ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the May 2, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "body alteration / injury" square in my 4-3-17 card for the  [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] ng_moonmoth, [personal profile] janetmiles, and EdorFaus. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Warning: This poem includes some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. This is hardcore hurt/comfort. It features an intertribal biker gang, Native American spirituality and superpowers, cultural dissonance, gaybashing, a young man tangled in a barbed wire fence, graphic description of injuries, messy medical details while hours away from expert care, which includes a substantial amount of pain that's only partially controllable with resources at hand, panic, trust issues due to previously violations of hair and other body parts, references to the Sun Dance, difficult decisions, risky motorcycle stunts, gender issues, two spirits, and other challenges. However, the overall tone is positive and people take good care of each other. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"The Place Where the Journey Begins"


The Iron Horses rode over
the open plains, motorcycles
eating up the endless miles.

They came together, broke apart,
and then gathered again like
a herd of buffalo dividing
around hills and ravines.

At the moment, Joseph Elkdog
led several of his lieutenants
in a little group of their own,
racing along a lonely highway.

Ben Big Rock and Kyle High Wolf
cruised close behind their leader,
the empty pavement letting the bikers
fan out if they wanted to. Behind them
came Ron Farlow and Mick Yellowtail.

Joseph enjoyed the wind in his face
as they rode past the scenery.

A rickety barbed wire fence ran
beside the highway, dividing it
from the red dirt service road
that lay on the other side.

Here and there, the old posts
of twisted hedgewood had fallen,
letting the wire sag in loops.

Suddenly a pair of foxes
darted in front of the bikers,
making them slam on the brakes.

Several bikes slewed sideways
and then skidded to a stop.

Joseph managed to keep
the ass end of his bike
properly behind him,
but it took some work.

He glared at the foxes
as they sat down beside
the fence, giving him
an expectant look.

Ben Big Rock was
already dismounting.

"What's the holdup?"
Joseph asked him.

"Something's hung in
the fence," Ben said,
grabbing his first aid kit.

"Fox cub?" Joseph said
as he parked his bike
on the side of the road.

"Too big," Ben said.

It was, now that Joseph
was looking for the problem,
although the color was right.

He snagged his first aid kit too.
Ben had the biggest model, since
he was their road medic, but
its supplies weren't infinite.

He heard Ben's startled exclamation.

Joseph trotted over to see
what all the fuss was about.

It wasn't a fox cub, or even
some kind of livestock.

It was a young man.

He had rolled through
loose coils of barbed wire
before fetching up against
the fence itself, and now
lay tangled in the stuff.

Long red hair clung
to the barbs, which had
cut through clothing
and skin alike.

Some of that skin
still showed milk-pale
where the fabric had
protected it, but the parts
exposed to the sun had
turned an alarming red.

There were fresh cuts,
some still bleeding, over
older ones scabbed shut.

That and the sunburn
told Joseph that he had
been there for a while.

On closer inspection,
he looked younger than
Joseph had thought at first,
slender and beardless --
late teens, at most.

At Ben's touch, the boy
startled awake, hazel eyes
wild with pain and fear.

"Easy, kid, we're here to help,"
Ben said. "Lie still before you
rip yourself up even worse."

The boy stopped struggling
but didn't relax at all.

"Joseph, get your repair kit,"
said Ben. "We're going to need
the wire cutter. The rest of you,
start washing off the blood and dust
so I can see what I'm dealing with."

Joseph put down his first aid kit
and went to fetch the wire cutter.

He looked up and down both roads,
but he saw no sign of a car or bike,
no hoofprints, no transportation
that could have brought the boy
to this out-of-the-way location.

When he came back with the tools,
the other bikers were clustered
around the boy, rinsing him clean.

It must have hurt, because
he was whimpering and trying
to get away from them again.

"Let me have his head, I can
keep him calm," said Ron.

Ben shifted enough to let
Ron in, which was good,
because they could all use
Ron's grounding presence now.

"Hi there," he said to the boy. "I
know we look like real scary dudes,
but we're going to take good care
of you. I'm Ron. What's your name?"

"Kenzie," the boy said, and
then yelped in pain.

"Close your eyes," Ron said.
"You don't need to watch
the show. Feel the ground
underneath you, how solid
it is. Let yourself go still
and calm like the earth."

Ron's soft voice helped
to steady Joseph's hands
as he lifted the wire away
from the boy's skin to cut it.

The first snap of the cutter
through wire made Kenzie beg,
"Don't cut my hair! Please don't!"

"Of course not!" Joseph exclaimed.
His own straight black hair nearly
reached his waist, and Kenzie's
would probably be as long when
it wasn't wrapped in a mess of wire.

The other men shared sensitive looks.
Only Mick Yellowtail chose to wear
his shaggy brown curls cut short.

"I can try to work out the knots,
but we might have to cut the wire
and leave some pieces in for now,"
Ron said, his gentle hands lifting
the long red locks. "That means
you really need to hold still."

They would also need to find
something to wrap around the hair
and keep it away from skin until
the remaining barbs could be
picked out of the tangles later.

"Okay," Kenzie said hoarsely.

Joseph followed behind
where Kyle had already
washed off the worst of
the mess, snipping through
the twists of barbed wire.

Ben carefully cleaned and
dressed the cuts he could reach.

"How did you get out here
all alone?" Joseph wondered.
"I didn't see any vehicle."

"I wasn't alone," Kenzie said
in a bitter tone. "Some guys
grabbed me on campus because
they thought I looked like a fag.
They roughed me up, and then
dumped me out of their truck."

Well, that explained the bruises.

"You were lucky to survive that,"
Ben said. "I'm not finding
any broken bones."

"I rolled with it," Kenzie said.
"I know how to take a beating.
I've had plenty of practice."

Joseph wondered if he could
find those guys and give them
a taste of that practice, too.

"How long have you been
out here?" Ben asked.

"I don't know," Kenzie said.
"A few days, maybe? It rained
yesterday, so I opened my mouth
and got some water that way."

"No wonder you're dehydrated,"
Ben muttered. "I can fix that, but
not way out here. Sips of water only;
too much too fast would make you sick."

Ron managed to get a little into him,
which smoothed out Kenzie's voice.

"When nobody came the first day,
I kind of gave up," Kenzie admitted.
"I started seeing things, off and on.
Mostly I've just been lying out here
looking at the sun and waiting to die."

"Wiwanyag wachipi," Ron said,
staring at Joseph over the boy's body.

In Lakota, the Sun Dance literally
meant "dance looking at the sun."

Normally, that ceremony came
after an entire year of prayer
and other careful preparations
to ready the soul for the event.

Joseph rubbed over the scars on
his own chest. He could not imagine
doing it unprepared, and alone.

Well, Kenzie wasn't alone anymore;
now he had the Iron Horses to help him
through the experience. Joseph wasn't
the only one who had looked at the sun.

The foxes, too, still waited and
watched, well out of reach.

Joseph wondered whether,
if he walked over there, he would
find footprints or if they were spirit foxes.

Anything was possible.

It was supposed to be a ceremony
before the whole tribe, but the spirits
could be unnervingly opportunistic at times.

The elders said that many of
the ceremonies and dances were
actually re-enactments of things
which had happened on their own.

Perhaps Kenzie had simply
stumbled into (been thrown into)
an older form of the ritual.

Then again, perhaps the spirits
had arranged it, or at least had
taken advantage of the chance
and bent it to their liking.

"I thought it was the end of me,"
Kenzie said, sounding lost and scared.

"It is not the end, even if it feels that way,"
Joseph assured him. "Looking at the sun
is the place where the journey begins."

"Really?" Kenzie pleaded as he
looked at them for reassurance.

Joseph used his free hand
to cover the knot of barbed wire
he was working loose. No sense
letting the boy see the mess of
his body and scare himself worse.

