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In the city of Topeka (open?)

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In the city of Topeka (open?)

Post by Epiphany on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:48 pm

(Hello! This post is classified as open - obviously - so you're invited to play in it if you want!)

"This is getting ridiculous. We hardly have room for the people already here and you're bringing in more?" Susie’s words were falling on death ears as Epiphany dragged into the room bearing the weight of a near unconscious man upon her back. His clothing was torn and dirty like the rest of him and his body spook under the influence of the virus in his body.

Susie huffed in aggravation and tossed the damp rag into the small basin at the side of a makeshift hospital bed and caused blood tainted water drops to splash out on the table. The quickly constructed building was more of a shed than an actual medical facility and was equipped for only the basics of necessities: shelter, food, and water. A very small staff of Healers and Priestesses were spread about the small space tending to the dying in any way that they could, or working diligently to find a cure. After a person was found to be infected they died, painfully, 72 hours later - the only exception they found so far were the immortals, but even some of them grew weak and fell into a comatose state.

"They can't stay out in the open," Epiphany stated as she dumped the man on an open spot on the floor by the wall. She was worn out, breathing heavily and swallowing hard to catch her breath. "He may spread it to others."

"We don't know how it's spreading in the first place, let alone how to stop it."

Sinking down in front of the man Epiphany pulled up her knees and let out a cough or two while Susie came over with the bandages. There were three stages of the virus: Coughing accompanied with a fever, bleeding through the pores like sweat, and then death from heart failure and blood loss. It was speculated that if the virus was stopped when the person was still in the first phase that they could be saved. The ones who had reached the bleeding stage were wrapped in bandages and rags to help collect the blood or prevent it from spilling out everywhere. In many ways they looked like leapers. Since no one was sure how it spread everyone you saw had something wrapped about their mouth and nose; many even wore gloves.

Susie looked up from the newest addition and to Epiphany when she heard that cough. "You're coughing."

"I'm exhausted,"
came Epiphany's retort. She was exhausted. That's all. That's all it was. Susie went back to tending to the man and Epiphany scooted to the nearest wall and rested her head back against it while closing her eyes.

The putrid smell of death hung heavy in the air and rested on the many faces throughout the room. In this makeshift house no one was getting better. Despite everyone’s efforts hope and relief seemed a distant cry. This was only one of many same buildings on the island of Topeka and the people gave them the name of Via Dolorosa (VD) - the way of suffering. Once a person was taken into the VD their fate was sealed.

With a population of no more than a couple thousand Topeka's a small island that's best known as a lay station for shipping merchants on their way to bigger ports and pirates who sought pillage. Raunchy taverns, Inns and an elaborate exchange hud, the town had visiting doctors and clergy, as very few took up a home in the residency quarter of the island. Due to the eclectic mix of people the island serviced no one knew for sure where the virus came from and what they didn't know threatened to kill all of them.

A few weeks ago word went out from Topeka to the surrounding mainland ports about the virus. The cities that had travel to that Island stopped all trade and anyone who was returning from there was restricted from docking or quarantined. Some places sent military to man the boarders and prevent anyone from leaving Topeka. Other places sent doctors, scientist, Healers, anyone who would volunteer to go. The problem appeared to be restricted to that one island - so far - but common sense said that disease hardly ever stuck to one location.

Sister Mary-Marks, the head Nun at the Church of Emiliani, had gotten word about what was happening across the sea in Topeka and spread the word throughout the church staff. They were sending some of their staff to help out in the situation - Epiphany found out and signed up for the team, as well as her friend Susie.

They had been in Topeka the last couple of weeks helping out in the VD's and trying to bring clam to the frightened citizens. Every few days food and supplies were teleported into the city along with others who volunteered to help find a cure.

From the look of things, they weren't going home any time soon.


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Re: In the city of Topeka (open?)

