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Thursday, September 15th, 2011 02:54 pm
Here's a story I had almost forgotten about until recently... It was inspired by a discussion on [livejournal.com profile] mark_asphodel's journal from a while back, about the lack of poison-related plots in FE 'fics.

My idea ended up being a FE7 story involving Priscilla, with a little bit of Lucius as well. (I'm sure you can see where this is going...)

In other news, I really wish I could've come up with something for the Crack Pairings challenge... *sigh*


Inside the healers' tent, Priscilla was busily rummaging through the supplies in her knapsack. As of late, she had been lax in keeping her stock of healing herbs sorted; understandable, for her collection was impressively large, even for a healer.

This was because Priscilla prided herself on her knowledge of plants. Even as a child, she had loved flowers, often strolling through the castle garden as she identified each of the plants by name (all while dragging her reluctant lord brother behind her).

When she turned to the healing arts, Priscilla increased this knowledge, learning the beneficial (and not so benefical) effects of as many herbs as she could discover; from books, or her tutors, or even from the occasional helpful villager.

Nowadays, she could identify most plants on sight, and knew what uses it had (if any). She could even make vulneraries and distill her own elixirs, as long as she had the proper supplies to do so. And whenever it was deemed safe, she would scour the nearby woods and fields for fresh herbs to add to her collection.

After much sorting, Priscilla finally managed to take mental note of what healing herbs she was low on... It was then her train of thought was derailed, by a sudden interuption.

"Er... Hello?"

The voice was muffled, and clearly coming from outside the tent. Priscilla turned towards the tent flap, with a polite smile. "Yes, how may I..."

Her voice then trailed off, and the smile faded from her face; for entering the healers' tent was about the last person in the whole army that Priscilla wanted to see.

"Pardon the intrusion," said Lucius, as the tent flap closed behind him. He looked absurdly lovely as always, in Priscilla's mind. "Am I interrupting something?"

Priscilla realized that the displeasure must've shown on her face, and schooled her features into a serene mask.

"No, not at all," she said calmly. "What can I do for you, Lucius?"

She gestured to one of the cots reserved for patients, and Lucius seated himself with a grateful smile.

"Well, I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately," he began. "Lord Raymond mentioned that you were a very skilled herbalist, and wanted to know if you could prescribe something for me."

Priscilla felt a wave of jealousy surge through her. In the past, her lord brother would've been more concerned about his cute little sister, for her delicate constitution. She tried to suppress those feelings, but the familiarity also rankled... "Lord Raymond", indeed!

Still, she felt a faint flush of pride that even her brother acknowledged her skill with plants. But the thought of using said skills to aid this man, added an undesirable sting to the compliment.

To cover up her annoyance, Priscilla asked Lucius to describe his symptoms. As he did so, she turned towards her half-sorted bag of supplies, and began to rummage around inside, as she listened to him, halfheartedly.

As Priscilla reached into her knapsack, her hand, quite accidently, closed around a stoppered glass bottle. She pulled it out very carefully. Inside it, was a dried herb with tiny purple flowers at the end of its stems.

Of course, Priscilla knew the name of this herb: it was called Belladonna. It meant "beautiful lady" in a forgotten language, and indeed, it could be used for cosmetic purposes. But the plant had another use that belied its name, as Priscilla well knew...

It was poison. Deadly poison. To the point that she was shocked that a healer like herself should have it in her possession.

Granted, it had its aforementioned cosmetic properties. But Priscilla knew enough about the plant that it eliminated any desire to use it on herself (not that she was one to use cosmetics much, anyways).

Ingesting the plant could induce madness, and hallucinations; so much so, that Priscilla once read that the plant itself was associated with witchcraft. A single leaf of it could kill an adult person, and just two of its berries could kill a child foolish enough to eat them, for they were alluring and deceptively sweet.

Yes, it was odd that a healer like herself should possess such a deadly herb. But Priscilla knew deep down it was for that precise reason that she kept it around; as a non-combatant at heart, having some sort of weapon at her disposal could be comforting at times of peril, even if it was only a weapon of last resort...

(Like that time when she was nearly captured by Lord Erik. She would never admit it to anyone, but she had come dangerously close to considering using it; if not on him, then on herself...)

Priscilla couldn't seem to tear her gaze away from the bottle in her hand. It was as if the plant's effects were consuming her, as if the poison itself was seeping through the clear glass... But that was impossible.

She couldn't turn to face Lucius now, lest he read the expression on her face again.

It wouldn't take much, she well knew. And nobody would ever suspect her; not a noble lady like Priscilla, shy and retiring, and a healer, as well.

And Raymond... Raven... Would be hers, and hers alone.

The part of Priscilla that remained rational was quite scandalized by these thoughts. But they still lingered in her mind, tantalizingly so...

She was then startled out of her reverie, as Lucius suddenly spoke.

"Is that Belladonna?" he asked.

It was then that Priscilla noticed that she was holding the bottle in plain sight of her patient. She stared at it, as if seeing it for the first time.

"Er... Yes, it is."

"You should be careful with that plant," said Lucius politely. "It's very poisonous."

"I know that!" snapped Priscilla, and regretted it instantly; Lucius looked surprised at her outburst.

"I'm sorry, I've been cataloguing my herbs all morning," she told him quickly. "I suppose it's made me a little touchy," she added, knowing that it was a lie.

Lucius gave her a sympathetic look. "That's all right. Perhaps I should come back later then, when you're not so busy?"

Smiling, he patted Priscilla on the arm; she tried not to flinch from his touch. Then Lucius left the tent, leaving Priscilla alone with her thoughts.

She felt her grip tighten, and then realized that she was still holding on to the glass bottle. She stared at its contents blankly.

"Curse him," said Priscilla softly, and was shocked at the venom behind her words.

But even she couldn't ignore that for just one moment, she had contemplated breaking her sacred vows as a healer... And it wasn't even for the war they fought, but for her own selfish feelings.

Yes, only that man could taint the pure love she had for her lord brother... And make Priscilla feel ugly, both inside, and out.

And she would never, ever forgive him for it.

*****

I know Priscilla isn't a clerical healer, but I can still imagine her having some sort of equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath (i.e. "do no harm"). Hence, the reference to her "sacred vows".

This story was partly inspired by the historical figure Lucrezia Borgia (who, incidently, was rumoured to be in an incestous relationship with her brother, Cesar).

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