Snippet #2768117

located in Steampowered London - 1885, a part of Death Comes to London, one of the many universes on RPG.

Steampowered London - 1885

A metropolis of clockwork and steam.


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Character Portrait: Charlotte Blythe Character Portrait: Khalil Jaziri
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London - Graham's Clinic
June 12, 1885 - 14:45 p.m. - Warm
Charlotte Blythe

Harley Street, in Marylebone, Central London, was an extremely popular location for prestigious physician's practice buildings, and Charlotte had to pass a lot of them to reach her destination. Not all of them were open, of course—sometimes the eminent doctors here practiced elsewhere, or attended at one of the city's many hospitals, but midafternoon was not an unusual time for them to be in-house. She could even at her distance hear the low murmur of voices in some of the buildings, through open windows. In others various people moved or shuffled about. At least one had the distinct, sharp scent of alcohol wafting from it: the cleaning kind rather than the drinking kind, and there were a few other alchemical reagents in the mix as well.

Of course, few human physicians were true alchemists as such, because the art was as much magic as science, but she knew one in particular who was likely to have what she was looking for.

Dr. Graham's clinic sat a bit awkwardly sandwiched between the two buildings on either side of it, almost as though its proprietor had to elbow and squeeze its way into this layer of society. Charlotte knew pale humans sometimes had something against darker-skinned humans, or even those who were from other countries in general. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to her even after Mr. Ramsey had explained it, but she did know it could not have been simple for Dr. Graham to acquire the property he worked out of, even with the funds for the purchase.

The clinic was indeed quieter than many of its counterparts, though the smell of tinctures and chemicals was stronger to her nose. Charlotte paused in front of the door, hesitating for a moment for reasons she couldn't quite pin down. She felt the need to smooth down her skirts a bit and adjust the her cuffs so that her sleeves lay neatly from shoulder to wrist. A few stray hairs got tucked behind her ears—she wasn't disguised as a boy today so there was no hat to hide it all under.

Puzzled by her own behavior, she filed it away for later consideration and opened the door, jingling the bell softly in the process and stepping inside the relatively-cooler air of the clinic.

There was some shuffling in one of the back rooms, a small thud, and a soft curse beneath someone's breath. It didn't sound quite like Mr. Jaziri, but the dialect that had been used was similar. A man that resembled Mr. Jaziri, appeared from the back room, blinked at Charlotte, and smiled broadly.

“Welcome," he spoke, standing a few feet in front of her. He took a quick glanceover and pursed his lips together. “I'm Doctor Graham; how can I be of service?" he asked, his brow tilting up slightly. Before Charlotte could respond, the door opened behind her, producing another person.

“Blythe?" it was Mr. Jaziri who spoke. He looked vaguely confused before a large grin spread on his face. “What brings you, here, Miss Blythe?" he asked, setting the bag he was holding down on a nearby table. “Oh, Dor, this is Miss Blythe, the woman I was telling you about. Blythe, this is my uncle, Dorian."

Charlotte's smile, which had been polite, if genuine, bloomed into a little half-grin when Mr. Jaziri appeared. She felt an unfamiliar lurch in her chest, but thought nothing of it. "Hello, Mr. Jaziri," she chirped in reply, curtseying at the other man. "And it's a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Graham. I'm Charlotte Blythe." She could pretty easily pick out the resemblance between them, but she knew right away that Dr. Graham was a human, not a dhampir like Mr. Jaziri. Of course, that wasn't surprising. Dhampir were quite rare, as she understood it—it was actually nice to see one who got along with part of his human family. Miss Wu didn't, unfortunately.

"I was actually here to purchase some alchemy supplies, if you've any for sale. Our usual supplier is fine for the usual things, but I'm trying to brew a bone-knitting tincture, and some of the reagents are a bit... unorthodox." Such things went beyond ordinary alchemy into the realm of the supernatural, something they both knew plenty about, judging from the array of scents issuing from their back rooms.

At the mention of supplies, Mr. Jaziri's eyes lightened up, and a large grin bloomed over his face. He looked like he was going to say something, however; before he had the chance, Dr. Graham moved to stand in front of him. “Splendid!" he spoke, cutting off any response Mr. Jaziri might have had. Dr. Graham clasped his hands in front of him before holding his hand out. “We've all sorts of ingredients and items for your viewing," he continued, almost as if he were inviting Charlotte to walk with him.

