509-10-26 The Death of Rourke Caprios

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The Death of Rourke Caprios
RL Date August 29, 2010
Players Emperor Rourke Caprios, Mihovil Pasternak, Helena Soranus, Parsifal Soranus
Location Chief Healer's Office
Crossroads Time and Weather
IC Date October 26, 509
Season Autumn

Chief Healer's Office - Infirmary - Gateway Castle

This office was initially white like the rest, the walls and ceiling white-washed. The floor is covered in a thick carpet of deep green, muting all steps within the room. A window has a view out at the town below, providing plenty of natural light. It is framed by green curtains the same exact shade as the carpeting. A large, dark wood desk is set in the very center of the office, dominating the room. Behind it, a comfortable leather chair of the highest of qualities, the leather stained to match the desk. Upon the desk are a number of books, all logs of the goings on of daily infirmary life, from patients to catalogs of what is currently kept in stock. Two smaller leather chairs are set across from the desk for any who wish to meet with the chief healer. Dark wood shelves line the wall, filled with various books of anatomy, herbs, alchemy, massage, and other topics of medical leanings as well as one shelf solely dedicated to old log books of the infirmary. One wall holds a fireplace, large enough to keep the room warm in the winter. Beside it rests a /very/ well supplied liquor cabinet, with all the finest drinks the Isles can provide.

With a purposeful step, Parsifal comes out of the infirmary proper by the order of one of the knights around the place. He wears an expression of not having any idea what is going on around here.

After summoning Parsifal from the infirmary, the knight disappeared back into the waiting room. He waits by the door to the Chief Healer's office. He doesn't let the man in, yet; not until Helena arrives, and then he cracks the door and lets them pass.

Helena is hurrying along at a very quick pace, a knight with her. The lady is dressed as she was earlier this evening, save for her hair which is down and loose around her shoulders.

The door doesn't open much to allow the two inside; and once they're in, it closes again, and the knight takes up his vigil outside.

Inside? A mess. Nothing short of a mess. The floor is littered with what objects and items and papers and books may have been on Iorwerth's desk several minutes ago. And with drops of blood.

The desk itself plays host to Rourke, who lies on his back across it. Beside him, on the far side, the First Knight: his hand pressed to the Keeper's shoulder, blood across his doublet, and from whence?

No doubt caused by the knife, sticking hilt-out from just off center of Rourke's chest.

Parsifal follows Helena into the office, his concern growing by the moment as he goes where he is directed. Upon stepping into this scene, he draws up short. "Providence, have mercy," he murmurs in a short but very sincere prayer as the serious nature of all this sets heavily upon his shoulders.

Helena moves into the office with an uncertain air, a few steps ahead of Parsifal. And she's barely inside before she takes in what is going on. So much blood! She pales and her next breath is a shudder that shakes her shoulders. Wide eyes go from Rourke to Mihovil to ask, "Did you..." She says no more than that, she cannot say more than that as she moves towards the Keeper, if she's allowed.

"They've come," Mihovil says, when the door has opened and closed, his words soft -- almost.../almost/ gentle. Quiet, at least, as ever they are. "The Chamberlain. A witness. And--"

And there's a question. Helena starts to ask it, and she is cut off with a sharp look, a look almost as cutting as that knife. Pale eyes shift to Parsifal, then, and Mihovil...makes a creaking sort of sound. It might be a laugh. "You," he he says. "It would be /you/."

A pause. He clears his throat, clears his face, and repeats: "Majesty. They've come."

Rourke's eyes are closed, his features white, white as a sheet, and his breathing coming in gasps as he wars with the uncompromising reality of mortality. His lips are red with blood, a cough spreading more of the glittering blood of life about.

It is unquestionable, he is dying.

It is Parsifal's words that have his eyes opening, roving about to focus fiercely through the pain writ in them. Pain, and knowledge of what is coming, swiftly. "Baron. Witness." And then to Helena. He holds on her for a moment, pinning her with a look, before he commands in a whisper, "Helena. You and Miho..." The words are thready. "Will be regents. I'm wedding you two." After a cough, he concludes, "Swiftly."

Parsifal has no idea what that means! At least, not until the Emperor lays it out in such short and succinct terms. After a pause, he does bow deeply in the gravely wounded man's direction, lips already moving over silent prayers.