"It was the beginning for me,
although I didn't realize how much
it would change me," Ron said,
drawing Kenzie's attention back
up to him. "The Sun Dance is
how I gained superpowers."

"Wow," Kenzie breathed.

"Here, let me see if I can get
more of your hair loose," Ron said.

The clean scent of sage cut through
the harsher smell of antiseptic as
Ron opened his bottle of hair oil.

It made the long red strands
slippery enough to slide out of
the tangles. Ron pointed out places
where the wire would have to be
left and worked out later.

"I'm only cutting the metal,"
Joseph promised before
he applied the wire cutter.

"We need to get the rest of
these clothes off," Ben said. "Mick,
give me a hand with your knife."

Emergency scissors were useful,
but Mick's folding hunter knife had
a clip point, a saw, and a gut hook
that would make short work of clothes.

Kenzie started to protest, and
Ron soothed him. "We carry
spare clothes in our saddlebags,"
he said. "We'll loan you something."

Kenzie closed his eyes again. "Okay."

Joseph helped Ron lift the coppery pile
of hair out of the way so that none
of it would get cut by accident.

The tattered clothing fell away
as Ben and Mick worked, revealing
more of the milk-pale skin and
a few additional injuries.

Now with more space to work,
Ben covered the sunburn with aloe
and the scratches with salve.

The bruises would have to wait until
they could get liniment somewhere;
they couldn't carry everything in
a saddlebag first aid kit.

"Time to roll you up on
your side so I can see what's
underneath," Ben said. "Sorry, kid,
this is probably going to hurt."

Kenzie's whole body coiled up like
a snake about to strike, which would
just make it worse. For an instant,
power rippled under his skin.

"Relax," Ron said, gentle hands
smoothing the long hair away
from Kenzie's face. "You are
strong. You can bear this."

"How would you know?"
Kenzie said in a broken tone.
"You don't even know me."

"I know that you survived
looking at the sun for days,
with no preparation and
no support," Ron said.
"A weak man would have
died, or gone mad from it."

"Everyone else looks at me
and sees a pussy," Kenzie said.

Ben muttered something in Miwok
that was probably quite rude.

"Everyone else is blind," Ron said.
"Reach down inside yourself and
search for the strength that is there.
Now draw it up where you can feel it
and brace yourself against the pain."

Joseph had had a year of training in
how to withstand small hardships and
then larger ones, before his sponsor
had pierced his chest with eagle claws
and thin sticks of cottonwood.

Even then, the Sun Dance
had pushed him to the edge
of his endurance. He didn't know
how Kenzie had gotten through days
of entanglement in barbed wire --
after a beating, no less.

"On three," Ben said, and
counted time before Kyle
and Mick helped him roll
Kenzie toward Joseph, who
caught and steadied him.

They pulled away the fabric
that had been trapped under
him, then started washing
the newly revealed wounds.

"There's wire under the skin here,"
Kyle said quietly, pointing to it.

"Cut there and there," Ben said.

Joseph could see it, and he was
the one who would have to cut
around it so that Ben could get in
there and dig it out somehow.

He swallowed hard.

One of the drawbacks
to ranging free over
the open plains was
that you had no one else
to help if you got hurt.

It's why they had all stopped
to take care of a stranger:
because they were there.

Joseph's hands still shook
a little with the weight of
that responsibility.

Ron began to chant,
soft wordless syllables
coming down with a firm,
steady weight like the hooves
of a bull sitting down with them.

Everyone leaned into it, and
Ron could take it, could support
the whole gang if they needed him to.

That was the buffalo medicine
he had, grounding them all
no matter what happened.

Hands steady again,
Joseph reached down
to cut the wires.

"Good job," Ben said,
and shooed Joseph away
so he could start working
the metal out of Kenzie's back.

"How are you holding up?"
Joseph asked the boy.

"Still alive," Kenzie said
with a pained grimace.
"I guess that's something."

"That's a good thing,"
Joseph said, nodding.

"Tough call here," Ben said.

"What's wrong?" Joseph said,
leaning over to take a look.

Ben's big hands were holding
the flesh closed in two places
where the wire had torn
deep, ragged gashes.

"There's no way these will
stay closed if I just wrap them,
and I don't have any skin glue,"
Ben said. "I could sew them up,
I carry a suture kit for emergencies
like this, but I am not a real doctor."

"Can't we just call for help?"
Kenzie said. "I thought you
would've done that already, it's
supposed to be the first step."

"Kid, we are the help out here,"
Ben said in a tired voice.

"That rule is for places with
plenty of people," Joseph said.
"There isn't an ambulance within
a hundred miles of here."

Wherever the attackers had
grabbed Kenzie from, they'd
probably taken him quite a way
to lower the risk of getting caught.

This far out on the range,
calls routinely took hours
to complete, even in places
that could afford to keep
an ambulance and crew.


It's why Joseph had insisted
that his lieutenants take at least
basic road rescue classes, and even
the unranked riders were supposed
to carry a simple first aid kit.

"What could go wrong if you
botch the stitches?" Joseph said.

"Worst case scenario, I missed
some grit and someone else who
actually knows what he's doing
will have to pick out the stitches
and redo everything," Ben said.

"What if you don't sew them up?"
Joseph asked. "How bad are they?"

"I could bandage the wounds as
they are, but they won't stay closed
and could easily get worse," Ben said.
"These cuts go all the way through
the skin. I can piece it back together,
I think, but it won't stick without help."

"Shit," Kyle said. "Can't we get
a teleport or something?"

It wasn't like this for superheroes,
who had a network of transportation,
and the supervillains had their own ways
of getting from one place to another.

The Iron Horses were in between,
much the same way they were torn
between tribal life and the mainstream.

Mostly they relied on each other,
and teleportation just wasn't as common
among the tribes as it was in people from
other parts of the world. Every culture
had its own medicine, and there were
overlaps, but the proportions varied.

"You want to try SPOON again?"
Mick said sourly, and they all groaned.

That was well and truly an option of
last resort, after the ragging they got
the last time they had requested
backup for a supervillain incident.

"Is any of this life-threatening?"
Joseph asked. If he had to,
he would find some way of
getting the kid to a healer.

"Not immediately," Ben said.
"If he had any serious injuries --"

"-- then I would've died already,"
Kenzie said. "Yeah. I know."

"The dehydration is nasty, but it's
straightforward to fix; stick an IV in him,
and he'll be mostly fine in a few hours.
Any clinic can do that," Ben said.
"Infection's a real risk. He should
see a doctor for antibiotics."

They had stashes of those, too,
for emergencies, but Ben was right;
better to get professional care
whenever possible, and Kenzie
probably wasn't used to going
out of bounds like they were.

"There's another problem --
how do we get him out of here?"
Mick said with a frown.

"Looks like one of us will have
to ride double," Joseph said.

"Oh hell no," Ben said.
"Kenzie's balance is shot.
"Not even you could keep
your seat carrying a passenger
who's as floppy as a dead snake.
No offense, kid, but it's true."

"It's okay, you're right,"
Kenzie said. "I can pedal
a bike, but not today. I doubt
that I could even walk."

"I know a guy," Kyle said.
"He's not kin, but he owes me
a favor. I don't think he'd be willing
to jump out here, but if we can get
to him, I could probably talk him into
taking the kid to Blazing Grass."

Who worked in a real hospital,
which would be perfect. "All right,
how far away is he?" Joseph asked.

"About an hour at our usual speed,
maybe two if we slow down," Kyle said.

"What are you thinking?" Joseph said.

"Remember the old rescue trick
my uncle mentioned, that people used
to do with horses?" Kyle said. "I bet we
could make it work with bikes. I mean,
not me, but you're good enough."

