Dobbin canters laboriously through the night, struggling under the weight of two strange riders.
Dobbin's ears are back and he is sweating, from effort and the fear of this charge through the night. He's flinching from the clanking thing that keeps rattling by his left flank.
Dobbin sees a hedge ahead and tries to slow, whuffing in distress.
Pollovic urges his stolen horse to an extra burst of speed, in order to clear the hedge.
Pollovic: Naoyu, hang on!
Naoyu is leaning limply against Pollovic, groaning in pain. His once-pristine shirt is soaked with sweat.
Naoyu: Going to die... I'm going to die...
Dobbin's ears go back and he shakes his head, protesting the awkwardly placed weight, which makes it impossible for him to balance properly.
Pollovic: No, you're not, Naoyu. We're nearly there. Just hold tight.
Naoyu has little clue about the proper way to do breakout exercises, and keeps trying to clench his fists against the painful contractions seizing up his arm muscles.
Dobbin makes a herculean effort and almost clears the hedge, stumbling as he lands.
Pollovic struggles to both hang on to Naoyu, and stay on the horse.
Naoyu screams at the hard landing, and feels pain shooting down his arms.
Dobbin feels the weight on his back sway perilously to the left, a loud scream, and the thud of what must surely be a saber-toothed tiger hitting his flank. He more or less levitates sideways to the right, throwing both riders over his left shoulder.
Pollovic hits the ground hard, with Naoyu's weight dragging at his left ankle. ~~ pain ~~
Naoyu crashes onto the ground with Pollovic, barely aware of what's happening except a sense of motion.
Naoyu is certain, again, that he's going to die. No, he knows it; he's falling into a black pit of the most horrible darkness ever, trying to grab desperately at the one light he sees, but with no way to draw it into himself. He reaches out for it again, screaming and half-growling with desperation.
Dobbin jerks the reins out of his rider's hands and heads back for his stable at full gallop.
Seruffin runs out onto the Sime Center lawn, zlinning for the coach that Pollovic's servant warned him would be carrying a changeover.
Gerrhonot follows close behind.
Naoyu falls back, groaning, as horrible pain wracks his muscles again. It feels like his body is trying to turn itself inside out.
Pollovic resumes breathing with a gasp. ~~ pain pain ~~
Seruffin zlins the wreck the moment he clears the door, and accelerates immediately towards it at high augmentation. He's uttering a string of curses as he runs, which can best be summarized as, "what the bloody shen was the idiot thinking?"
Gerrhonot runs full out but can't keep up with a channel in full augmentation. despite his youth and fitness, and the channel's age and sedentary lifestyle.
Naoyu is only aware of the darkness inside him, and the flaring light right next to him, rich and bright with life and the promise of fulfilment.
Gerrhonot dodges around a rock-enclosed flowerbed, helped by the gaslights lining the drive.
Pollovic opens his eyes to see a contorted face, scarcely human, looming over him in the dim light. ~~ pain ~~ and ~~ panic!! ~~
Naoyu growls again in frustration, flailing around, and barely feels another wave of pain clench his body.
Pollovic raises his head a fraction of an inch, ~~ pain ~~ and sees a blur of motion coming right at him.
Seruffin's hands and tentacles are outstretched, the better to intercept the incipient berserker.
Pollovic struggles to move, to get out of the way of whatever's coming. There's a grating sensation and a further burst of ~~ pain ~~ between his ribs.
Naoyu screams as he feels his muscles contract again, convulsing until in a final burst of effort, something on his arms tears open.
Pollovic gasps, ~~ pain ~~ , and sees a blur of tentacles and fingers coming at him. He suddenly remembers that he's chained to a berserk Naoyu. ~~ panic ~~
Seruffin puts on a final burst of speed.
Naoyu sees the brilliant source of life and illumination again, and realizes, suddenly, in a burst of triumph, that he won't die. He lunges at it, desperate with desire to suck it dry of every last bit of life.
Pollovic gasps as a much closer set of tentacles grab at his wrists. ~~ absolute terror ~~
Seruffin grabs Pollovic's wrists too, stretching out his laterals to intercept Naoyu's.
Gerrhonot is ~~ horrified ~~ that there might be a Kill.
Seruffin dodges around Pollovic to allow a lip contact, offering a ~~ more selyn-rich target ~~.
Naoyu pauses for just a second, as an even more brilliant light eclipses the one he thought he had trapped within his grasp; he's still focused on the bright waves of fear emanating from Pollovic, but seems to have grabbed something else by accident.
Naoyu doesn't hesitate for very long, and launches himself at the rich selyn source anyway, with pure egocentric ~~ desperation ~~
Seruffin offers ~~ full and plentiful selyn ~~ and ~~ relief from need ~~
Naoyu jerks Seruffin towards him, crushing their lips together.
Pollovic gasps as a heavy weight lands across his cracked ribs. ~~ pain ~~
Naoyu draws from the channel with mindless, unthinking need, trying to strip every last bit of selyn.
Seruffin provides an excellent imitation of Gerrhonot's ~~ joy in transfer ~~.