Post by Mael Feu on Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:55 pm

Through the lenses of binoculars the city of Topeka was but an arms reach away instead of a few nautical miles it was in reality. The wonders of the modern world. Science. Technology. Even with all the advances a cure for the common cold continued to stay out of grasp. Luckily, for the people of that dying city, what they were plagued with was worst than a cold - it meant that someone could find a cure.

Or someone could pull it out of their pocket and hand it over.

"It's been a few weeks now. How much longer is this going to go on?"

"Are you backing out of the operation?"

"Ah, no. No Sir. Um. . . The last reports collected said that casualties are starting to happen amongst those traveling to the city to help." The distinctive sound of paper shuffling spoke of the man looking over said reports. "Innocent outsiders are dying."

"No one is innocent." No use in trying to feed him that line of bullsit. The binoculars were taken away from his eyes and put into the pocket of his pea coat. "They're there under their own conviction so don't bitch to me about innocent people."

An operation like this required attention to detail and dependability and those assigned. Word had come down from the head of the Syndicate that the people of Topeka needed to be taught a lesson for dealing unfairly to merchant traders and taking advantage of the people who laid over on travels. Operations there had gotten out of hand and order needed to be restored so they developed a time sensitive parasite and put it in the islands main water supply. It infected the ground and any food grown in it. It went through the air when water was used for steam. It went into the body when used for drinking, brushing teeth, or from washing. The person who merely passed through the city without much exposure to the environment would be fine. In small dosages the virus was harmless.

In very small dosages.

The other man pressed out his papers ad looked around the ships deck. Not many up there but them two and the few needed to operate the small boat. "The gods will sort it out."

"That's our job." The gods will sort it out. The man really was an amateur. "Fuck the gods. Get back to work."

And the man did, leaving the other standing on the deck and looking out toward Topeka.

Mael Feu

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Re: In the city of Topeka (open?)

Post by Minako on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:09 am

It is a strange sensation to die. For the prone man laying off into a corner of one of the many VD's on the island of Topeka this sensation came in the form of abnormally enhanced hearing. Caught in the midst of death and chaos the man found himself suddenly struck by the crisp break of waves as they lapped against the island's shore and lulled by the flutter of the canvas ceiling of the hastily constructed tent. In these two sounds peace resounded and though this was the end for this unfortunate man it would be one lapped in serenity.

Peace and serenity. Since the outbreak of it's deadly virus the isle of Topeka was neither of these, although it would be a far stretch to say the island had been so before. The man, Father Minako of the Helping Hands parish, who currently lay forgotten in the corner knew this well. Having lived on the island for the majority of his life Father Minako had created his parish with the goal of bringing peace among the small island.

That had been a lifetime ago and was a story for another time. Now there was nothing but death. In his twenty five years Father Minako had never been witness to a catastrophe such as this. His parish had helped from the beginning and now in just a few short weeks more than half of them were gone, having died from the infection. Of them all the Father had outlasted, working desperately to save those he could even when the symptoms began overtaking him. It was when the bleeding had begun defeat was finally accepted. From there Father Minako had become one of the many dying, another body in a mass that seemed never-ending.

It was cold. Whether a by-product of the fever or the simple hallucinations of a dying man the thought brought a bubble of laughter rising up from his chest. How ironic it was - the sensation of coldness had been something almost always found in movies or television shows where death occurred and to find out it was true was laughable. The laughter could not last and behind the bubble came a gurgle, and the end was near. The sound of the breaking waves grew louder then and the man gave himself to it, letting himself float away on a tide of peace.


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Re: In the city of Topeka (open?)

Post by Epiphany on Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:42 am

It was the begining of March and the last ship was leaving the island of Topeka. The winds blew cool and strong this day, filling the sails and blowing the vessel further and further away. The sky was overcast and looked like rain as the clouds were gray and heavy but no rain fell. A few days ago the sun had shun itself from the island. Far off to the distance sunlight could be seen bursting through the clouds only to stop a few leagues away. The island was a picture of sorrow and grief and now the last ship, with the last remaining survivors, was leaving.