What they had done was rig up
a travois between two horses to carry
an injured warrior home from battle.

It would be beyond risky on motorcycles,
but not impossible. Joseph had that kind
of skill, and Ben wasn't too far behind.

It all depended on what Kenzie wanted.

Joseph laid out the limited options
for transportation and said, "What do
you want to do? This is your choice."

"If you think the bike trick will work, do it,"
said Kenzie. "I really don't want to wait hours
trying to find another ride, and SPOON is just --"
He shook his head. "I'm not a superhero."

"Neither am I," Joseph said. "Kyle,
go scrounge what we'll need for this."

"What about the stitches?"
Ben asked Kenzie.

The boy winced but said,
"Yeah, I guess you better.
I got enough holes in my hide
without letting them get bigger."

"All right," Ben said. "Try not
to wiggle around on me. Mick and
Joseph will help you hold still."

Ron already had Kenzie's head
in his lap, so he could handle
the shoulders. That left Joseph
managing the boy's arms and
Mick taking hold of the legs.

Even with anaesthetic spray,
this was going to hurt.

Joseph could feel the flinches
travel through Kenzie's body,
see his skin twitching the way
he'd only seen on a horse before.

"Be strong," Ron said to Kenzie.
"Don't clench yourself around the pain.
Let it flow through you and then out, like
the wind through cottonwood leaves."

"I'm trying," Kenzie gasped.

Ron started singing again,
and that helped, gentle voice
carrying them all to calm.

Joseph could see Ben's hands
moving in their careful rhythm,
keeping time with the chant,
now and again the glint of sun
on the curved needle as it
rose and fell, closing the cuts.

Kenzie had gone limp under
their grip, and Joseph wasn't sure
whether the young man had fainted
or had figured out how to ride the pain
instead of getting trampled by it.

He roused again when Ben started
cleaning the finished seams, though.

"Ow. I thought you were done,"
Kenzie complained, flinching again.
He didn't have the experience to know
when to let go of his control.

It had taken Joseph years to learn
how long he could last before he lost
his grip and started to yell and swear
like any man -- and how far was too far,
so the exhaustion felt worse than the pain.

"Done with the needlework, just need
to wrap this for you," Ben said. He
reached for his kit, then sighed.
"I'm about out of bandages."

"I have some honeyband
in my supplies if you want it,"
Mick said. "Got it in trade."

"Great, get it," Ben said,
and Mick trotted to his bike.

"What's that?" Kenzie asked.
He really wasn't used to
the different options.

Ben showed him the last
of the hydrogel patches that
he had been putting over
the areas of road rash.

"It's like this, only it's made
from manuka honey," Ben said.

"Honey in bandages?" Kenzie said.

"It helps wounds heal faster,
cleaner," the medic explained.
"That's supervillain stuff, though;
we'll understand if you don't
want to take a chance on it."

"Does it work?" Kenzie asked
as Mick came back with his kit.

In answer, Mick hiked up
his jeans to show the place
where he'd ditched last month
and taken the skin off his calf.

"That's about three weeks old,"
he said, tracing a finger around
the palm-sized pink area. "This
probably won't even leave a scar."

"I'll take the honeyband," Kenzie said.

"Smart kid," Mick said as he
passed the goods to Ben.

It didn't take long for the medic
to finish bandaging the mess of
Kenzie's back, and then Joseph
stripped off his leather vest to wrap
the long hair so the bits of barbed wire
wouldn't snag any more of his skin.

Kenzie was staring at him in horror.

"What's wrong?" Joseph said,
looking around for the problem.

"Your chest," Kenzie said.
"Who did that to you?"

Joseph looked down.
Like most of the men who
had looked at the sun, he often
went bareskinned under his vest
when the weather was warm enough.

"Oh," Joseph said. One hand
brushed across the thick scars.
"My sponsor helped me."

"I thought someone ... hurt you,"
Kenzie said, dropping his gaze.

Ron shivered. Joseph knew that
he'd been hurt before, and not
just in the context of a ritual.

"Not like you mean," Joseph said.
"Yes, it hurt, but I chose it. I spent
a whole year in training to do this.
Sun Dance is a special ceremony,
kind of like a prayer with the body."

"Sorry," Kenzie said with a wince.
"I didn't realize it was a church thing.
I didn't mean to be rude about it."

"Asking isn't rude, making fun of it
would have been rude," Joseph said.
He'd heard enough of both to know
the difference. "Understand that
not everyone may want to answer,
though. It's a very private thing."

"But you weren't wearing a shirt
under your vest," Kenzie said.
"Anyone could see them."

"I wear these scars with honor,"
Joseph said. "Most of my people
know what they're seeing."

In fact, the first reason he had
wanted to do the Sun Dance was
to make people shut up about
him not being a "real Indian."

It had been a foolish reason,
and the person he approached
had quite properly refused him.

Joseph hadn't found his way to
the real reason for another two years,
and by then he had a different sponsor,
which was for the best anyway.

The Sun Dance was never
about yourself. You always
did it for someone else's benefit.

The second time Joseph applied,
he danced for the unity of the world.

His prayer had been accepted --
it was life-changing stuff -- and it
helped sew up the gap in his soul,
even though nothing could make
all the nations join seamlessly.

Joseph was learning to be
okay with that, or at least,
he was trying to be.

"How -- how bad do you
think this will be?" Kenzie said,
waving a hand over his bandages.

Joseph really did not want
to have that conversation
without a medicine man
there to help with it.

Kenzie would have to choose
whether he wanted to try minimizing
the scar tissue, or keep it, which was
a hell of a thing when you hadn't prepared
for it, didn't understand the implications,
and had to make a prompt decision.

"Why don't you save that question
for a real doctor," Ben suggested,
rescuing all of them from it.

"Yeah, that's ... probably
a good idea," Kenzie said.

Mick brought clothes for him
to borrow, since he was closest to
the boy in size, lounging pants of
soft jersey and a zip-front sweatshirt.

Ron helped Kenzie get dressed.
They hadn't been able to salvage
anything more than his underwear.
Even the socks had been a total loss,
already unraveling around the holes.

Joseph went to see what Kyle
had made of the travois, and found
that he had already fastened the bikes
together, in essence turning a pair of
two-wheeled vehicles into a four-wheeler.

It was solid work, and he said so.
Kyle basked in the praise.

While Ben and Mick carried
Kenzie to the travois, Joseph
thought about what to do next.

The last thing they needed was
to get pulled over, and another dimple
of energy from Kenzie made Joseph
think that more backup of another kind
would be a good thing to have.

"Kyle, scout ahead and
make sure the road is clear,"
Joseph said. "Mick, swing wide and
find Blair Her Road Goes Both Ways."

Blair had gone off with a group of
younger members to keep them
out of unnecessary trouble, but now
Joseph wanted the brave-woman
to take a look at Kenzie.

He wasn't sure the young man
was two-spirit, but he suspected it
based on their conversation, and if
things got sticky, it would be easier
with another there to help them.

Sorting out visions was hard enough
when you only had one path; with two
it was all the more confusing,
if also more powerful.

"I'm on it," Kyle said,
and mounted his bike.
Mick soon followed suit.

Joseph looked over his shoulder
as he tightened the last of the straps,
making sure that Kenzie would be
as safe as they could make him.

The two foxes flicked their red ears
at him and then trotted away, content.

"You said earlier," Kenzie mused,
"this is the place where the journey begins."

"Yes, I did," Joseph said. "I think you'll
find that it changes you, even though
you didn't come to it in the usual way."

"I just wanted to say ... thank you for
being here at the beginning of my journey."

That told Joseph just how real it was.

