(1311-03-10) Bloodied and Broken
Summary: After missing a dinner date, Helene and her guard, Jean-Marc, are found between two buildings.
RL Date: March 10, 2019
Related: Cutthroats, Crooks and Conmen Plot
martel helene 

Laneway in Marsilikos


At seven, Hélène has not yet arrived at the Inn. She had sent word ahead, arranged her favourite table by the fireside with wine waiting for them, but the Baroness herself is late, an event Martel has likely never seen before. Oh certainly he has seen her lose herself in her reading and research, but usually Jean-Marc at the very least reminds her of the time.

Sipping on his wine at the table, Martel would not worry too much about her tardiness at first. It is important, and perhaps there were other things to discuss with the Harbormaster or other information that would come to light. But once she is more than half an hour tardy, Martel does get up to speak to the barkeep to make sure no messenger had come to announce her being late and it just had been forgotten to be relayed.

When that too is fruitless, he pays for the wine and starts to make his way towards the docks, and the Harbormaster's Office.

The path between the Harbourmaster and the Market Promenade is clear, at least the main routes, but there is a side path, a shorter one along a back street. It is just a side street that cuts between the districts, and well used, not some small side pass where no one dressed well would dare tread. There is a crowd standing in the lane though, some leaning over around a large lump on the ground, talking loudly, some voices rising, sounding panicked or upset, at the space between two buildings. A figure in the blue of the Temple of Eisheth runs down the lane, pushing past Martel, his voice calling out through the dozen or so people, "Let me see the man!"

It is perhaps not a route that Martel would have taken, on account of being new to the city and not having worked out all the short-cuts yet. Okay, so perhaps it is also because he tended to use a carriage to travel around town usually. So he is a taking advantage of being in Hélène's good graces a little bit. Ahem.

Still, on foot now, the commotion is something that is hardly to be easily ignored, especially not to an already worried mind and so the approach is made to the talking group, his cane to no longer tap the ground as his steps speed up, especially when the priest runs past him, the sailor to speed up his gait to reach the site.

The crowd parts to let the Priest pass through revealing the figure on the ground, a man crumpled on the packed earth, the now familiar colours of white, black, and burgundy obscured some beneath the dirt and blood. As Martel moves closer, the healer turns the man over, revealing the battered face of Jean-Marc, blood already drying on the head wound that cuts his hairline. His leg is bent at an unnatural angle, hands swollen and violet, turning duskier with the bruising as it develops, matching the bruises on half his face.

Martel is not a stranger to violence nor to injury, and yet, the significance of the colors and the man that lies bloodied and battered on the ground is not lost on him.

Martel only slows when he comes upon the spot, using his arm and even the cane to push any on-lookers out of the way if needed to make his way to the fore, though the pushes are measured and increase in pressure only until the person yields rather than offering further disturbance and adding a sense of panic or violence to the already agitated crowd. Not that Martel spares the so displaced any real notice, focusing on the fallen man and to see if he is conscious, after assuring no other form is lying on the ground nearby.

The man is not conscious, but the healer is treating him, so he is still alive for now, though the blood around his mouth indicates that might not be a guarantee an hour from now. When Martel looks each way though, he can just see something in the space between buildings, a dark shape on the ground that only catches his eye because it moves slightly.

It might much later occur to Martel how foreshadowing his words in his room had been of delegating. Obviously the state of Jean-Marc is important, but not as pressing (or important) as the state of Hélène, which is still unknown. And so the man delegates, in his own way, choosing to trust the priest on account of his rank and reputation of the Temple as capable healers to take care of the guard. Instead he turns to one of the by-standers, brown eyes level and seeking theirs with a certain intensity. "You…", he begins, making sure the man has locked eyes with his and is both aware that he is spoken to and that Martel will remember his face, has his undivided attention. "Go and get a wagon. Big enough to lay two people on. Get a guard if you need it to seize one.", he demands. Once he is sure the man is moving to do as he is told, does Martel, towards that alley in the shade, knuckles white on the round part of the cane he uses not to walk but to carve a way through any on-lookers.

The man does take the instruction, nodding as he swallows hard before turning to head to the main market square, the most likely place to get a wagon. As Martel turns into the small lane between buildings, he can see drag marks on the ground, both the marks made by Jean Marc pulling himself to the edge of the lane, and a wide one from where the person in there was dragged along the ground further in.

When Martel approaches, he can see the brown hair, filled with dust, the leather folio dropped partway down the lane, the torn cloak only a metre later, and then Hélène, lying on her side, her gown torn. She does not move, only whimpers, holding her hand close to her belly. She isn't crying, too much in shock and pain for that. Jean-Marc looks bad, but she looks in a similar state, though he needs to get closer for the full picture.

