Alchemy for the Ailing

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Leander
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Alchemy for the Ailing

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1st Day of Saun 722



There was truth to the saying ‘sickness comes in waves’. It was never just a single thing: it was one thing after another in an acute phase of illness. The fact that it was often proceeded by long periods of good health was meaningless - you instantly forgot being well in favour of being miserable for a few days. There was also something to be said for the fact that Leo only ever fell sick when he stopped. And, what he meant by that wasn’t that he had stopped working because he became ill. Rather that he had decided to take a trial or two off and then had fallen unwell. The Immortals had it in for him.

This was trial four of feeling sorry for himself. The aches and pains radiated from his hips down to his knees, his throat felt like someone had thrust a rusted metal pike down there, his head was pounding, his nose was simultaneously stuffed and running. It wasn’t the worst he had ever felt, not by any stretch, but Leander was certainly not enjoying life right now.

Shivering as he pushed himself out of his bed, Leo shuffled across the wooden floor, wishing there was a rug or something to make his footfalls just that little bit more cushioned to protect his throbbing head. Coughing into a handkerchief, the chemist bent down - very slowly - and opened a cupboard door, wherein he spied some of the strong stuff: some whisky. It would make his throat hurt more than it currently did, but it would, with the right dose, soothe nearly ever other wretched symptom he was experiencing. Biting his tongue, he pulled the stopper out and poured a generous helping into a flagon (an ideal drinking receptacle because he actually had no idea how much of the golden nectar he had poured out).

Task complete, the despondent invalid dragged himself back across the room and sighed as he slowly eased himself back into bed. Then he heard a banging at the door, two in total. Half-way down to lying in the bed, Leander paused and remained perfectly still, awkwardly holding himself up on his elbow, his other hand extended with the flagon of whisky vibrating a little in his grasp. There was another three knocks. They didn’t sound urgent, but no knock at his door ever was.

Still, Leander, feeling a little pathetic and having no intention to display anything but that emotion, groaned as he pushed himself back out of the bed. The flagon clattered a little as he blindly groped for a surface upon which to place it before he reached down and grabbed his blanket. It was the height of the Hot Cycle - the beginning of Saun, for Immortals’ sake. But damnit, the man was still cold. He didn’t care how pitiable he looked, he wrapped the blanket around his head and shoulders and padded across the room and out to the front door.

Two more knocks, just as Leo arrived. He wasn’t quite irritated, but he was definitely moving in that direction. Grasping the handle, he pulled the door open. “What?” He all but snarled as he blinked, eyes adjusting to the bright light of the early afternoon sun. A few moments and he recognised Tristan, and he sniffed as he felt his nose beginning to run, his expression turning into one of confusion, as he tried to find a reason for the Andarian Duke tracking him down to his home.

A couple more seconds and it morphed into a look of horror. “Tristan! I-” he coughed, which couldn’t have been better timed, “I am so sorry, I had remembered, I meant to send a missive - did I not do that? I was going to come this trial, but I - and then I forgot, or I… well I must have.” He was rambling and not really making sense. And his head hurt. He stopped talking. “Sorry.
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Tristan Venora
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Re: Alchemy for the Ailing

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Tristan wasn’t usually someone who complained about the weather, but under the current circumstances, he found it hard not to. Saun in Rharne, it seemed, wasn’t only the hottest season of the arc – in no small part due to the fact that the second sun was always visible in the sky – it was also the wettest one. There wasn’t only torrential rainfall; the humidity was also absolutely terrible, and it could even be felt inside the house!

And he was expecting a guest. Leander who he had started to teach alchemy the cycle before would be arriving for another lesson soon, and he didn’t want him to be uncomfortable!

Which was why Tristan was busily filling decorative bowls and baskets with rock salt and charcoal and distributing them throughout the house. Salt and charcoal were natural desiccants and absorbed moisture from the air. He’d replace them once they had gotten wet.

He also made sure that there were cold drinks, and he placed an additional towel in the bathroom so that Leander would be able to freshen up before his lesson if he wanted to.