* * *

Notes:

Joseph Elkdog -- He has long straight black hair, black eyes, and light copper skin. He stands 6' tall, with a sturdy frame and a long oblong face. He belongs to the Blackfeet tribe, and is the older half-brother of She Walks in Mist. Because Joseph was born when their mother was fairly young, she sent him to live with his father, and he grew up mostly in urban areas. He has learned more about Blackfeet culture over time. She Walks in Mist, born later, was raised on the reservation by their mother. That makes their relationship a little challenging, but they love each other dearly.
Joseph is the leader of a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Joseph leads his people into battle when necessary, and is a powerful fighter.
Origin: The longstanding dispute between tribal and biker cultures over Bear Butte and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally reached an odd crossroads when a young "city Indian" rode his bike up the mountain ... and then safely back down again, bike perfectly intact, in possession of a vision and rather more sense than he went up with. He began studying his Blackfeet heritage and gathering members to form a motorcycle gang.
Uniform: Brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Master (+6) Biker, Expert (+4) Leader, Good (+2) Blackfeet Culture, Good (+2) Humility, Good (+2) Mechanic
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Expert (+4) Horse Totem, Average (0) Nature-sense
Good (+2) Motorcycle: Expert (+4) Magical Protection, Good (+2) Elusive, Good (+2) Fast
Average (0) Minions: The Iron Horses have 7 named lieutenants and dozens of additional members. Lieutenants have qualities of Expert (+4) Biker and another Good; plus powers of a Good (+2) Totem and another Average (0) superpower. Each Iron Horse has an Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Magical protection and two other Good qualities. They all share the same weakness of Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds.
Motivation: Protect Turtle Island and promote unity among her people.

Joseph Elkdog (in choker) and the Iron Horses
Joseph Elkdog (Horse) 6 ft, Ben Big Rock (Bear) 6'7", Kyle High Wolf (Wolf) 6'2", Ron Farlow (Bison) (5'10"), Mick Yellowtail (Coyote) 5'11"

Joseph Elkdog's motorcycle has horses painted on it.


Elki (Ben Big Rock) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and long shaggy hair of dark brown. Because his eyes are light-sensitive, he usually wears sunglasses. He has a thick beard and moustache, along with copious body hair. He is big and muscular, standing 6'7" tall. He has a long dimpled scar across his butt from a prenatal injury. His heritage includes Miwok, Spanish, and Norse. He speaks English, Miwok, and some Spanish. He enjoys gathering and cooking traditional foods.
Ben belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Ben is their road medic and a heavy hitter.
Origin: Ben's mother had a bad boyfriend. They went camping while she was pregnant with Ben. Because the boyfriend was careless with food storage -- despite repeated warnings from his girlfriend -- a bear came into their camp. Ben's mother was clawed across the belly, and her boyfriend was torn to pieces and scattered all over everywhere. A shaman predicted that the baby would have bear medicine, but Ben's actual superpowers have been patchy in development.
Uniform: When not riding, Ben often lounges around in jeans and a t-shirt. When riding, he wears brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Big and Tall, Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Road Medic, Good (+2) Traditional Foods
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Bear Totem, Average (0) Healing Sense
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Handling, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To follow Joseph Elkdog.

Elki. L. (m.) Bear hanging intestines of people on top of rocks or bushes.
Elkini, to hang on top of or over.
Also The New Age Baby Name Book p. 216.

Ben Big Rock (in sunglasses) and the Iron Horses

Ben's motorcycle has heavy cargo capacity.


Kyle High Wolf -- He has tawny skin, hazel-brown eyes, and light brown hair worn long. He is lean and wiry, standing 6'2" tall. His heritage includes Cheyenne, Japanese, and French. Kyle has a dominant personality, but respects Joseph Elkdog as overall leader of the Iron Horses. This makes Kyle an excellent lieutenant, and he enjoys leading smaller groups on different missions. His hunting skill brings a considerable amount of food to his people, and he shares it generously. He is also an accomplished dancer, preferring traditional to more modern styles.
Kyle belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Kyle is a scout and a fierce fighter.
Origin: Always getting lost as a child, Kyle was difficult for adults to locate, but typically managed to find his own way back. At puberty, he actually turned invisible for the first time. A shaman was called, and determined his Wolf totem.
Uniform: When not riding, Kyle enjoys wearing bright colors, even outrageous garments. He sometimes takes trophies from vanquished enemies, and has worn parts of various supervillain outfits. Several times, Kraken has had to buy back their uniforms at ridiculous prices. When riding, he wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Dominant, Good (+2) Hand-to-Hand Combat, Good (+2) Hunter, Good (+2) Men's Traditional Dance
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Wolf Totem, Average (0) Invisibility
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Handling, Good (+2) Magical Protection, and Good (+2) Speed
Motivation: To feed the pack.

Kyle High Wolf (in red coat) and the Iron Horses

Kyle's motorcycle has wolves painted on it.


Ron Farlow -- He has light copper skin, brown eyes, and long straight black hair. His face is rounded, his form sturdy under a layer of padding. He has a tattoo of several feathers on his left arm. He stands 5'10" tall. His heritage includes Cherokee and Lakota. He speaks English and Lakota. Ron is a descendant of Sitting Bull. His family raises beef cattle and horses, and they also look after a herd of bison. Ron is a promising drummer, although too young to be allowed to perform at powwows yet. He has a good memory and a solid presence.
Ron belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Ron keeps the gang grounded and interprets dreams. He prefers not to fight, but is formidable when he does.
Origin: Ron performed the Sun Dance using buffalo skulls, and gained superpowers.
Uniform: When not riding, Ron tends to wear overalls with a t-shirt or flannel shirt. When riding, he wears brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Drummer, Good (+2) Memory, Good (+2) Solidarity
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Buffalo Totem, Average (0) Grounding
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Gas Mileage, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To make things holy.

Ron Farlow (with tattoo) and the Iron Horses

Ron's motorcycle is turquoise and cream.


Mick Yellowtail -- He has tinted skin, light brown eyes, and short curly hair of dark brown. He is lean and quick. He stands 5'11" tall. His heritage includes Crow and British. Having grown up with almost nothing, Mick frequently stole to survive, and has learned how to stretch resources as far as possible. He learned flint knapping so that he could make his own tools and weapons at need. Cunning and quick, he's a valuable member of the Iron Horses. He gets in and out of trouble all the time, does things backwards -- but won't commit to formal training with the sacred clowns -- and generally drives Joseph Elkdog crazy. Tricksters are like that. Joseph considers Mick an asset anyhow.
Mick belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Mick is a scout and a trickster. He tends to hang around the edges of a fight, assisting his gangmates or harrying the enemy. He's deft with a knife.
Origin: As a wild teenager, Mick attempted to rob a shaman's camper. He wound up with a handful of holy things that he didn't know how to use, but they sure knew how to use him. Mick was left holding the bag while Coyote laughed his ass off. Things haven't gotten much saner since.
Uniform: When not riding, Mick likes jeans and a buttoned shirt, often white. When riding, he wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Frugal, Good (+2) Knapper, Good (+2) Thief
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Coyote Totem, Good (+2) Reality Alteration
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Handling, Good (+2) Magical Protection, and Good (+2) Speed
Mick uses a smaller style of saddlebag than most of the other Iron Horses.
Motivation: Whatever pops into his head at the moment.

Mick Yellowtail (in leather jacket) and the Iron Horses

Mick's motorcycle is black and gold. Normally one would not put Harley Davidson saddlebags on any other type of bike. But the Iron Horses mix things up, they count coup and take trophies, and Mick is a coyote. So this is what he packs on his bike.


