behind me.  He looked up at me, bewildered.  “Sit down and we can cover you with this.  Medicus’s just going to look at your back and see if we can fix the whip marks.  That’s all he’s doing,” I explained as I eased him down.  He swallowed his terror and sat down as he was told to do.  I laid the sheet across his lap.  He continued shaking, but with less ferocity.  

I was surprised when he grabbed hold of my hands and refused to let go.  “It’ll be okay.  I won’t leave,” I promised as I hooked the gurney behind me with my foot and pulled it to me to sit down, knee to knee with Sanctus.  I’m not sure if he could feel it, but the power flowing out of him was like having concentrated adrenaline fed directly into my blood stream on a drip line.  “Are you all right with sharing your power like this?” I murmured.  The feeling was disconcerting and the fire in my blood is supercharging under it.  Sanctus bit his bottom lip as he fought with more tears.  

“Do you want us to stop?” Medicus asked as he brought a tray around to the side of the bed where Sanctus could watch him.  On it were cotton balls, needles, suture thread, iodine, and several other instruments I couldn’t hope to identify.  A shiver ran up Sanctus’s body and across my palms.  His skin went cold and clammy.

“Bad question?” I pressed him gently.  He couldn’t stop shaking.  Medicus and I shared a glance.  I nodded my head at the unanswered question he tossed my way.  He took his tray around behind Sanctus.  “Sanctus,” I used a more commanding tone, though the acid burn in my gut tells me this is torture.  Snardask warrants reactions from him better than Domese pidgin.  “Sit still.” Immediately his shaking subsided to a small tremor running across my palms.  His eyes went flat as color drained from his face.  

“I’ve run out of the anesthetic.  You look famished anyway, so better time to get it.  If you could, before I get going, Lunam?” Medicus asked, motioning me to the bottles.

“Are you okay with seeing my fangs again, Sanctus?” I asked.  We had changed location and circumstances.  It might affect him.  He nodded his head, fixated on the vial.  That was an improvement.  At least his tears had stopped.  

Cotton balls under the tongue was always a disturbing feeling, but it helped dry out my mouth to keep saliva at bay.  I popped open the first cap for one of the small vials.  I slid the mouth of the vial over my left upper fang and pulled it up and away from my regular teeth.  A slight shift, enough for the lip of the vial to slip up to the gum line forced the gland that was up behind my sinus cavity to drip a golden yellow liquid down through the hollow points.  Milking my fangs always made my face itch.  I could usually fill about four vials at a sitting, two for each fang, but I was hard pressed to fill one each today.  I didn’t bother with my bottom fangs.  They could produce the anesthetic, as Medicus and I discovered through some experimentation, but I had to put myself into some awful contorted position to get gravity to work with me.  I also ran the risk of too much saliva getting into it, being that close to the salivary glands, which would reduce the effectiveness and longevity.

I handed one of the capped vials to Sanctus as I reached for a different vial, the one used for coagulant.  This one hooked into a bizarre little suction cup and vacuum bulb Medicus had rigged out of necessity.  Sanctus rocked the vial this way and that in the light to watch the liquid coat the inside of the glass, to send sparks of amber flashing around the clinic walls.  

The coagulant from the glands on either side of my tongue was more difficult and time consuming to extract, but it was keeping Sanctus fixated and distracted.  I could only ever hope to put up half a bottle of the stuff a day for Medicus, and I had already used up quite a bit on the five volunteers from earlier.  He’d have to make due with a quarter of a bottle today.  He didn’t use it often, and it was shelf stable for about four weeks.  Most often he utilized the anesthetic as a localized treatment when suturing large wounds and the coagulant for bleeding that refused to stop.  As long as we weren’t in a siege and no one chopped a finger off, it wasn’t needed.  So, I didn’t feel too bad.  I’d try to come down the next morning and fill in his inventory.  It was usually safer to provide when I knew for a fact I wasn’t needed in the field.

Medicus cleaned Sanctus’s wounds while he was enraptured with the vial.  Finished with the coagulant, I set everything aside and took up his hands at Medicus’s signal that he was going to begin suturing.  Sanctus never made a sound through the entire procedure, his only tell was the strength by which he gripped my hands.  The harder he pressed, the more power I siphoned off him.  I was slowly speculating what Gemma had done to the man sitting in front of me.  Physical torture was at the top of the list.  Psychological torture and manipulative training was next.  I was going to have to find a safe way to burn off this energy.

“Finished.” Medicus set his tray aside and went to his pharmaceuticals bay and pulled out a series of lozenges he bottled.  He brought them back to us.  Sanctus had turned into a zombie.  I looked up at Medicus, hoping he had something useful.  He shook his head.  “It’ll take a long time and a lot of patience, Lunam.  She’s torn him apart.  Give him a safe space.  When able, bring him back, and we’ll start trying to help him move forward. For now, take these with you.  He needs to take one of these three times a day for the next eight while his back heals.  Bring him in when the bottle is empty, and I’ll see if the stitches can be removed then.  The bandaging needs to be changed each day, and don’t let him soak in water ‘til the wounds are completely sealed.  Your coagulant would make this faster, but there’s not a lot here to work with, and I don’t think he’ll take to be bathed like a cat.” He handed me the bottle and a bag of wrapped bandages.

“Thank you, Medicus.” I shook the man’s hand and rose from my gurney.  “Count my chips towards his treatment?”

“Sounds like a fair trade then.”  

Sanctus looked up at me, though I’m not sure he was processing anything.  “Let’s go.” I keep the Angelus command short and authoritative.  I hate it, but gentle questions weren’t getting us anywhere yet.  I let go of Sanctus’s other hand and collected my coat.  Sanctus rose meekly, the sheet slipping from him as he mutely waited for my next command.  “Put this on.” I held the coat for him to slip his arms in.  He stared at it uncertainly for a moment.  He clearly had not been helped into a shirt or coat before.  I shook the garment a little to indicate to him he needed to hurry.  He furrowed his brows in confusion as he pushed his arms into the sleeves.  I pulled it around him and buttoned him into it.  The garment swamped him to the floor.  He fingered the lapels, a blank expression washing out his eyes.  I was going to massacre Gemma’s entire compound.

Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.

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