Eiran leaned back in his chair, taking a moment to rub at his eyes. No matter how neatly he sorted the pellets of reagents, he was getting to the point of his day where everything seemed to start blurring together. It was only a matter of time before he finished preparing another pellet only to place it in the wrong pile - and in the heat of the moment, when he was out in the field, that could easily make the difference between a life-saving medicine and a horrible, bitter liquid that was only good as a placebo. Or worse.
Eiran sighed, pulling his hands from his eyes so he could rest his cheeks on them instead. He surveyed the state of his workbench with glazed eyes, the neat piles of differently-colored pellets, the half-filled vials of solvent he'd started (and left hurriedly undone when he nearly ended up spilling acid all over his hands when a sudden bout of shakiness hit), and the comparatively large jars he had nearby, containing the powdered...something. The powdered…things he needed to make what many (though he did not count himself among them) argued was the greatest invention any darkness remnant had accomplished in recent memory. And yet the name of the key ingredients for the coating escaped him. He groaned, his brows knitting together as he tried to will the exhaustion away. Surely that would do something this time. Surely…
But of course, it didn't. His eyelids drifted further and further down, until…he shook his head like a dog clearing water from its ears, pushed his chair back, the wood complaining loudly as it scraped against the stone tile of his floor, and stood, blinking rapidly, cursing the limits of his body. People needed him. He was setting out for Praecidia Trignera in but a few short hours. He didn't have time for sleep!
It was time for drastic measures.
Each step was deliberately taken as he crossed the floor towards the stairs, his hand firmly on the railing as he fought his way through another bout of light-headedness. A little pick-me-up, that was all he needed, and maybe some food, and then he could get right back to his preparations. He just had to make it to the kitchen without stumbling around and making an absolute fool of himself. Easy. He made his way through his living room, eyes fixed firmly on his target, and surprisingly, got there without any issues. And with no visitors today and no work requiring light, the door was already open and waiting for him.
Eiran paused in the doorway as another wave of exhaustion hit, and he was patient with it this time. Though he'd never admit it, it was a nice excuse to enjoy the view the kitchen provided, so easily overlooked when he was forced to run in to make a quick something in between projects, so often shut away for the safety of his neighbors when he had patients and their guests visit. The ever-present moon over Praecidia Noctum hung low in the sky, indicating the lateness of the hour for all but him, and even now, with his vision so easily slipping in and out of focus, he could see a sprinkling of stars, all of them painting a shimmering light onto the cobbled streets and old brick houses below. The dew had settled, giving everything an extra layer of gloss and causing a fog of condensation to collect on the panes of the massive glass windows that formed the walls of his kitchen. Those outside of Noctum, with their eyes made for, and used to, such things, might have called this room a sunroom in their own homes. But with no sun to speak of, not here, Eiran was content to make it his kitchen instead.
Even when his traitorous body demanded rest, when his empathetic heart and his overanalyzing mind seemed as though they could take no more, the view through the windows reminded him of why he did this work to begin with. What a shame it would be, to ignore such a beautiful world, with all the remnants in it, in pursuit of any other purpose. To deny any one remnant even the smallest chance to see the streets of Praecidia Noctum glazed silver with dew, or any of the other incredible things he'd seen, in person, because they were too ill or too frail or too lost in their own hardships to experience it. Or to care. What cruelty that would take. He couldn't even begin to imagine it.
Which is why he only took a moment, just enough space for a couple of deep breaths, before he pushed himself away from the doorframe he leaned against to stride into the kitchen proper, freshly motivated. The people needed him. He grabbed his favorite (and largest) mug from where it hung to dry beneath one of the cabinets, filled it with water from the sink, and then carried it with him to where he stored what he knew to be his greatest creation. Waiting for him in the cabinet he opened was an earthenware jar, one that other remnants might have stored flour in, with a handwritten note pinned to the cork lid...that was definitely not written in his own handwriting. He pulled it off.
Drink more than two cups in a week and I'll come kill you myself before your heart gives out!
Dead healers help NOBODY.
There was a little heart drawn on the paper, followed by…He squinted. It wasn't expertly done, but that was undoubtedly one of the strange little glyphs that the scholar teams of the Void Runners got in a tizzy over a few years ago, believing them to be an old form of writing from the Paradise of darkness. At least, until they found several more scrawled onto various landmarks around the scattered landmasses of the Flux Edge, all of them from different gods…and the resulting inquiry led to the embarrassment of the entire scholar wing of the Runners. He chuckled at the memory. The greatest minds of Praecidia, and they hadn't considered that Runner teams used shorthand glyphs to identify themselves and the lands they'd surveyed, useful in the chaos at the edge of the known world.
Funnier still, however, was the fact that Six herself had somehow managed to sneak past him while he was working on something for her, break into his kitchen, and fumble around in near complete darkness not once, but twice. All to learn that he'd been keeping his own specially-formulated energy mix there, and then leave him a rude note on it only after she'd taken the time to analyze just how much of it would kill him. She did care, in her own strange way.
Though she was wrong. It'd take two cups in a week to kill her. It was only after four that he'd start feeling the side effects. That was the first thing he'd tested, and the first thing he'd worked on developing a tolerance for.
He smiled to himself as he set the note aside and pulled open the lid, reaching in for the measuring spoon he kept within…only to have his hand touch nothing but another sheet of paper. He blinked. Pulled the jar closer. Picked it up. Peered within.
That was all that was in there. No mix. No spoon. Just a clean jar and a note from Six. Mocking him.
Had his head not started swimming again, he might have screamed. Instead, all he could do was heave a deep, deep sigh. Eiran left the empty jar on the counter as he left, headed for his bedroom with slumped shoulders, and up in the highest corner of the kitchen ceiling, a spider with a glossy, jeweled abdomen watched him go.
And in the depths of her workshop, the band on Six's wrist vibrated, and she checked it just quick enough to watch through her spider's eyes as Eiran's defeated form closed the kitchen door behind him. She smiled to herself. Servos were not easy to craft, but keeping her old friend from caffeinating himself to death was all the reason she needed.