Kenzie Nolan -- He has pale skin with freckles, hazel eyes, and long straight red hair. He is a descendant of Gráinne Nuala. He is two-spirit and many-shaped. He uses masculine pronouns for convenience, and gets uneasy about being mistaken for a girl. He is more beautiful than handsome, and his looks attract attention -- sometimes from the wrong parties, making him a preferred target for trouble of all kinds. He has been beaten up more times than he can count. Kenzie is currently 17, but lies that he is 19. Having drifted away from a family where he never fit well, he has been couchsurfing with friends and posing as a college student by sneaking into large classes to study arts and crafts.
The Iron Horses find him tangled in a barbed wire fence. He is first called Two Foxes, and later Many Beasts.
Origin: Always a bit different, Kenzie found his superpowers beginning to emerge at puberty. They have been growing slowly ever since.
Uniform: As widely variable as the rest of him. Often he just wears a t-shirt and jeans, but he also likes bohemian outfits. He can dress up in a sharp suit. After the Iron Horses find him, Kenzie also tries on motorcycle leathers and tribal wear.
Qualities: Good (+2) Artisan, Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Bohemian, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Versatile
Poor (-2) Preferred Target
Powers: Expert (+2) Shapeshifter
His forms include fox, goat, red deer stag, paint horse in chestnut-and-white, and cardinal. Even in human form, he can use most of his animal abilities at Good (+2) level.
Motivation: Self-discovery.

In Terramagne, Gráinne Nuala retired but did not die. She is immortal, and sometimes still goes to sea as a pirate or privateer.


Blair Her Road Goes Both Ways -- She has light copper skin, almond-shaped black eyes, and long straight black hair. She has a soft, round face with a few chin hairs that she cherishes. Her body is strong and slender with wide shoulders and small breasts. She has little waist definition and fairly narrow hips. She stands 5'9" tall. She is the daughter of Ida and Tomson Starblanket. Blair is a brave-woman who takes the social role of a man, but hasn't changed her body with surgery. She just naturally has higher testosterone and lower estrogen, hence the androgynous appearance. She uses feminine pronouns for convenience, although she doesn't mind being referred to in the masculine -- her gangmates routinely call her "one of the guys." Her heritage includes Cree, Ojibwa, and French. She speaks English, Canadian French, and Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ or Plains Cree -- which is not the same dialect as her parents, she learned it as an adult. The name "Her Road Goes Both Ways" actually came from running back and forth along the road as a toddler.
Blair belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Blair is adept at both knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat. She keeps the gang balanced. Her mystical abilities including finding lost spirits, and reassembling them if the pieces are broken.
Origin: Blair went on a vision quest and came back with superpowers.
Uniform: When not riding, Blair likes jeans and a masculine shirt, often checked or plaid. When riding, she wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Brave-Woman, Good (+2) Endurance, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Caribou Totem, Average (0) Spirit Finder
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Handling, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To bring balance between the genders.

There are many different names for alternative sex/gender roles in Native American tribes, now collectively called two-spirits. Brave-woman is one term for a female-bodied person who takes a man's role in society.

Blair's motorcycle is black and red.

* * *

(Some of these links are graphic.)


The Sun Dance may be translated as "dance looking at the sun" and has been described as "the place where the journey begins" due to the great changes it can make in participants -- or even observers. This is, in fact, an application of spiritual science: the creation of a transcendental experience which is replicable under controlled circumstances. What you see in the spread of Sun Dance ceremonies through multiple cultures is the process of testing and adaption as each one determines that it works and then modifies it to suit their unique needs and goals. Read a description or watch a video.

(Graphic pictures below.)
The Sun Dance most often entails a double chest piercing. (Ron did a different version which involved pinning a bunch of buffalo skulls to his back.) These are recently healed scars. Joseph's look a lot like this; you can see why Kenzie kind of freaked. They don't look like ordinary, accidental scars from familiar sorts of accidents. These are older, weathered scars.

Motorcycle braking is an essential skill, especially emergency braking. The back of the bike often wants to go sideways, so it's also important to master the slide.

A motorcycle first aid kit has some special needs. Crash care classes teach people how to handle an accident. Note that the Iron Horses are sorting by rank as well as affinity: Joseph expects his lieutenants to be prepared for emergencies because they are leaders, even if they aren't all medics. The Renegade Trauma Pack is the largest, and Ben has padded out his first aid kit with a suture kit. Most of the lieutenants are packing the smaller Cruiser First Aid Kit, such as Joseph has.

Hydrogel or hydrocolloid dressings are best practice for treating road rash. If you want to know what really works for fixing obnoxious abrasions, the best experts aren't actually emergency workers who only see it the day it happens; they're hardcore adventurers who have survived dozens of the damn things and had to treat them different ways with available resources, then could observe the different healing patterns. Consequently all the Iron Horses carry their own Road Rash Repair Kit, such as Ben's kit, and these things get rave reviews. An advantage of this is that, in the case of a casualty with lots of lost skin like Kenzie, the bikers can pool their resources to cover a substantial portion of his body.

Honeyband is a gizmotronic bandage made from manuka honey and other bee products, similar in function to hydrogel. It's produced by supervillains but gets passed around the wider soup community.

(These links are graphic and extremely gross.)
Barbed wire has earned its nickname of "the Devil's rope." This is the kind of fence that Kenzie rolled into. It is notorious for injuring horses, deer, owls, and many other animals. It also poses a serious hazard to cyclists, and this crash scene is similar to what happened to Kenzie. The fresh injuries are very messy, but they patch up okay. They can leave small or large scars.

Terramagne-America widely incorporates simulations into training, such as this one for a horse and rider trapped in barbed wire. Know how to treat barbed wire injuries.

A motorcycle repair kit such as this one should have the essential tools to fix what the rider knows how to handle.

Gaybashing is a serious threat which has taken many lives, such as Matthew Shepard who was murdered in a situation not unlike Kenzie's. It doesn't just harm queerfolk, though; being mistaken for gay is just one of the ways it can hurt straight people too. Learn how to stop being homophobic or fight homophobia when you see it.

Nonverbal pain signals include whimpering and squirming. Notice that when Kenzie protests because something hurts, the Iron Horses pause and try to get consent before continuing. That's an important part of reducing the risk of PTSD and other mental complications, because a key cause of those is feeling helpless. Because T-America has better awareness of this, at least the basics are covered in first aid courses that address trauma -- definitely featured in some detail during the crash care classes that the lieutenants have taken. It's still a miserable situation for everyone, but they know how to avoid making it even worse.

Pain control methods include some non-pharmacological ones. T-America has a much more refined and functional process for helping people choose, and use responsibly, methods effective in managing their level of pain. Ron is reciting some very tribal-flavored techniques that he learned during his own Sun Dance training. Compare that with the quite different set of suggestions that Dr. Bloch presented to Shiv in "As We Grasp Them." Pain control is essential for trauma patients because it affects wound healing; pain and stress delay healing and cause worse outcomes. Chronic pain is the source of many techniques for pain management. Some require considerable training to learn and use, but others can be acquired quickly and generalize well to acute pain such as from accidents. Ron is using aspects of relaxation and distraction to help Kenzie cope, and there are other ways of using your mind to master pain. Understand how to talk with a person in pain. Very little education on how to cope with pain seems to be readily available in T-America, but I did find one presentation aimed at nurses which explains a lot about the general methodology.

Native American hair care traditions are rich and varied. Hair oil is very popular. Ron's is similar to this sage-arnica body oil, and here's a Navajo hair oil.

This is Mick's hunting knife. A gut hook is ideal for safely slitting clothes off a patient, and is in fact the inspiration for EMT tools designed for that purpose.

Lack of emergency services is a serious concern in many rural areas. It is worst of all in parts of the southwest and deep plains where some states have very low population density. In local-Texas there are numerous places where people can be over a hundred miles and several hours from an ambulance or hospital. Because the Iron Horses spend so much time in the middle of nowhere, they learned to handle emergencies by themselves -- much as their ancestors did.