Except that Leander didn’t seem to ….

… want to?

Tristan had just rearranged the reagents that he wanted to introduce his student to that trial for the third time and gone through his (somewhat flawed) lesson plan for the fourth time when it occurred to him that Leander was late. He didn’t care if someone was a couple of bits late, but Leander was unusually late. That was concerning, to be honest!

He wondered if he should just wait regardless, but in the end, he was too worried to just stay there. Maybe Leander had just forgotten, even though he had never forgotten before, but maybe, something bad had happened to him. Maybe he had had an accident or was really sick or had been …

… robbed!

So, without further ado, the young man grabbed his doctor’s bag and told the members of his household that he was going to check on his student, and then he was already on his way.

He was wearing loose fitting, but nonetheless stylish clothes that trial that would hopefully keep the heat at bay, but he had also put on sturdy footwear so that his feet wouldn’t get wet, and he wore a cape with a hood (because he didn’t want to arrive at Leander’s place soaking wet).

Upon arriving at Leander’s home (At least he thought that it was Leander’s home!), he knocked, several times, because his student didn’t answer the first time, and he was getting concerned!

When Leander opened the door, he was relieved at first, but then he noticed that Leander looked …

… sick!

“Don’t be sorry”, he quickly told the other man when he heard him speak (and cough). “You don’t have to apologize if you are sick. I didn’t get any letters, but I don’t mind. If you are okay with it, I can make some medicine for you so that you’ll start to feel better in no time. You can even watch and help me if you are up to it. I’m actually pretty good at healing people nowadays. I volunteered as a healer during the tournament, the one where Faith hugged a Sessfiend”, he explained, not thinking about whether Leander was aware of the details of that particular event and knew what a Sessfiend was.

A moment later, he fell silent and looked at Leander expectantly.
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I’m…” he was about to say that he was sorry again, but Tristan told him not to, and if Tristan said not to be sorry, he was not to be sorry. Leander wished he could accept these things as truth, and let them calm him, as they were obviously meant to do... but he couldn't, try as he might. It pained him that he could not – in the literal sense, as his forehead was in constant pain right now.

He hang onto the door for a few more seconds, staring open-mouthed at his unexpected visitor. He tried to take in what Tristan was telling him, but he was too sick, too tired, and too sick and tired of being sick and tired to really be up for anything more than lying in his bed and feeling miserable about his current situation. He most certainly wasn’t in a position to entertain anyone.

When he finally processed what Tristan was saying, he turned his head backwards to look down the corridor of his home. There was stuff littered everywhere. This was nothing like the clean and bright home Tristan occupied, where everything had its place and people tidied up after him and his daughter. Not that Leo had any intention to have children, but a home large enough to have household staff would not go amiss. Here he was in his three roomed humble little abode and s fecking Duke wanted to be invited in.

This was so far beyond anything Leander had ever thought would ever happen to him. It was surreal, that was what it was. “I…” he shut his mouth closed and pushed him up from the door, a resigned look falling onto his features. “Yes, of course, you are most welcome,” his tone even managed to sound normal, happy even, which was surely not the emotion he was currently feeling. “Please excuse the lived in mess of my house…” he almost gave an excuse, but he decided it was unnecessary: Tristan would make his own judgement regardless of whatever Leander spouted.

My workshop… isn’t here. But I do have some basic herbal remedies…” he rubbed his forehead as he closed his eyes and sighed. Suddenly the chemist realised he was still holding the flagon of whisky in his other hand. with a grimace-like smile he raised the flagon in a mock-toast to the Duke before raising it to his lips and taking a little sip. “You know, just the usual remedies any average household is likely to have. I might even have some echinacea lying around…

He led Tristan through to his small kitchen - a room that was clean but not tidy. There were no plates or pans that were caked in dried food, there was no mould growing anywhere it shouldn’t be. There was no dirt or anything like that. There was just stuff everywhere. Nothing was where it should be, cupboards were bear in favour of having everything ready to be used. It was fine, nothing too embarrassing. Leander waved a vague hand towards the pots and pans as he decided to lose the flagon of whisky, which he slid onto the kitchen work surface.