Helena's breathing shudders again as the Keeper pronounces his orders. She steps forward and reaches to take his hand, not caring what the First Knight might do. Her ... husband. She squeezes her eyes shut tightly and slowly nods her head. "I told you that I would do what you asked of me, Majesty and would forgive you anything. I don't hate you," she whispers to him, squeezing his hand tightly. "I still love you, remember that." She looks to Mihovil as tears rise in her eyes. She cannot even look to Parsifal.

His eyes close, and it might be that Rourke's blacked out, his features slackening. Then they tighten, and his tongue trails through the blood on his lips. "Mihovil Pasternak. Swear. Take this woman as..wife. Protect. /Cherish/. Honor. Care. Support. Don't over..intimidate." It is a smile, a failing smile. "Swear."

There are, naturally, objections to be raised: first and foremost, knights cannot wed. Second...well, there are others. Many others. But there's nothing but tautness in the First Knight's features as his own hand remains firm on the Emperor's shoulder. He does not take Helena's, nor offer to. The oath offered -- commanded -- meets with silence from him as he watches Rourke and then, only at the end, do his pale eyes shift up to the Chamberlain. "By Your Majesty's command," he makes perfectly clear his motives: "I so swear."

Parsifal does what he is ordered to in these apparently last moments of Rourke's life. He stands witness without judgement, but with an abundance of compassion. He remains praying silently as he carries out the last direction given to him by the Emperor.

Rourke accepts Mihovil's word as if it is wrought in steel, stone, blood. Of course, it -is-. He almost nods, just the start of muscle, but it's restrained. "Helena Soranus." Rourke's hand is not warm in hers, it is cold, the warmth fading from it. "Take this man. Honor. Protect. Care. Cherish. Support. Be soft..for his hard." In other circumstances there would be more words, a touch on love and patience, unity and perseverence. For this ceremony? Only the subtlest nuance hinting at such matters.

Helena doesn't move to try and take Mihovil's hand, she can barely look at him, her eyes are focused on the Keeper. And as the warmth leaves his hand she squeezes it, to try and bring that unnatural heat back. "Rourke," she whispers as her whole body starts to shake. She knew this was coming and still ... the reality hurts far more than she prepared for. Finally when she draws in a breath that allows her to speak she nods. "I so swear," she whispers.

When his part is done, the First--

--Mihovil's pale eyes return to the Keeper, his hand yet pressing firm. Helena's part, he hardly seems to note. Parsifal may well be a tapestry.

They have each sworn, and it is almost enough. Rourke coughs again, this ending on a groan. "Husband and wife. So mote..it be." If all of the strength remaining in his body is gathered for one last statement, it is this, vehement and fierce. "/Protect/. /Gateway/. Regents. /SWEAR/."

Parsifal makes about as much noise as a tapestry, his prayers for the passing of the Emperor silent as he watches the man grasp for those last moments of life, to get those last important words out.

Helena is married to one man and still clings to the other, refusing to let go. "I swear with everything I am, Majesty, it will be protected." At least that much she can swear to fiercely without wavering. That much is important.

If there is one man that a new husband in Mihovil Pasternak would allow his wife to cling to, this is it: it hardly seems to bother him. Or take much note. "By my oath to serve and protect," he replies, his voice growing the more quiet -- and is there a touch of sorrow in it? Some emotion. Regret, maybe? /Something/. It is /there/. "I swear it."

Even if his flesh is growing numb, their touch slowly failing to register in his mind, he knows it is there, and that and the oaths they have sworn do as much to ease the moment as anything could. Some tension falls from his form, and that minuscule nod is the relief. The gasping breaths continue, but there is strength lost with each one.

His lips move in two last words that are only motion, only read by those who watch, not heard. It is only a ~thank you~, gratitude, and then the eternal last few moments are over. Rourke Caprios grows still, commemorated now to the ages.

There's silence until the breathing stops, silence and even after it has, Mihovil sets an ear near to the Keeper's chest. He's there: he's lying on the mess of what was Iorwerth's desk, now bloodied, with a knife's hilt rising from his chest. On the far side, stands Mihovil Pasternak, with blood on his doublet; on the other, free of it, Helena and Parsifal.

The room is, fairly suddenly, very quiet.