“Ass," was muttered beneath Mr. Jaziri's breath, but he smiled nonetheless.“Dor, perhaps you might ask what kind she actually needs before ushering her around. It would be beneficial," he spoke, arching a brow in his uncle's direction. Dr. Graham furrowed his brows before a look of realization crossed his features.

“But there might be other things that might interest her. You don't just need one alchemic ingredient when there's a whole slew of them around," he countered, causing Mr. Jaziri to sigh heavily and roll his eyes.

Charlotte couldn't say she understood exactly what was going on. There was the surface-level conversation, of course, but there seemed to be an almost playful or argumentative undertone to it that she couldn't really pin down.

As she'd been told was the proper response, she stepped neatly into place beside Dr. Graham, content to be led where he thought it was most prudent to go. She smiled at the both of them, though, and shook her head. "Well I'm mostly here for supplements to my kit for the bone-knitting tincture: I'm afraid I've no wolfram left, and if you happen to carry aether dust and monkshood, I could do with those as well." Anything interesting or rare would be a good purchase though—Mr. Ramsey had been quite clear that he didn't mind her spending a little extra to procure materials for her learning.

Wolfram was common enough even among human doctors, and monkshood wasn't too hard to find in the right places, but aether dust was a much rarer reagent. Typically it was created from the bones or teeth of certain kinds of reanimated dead, as a touch of the energies of life and death was suffused into the skeleton of a corpse so desecrated. It encouraged the healing of living bone, too, in small doses mixed properly with other ingredients.

“Aether dust, aether dust," Dr. Graham spoke, pursing his lips together as his brows knitted. “Monkshood and Wolfram I have in stock, but I might be out of aether dust," he spoke as he led the way towards the back of the clinic, perhaps towards the area where he kept the supplies. Mr. Jaziri, however, rolled his eyes as he followed from behind.

“We received aether dust yesterday morning, Dor. I had to go get it, personally," he spoke, though he sounded a bit upset about that. Dr. Graham's face lit up with a bright smile as if he'd suddendly remembered that information. “I swear," Mr. Jaziri muttered beneath his breath as he trailed behind Dr. Graham.

“We also have ember flowers, if that's something you're interested in, Miss Blythe," Dr. Graham stated as he turned his attention back to Charlotte. “They work well in healing potions and other such elixirs. Oh, and we also have mandrake root," he continued, listing off two ingredients he had in stock.

“She doesn't need mandrake. Miss Blythe isn't cooking up a poison; she's much too innocent for things like that," Mr. Jaziri chimed in. Dr. Graham merely mouthed an 'oh' before opening a door on his left. “And this, Miss Blythe, is our alchemy room. If there's anything you see that you like, or need, feel free to take it. I owe you that much," he stated, winking his eye in her direction.

The ingredients in the room were arranged neatly on the shelves, many of them backed into thick glass jars or tied into bundles and wrapped in parchment, for both preservation and cleanliness. Scrawled handwritten labels on the shelves identified them, though Charlotte would have recognized may just by sight or smell. She supposed the same had to be true of Mr. Jaziri, with his superior olfaction, so she supposed the labels were primarily for Dr. Graham.

Stepping inside, Charlotte stepped lightly so that the heels of her boots would not clack too loudly on the wooden floors. Carpet in a room such as this was most inadvisable of course, and as such the slats were bare, if also smooth and polished to a shine. Alembics, retorts, and various other equipment and glassware seemed to be stored on the far side, the shelves and cabinets concentrated on the far wall, leaving plenty of room for what must have been the two gentlemen's current laboratory setup.

Her eyes went wide. "Is that a Browning?" she asked, transfixed by the microscope on one of the worktables. The unique shape of the base suggested that it was, but she'd never actually seen one before. They were well-reputed to be the best microscopes available, and were only usually found in university settings or in the kind of learned society halls she would never be permitted to make use of.

In her excitement, she entirely forgot to puzzle over the meaning of Mr. Jaziri's comment about owing her, or what on earth the winking gesture might mean.