I can help,” he said half-heartedly. Despite feeling like utter crap, this could still be a learning experience. Though he knew his way around simple cold remedies and antiemetics and such like. Maybe Tristan could put a little alchemical spin onto things, or maybe he just had a fresh and exciting way of using age-old materials. The point was that Leander didn’t really want to help but he did want to learn, so he would do his best to be an attentive student. The chemist sniffed loudly and rubbed his cheek before looking at Tristan expectantly, “what do you need?
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Tristan Venora
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Leander’s home was chaotic to say the least. There was stuff littered everywhere. His student’s home, Tristan decided, was quite unlike his nice villa in the Glass Quarter, but he didn’t mind. Leander was sick, and besides, he hadn’t always been good at tidying up either.

In fact, he had been worse.

When Faith had still been his slave, she had found stuff under his bed some of which had probably already grown legs, and he had just bought new clothes rather than mending them. He didn’t know if he should be amused or embarrassed, so he decided to be both.

He did know that he wanted to help Leander though. The first thing that he did upon entering the kitchen was walk over to the windows and open them. From what he could tell, the humidity outside was a bit higher than the humidity inside. Opening the windows would cause air movement, improve air circulation and cause the air to dry which would hopefully make it easier for Leander to breathe. Said air circulation would subsequently also decrease the risk of him getting whatever it was that Leander suffered from.

“I don’t mind the state of your house”, he replied in a friendly tone of voice and smiled as he looked around the kitchen. It wasn’t very tidy, but it was clean. There was no mold, and there were no disgusting smells which was something that couldn’t be said about every house.

“Do you have a headache as well?” he wanted to know when Leander rubbed his forehead before he cleared some space on the table and set his things down there. He didn’t lecture Leander because he was drinking whiskey which was just a little bit counter-productive when you were sick. He wasn’t sure if Leander would appreciate the advice, and besides, Tristan himself had enjoyed alcohol a lot before he had become a father.

“Echinacea is good”, he said in a bright tone of voice before he pulled a bottle of disinfectant out of his doctor’s bag and disinfected his hands thoroughly. Disinfecting and/or washing your hands regularly was one of the easiest and most effective ways of not getting a cold because someone who was in the same house as you had a cold; and besides, it was generally a good idea to clean your hands before you worked with alchemical reagents.

So, once he was done, he gestured for Leander to disinfect his hands as well. He decided not to explain why; his student obviously knew something about medicine. He didn’t want to give him the impression of being patronizing because he definitely wasn’t.

“I thought we’d use tea as a base again”, he told Leander. “Do you have any dried Stormflowers? I need the golden cores as they have medicinal properties. A tea made of them boosts the immune system and prevents indigestion. We’ll also use echinacea, and peppermint oil to help clear your airways. I was thinking of then adding a metabolizer and an accelerator, to strengthen the effect and make the potion work faster. It won’t be an instantaneous cure for your cold, of course – you probably need Moseke’s blessing or something like that – but it will help you quickly.”

“Oh, and I need honey”, he added. “We’ll use that as a binder to-trial as it’s also an effective cough suppressant. Unless you want to make something other than tea? We can also make some sort of syrup that requires you to only take a spoonful instead. That’s probably more convenient than tea anyway”, he offered as Leander might get bored if they always used tea for their potions. He didn’t want him to get bored though!

“Kettle”, he suddenly proclaimed a moment later and proceeded to take a look around. It took him a while to find a kettle to make tea in in the chaos that was Leander’s kitchen, but he finally located one with a triumphant look on his face. He didn’t simply grab it and carry it over to the table though. This was not his house, but Leander’s house, so he asked in a polite and gentle tone of voice, “Is it okay if I take the things I need?”
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Watching in silence as Tristan crossed the room, stepping over a pile of dirty clothes to do so, and open the window, Leander was soon hit with a waft of hot, but fresh, air. He hadn’t even realised how stuffy and stale the air had become in his few trials of being unwell. His home was a modest one, pretty standard for the average person in Rharne. Three-roomed, somewhat spacious with no lavish furniture. To be honest, Leander’s favourite part of his house was the small garden. Such things did not exist in Viden, and if they did, they could not be used, given the frigid temperatures.

