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soft hearts ; sharp talons

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The stench of rancid iron is thicker than the air that carries it. Black blood covers everything, congealing like dried jam left out in the noon day sun. The smoke stings at her eyes and tears at her throat- or perhaps that's her own cries. Her own screams; Perhaps it's all her own blood as well.

No matter how hard she fights, how fast she runs, she always ends up here. Kneeling next to her own bleeding heart, praying to the gods that she was dead instead. Gore burns itself into her mind over and over, the fall of the man’s axe onto her mother’s spine, the arrows riddling the ribs of the Elders, even the horses had their necks slit in the night. Nothing left breathing, save her. And even then, she wasn't sure she was still alive, nor was she even sure if she wanted to be.

Despair was like water in her lungs, and as she fought to breathe she felt herself begin to thrash, panic overwhelming her as the cycle began anew, and the bodies all around her lived again only to fall once more. Not again, not again, not again...

Talon awoke violently, aware only of the threat. She had her hand wrapped around his throat before her vision had even fully come into focus, the fear pumping adrenaline into her every atom. As her heart pounded in her ears, she realized who’s throat she was moments away from snapping.

Janzo’s frightened but surprisingly patient expression gave her a start - one look down at her torso revealed he was once again applying some medicine to her wounds, which was looking half healed. Then she remembered she was in her underclothes, inches away from a man she barely knew, and the steel returned.

She shoved Janzo away, letting him stumble.

“You where having a terrible nightmare. I thought putting a bit more painkiller on might help. Calypsum takes the edge off, yeah,” Janzo nodded to the discarded green bottle beside her on the bed, “but it’s an accelerant, darling. Going to sleep right off that’s like asking for trouble.”

Despite Janzo’s sympathetic smile, Talon simply glared at him, feeling and looking like an antisocial cat forced to get a belly rub.

“Do you want to talk about it? You were whimpering…” Janzo offered, and immediately regretted it. Her expression soured further.

“You know what? I have just the thing to knock you out, nice dreamless slumber to help you heal all the way up!” Janzo informed her enthusiastically. Her expression softened, and she raised an eyebrow in interest at the word dreamless.

The alchemist took that as his sign to approach his patient, and he pulled out the dark colored flask in his inner pocket, holding it out to her.

“It’s sweet, sickly sweet. Just like yours truly, haha...just a swig will do- or that works too, I guess.” Halfway through holding out the bottle to her, Talon had snatched it and downed half of it before he could blink. She then wiped her mouth and apologetically pressed the bottle back into his palm. She looked a bit more relaxed already as she blinked up at him, her gaze beginning to soften. She let her hand linger for a moment before she laid back down.

Tucking the bottle away with a blush, Janzo turned towards the door to go downstairs and finish cleaning up all the black blood on the staircase before anyone noticed.

“Thank you, Janzo.” He heard her whisper, almost too quiet to be real. Maybe he’d imagined it. Either way, he walked out the door glowing, and she finally got some sleep, knowing someone cared about her soul enough to try to save it.