Naoyu feels the terrible endless darkness inside banished by the light that's filling him. ~~ joy ~~
Naoyu draws desperately, driven by an instinct that he's heading towards the bliss of Kill, and feels momentary confusion when he senses his victim's happiness instead; he finds his own happiness surging along with it anyway.
Naoyu tries to draw more, after a peak of happiness, but finds that he's full and he can't. He makes one more attempt, but without any of the same desperation behind it, and finally lets his grip relax.
Gerrhonot arrives and sees his channel in transfer contact with the boy, and Pollovic appears to still be alive. ~~ relief ~~
Seruffin brings the transfer to a close with an internal sigh of ~~ relief ~~.
Naoyu slowly feels his head beginning to clear, as he comes down from the emotional high.
Gerrhonot crouches behind Seruffin, hands on his shoulders, breathing hard, ready to support him in recovery. ~~ joy ~~ admiration ~~ love ~~
Seruffin leans back against his Donor, feeling ~~ exhausted ~~ now that the emergency is no longer life-threatening.
Pollovic struggles for breath as the weight on top of him shifts. ~~ pain ~~
Gerrhonot gently caresses Seruffin's neck. ~~ kindness ~~ admiration ~~
Naoyu realizes, slowly, that he's lying on top of someone... that there's a man in front of him, looking exhausted but smiling... that he's covered in something wet and sticky, and his good shirt is ruined...
Seruffin takes a deep breath and goes back "on duty".
Seruffin: You're all right, son. Can you sit up? You're hurting Senator Pollovic.
Naoyu realizes that he just tried to kill someone. He recognizes Senator Pollovic as the injured man lying underneath him, and quickly jumps off of him.
Naoyu: Oh, no!
Naoyu bursts into tears.
Seruffin gestures for his Donor to take care of the kid.
Naoyu is convinced that he hurt Senator Pollovic by trying to kill him.
Pollovic struggles to sit up, but changes his mind. ~~ pain ~~
Seruffin: Be still, Brenn. I think you've broken a rib.
Naoyu thinks about his promise to "not be like that girl," and how close he came to killing, and sobs even harder.
Gerrhonot goes over to the new Sime and holds him, letting him cry against his chest.
Gerrhonot: It's okay. You didn't kill anybody. You'll never kill anybody. It will never be this hard again. ~~ safety ~~ kindness ~~
Pollovic obeys Seruffin, unable to do anything else as the burst of adrenaline wears off, leaving him more aware of his pain.
Naoyu buries his face in Gerrhonot's chest, too ashamed to look at the Senator.
Pollovic: Twenty... ribs... feels... like. Damn... horse.
Naoyu: I didn't kill. I'll never kill...
Naoyu repeats the words as if they were some sort of magic spell, not at all convinced of this yet, after how close he just came.
Gerrhonot: That's right. You'll be okay now. ~~ kindness ~~ reassurance ~~
Pollovic focuses on Seruffin's face, which is still rather blurry. ~~ weak panic ~~
Naoyu is still hypoconscious, but responds to the non-nageric aspects of Gerrhonot's kindness and compassion.
Pollovic struggles to move, to get away. He manages to sit up ~~ pain ~~ , but is brought to a halt by a drag on his ankle.
Seruffin: Brenn, you're safe now. Let me check whether that rib is out of position before you try to move.
Pollovic flops back down onto the ground but winces away from Seruffin. ~~ fear ~~
Seruffin reaches out to restrain Pollovic from further movement.
Pollovic: You're... you... he...
Gerrhonot notes the trouble his channel is having and divides his focus, keeping up the ~~ kindness and encouragement ~~ to Naoyu, while offering ~~ support ~~ to his channel.
Pollovic is having trouble forming coherent thoughts. All he knows right now is fear, and tentacles.
Seruffin: The boy isn't in need any longer. He won't harm you now.
Naoyu is still crying onto Gerrhonot's shirt.
Pollovic is broadcasting the ~~ pain ~~ of a concussion, as well as his cracked ribs and overall bruising.
Naoyu wants to express some sort of gratitude to Seruffin, for saving him from killing, but doesn't know how to express something so immense in words.
Seruffin: I got here in time. Barely, but in time.
Seruffin looks ~~ exhausted ~~ after the fact.
Pollovic: You... grabbed... m... me.
Naoyu slowly begins to return to duoconsciousness, and winces at the waves of pain emanating from Pollovic.
Seruffin: I had to -- it was the only way to get him off of you.
Gerrhonot edges him around, placing his own powerful nager between the new Sime and the Gen pain.
Pollovic: You... I've never... You're a... Sime.
Pollovic flares another, weaker wave of ~~ fear ~~.
Seruffin: I'm a channel. There's no reason for you to be afraid of me.
Seruffin is ~~ saddened ~~ at what he's zlinning.
Gerrhonot intensifies his ~~ support ~~.
Naoyu relaxes into Gerrhonot's nager, now that he can feel it more, still crying a little.
Pollovic: T... tentacles. Sime.
Seruffin: Of course. You've known that for a long time.