Ha!” the chemist barked out a laugh (or croaked, was probably a more apt description). “Thank you, but there is no need to protect my feelings. My home is nothing compared to yours…” He was very aware that he was in the company of a Duke, and felt like ending every utterance to the man with ‘your grace’. It felt somehow wrong to be so companionable with such a man.

Leander nodded when Tristan asked him if he had a headache, “Possibly the worst I have ever experienced.” And this wasn’t an over-exaggeration. He was well aware of the proclivity for men to be dramatic when unwell. As a chemist and medically-inclined individual, he was able to distance himself from his illness and look at it more objectively. “Headache and nausea are the worst symptoms I think.

When invited to wash his hands, Leander suppressed a roll of his eyes and followed suit, cleaning them thoroughly with the disinfectant offered. He knew the benefit of doing so, but hadn’t really been bothered - he was already sick and probably couldn’t get any more ill. He did feel bad though, and tried to think back to anything he had been touching which Tristan might come into contact with. Luckily he had barely ventured into the kitchen over the past few trials so most of the surfaces and items remained untouched. He therefore kept his mouth shut with regards to cleaning anything.

Sounds good,” replied the chemist following a small fit of coughs (he hadn’t spoken this much in trials and it was hurting his throat some). He allowed Tristan to speak at him, reeling off a significant amount of information which he was struggling to keep up with, truth be told. His eyes may have taken a slightly glazed-over look about them, as he tried to process what his instructor was trying to tell him. “Stormflowers?” he finally repeated slowly, “Erm… if I do then they will be in that cupboard next to the window. There was some, but I can’t remember if I used it all up or not. Truthfully, it hadn’t even occurred to me to make myself a remedy for my ailment. How foolish of me to require a visit from you to realise I could have looked after myself!

His head was pounding. Talking and trying to be even a little bit social was hard right now. He wanted to go back to bed but there was no way to really go about it without coming across as rude. “All those other ingredients I have, echinacea and peppermint oil… honey yes, lots of honey.” He had a bit of a sweet tooth and always kept some things in his kitchen for when the mood struck him. He pushed himself up from where he was leaning against the wall and yawned as he bent down to a cupboard to pull out the jar of honey. “Tea is absolutely fine. I think it feels a little more productive: the more you consume, the more effective it it. Placebo effect no doubt, but I fall for it every time.” The idea of consuming a spoonful of syrup made his nausea spin his stomach, whereas tea seemed like it would be easier on him. “Yes definitely tea.” The fireplace, rarely lit during the summer seasons of the Hot Cycle, was stone cold. Leander doubted a duke would know what he was doing when it came to lighting fires so he would have to do it for himself. He knelt down in front of the small fireplace and grabbed his flint and steel. Growing up in Viden, he knew how to light fires without any dramas, so it didn’t take long for him to get a small flame to take root, which he then stoked with a poker, waiting for it.

Meanwhile, Tristan had sought out the kettle and asked him for free roam around the kitchen, which Leander gladly allowed, “Of course, please take whatever you need.” Standing back up, Leander held his forehead for a moment as it spun with the change in altitude. Once the pounding settled down a little, he blinked and looked up at Tristan, “I’d like to help a little, if I can?
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Tristan Venora
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Re: Alchemy for the Ailing

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“Alright“, Tristan said when Leander told him that headache and nausea were the worst symptoms. “Stormflowers also help with indigestion, and honey can be used to treat nausea, so that symptom is taken care of. As for your headache”, he continued and cast a sympathetic look at his student because Leander really did look unwell. “I think we’ll also add a hint of lavender oil. Lavender oil and peppermint oil are both quite helpful when it comes to headache relief”, he explained. He was talking a little faster than before because he was looking forward to making that potion, but he made sure not to be too loud lest he made Leander’s headache worse.