It might well be the first time Hélène will hear Martel yell. A voice used to shout against storm gales and crashing waves, only heralded by the deliberate, deep inhale of air. "I need another healer here!", he shouts out over his shoulder, before he takes the remaining steps into the relative darkness of the alley-way at almost a run, before kneeling beside the form of her, reaching out to turn her so he can better see the extend of her injuries, though carefully to not cause further harm. "It's all right.", he claims without any evidence to basis it on yet. "We'll get you to the Infirmary in a moment…".

Her gown, the wine coloured one she wore the night she returned, willing to try with him, is torn down half her body where she was dragged along the lane on her stomach, dirt in the scrapes that run from shoulder to waist. Her face has been beaten, and bruises are still developing on her arms and legs. Her right hand though is a mess of blood, half the fingers angled badly, and the middle one cut off with something sharp from just below the first knuckle. She groans, eyes blinking hazily as she is rolled painfully onto her back. The healer is coming down the lane, his eyes taking in both Hélène and the cane as he asks Martel, "There is a wagon. Help me get her onto it, the man is failing and needs to get to the infirmary."

Martel takes stock of the injuries in a bit of a detached manner almost. Too stunned by the turn of events to order the conflicting emotions that war for dominance inside, though at her groaning, he leans down to kiss her forehead in apology perhaps.

Before he can say more, the priest arrives, however, and Martel merely nods his head, the cane left on the ground as he turns to try to position his arms and hands underneath Hélène to pick her up. "I am sorry…this will hurt, but we need to move you.", he half whispers. One arm underneath her shoulders, the other beneath her knees, before he starts to strain to get back into his feet to start carrying her to the wagon. So what if he might be limping a little? It is still faster, and probably a bit gentler than trying to carry her between himself and the priest, right?

The Priest looks surprised, certainly, and takes in the limp, but nonetheless strides ahead to clear the path to the wagon, where Jean-Marc is already being laid out. The Priest gets in after Martel lays Hélène down, kneeling over Jean-Marc before looking back to Martel, "Are you coming in here or meeting us there?" There is no doubt in his voice that Martel is coming with, just is asking about how.

Once Hélène is laid out on the wagon, Martel undoes his cloak to drape it over her, covering up whatever the torn gown might no longer both for warmth and modesty's sake. The left leg might be shaking faintly from the strain, the hand that touches her cheek to brush it gently for a moment has no such excuse. And yet, when his eyes turn to face the priest at the question it does turn from worry to just a moment of indecision, before he half closes his eyes. "No. Go head. I will catch up. Get them both through this…", he tells the man, surely needlessly, but some things have to be said no matter how useless it might be.

And with that he slips back down from the wagon, to allow himself to watch them pull away out of the lane and around the corner and out of sight before he limps back towards that alley. To retrieve his cane. The leather pouch of hers. And anything else that might be found that seems of importance, asking for a lantern to do so if needed, breathing deep, and perhaps a touch too fast, while he tries to concentrate on the task at hand. Burying herself in work is Hélène's way of dealing? It seems Martel is not that different, at least here when he knows he cannot do anything to aid her or Jean-Marc. At least he can try to find something to track down whoever did this.

There isn't a lot in the laneway, just the cloak, the folio, and a few pieces of paper that are smudged with mud. When he looks a bit closer, along where she was dragged, he finds a slim necklace with a tear-shaped pendant dotted with a few small pearls, but that is it. When he arrives at the infirmary, he is directed towards where Hélène is being seeing to, a priestess in the small room with her. The young woman looks up, asking, "You were the one who found her? Who is she?"

Gathering up the things he can find, Martel stops to talk to a guard, that by now surely have arrived on the scene, being alerted by someone. To inform them of where they were going and coming from, to talk to the Harbormaster and where to reach him if news were learnt, offering a reward of any information they uncover and deliver to him. The only other stop is to send a messenger to the Estate to let Marie know of both Hélène's and Jean-Marc's whereabouts and condition, and to send some of the guards to the temple and take one for herself if she comes to visit.

When he enters the room, being questioned, he shakes his head almost imperceptibly. "Others noticed her guard before me, but…yes, I found her.", he admits, voice careful, even as he moves to dump all the things he carries on a free spot on a table or in a chair. "Baroness Hélène Verreuil. How is she?", he finally answers, stepping closer to her and the priestess, perhaps not aware of the mud stains on his knees, or any bloodstains he gotten from carrying her. Or simply not caring.

The priestess answers, "I'm Jeanette, can you hold her shoulders down? This is going to hurt." She isn't exactly giving a direct response, but Jeanette looks pale, even as she works on the only half lucid Hélène. She waits until Martel is holding Hélène's shoulders before letting go herself and turning to the brazier nearby. She grabs a cloth, wrapping her hand with it and starts explaining, "the guard is in trouble. The Baroness is injured, but she will survive. Unfortunately, I cannot relieve her pain until I have evaluated her injuries, and I can't do that until I cauterise her hand."