A travois is a traditional means of carrying baggage, constructed from two poles and a holder between them. Ignore the part where it says they're no longer used. I've used them, and so have plenty of other campers. I've also seen people using them at a pow-wow. Normally a travois is dragged by a single animal or person, but it can easily be converted for two-sided carry as Kyle suggested, which is much gentler on an injured person. Fastening any two conveyances together like that is risky, but sometimes better than the alternatives. Tribal riders have done amazingly risky and useful things on horseback, a tradition the Iron Horses have continued with motorcycles.

This is the jersey outfit that Mick loans to Kenzie.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 10:49 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Gee, the foxes just hit the Iron Horses with a clue-by-four...

>>"Kenzie," the boy said, and
then yelped in pain.<<

Oh boy, that name certainly didn't help.

>>"I wasn't alone," Kenzie said
in a bitter tone. "Some guys
grabbed me on campus because
they thought I looked like a fag.
They roughed me up, and then
dumped me out of their truck."<<

I'd like to introduce those guys to some barbed wire. We can start with their crotches..


Also, abandoning someone in the wilderness like that (which *is* in effect what they did) used to carry the death penalty for good reason.

I expect that even (or maybe *especially*) in Terramagne the law takes a dim view of this. If they are identifiable, they might be luckier if the Iron Horses caught up with them. Or maybe not.

Go Home Charlie is too good for these slime.

You left the line number for 300 in.

>>"Infection's a real risk. He should
see a doctor for antibiotics."

They had stashes of those, too,
for emergencies, but Ben was right;
better to get professional care
whenever possible, and Kenzie
probably wasn't used to going
out of bounds like they were.<<

Yeah, there are ways. I've used pet anti-biotics in the past. Thank god that it's easier to get medical coverage and help these days than it was in the 70s.

>>"If you think the bike trick will work, do it,"
said Kenzie. "I really don't want to wait hours
trying to find another ride, and SPOON is just --"
He shook his head. "I'm not a superhero."<<

*Somebody* needs to rub SPOON's nose in they way they are (deservedly!) being perceived by a lot of folks.

>>"Be strong," Ron said to Kenzie.
"Don't clench yourself around the pain.
Let it flow through you and then out, like
the wind through cottonwood leaves."<<

Learning that trick is hard. Harder is realizing the difference between endorphins and getting shocky.

Of course, Kenzie's probably at the point endorphins aren't enough or at least can't handle everything. And I don't know for sure how they work with something that long term.

>>Ron helped Kenzie get dressed.
They hadn't been able to salvage
anything more than his underwear.
Even the socks had been a total loss,
already unraveling around the holes.<<

And I bet that the [censored] who dumped him removed his ID, keys, etc. Harder to trace the body if he died, and harder to get home if he survives.


>>"When nobody came the first day,
I kind of gave up," Kenzie admitted.
"I started seeing things, off and on.
Mostly I've just been lying out here
looking at the sun and waiting to die."

"Wiwanyag wachipi," Ron said,
staring at Joseph over the boy's body.<<

Ouch. An involuntary Sun Dance. At least *Someone* was paying attention and sent the foxes at the right time.

Anybody calling Kenzie a "wimp" or the like around the Iron Horses is in for a *world* of hurt.

>>Mick's motorcycle is black and gold. Normally one would not put Harley Davidson saddlebags on any other type of bike. But the Iron Horses mix things up, they count coup and take trophies, and Mick is a coyote. So this is what he packs on his bike.<<

The link to what he packs on his bike goes to a GIF that's just a dot.

>>There are many different names for alternative sex/gender roles in Native American tribes, now collectively called two-spirits. Brave-woman is one term for a female-bodied person who takes a man's role in society.<<

But a number of them (and other cultures use the five genders or a subset of them.

Roughly:
male masculine
male feminine
mixed
female masculine
female feminine.

The links for the Road Rash Repair kit all dead end. And a google search isn't doing well, as there's a kit of the same name marketed for fixing paint chips on cars.

I'm going to keep looking though, because that is exactly the sort of thing that I need sometimes when I damage the part of my leg that has compromised circulation.

What the wound clinic I went to when I had a really bad one gave me was a couple of huge sheets (in resealable ziploc packaging) of Aquacel AG. I just cut pieces to size with scissors and put a gauze pad over it then taped that down or used a tubular bandage.

It uses the seepage from the wound to turn into a gel, and the silver acts as an anti-bacterial agent. Works great (though it would be a problem for folks who react badly to silver I'd guess)

And it's not cheap.

I found this: https://www.herokit.com/products/crash-pack but it's not remotely the same as the road rash kit.

http://www.bikingbis.com/2008/06/25/5-steps-to-treating-road-rash/

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 03:33 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
>>Of course, Kenzie's probably at the point endorphins aren't enough or at least can't handle everything. And I don't know for sure how they work with something that long term.<<

That's a heck of a lot of pain.

I've used the endorphins trick for long-term pain. I had a chronic/increasing condition, finally alleviated by removing the malfunctioning organ. Before the surgery, I was in constant pain starting about a 6 and spiking up to 9. (With 9 defined as "can't stand up, starting to red out.")

It works pretty well - better than painkillers in the short term. If I could anticipate a spike, I could keep myself mostly-functional through it with endorphins. It turns out, it's possible to wear yourself out to the point of not being able to do it for a while. That sucks rocks through a straw, and as the poem mentioned, exhausting yourself by pushing too long is every bit as bad.

This is just the dressings, but I found a page selling hydrocolloid dressings in multiple packs.
Edited Date: 2017-06-29 04:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 02:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
hydrocolloids also come in types! biologic alginates (Derived from seaweeds) colloids (oil or glycerin based) and wet window dressings which allow the biofilm the body naturally produces to collect, but are breathable enough to avoid pooling and potential gathering of infection! they're FANTASTIC

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 09:51 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
yeah, gravel SUCKS. You know what doesn't suck?
the day the wound care reps come in to show us all the new goodies they're trying out that we get to play with! :D

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-07-04 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
ooooo! I want to see what the T version of a wound vac is like!

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 02:46 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Those bandages are so cool. I think I'll find some for my car kit.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 06:50 pm (UTC)
antisocialite_forum: A group of small round pumpkins in a very green pumpkin patch (Default)
From: [personal profile] antisocialite_forum
>> But a number of them (and other cultures use the five genders or a subset of them.

Roughly:
male masculine
male feminine
mixed
female masculine
female feminine. <<

Did not know about that pattern! I makes a lot of sense though with how I've heard some gender categories described.

... A friend of mine is questioning because he fits into the male-feminine subset but as far as I know hasn't tried to find a term that fits yet.

- JE

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 11:15 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>>> I'd like to introduce those guys to some barbed wire. We can start with their crotches. <<

:D Tuesday's theme includes gender and identity. Feel free to prompt for the Iron Horses tracking these guys down.<<<

Oh, but there are so *many* possibilities with that theme. Like someone who *lives* the T-shirt:
https://www.spreadshirt.com/male+female+fuck+you+women-s+t-shirts-A13473478

>>> I expect that even (or maybe *especially*) in Terramagne the law takes a dim view of this. <<

Yes. Off the top of my head, the charges would include assault and battery, with the aggravated circumstances for hate crime, kidnapping, and attempted murder. The latter is because abandoning an injured person in the wilderness is frequently fatal; Kenzie was very lucky to survive.<<

Probably throw "reckless endangerment" in there too. And it'd be *multiple* counts of assault and battery. At least one for the beating and another for tossing him out of a moving vehicle.

>>One of the clever things about T-America is that they actually enable the advice "pack any essential medications in your emergency kit." If you try that here, you quickly discover that it's illegal for almost everything that requires a prescription, which is almost everything you'd want in an emergency kit beyond normal first aid stuff.<<

In the Tuck Saga the family gets around that by having a friendly doctor willing to write prescriptions.