“It is!" Dr. Graham stated excitedly, moving so that he was standing on the opposite side of the table. “Difficult to get, though," he mumbled as he ushered Charlotte over. Mr. Jaziri snorted softly, but remained quiet as Dr. Graham continued his explanation. “As you're aware, my nephew is a dhampir," he began, glancing towards Mr. Jaziri who merely shrugged his shoulders. “This helps me study the different structures of his cells, and how they differ from someone like me," he stated, leaning foward to peer into the microscope.

“I think what Dor is getting at is that he likes to study the different compounds of the molecular kind. Be careful, though, he might want to poke at you with his needles as well," Mr. Jaziri spoke, taking a seat at one of chairs in the room. Dr. Graham smiled broadly as he rounded the corner of the table, and was standing at a polite distance away from Charlotte.

“It was mentioned that you're not entirely human yourself, right?" he began, earning a somewhat cautionary glare from Mr. Jaziri. “If you would not be opposed to it, I would like to take a sample of your blood to study it. Only if you approve of course."

“Dor, she's not here to be a test subject; that's what you have me for," Mr. Jaziri cut in. “Besides, she's looking for ingredients that," he paused, shuffling towards the end of the room. He stood in front of shelf that held a few vials, each filled with a different substance. Probably more alchemic ingredients, however; he reached into a drawer and pulled out a dark brown pouch. “Are right here. Aether dust, correct?" he asked, holding the bag out towards Charlotte.

She reached for it with a smile, accepting the little leather pouch in cupped hands. "Thank you so very much," she said earnestly, tucking it away in one of the hidden pockets of her dress. Her fingers just brushed his hand, an accident, and one further mediated by gloves, but she felt a little momentary skitter of something anyway, a reaction she ignored.

Turning a bit so she could regard both men at the same time, she continued on the previous thread of conversation. "Actually I've looked at a lot of my own materials before, since I don't know exactly what I am." Her smile dimmed a little, but did not fade entirely. Somehow, she always felt strange when she spoke about this. "But my microscope isn't nearly as good. Maybe you'd see something I can't. I'd be happy to provide you with samples."

Even as she said so, she started rolling up the sleeve of her dress, dimly aware that it wasn't really the sort of thing a 'lady' was supposed to do in polite company. But honestly Charlotte only ever felt like she was pretending to be a lady anyway, and this was in the interests of science, so she doubted either of these scientifically-minded gentlemen would care at all. It was just an arm, after all, just pale skin and blood vessels and muscle and bone underneath. She didn't see what was so strange about it that she was supposed to keep it hidden.

“We don't have to do it this instant, Blythe," Mr. Jaziri spoke, however; he was silenced by a wave of Dr. Graham's arm.

“Nonsense, Khal! Miss Blythe," he spoke, turning so that he was fully facing her. “If you'd like to take a look, first, you are more than welcome to," he stated, still smiling brightly at her. “If you'll excuse me, I need to go get the needles and sterilize them before we can commence," he added, making his way out of the room. Mr. Jaziri sighed, and shook his head, though.

“Blythe, we can do this another time, if you'd like. Perhaps in a more appropriate area?" he spoke, pulling one of the chairs from a nearby table and placing it near the table where the Browning sat. “But if you want to continue, you might as well sit down," he stated, turning the chair in Charotte's direction.

She accepted the chair, smoothing her gloved hands over her skirts so they would lay nicely. "Is there something inconvenient about this location?" she inquired. "I thought it would be simplest here, since the supplies are already nearby?" She tilted her head at him, birdlike, and suddenly very aware of how tall he was. Even ordinarily, he towered by comparison to herself, of course, but the distance was only magnified when she sat and he did not.

Mr. Jaziri sighed, perhaps a bit too heavily. “It's not so much the location as it is the company, Blythe. I'm sure Ramsey told you about what's deemed proper for a young woman such as yourself. A young, unmarried woman in an establishment with two unmarried men. It's..." he paused, pursing his lips together. Before he could finish his sentence, Dr. Graham returned with a couple of vials, and a needle.

“Nonsense, Khal, Miss Blythe is at the clinic with someone she knows," Dr. Graham spoke, causing Mr. Jaziri's frown to grow.

“But not related, Dor."

“You worry too much, Khal. I'm just collecting a small sample; no one's going to know about it," Dr. Graham continued, causing Mr. Jaziri to shake his head. “Well, Miss Blythe, the choice is yours. Would you like me to take a sample for the sake of science?" he asked.