Upon the deck Epiphany leaned on the railing, bending over to fold her arms over it and let out a sigh as she laid her head down. Topeka started out with a population of a couple thousand before the disease hit. Epiphany never realized how much death could take out of a person. How much seeing it happen, over and over, merciously taking one life after another while dragging them through insufferable pain, could affect a person. Death had taken up residence in that city and everyone knew it. It even killed joy.

The people had forgotten how to smile, even the children. How could anyone smile while sitting at the feet of a dying loved one even as you were suffering in the diseases first stage?

After witness a rapid increase in death amongst the people of the island Epiphany started to go to one of the churches every evening. There she would fall down at the alter. Save the people of Topeka, she would cry out in prayer. Save them and remove Death from this land. For days the reply she received was no until one night the reply changed and said: The Topekan’s will be killed.

The amount of people getting I'll lessened but it was hardly noticed. Graveyards were full to bursting so bodies were burned instead at the insistence of the medical professional that came. With the burning of the bodies Death not only walked the land but it also moved through the air.

Then the people who came to the island started to die and Epiphany would cry out at the alter and ask why. Why did that person have to die? She felt as if her god had changed his mind, gone back on his word. Only to find out that the outsiders had been born in Topeka.

Every Topekan would die. The others merely became ill and even dreadfully so, but they never died.

Island natives became infected at faster rates, the population had already been halved. Even supplies that came from off the island started slowing down. With the amount of sick people the there was not any more need for the VD's and house visits had started. Epiphany couldn't stand it and she felt powerless. Though the answer from her god was the same every night she never stopped praying, sending out her petition in favor of the people. It wore on her body, mind and spirit. That thousands of people were going to die because they were Topekan was hard for her to believe. What had they done? Why did they have to die?

Amongst the dead there was a pattern. Aside from all being Topekan the age range was of those above ten. Often Epiphany would be on her way going from one task to the other, or searching homes for the sick and dead, and would hear the cries of a child inside. Crying because they were alone, their guardian having died and had left them alone. Epiphany found one child, a little boy, bloody and holding on fiercely to the lifeless body of his mother as he cried over and over: "Mamma wake up. Mamma don't die." Seeing that made her heartbreak and prying the boy off and taking him away brought her to tears. Every young child on the island had similar stories of watching their parents and older siblings die and in a way it united them.

These children were Topekans, just like the others, so why didn't they die? When she had brought that question before her god she was told that in his mercy he would spare the innocent generation and that was why no one under ten had come down with the disease. These children had begun being shipped off in groups to whatever mainland city that would take them; Epiphany liked to believe that the parents who had to send their children away died a bit happier in knowing that they were going to live.

Shortly after the children began leaving people started to commit suicide as everyone accepted that death was the only option. The doctors, priest, and healers helped people to die as painlessly as they could but the impact of what they were doing ground deep into their hearts. Their work on the island was done. There was no more hope for a cure, no more seeking aide from neighboring lands, no more prayers for lives to be spared.

The only thing left was death.

Epiphany had wanted to stay until the end, she prayed over the people as they were about to die and even helped spread out the ashes across the ground after the funeral fires died. In the end the only people left on the island was herself and a group of nine others - her close friend Susie included. Together they boarded the last boat and had set sail back home, to Rhydin.

And as Epiphany now leaned on the decks railing, watching the city fade, she could barley feel the peace of the ocean as it rocked beneath her or the blowing of the wind. All of it was drowned out by the turmoil of emotions inside and the cries that still rang in her ears. She didn't even hear as Susie came on deck and put her arm around Epiphany's shoulder to draw her in. The comfort was needed and welcomed. She had seen enough death. If this experience had taught her anything it was that life was precious and affirmed her want to save others.

Epiphany pulled up a bit and the two girls embraced each other and had no shame about letting their tears fall.

"One hundred people lived out of two thousand." That was all she could say. That's all that were spared.


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