>>> Harder is realizing the difference between endorphins and getting shocky. <<

Endorphins: usually feel good, tend to come in surges, feel quite a lot like narcotics due to chemical similarity, are easier to learn control of.

Shock: usually feels bad until the very end when you are fucked enough to start separating from your body, tends to get progressively worse, and is difficult (though not impossible) to buffer even with training.

Both: feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, numbness, and dissociation.<<<

Well, I guess I'm a bit weird. To *me* the "feeling bad" is kinda separate from the rest of the shock stuff. Then again, I'm also one of those folks who recognizes a difference between "intense sensation" and "pain".

More generally, I have weird pain responses anyway. After a double extraction (impacted wisdom teeth) I took the first vicodin they prescribed, but wound up saving the others as aspirin/ibuprofen seemed to handle it just fine.

I've also had too many situations over the years where I had to tell my body "keep going, I know we are having problems, but I have to keep doing this". Training your body to "ignore" warning signals is not the brightest thing to do. Even if other "survival" instincts" are saying you need to ignore it. :-(

>>>But a number of them (and other cultures use the five genders or a subset of them.<<

I've seen that, yes. My Waterjewel elves use:

Male (includes masculine-presenting)
Female (includes feminine-presenting)
Both (any mixed combination of sex/gender)
Neither (neuter/neutrois)
I'm not telling<<<

I've noted that a lot of cultures that get at all "complicated" on the subject do seem to want to keep track of bio sex, even if it's a secondary consideration. The fun bit is when you hit "western" cultures with these sorts of setups (like the "sworn virgins" in Armenia(?)). It's not just "aboriginal" peoples.

When I tried setting up an "interesting" human culture, I had them having "sex" and "gender" as separate categories for stuff where it had to be recorded. and with an explicit "other" category just in case they'd missed an option.

Basic Database design rule. Any field that is a fixed list of option must have an "other" option. You will *always* wind up needing it sooner or later.

I recall lots of folks object "what about sex?" when being told this. I can now point to the Oregon DMV and US Customs & Immigration that are having to add an "other" option for sex markers. Oregon because a court decision said it had tpo be there, and Customs because several countries have that as an option on their passports.

>>> The links for the Road Rash Repair kit all dead end. And a google search isn't doing well, as there's a kit of the same name marketed for fixing paint chips on cars.<<

I tested the links. The ones to review descriptions still work for me, but from there, the ones to the manufacturer site seem to indicate they're no longer in business. Alas! Because that looked like a damn good product.<<<

That was what I meant. the links to the reviews were good, but trying to get to the product from there failed. I need to remember to ask at my bike shop if they know what happened.

And yeah, damn good, especially being able to fit in a water bottle holder. That's sheer genius.

>>> I'm going to keep looking though, because that is exactly the sort of thing that I need sometimes when I damage the part of my leg that has compromised circulation. <<

You can make your own. Given low circulation, wraparound or sleeve bandages may be a bad idea; favor self-adhesive bandages and/or short bits of surgical tape. But you could ask your regular caregiver(s) if there are sleeve bandages suited to low circulation cases. It might be something you'd have to get from a pharmacy or hospital instead of over the counter though.<<<

Actually, after the wound that required going to the wound clinic healed, they *prescribed* these compression things (sort of foam and spandex things about 1/4" thick that wrap around the legs and fasten with velcro. There are a couple of thread lines on the surface and you adjust the tension until the seperation matches this cardboard guide.

It's because I have fluid retention problems in both legs, and the circulation thing is venous insufficiency., so the elastic stuff helps pump things whenever you move (the veins have one way valves so they don't care what sort of fluctuating pressure activates them).

The tubular bandage stuff is really low pressure stuff just enough to keep a dressing from shifting. I've had knit sleeves and legs on some womens jeans and tights that were tighter.

I don't know the brand of the tubular stuff, as they just cut off some lengths from a roll. Fortunately, I forget that I'd put away some of the spare lengths, so I have samples that haven't been stretched out and thru the wash (yes they said to wash them if they got stained from seepage). So I can measure to get the right width. and double check with some local pharmacies to see if they have it or know what to order.

>>> It uses the seepage from the wound to turn into a gel, and the silver acts as an anti-bacterial agent. Works great (though it would be a problem for folks who react badly to silver I'd guess) <<

Yeah, don't put those on vampires or werewolves unless you intend to torture them. Not kidding, I've seen a few even in this world with a violent allergy to silver.<<<

Well, I was thinking of some folks who have silver allergies. It's uncommon, but it does exist. Things like allergies to nickel are a lot more common.

>>> And it's not cheap. <<

Well, it's silver, on top of high-grade medical supplies tending to be expensive.<<<

Yeah, but stuff like $20 for a 4"x4" pad is a bit much, the silver content ain't *that* high. However, if you look, you can find it cheaper, especially in bulk packs.

Now that I know about the other sort of hydrogel pads, I may well get a few of each and do a comparison test when (not if!) I mess up my shin again.

>>I just thought of something that never occurred to me before: I bet it's literally the silver accounting for the high and variable quality. On the magical side, silver relates to purity and healing, but also like quartz it is very programmable. If you tell it "heal this," it will respond accordingly -- and if the victim and/or caregiver are magically inclined, you'll get even more of a boost than ordinary people would. Since there's a strong correlation between behavior of magic and superpowers, I'd bet soups are seeing similar effects, and that most people haven't pinned down the variable yet because not all gel bandages incorporate silver. If anyone has noticed it, I'd look for them among first aid crew at a skatepark where they'll not only see lots of road rash but also the same people coming back.<<

Interesting thought. I may have to file that in the back of my head to use in a story sometime. As well as some well meaning doctor/EMT trying to apply it to a nasty "burn" on a were (right! putting silver impregnated dressing on a burn from coming into contact with silver will *not* end well). But the stuff *is* a standard treatment for serious burns apparently.

>>> I found this: https://www.herokit.com/products/crash-pack but it's not remotely the same as the road rash kit.<<

True, but it's a great first aid kit for adventure use. *chuckle* In T-America that company must be catering to superheroes. I bet they're the first who start selling a kit with blue chamomile in it.<<<

Found another:
http://www.bravesoldier.com/crash-paks/

Seems that Walmart carries them as does Amazon and a bunch of bike shops.

>>I have seen an increasing trend of telling people not to scrub, not to use antiseptic, and now this one is saying no antibiotic. I'm not sure what studies they've done to come up with this idea, but I strongly suspect that in 5-10 years they'll reverse it. This clashes mightily with my lived experience and observations of other people's bodies. It's especially risky with a filthy ragged wound like road rash -- if you don't get it clean and disinfected, it will fester. Even with little scratches I can tell that ones I actually treat heal better than ones I just wash with soap and water but forget to put anything on. So I have gotten in the habit of noting the current advice with my disputation of it. People can choose based on their own bodies.<<

Well, I've actually discussed it with a couple of doctors. Seems that peroxide tends to do some tissue damage as well as remove some of the clotting stuff. Povidone-iodine (generic Betadine) can cause damage for other reasons. Soap and water generally work fine and don't mess things up as much.

The bit about "scrubbing" is probably related to something I did by not knowing enough about healing. it's possible to "scrub off" skin that is just starting to spread across a large wound (looks way too much like a fine layer of mold :-).

and with fresh wounds, you want to get the dirt and grit out, but unless it goes all the way to the meat, you want to use a gentle touch rather than what most folks think of as "scrubbing". Either way it's gonna *hurt*. But I could see some folks managing to do more damage and grind stuff in. Hence the dropping of the term "scrub".

I've discovered that a gentle "blot" with gauze pads or whatever will get a lot of stuff off with no "trauma". Then you can flush with water (or saline if you have it, but *not* the saline for contacts!) then some gentle wiping with dampened pads.

