He was about to close up for the night, when one last patient walked in. Well, stumbled. Holding her side and back, she was sweating and pale, and her hands were stained red with her own blood.
A human. Oh well. Not unique, but always good to have the practice.
“No questions asked?” She asked through panting breaths. It was on the makeshift sign he had put up just above his station.
“Nothing but what went into the body, and any allergies. Trust me, you can’t be any worse than the man who tried to stuff an imp up… well, that’s a story for another time. Table, quickly, miss.”
She stumbled to the makeshift table that was in the alley, she mumbled no allergies, and a low “Not sure what hit me, but… stabbed in the back. Probably a knife.” The unfortunate human winced as she hefted herself onto the table, letting out a squeak of pain, as Sharpe got his tools out, double checked that they were clean (they always were) before looking at the wound.
He tsked quietly, as he moved her hand away from covering the entry point, then put her hand back on the wound site. “Your armor shifted. I’m not going to be able to get a good look, and removing your armor may exacerbate any damage already done.” She twisted to look at him, then hissed in pain as she did so, quickly moving back to her hunched over position. “How bad? Can I just walk it off?”
He considered for a moment, then shrugged “It might be just a flesh wound. But at that location, you might have nicked the kidneys… an important organ. If it did, you’d poison yourself from your bodily waste, or bleed out. Blurred vision, dizziness are some symptoms. Do you feel like you’re going to vomit?”
The wounded woman considered a moment, then shook her head. “Not feeling sick. Definitely feeling dizzy, though.”
Sharpe tilted his head, “Could be the blood loss, could be the kidney. I’ll have to cut the armor off, check the wound. The knife or short sword went up, and the angle is bad for me to get into.” Sharpe went to the other side of the table so that she could look at him, and after a brief moment’s hesitation, she nodded. Gingerly, and with Sharpe’s help, she laid face down on the table, while Doc went to work slicing off the light leather armor she was wearing. As soon as the armor came off, he put gauze on the wound, applying pressure and mopping up the blood as it came out. He removed the gauze calmly, and put on a small monocle to take a look at the wound, leaning close.
Painful, but doesn’t appear deep enough. No arterial blood leaking out, and no urine leakage at the wound site. Just missed, lucky woman. I can see the kidney through the blood, looks intact, if maybe a minor bruise.
“Some good luck, miss. Your attacker missed your kidney by a few millimeters. This should be a simple stitch up, and you’ll be on your way.” Sharpe smiled under his mask, as the patient breathed out a pained sigh of relief, and he reached for the stitches and needle to sew her up. As he did so, however, he noticed a small religious symbol tattooed on her upper left shoulder blade. His mind went into overdrive as he saw it, a hundred thoughts racing at once. “Keep pressure on the wound, please, miss,” Sharpe asked as he placed a large padding of gauze in her hand. She did as she was asked.
The mark of Calistria, goddess of revenge and lust. This an acolyte of the church we were sent to eliminate some of their leaders from. Her armor, weapons. An assassin of theirs?
His eyes darted towards the armor. Nothing special, well made thick leather. The weapons beneath it, however. Syringes of medium quality, a bandolier of vials, all empty. A poisoner. He grabbed the stitches, and needle, began tying the thin but extremely tough thread to prepare to stitch the woman closed, as his mind continued to calculate.
An enemy, then. She likely knows much about their cult. He taught me that pain, properly applied, could get anyone to tell the truth. It wouldn’t take long. The leather bite could be tied easily, prevent her from screaming. Thirty minutes, and she’d tell me everything. Then I could dispose of her, easily. So many people die here in Gralton. What’s one more? I know how to make sure it looks like she died from her current wound. Just went a little deeper, that’s all. Everything else is easily covered. An hour, tops.
He finished tying the thread to the needle, humming to himself, debating while keeping as calm as demeanor as possible. It helped that he’d done this hundreds of times, his body was on automatic. He took the well used but sterilized leather bite and placed it in front of her. “Bite down on this. I don’t have any anesthetics, it costs too much, and I always get someone who thinks they can rob me.” The assassin nodded, and bit down on the leather strap with one who knew what was coming.
And would it be so bad? I haven’t done anything exploratory in almost two years. He’d say I was getting rusty. Another hour to see how she ticks. Dispose of her with the pigs, I’ve done it before. Simple, helpful, efficient. She would be helping me expand my knowledge, continue on my path, to truly know how living bodies, not just humans, but all bodies, work.
Just another blood soaked stepping stone. He would be proud of me, I mean, I didn’t even have to do anything. Taking advantage of the opportunity that fell in my lap. Every opportunity needs to be seized and extracted, exploited for the greatest possible benefit with the lowest possible cost.
Sharpe leaned down, taking the patient’s hand and removing the blood stained gauze so that he might look at the wound.
Mallory would be disappointed.
I’d be just like him if I did.
She’s a patient, on my table. And I’m Doc.
Sharpe stitched the Assassin of Calistria’s wound closed with speed and efficiency, barely drawing any further blood from the skin. He added a quick patch to stem any further bleeding, and stepped back. “It is going to hurt like the dickens for a few weeks, but you should be clear. Try not to do anything too strenuous while it is healing, you could open up the wound again. No alcohol for at least a week,” Sharpe stated cheerfully.
The assassin grunted, pulling herself up off the table. She nodded at his instructions with the perfunctory sullenness of a child not wanting to be told what to do, as Sharpe helped her gather up her armor and weapons.
Just another person helped, as Doc Amarant Sharpe cleaned up the blood stained table, his needle and thread, and made sure the scalpels and knives were still in their place in his jacket.