Helena watches Rourke closely as her hands tighten around his so tightly there's a risk of breaking bones. The 'thank you' starts the tears flowing and she lifts his now cold hand to her lips for a final kiss. "Don't leave," she whispers, already knowing that it's too late. But she won't let go and her eyes are focused on his face, as if her gaze could will another breath from his lips.

As the form of the Emperor grows still, after that last gasping breath is done, it is then that Parsifal once more speaks, his tone reverent and respectful after a few moments of that heavy, heavy silence.. "May Providence guide your soul to eternal and peaceful rest, safe within Her welcoming arms. So mote it be."

And....into the room steps the Master Healer Abigail.

Welcome, Master Healer Abigail. Except: not. When the door opens, and the healer enters, Mihovil's features twist to something of -- of bitterness. "Too late," he says, and the words drip with something of that. It's brief. He draws sharp breath, composes, and adds more quietly: "You are not needed here. My men will escort him."

There is a peculiarity of faint note, that the blood dripping from the Keeper has a faint, soft luminescence to it.

Master Healer Abigail stops when she sees just what is going on. And who it is. She looks at the knight then, and takes a step closer. "I can try..do you want me to try?"

Helena still doesn't move. She doesn't seem to register the arrival of the healer, nor the words from Mihovil or the prayer from Parsifal. She's holding her dead Keeper's hand for dear life, ignoring the cold that comes from it. She lowers her head and kisses those fingers again as her eyes close, this time in prayer.

"Providence has called him home, madam healer," Parsifal murmurs. "Let his trusted men care for his remains," he urges quietly.

The knight that follows Abigail into the chamber hears the last end of the words, and he informs Abigail, "No." For him, the single negative is filled with a wealth of darkness and loss beneath the brisk statement. He steps to Mihovil's side, to speak in an undertone with the First Knight. Ex-First Knight.

The knight nods after speaking with Mihovil and steps away with a brisk, "We will clear the way. We don't need gawkers." And he does something he's never done to Mihovil before; he bows.

The Master Healer inclines her head to the knight and makes a quick and silent prayer. She steps to the side and out of the way of the door.

Helena looks up finally, realizing that they're taking him. She looks to Mihovil as her grip loosens a little. "Can I go with him?"

Parsifal just stands there out of the way. He hasn't been dismissed, so linger he does. At least he is not awkward about it, but still reverent.

Mihovil nods curtly to the departing knight before his gaze settles heavily upon his.. wife. "You may. I must see to the heir."

With that, the ex-First Knight turned sudden Regent of an Empire all but stalks out of the room, not even sparing a glance for Parsifal.

Despite not being looked at, Parsifal does bow in a low manner as Mihovil passes to take his leave of the messed office. Once the man is gone, he does look to Helena as the other knights prepare to take the body out. "My lady.. if there is anything your family might do for you in this time, you need only ask it. I am greatly sorry for your loss, and that of the entire Empire."

"Thank you," Helena says quietly and if relief can come amid tears, there is some to be shown in her gaze. She turns, finally, to look at Parsifal, and slowly nods. "Thank you, brother. For ..." She pauses and struggles to build walls again. "I think it best that you go and seek Providence in prayer," she tells him quietly as she awaits to escort the Keeper's body from this place.

One of the knights comes in with a sheet to cover the body with, and lays it atop the deceased emperor very, very gently.

"It has already begun," Parsifal assures Helena before bowing again, this time in her direction. It will be something she will have to get used to.

It's only when the knight steps forward with the sheet that Helena finally, reluctantly, releases the Keeper's hand. With one last kiss she slides his hand under the sheet. "Go to Providence," she murmurs fervently and then looks to the knight with a nod. She's ready to go with them.

Master Healer Abigail is catching on here. She dips a curtsy to the leaving Regents. Or whatever they are. But if a baron is bowing, she's curtsying!

The knights carefully take the stretcher and step away with it, lifting with such great care. They start from the room with even, steady paces.

As the knights ready to leave, and Parsifal has no further reason to stay, he turns to take his own leave of the office after one last low and respectful bow to Rourke's remains. Then, he returns to Cedric's bedside silently.

The tears ceased as soon as that door opened. Helena has a new role now and she cannot look like a sobbing mess walking through the castle, for however far that trip is. She follows behind, silent, as her mind turns to prayer.

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