She uses the cloth to grab a piece of metal from the brazier, the wooden handle well out of the flamed, and then reaches for Hélène's hand. Hélène cries out softly at the pain of having broken fingers handled, then wakes enough to scream as the smell of searing flesh rises in the air as the flat metal is pressed again the stump of a finger. She writhes against Martel's hands, but after ten seconds or so, the metal is removed and tossed onto a shelf. Jeanette takes a pair of scissors instead, starting to cut away at the gown. "Now that the worst is over, I am going to feel along her body, to see where she might have internal injuries. After that, I will dose her with milk of poppy."

Another, deeper breath taken by the sailor, as she introductions are made. "Martel…", he supplies his own name, before the request comes, the explanation. Setting his jaw, Martel apparently is already a step ahead of the explanation, perhaps noticed the brazier and the heated irons. Setting his cane to the side, Martel steps up to the bed, the back of his hand to once more brush lightly over the cheek of the wounded one, mouthing a silent apology.

"Swiftly, then…", he offers to Jeanette instead, as he settles his hands on Hélène's shoulders. Not something he is a stranger to either, surely, wounded sailors in battle often to receive triage in crude ways, and yet, the scream of Hélène will surely haunt the man longer than those.

Only after the metal is removed, and Hélène slumps back into the bedding, does he lean down to kiss her forehead once more.

The priestess does see what Martel does, how he reacts, but does not comment it, instead moves to Hélène's legs, starting at her feet. As she works, she explains, "We treated the man who came in with her first. He… I do not know if you know him as well, but we assumed he was her guard. He has a bad head wound, and has not regained consciousness yet. He has a compound fracture in his leg, possibly up to his hip. We will hopefully know by tomorrow if he will wake up." The word "if" hangs in front of her as she investigates the bruises.

Hélène reacts around her ankle, and once her dress is cut away the damage to her torso is more evident. Ribs are bruise, and likely broken, but there are not signs of internal injuries that overly concern Jeanette. After finishing with her front, Jeanette arranges her arms, then raises a swollen knee to roll Hélène over, gasping as she does. There is a large, boot shaped bruise already dark purple on Hélène's back. "Oh Lady…." Jeanette murmurs as she sees it, "Someone put you through the ringer." Hélène for her part occasionally whimpers, but does not fight, but does finally open her eyes as she is laid on her front, blinking away tears. Her lips move, but her voice is inaudible, only a breath against the bed.

Martel stays out of Jeanette's way as she works, though close in case she needs further assistance. The stark contrast of the memory of her skin unmarred and the bruises that now bloom surely further darkening his mood, jaw to clench for a moment. "His wife — Marie — will undoubtedly arrive soon. I send word to her.", he lets the priestess know, off-handly, as he watches her work. Yet, when Hélène is rolled over, the comment draws narrowed eyes towards Jeanette for a moment. "This was not just a mugging.", he states, more than asks, but apparently wants her to confirm.

And yet, when Hélène starts to speak, Martel crouches beside the bed, to bring his head closer to her, to once more seek to cup her cheek, a brush of a thumb to catch any tears that might escape. "Not much longer, dear…", he gently tells.

Jeanette watches the tenderness once more as she finishes working down the left arm, and then the right. She ends at the broken hand with it's missing digit, which she wipes with water and then a foul smelling ointment before wrapping it in a bandage. "The Baroness will be fine as long as she rests, and manages her pain. I believe her ankle is only sprained, and the rest? Mostly bruises, a few broken ribs, but this hand? Half her fingers are broken, on top of the one cut off. She may not fully regain motor skills, but the pain of the finger will last a long, long time. I will give you milk of poppy for her pain, but as long as she rests, she will recover." She gives Martel a gentle, compassionate smile and reaches out to take one of Martel's hands, assuring him again, "Her body will recover Lord Martel. And she can either stay here a few days, or, if you would rather, we can visit her at home."

Hélène blinks a few times before saying, a bit louder now, "I am here. You don not have to pretend I'm not." Her green eyes stay on Martel though, leaning in to the hand on her cheek.

A few nods are given to the information Jeanette dumps on him, and Martel takes a deeper breath, even before the priestess reaches for his hand. "Thank you for your help…", he offers her, if a bit strained. Well, she must surely understand that being thankful is not really on the forefront of his thoughts right now. And yet, before he can say more, Hélène's voice does draw his eyes back to hers, meeting them. "You are now, yes…", he dares to tell her, lips to curve upwards in a crooked, half-hearted smile. Surely she was barely there before the pain shook her back into the here and now. "We'll discuss things and let you know.", he finally states to the priestess, apparently dismissing her, caressing the cheek of the Verreuil as he does so.