Pollovic struggles to focus his thoughts. His rational side, which is still there, understands what Seruffin did and why.
Pollovic: Time. Gimme... time.
Pollovic remembers something else.
Pollovic: Pam...etta...man. Horse. Stole.
Seruffin: Someone stole Pametta's horse?
Pollovic struggles again to sit up.
Pollovic: With. Man. Stole. H'rse. From.
Pollovic forces out each word against further ~~ pain ~~ .
Seruffin reaches out to help Pollovic sit up.
Gerrhonot notices that Pollovic is still wearing his fancy wedding clothes, now ruined. Oh, well, he can afford to buy more clothes.
Pollovic: Help... her. F'get... me.
Pollovic reflexively tries to pull away from the touch of Sime hands.
Gerrhonot realizes that Naoyu is standing awkwardly, now that Pollovic isn't blocking the light. There's a chain on his ankle... attached to Pollovic's ankle too? Strange.
Gerrhonot: Um, Hajene. There's this chain here, on both of their legs.
Seruffin zlins down the street.
Seruffin: I don't zlin her. We can send someone to find her when we get the two of you up to the Sime Center.
Naoyu lets go of Gerrhonot's shirt finally, and looks down at his arms, in the dim gaslight. He has never, actually, seen a picture of anatomically correct tentacles before, so is a little surprised at what he sees.
Pollovic: Now. He... gun.
Pollovic collapses with a grunt, having squeezed out all the words that should be necessary.
Seruffin: I don't think anyone would shoot Pametta because you stole his horse. But we'll send a couple of Gens to look for her.
Naoyu stares at Pollovic, though Gerrhonot's field is powerful enough to insulate him from the pain.
Seruffin: Now, let me get a zlin of those ribs before you try to move any more.
Naoyu: Is... is he going to be okay? I didn't mean to hurt him so badly!
Gerrhonot: I think he just hurt his ribs falling off the horse. Hajene Seruffin will fix them for him. Don't worry.
Naoyu only barely remembers going flying off of something, and his memory of the horse is only slightly less vague.
Seruffin reaches out to get a better zlin of the rib.
Pollovic doesn't flinch at the sight, because his eyes have drifted closed.
Seruffin: Wake up, Brenn. You can't sleep just yet.
Pollovic: (pause) Mmmmmpf?
Seruffin: Wake up. You can't sleep now.
Naoyu wants to run away somewhere and hide in shame -- what will happen to him, and his family, now? Will there be some kind of punishment because he tried to kill a Senator?
Naoyu becomes aware of a weight around his right ankle, and looks down to realize that he's still chained to Pollovic.
Seruffin zlins the rib, and checks the concussion as well.
Seruffin: You have two cracked ribs. I can't do anything much about them now. You've also got a concussion. Hold still and let me work on it for a moment.
Pollovic is too far gone to do much else.
Gerrhonot adjusts the ambient to assist as best he can.
Seruffin does what he can to limit the damage of the knock on the head.
Pollovic blinks his eyes open after a few minutes' work.
Pollovic doesn't make it a question, but a command.
Naoyu tries to sit back down, slowly. As his own adrenaline rush fades, he notices that he's sore all over, and his arms still feel like one giant bruise, not to mention the raw-feeling places where his tentacles came out.
Gerrhonot puts a ~~ comforting ~~ arm around him,
Seruffin: We'll send someone after her. Now, your head's stabilized. Sit still for a moment more while I check the boy, then we'll get both of you inside and send someone after Pametta.
Seruffin turns to Naoyu.
Seruffin: I'm Hajene Seruffin, young man. What's your name?
Naoyu: I... I'm Naoyu. You stopped me from killing. Th-thank you....
Seruffin: You're quite welcome. Now, are you hurt?
Seruffin can zlin that quite well, but it's polite to ask.
Naoyu is still crying a little, and wipes his face off with his blood-splattered shirt and nods.
Naoyu: I remember... falling off of something. We went flying and hit the ground...
Seruffin: You fell off a horse. Fortunately for you, you fell on Senator Pollovic. It's mostly bruises -- no broken bones.
Naoyu is ~~ relieved ~~ to learn that Pollovic is all right, and that he didn't cause all the Senator's injuries. He's still fluctuating between duoconscious and hypoconscious, and his primary reaction to all of what he's zlinning is to be very confused and overwhelmed.
Seruffin: Now, Brenn, I don't think you should try to walk. I'll carry you. Naoyu, you'll have to stay close until we can get that chain off. Gerrhonot, you steady him.
Seruffin lifts Pollovic easily, with the help of more augmentation. He's used more extra selyn tonight than in years.
Gerrhonot gets up with Naoyu, keeping an arm around him.
Pollovic flinches a little at the renewed touch of the Sime-hot hands, but tries not to let it show.
Naoyu looks at Seruffin's arms, and then back down at his own. He's actually relieved to discover that real tentacles are neither as large nor as snakelike as in the few rather bad depictions he's seen. He leans on Gerrhonot, following awkwardly.
Gerrhonot provides ~~ support ~~ to both channel and renSime.
Seruffin thinks he's far too old for this.