Mr. Jaziri muttered something that vaguely sounded like, “For science my ass."

In all honesty, Charlotte appreciated the concern. Having people be concerned for her was still something she was getting used to. "Thank you, Mr. Jaziri," she said, a little softer than her usual chirpy tone might suggest she could be. "But I trust you, and I know you won't go telling anyone about exactly how these tests were conducted." She honestly didn't really understand why there were such rules in the first place. It wasn't as though anyone here was going to hurt her, and their marital status didn't have anything to do with that.

She extended her arm to allow Dr. Graham to take his samples. "I can't stay much longer today, I'm afraid. Mr. Ramsey expects me back soon. But if you don't mind, I'd love to come by and look at slides some other time?"

“If that is what you wish," Dr. Graham spoke first, smiling as he pulled a chair next to Charlotte's. He took her arm in a delicate manner, and grabbed a cloth that smelled strongly of alcohol. He rubbed it on a part of her arm before grabbing the needle and injecting it into her arm. The puncture was enough to draw a small red dot from the area, however; Mr. Jaziri's eyes widened slightly. He took a step forward, allowing Charlotte to see that his eyes were no longer the bright citrine color they normally were.

They were darker, almost bronze in color. “Khal?" Dr. Graham addressed Mr. Jaziri who still looked slightly lost. “Khalil," he tried again, taking the needle from Charlotte's skin and standing. From her angle, she could see Mr. Jaziri's mouth was slightly parted, and his eyeteeth were visible.

“It's..." he started, his voice slightly deeper than normal. “It's... the smell," he continued, finally moving his hand towards his face as if to cover it from something unpleasant. “Excuse me," he stated as he quickly left the room, hitting his shoulder on the corner on the way out. Dr. Graham breathed a heavy sigh as his shoulders slumped.

“That was unusual," he stated, and shook his head. “I apologize, Miss Blythe. Khal has never reacted that way before," he added, furrowing his brows slightly. “I wonder," he spoke to himself as he resumed his early actions. Once he filled the two small vials, he cleaned the area where the needle had been, and placed a small bandage on it.

“It seems that you smell particularly nice to Khal. I wonder if it's something to do with this," he stated, holding up one of the vials as if to inspect it. “I will send word to you if I find anything unusual, Miss Blythe. In the mean time, do take care, and feel free to visit the next time you can. Again, I apologize for Khalil," he spoke with a soft smile on his face.

Charlotte thought that if anyone in this situation needed to apologize, it was probably her. She knew, intellectually, that Mr. Jaziri was half-vampire, and that dhampir could in fact sustain themselves on blood as their forebears did. She'd just... not thought it would make any difference.

"Oh, no, please," she said quickly, rolling her sleeve down over the admittedly-unnecessary bandage. "I didn't think of his comfort before accepting." The guilt came through clearly in her tone even as she stood. She could sense Mr. Jaziri had left the area, but didn't think he would welcome being followed.

"I will have to apologize next time I see him." Her brows furrowed, and she shifted her eyes to Dr. Graham. "Um... would you tell him I'm not upset, and that he's still welcome at Mr. Ramsey's?" She hoped she hadn't done anything so stupid as to keep him away. Herself notwithstanding, she imagined it must be nice for him to be around the others, people who knew and accepted who he was, instead of having to pretend to be human all the time.

Dr. Graham shook his head, but still smiled softly at her. “The fault lies with no one, Miss Blythe. It was just an unfortunate circumstance. If I know Khal, and I do, he'll likely apologize, first." Dr. Graham looked certain of his comment as the smile grew wider. “Besides, he's usually more controlled than that. Nevertheless, I will tell him what you said," he stated, walking Charlotte to the front door.

“And Miss Blythe," he spoke, holding his hand on the door knob, “don't take it personally. Khalil meant no harm; it's the first time in a long while that something like that has happened to him."

"I understand," she replied mildly, though truthfully she wasn't sure she did. She had no idea what it was like to be as Mr. Jaziri was, and wouldn't unless he deigned to share with her, something she hardly expected him to do with a mere acquaintance such as herself. But in any event, she took no offense from his departure, and said a polite goodbye to Dr. Graham at the door, before heading back out onto the sidewalk, intent for now at least on returning to the office.