Only when she reaches the door, does he seem to remember, turning, breaking the eye-contact with Hélène to peer after her for a moment. "How much of the milk…?", he queries, and perhaps implying he needs to know where she keeps it too. Tsk. For shame, Hélène barely regained consciousness and he already conspires to put her under again.

Hélène shakes her head slowly, "No Martel… no." She tries to raise a hand to reach for his hand, wincing as she reaches for him with her injured hand. She looks to it, then stops, what little colour is left draining before she asks, "Did you.. Does anyone have my ring?" So far she has looked many things, pained, confused, even angry, but this is the first time she has looked afraid. "Martel, where is my ring?"

The movement does draw his eyes back to her, and when she uses her bandaged hand, Martel sighs at her, reaching to gently put her arm back on the bed, by her wrist. Still, her questions, the rising fear in her voice? Martel shakes his head at her, leaning in to try to kiss her forehead again. "I do not know, Hélène. It did not find it. Only your necklace…", he points out. That is, if it was her necklace, not really having stopped to think if he had seen it before.

Hélène's shoulders start to shake, but still without any tears. She takes a breath and adds, "Where is Jean-Marc? I didn't… hear?" And of course she didn't, she was in the midst of having a metal brand placed on a fresh wound. She tries to turn herself over once more, her body still bare without the remnants of the gown. Should Martel look, he will see that a plain grey robe has been left out for her, as with all the patients.

Does he know the significance of the ring? Perhaps not completely, but Martel can easily see she takes that loss harder then even her own injuries, the loss of her finger, perhaps. "I am sorry. I'll send someone to look for it again in daylight…". Surely the darker alley is not a good spot to look for a single ring in the night.

And yet, when she speaks of Jean-Marc, inquires, he looks pained for a moment, perhaps considering to lie to her, but when she begins to turn around, as if to rise, perhaps finally it is too much for her and he does raise his voice a little bit. "By Elua's balls, will you stop moving already?!", he demands of her, eyes to narrow for once. Has she ever hear him swear?

"She said I could go home," Hélène challenges Martel back, her breath coming in gasps by the time she is lying on her back once more. Her green eyes go to Martel's and she asks again, more firmly, "Where is Jean-Marc?" She can see that he is holding back, and he can see she is preparing for the worst, steeling herself against the potential loss of her oldest friend.

With her left hand she reaches for Martel once more, saying more calmly, "I… I hurt Martel, and I'll take the…" Another breath, "Milk of poppy when I'm home. Where. Is. Jean-Marc?"

Martel closes his eyes for a moment, both in an effort to center himself and to block out the sight of the injuries on her that surely will rile him up just more. "She certainly did not mean walking there by yourself.", he retorts, though the sharpness is fading from his voice. By the time he reopens his eyes, he rises from his crouched position, even as she reaches for him. His hand to take hers, give it a light squeeze. "He is alive.", he states, though there is certainly the unsaid 'but' hanging in the air. "They are tending to him as we speak."

Hélène simply nods, "No, not walking." Her breaths are growing more ragged again. She is lucid now, unlike her state of shock until the pain of the cauterising brought her to. "I… Thank you Martel." She blinks the tears back again, and lays her head back, head facing the ceiling. "Take me home?" she asks quietly, "I… Before you ask, I don't know what happened."

A deeper sigh is given at her thanks, and Martel shakes his head. "It does not matter what happened.", he states. "What matters is that you get better, first…", he tells her, even though he draws away, gently enough, but in the same purposeful way that he has moved all day, increasing the tug away from her hand slowly until she lets go, so he can walk to the robe to fetch it for her, and then move to help her into it, help her move. "It would be easier if you take a few drops…", he suggests to her, then. "Just to take the edge off…".

Hélène nods, wincing as the robe is wrapped around her and then fastened. She doesn't reach for the medicine, allowing him to administer it before closing her eyes. the taste is terrible, but the relief is sweet, and between the heroine and her injuries, he can feel her going limp, not asleep, just heavy. "Home," she whimpers again, leaning forward against his chest.

Jeanette returns, and again, notes the pair, allowing a moment before she tells them, "The woman you spoke of, Marie, she's here. She brought a carriage, and I asked her to keep it here until you decided if you would return home.

It is Hélène who turns and nods, murmuring, "Yes."

Jeanette of course can see the effects of the drug, and the injuries, and tells Martel, "Make sure she rests. With her ribs, and her finger, keep her sedated for a few days if you can, and in bed at least a week if not two. I still do not know if any of the blows to her head caused trauma aside from the bruising." She turns to Hélène and says simply, "Do what he says. He clearly care about you, and I only wish to see you heal. We will send a healer twice a day for now to check on you."

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