(DON’T READ THIS UNTIL YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY READY!! I’ve taken a bit of liberty with the parts that were heavily narrated, and if I got anything wrong please tell me so I can fix it.)
It was just after lunchtime when Margaret finally gathered the courage to talk to Dr Dahlia about Dr Daniel Ashdown. It didn’t take much to get Dahlia in private; the infirmary was pretty quiet and there still seemed to be people lunching or resting. She didn’t blame anyone for wanting to stay out of the hot midday sun.
The two women walked a little bit away from the main building for some privacy, and at length Margaret felt she could finally explain. She explained her feelings for the good Dr Ashdown, and sought advice, mentioning that she’d written a letter to him but wasn’t sure of the best way to go about giving it to him. The two women chatted for a while, but when Margaret turned to Dahlia and her sentence was cut short when she saw the look in her friend’s eyes, everything seemed to change in the briefest of moments. Her friend had turned into a monster, and soon Margaret passed out from the agony of being so mauled. Her face, hands, chest, and arms were devastated in only the way that demon claws and teeth could do, almost to the point where her body would only be recogniseable by her dress.
A passing homunculus on patrol smelled the blood, and carried Margaret’s body back to the camp, where a few cries of “Oh, is that Margaret?!” “Get Leo!” could be heard amongst those who saw the two.
The awful wounds were quickly tended to, and Margaret was stabilised, though her pulse was dangerously weak and she’d lost a lot of blood. The others in the Hanover Medical Sorority completed a blood transfusion from Leo to Margaret, and after a brief discussion on the severity of Margaret’s injuries and how the morphine didn’t seem to be working that well, the decision was made by Leo to find some of Milton’s highly addictive medicine… usually only kept for treating homunculi… and give it to Margaret.
Eventually Margaret regained consciousness and there was a period of lots of hugging, during which Leo refused to leave his sister’s side. This peace was broken, however, when Dahlia walked back into the room and Margaret, spotting her friend-the-monster-who-had-ripped-her-apart, freaked out. With difficulty, she was able to tell Leo and Moss that Dahlia was the one who had done this awful thing to her. This led to some confused and concerned conversations between those that were around, and Leo laid his sword on the bed next to Margaret and sat next to her in a very protective stance should Dahlia attempt anything else. Not on his watch.
The time that followed was filled with Margaret explaining why she had been off alone with Dahlia, and requested multiple times to receive Dr Ashdown as a visitor. Since Ashdown was otherwise indisposed according to the words passed on to Margaret, an arrangement was made for Leo to pass on the now bloodstained letter to him at the earliest possible convenience for Ashdown, after Leo started reading the first few lines of the letter and decided it was perhaps best for Ashdown’s eyes only.
Leo held her, they conversed, he read the first few pages of Frankenstein (courtesy of Zek) to her and Harriet, who Esther had allowed to sleep with her Aunt Margaret for a time. She fell asleep to the sound of his voice and to the feel of her arms around Harriet and Leo’s arms around Margaret, and woke up to find that Jasper had taken over reading duties. And then Milton’s solution wore off and she was given another dose, being in agony once more.
Leo stayed with Margaret for quite some time. When matters elsewhere in the camp arose, Moss convinced Leo to go tend to them, and that she would look after his sister, with the promise of a “girls’ talk”. Margaret requested the letter back, wanting to deliver the message herself to Ashdown, if he could be asked to make his way to her bedside as soon as he was back in the camp.
As soon as Leo was gone, Moss took Margaret’s hand and asked delightedly about the letter and Margaret’s feelings for Ashdown. With great difficulty Margaret took the letter back out from her pocket and unfolded it, handing it to Moss, who inquired if she was allowed to read it. Margaret accepted this after some time, and before Moss could really read the letter Esther came in.
“Margaret there’s something you need to know about Dr Ashdown.”
“Don’t.” Margaret turned her face to look out the window.
Still Esther talked, as is her standard, and the information given (omitted until Bryn gives his permission regarding that particular information as this is a public forum and I’m not sure what is public knowledge) made Margaret request the letter back from Moss, who refused at first. Eventually Margaret got the letter back and ripped it in half, turning her face again to look out the window yet still clutching the letter tightly in her bandaged hands.
The moments between are a bit of a blur. Esther left the room and eventually Dahlia came back in, guided by the demon inside her.
“Margaret I’m so, so sorry…” The anguish in Margaret’s friend’s voice is palpable, but there’s something… sinister there too.
Margaret doesn’t reply, she simply stares out of the window, oblivious to what’s going to happen.
Dahlia/the demon then gasses Moss, knocking her out of the way. Margaret turns her head in time to see the flash of a surgical blade appearing from behind Dahlia’s back, and the glint of something far more evil inside her eyes. Margaret doesn’t have time to scream before her throat is cut, and the world goes black for a second time.
Moss wakes up to see Dahlia crouching on the bed where Margaret’s body is lying, and Dahlia is drinking of the blood from Margaret’s throat to satisfy her demon’s thirst. That’s enough to send Moss into a fit of rage, which of course makes everyone in the immediate vicinity aware of something Very Very Bad has just happened. Dahlia snaps out of her demon just as Moss throws herself at the other woman screaming bloody murder, and Dahlia freaks out, as anyone would.
More blurry moments.
A bit later on, Margaret reanimates as a zombie, and it focuses on the one thing it recognises across the room: Leo, sitting huddled with Moss on the nearby infirmary bed. The look on Leo’s face is one of anguish, utter devastation, and an empty horror of the scene before him. The zombie lurches towards him, knowing he’s familiar but not quite knowing exactly why. Jane, standing awkwardly nearby “just in case” takes down the zombie with three swings of her sword. It slumps to the floor against the nearby medical table in an easy acceptance. As the life force drains out of it, it looks up just in time to see the familiar figure of Leo, with tears running down his face, lift his sword and bring it against the zombie’s neck to completely sever the connection.
Everything goes black, for good this time.
Margaret Grace Blake, military nurse, sister to Commander Leo Blake and Moss Bogdanov, friend to many, was laid to rest later that day, in a small alcove just outside the camp, surrounded by those she loved and those who loved her. She was wished off to the fairy pools, to Heaven, to wherever it is where good people go, to see Papa Blake and the sister she never met, to be protected by the ancient ones, to wait for her friends and family when it becomes their turn… Many well wishes and kind words were spoken over her, and she was sent off with a beautiful song sung by Leaf.
The two halves of the bloodied letter were later found by a forest folk, and delivered to the camp where it was certain the rightful recipient of the letter would be found by someone who cared.
Rest in Peace, Margaret Grace Blake, 15th February 35AR.