If there's still "stuff" in there, then's the time to "scrub". And I find peroxide works well to loosen some stuff.

Oh yeah, while they aren't sterile, if you've got a big scrape you could do a lot worse than using a sanitary napkin (aka menstrual pad) as a dressing. That's what they started out as after all.

A lot of soldiers, especially ones who are going to be on their own (Special Forces etc) make a point of carrying tampons and pads. They're cheap, they're individually packaged, and they work. Pads as dressings, and tampons to plug up large caliber bullet holes and the like.

So they can be used in your first aid kit too. :-)

As for antibiotics, I think that may be a reaction to the decades of overuse. The last thing we need is to breed more antibiotic resistant strains of *anything*.

ps. A hard learned lesson. If you are wearing dark colored pants and scrape you leg, don't assume that dark stuff on your skin when you check later is a scab.

In my case it was bits of black fabric mixed with the "weeping" from the scrape. Which led to some problems later..

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 03:52 pm (UTC)
antisocialite_forum: A group of small round pumpkins in a very green pumpkin patch (Pumpkin Patch)
From: [personal profile] antisocialite_forum
>> I've discovered that a gentle "blot" with gauze pads or whatever will get a lot of stuff off with no "trauma". Then you can flush with water (or saline if you have it, but *not* the saline for contacts!) then some gentle wiping with dampened pads. <<

That's what we've been doing whenever somebody gets scraped up after being bucked loose from the skateboard, but anyone's over ever gotten very mild, small scrapes with minimal debris. Though I'm not sure what the scale for scrapes is in severity. :/

Strangely we've found that leaving wounds mostly alone, ie not covering them after a day or so, works a lot better for healing than the "keep covered until healed" advice that people've usually seen. Maybe it's because no one gets scraped up *that* much, but there's a definite difference in healing rate for wounds that get covered and the ones that don't. We have a good supply of bandages for just in case, but we almost never seem to need them.

- JE

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 06:51 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
Strangely we've found that leaving wounds mostly alone, ie not covering them after a day or so, works a lot better for healing than the "keep covered until healed" advice that people've usually seen. Maybe it's because no one gets scraped up *that* much, but there's a definite difference in healing rate for wounds that get covered and the ones that don't. We have a good supply of bandages for just in case, but we almost never seem to need them.

Well, I find that the "cloth" bandaids work better than the "perforated plastic" kind. It lets things breathe better. And what I generally use these days is a gauze pad, taped down around the edges. That keep "stuff (including lint from clothes) out and lets air in.

If iit's "weeping" serum and stuff, that's when I'd go for the Aquacel AG. Or I may go for some of the hydrogel pads when I get some to try out.

If it's bleeding a lot you need something more absorbent and non-stick. Ditto if it's weeping.

If you can use a "regular" bandaid (ie what you find in a mixed size box) it ain't road rash. :-)

When you start talking about 2"x2" or bigger pads, then it's getting there. If it's hand sized or bigger, *that's* road rash.

Going to a parochial school, I once took a bad spill on my bike and wound up with *striped* road rash because I was wearing corduroy pants.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 05:00 pm (UTC)
thnidu: an elegant ligature, or monogram if you will, of the letters "wtf". lj:wordweaverlynn, from typophile.com (WTF)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
No antibiotic? I can't imagine any justification for that! Sure, apply it carefully, don't slide any invasive particles and increase abrasion, but fergossakes antibiotics YES!!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 04:24 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Oh, ow. Someone is really looking out for Kenzie here.

>>"I know that you survived
looking at the sun for days,
with no preparation and
no support," Ron said.<<

I like Ron.

>>"Does it work?" Kenzie asked
as Mick came back with his kit.<<

Smart kid. He's really holding together well, being able to ask the right question at a time like that.

>>"Yes, I did," Joseph said. "I think you'll
find that it changes you, even though
you didn't come to it in the usual way."<<

Very interested to see where this goes.

I'm really enjoying this thread. (It tastes like where I grew up, which. That's double-edged, but the feeling of the area is spot on.)


Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-30 02:32 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
>>Ron is very wise, and gentle unless you piss him off. And then this happens.<<

*watches video* *squees about it for an hour* Gosh I love bison. <3

>>Tuesday's theme involves gender and identity, so that's a bullseye for requesting more about Kenzie and the Iron Horses.<<

Oh I am there.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 06:53 pm (UTC)
antisocialite_forum: A group of small round pumpkins in a very green pumpkin patch (Pumpkin Patch)
From: [personal profile] antisocialite_forum
Really enjoyed this one, even with the *wince* parts. :D And the notes are always good to read.

Is there any chance we'll be seeing more about Kenzie and the Iron Horses? I can think of a few friends who'd really like it.

- JE

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 08:25 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thank you. <3

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-29 08:57 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I love this, and the whole Iron Horses thread.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-30 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Seconding the love for this poem in particular, and the Iron Horses in general. <3 I *badly* want to know what happens next, and then after that, and oh yeah, about those would-be murderers who really need to not be running loose (I immediately thought of Matthew Shepard when Kenzie's situation came to light), and Blair Her Road Goes Both Ways sounds flipping *cool*, and... ahem! :D

I like Ron as well, agreeing with someone upthread. I suspect he would be someone I would need to get to know gradually, given my wiring. You follow?

I bet there are Ho-Chunk and Menominee Iron Horses up in Wisconsin who actually *are* zooming around on Harleys, you know. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-30 12:27 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
This is a good.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-30 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
Is the supervillain incident you allude to the one from "Turning Leaves"?
Edited Date: 2017-06-30 03:57 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Wow, Oh wow. I'm running out of vocabulary for my engagement with this. (ME, running out of vocabulary??)

• >>At least *Someone* was paying attention and sent the foxes at the right time.<<
Kenzie is a shapeshifter and despite his European ancestry has quite a lot of resonance with North American energy. They've been watching him for a while now.
> The (spirit) creatures, eh?

• Gráinne Nuala
> It would help if you linked the first mention. I spent some time searching fruitlessly before giving up and reading on, which of course brought me promptly to the link.

• Compare that with the quite different set of suggestions that Dr. Bloch presented to Shiv.
> Link? We don't all know offhand where to go to compare.

• Wiwanyag wachipi
→ In The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-07-01 12:28 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 5:43 PM, ysabetwordsmith wrote:

skin food for sunburn relief

Date: 2017-07-07 10:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
if you don't have aloe handy or need something with a different kind of punch for a mild to moderate sunburn, there are some other skin foods that work well, our family likes the following recipe guide, oil and oatmeal amounts change depending on preference. (scale up or down depending on area of burn)

2-3 teaspoons honey
0.5-1 teaspoon water
1-1.5 teaspoons cornstarch
2-3 drops of lavender, peppermint, or melaleuca essential oil (depending on personal preference and availability, you can use all three together or a different soothing oil if desired)
1 teaspoon of oatmeal powder (blitz a small amount of oatmeal oats in the blender in short pulses til it turns to dust)

stir everything together in a small oil safe bowl until you get a loose paste, it may take a bit but be patient.

gently daub the paste over the burned area, let it spread, then cover with a cool damp cloth or paper towel. Leave the cloth in place for about five or ten minutes until the paste looks tacky and is just starting to dry out at the edges, do not leave it on long enough for it to dry completely (OUCH!!). Remove the towel or cloth and rinse the paste off gently with more cool water, pat dry.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm glad the Iron Horses paid attention to the foxes!

Good story!

Date: 2018-04-15 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] yzoldowl
I trust we will be hearing more of Joseph, Ben, Kyle -- and especially Kenzie?

/s/ Joyce, aka "Sun Bright on Water" (1/16th Seminole)

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