There was also a light smile on his face.

Tristan really enjoyed working with herbs. He had never thought that he would be into gardening and herbalism one trial. His former fiancee, Ashling, had been an herbalist though, and her passion for herbs had really rubbed off on him. He even had his own greenhouse now!

Unlike Leander, Tristan barely thought about their difference in social status. His grandmother was the member of his family that was the most concerned with such things, although she had gotten a lot better at it. Tristan had always been a black sheep in that regard, more or less. He’d enjoyed the company of commoners and even befriended slaves.

“To be honest, if I were sick, it wouldn’t occur to me that I could just heal myself either”, Tristan admitted when Leander remarked that he could have looked after himself. He had noticed that the other man’s eyes had become slightly glazed-over so he tried to talk a little more slowly and make sure that he didn’t overwhelm him with information.

“Thank you”, he said when Leander pulled out a jar full of honey. “Let’s make tea again then”, he continued. “The placebo effect is actually quite valid in my opinion. Positive thinking and believing that something works is important, although a placebo alone won’t cure you. You still need medicine for that”, he said and stopped again abruptly as something occurred to him. He actually sounded like a doctor. Faith and Ashling and even his cousin Alistair who he’d rather forget because he had married the man who had thrown a door at the king really had influenced him.

He didn’t think about all the unexpected turns his life had taken in detail though, but focused on the potion. While Leander started the fire, he gathered all the things he would need.

Since Leander had repeated his offer of help, Tristan told him, “You can measure the Stormflower cores and the echinacea for the tea. We need a quarter of a cup of both. The mixture needs to steep for about fifteen bits”, he explained while he found a container that they could make the tea in, filled the kettle with water and set it to boil. He didn’t only assign that particular task to Leander because it seemed as if he was a bit dizzy – sitting down would help with that – but because measuring the reagents was important.

Too much or too little of a reagent could have adverse effects, or render the potion ineffective.

“You have some medical experience yourself though”, he said. Leander was a more advanced student, so it wouldn’t be right if he just gave him instructions. “Are there any other herbs that you can think of that could be used to treat your condition? Do you have a fever, by the way?” he asked, in order to be sure. Leander didn’t look particularly feverish, but it was possible that his body temperature was a little elevated.
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Leander leaned against the wall again as his stomach did another, unexpected, turn. He held his hand over his mouth, for a second thinking he was about to vomit, but there was nothing that happened. Still, he remained against the wall, using it for support for another few moments. He nodded along as he heard Tristan speaking, but he wasn’t really listening. He tried, but Tristan was saying a lot of words and he really wasn’t feeling it, no matter how much his heart wanted to pay attention, his brain was just not playing ball.

The odd word, he caught. Stormflowers, lavender oil, peppermint. They helped with headaches. No, storm flowers helped with nausea, he knew that already, not headaches. This was fine, not new information, just confirming what he already knew. There was something of a comfort in being taught old hat materials. He didn’t have to concentrate as hard on what the alchemist was saying. It took him longer to process the information and he was doing his damnest to retain what Tristan was talking about.

Being asked to action something, Leander pushed himself up and away from the wall and trudged over to the relatively large table that separated the kitchen from his living space. Stormflowers already laid out by Tristan for his ease, Leo breathed in deeply as he reached forwards and picked up some of the storm flowers and began measuring them out. First attempt he did, he had way too many of the little cores set aside. Trying again, he squinted as he put all of his focus into sorting out what was what. When satisfied, he placed the correct amount down and moved onto the echinacea.

Unlike the last time Leander learned from Tristan, he didn’t bother to look to the more experienced man for confirmation of correct measurements. He was fairly certain he had done it correctly - this was as simple as chemistry got, and he was fairly competent at his job. And anyway, if he included a little too much of either ingredient, he didn’t mind - a small overdose of storm flowers or echinacea wouldn’t be fatal to him.

Then again… the final product most likely wouldn’t be as effective. When he finished sorting out the echinacea, he went back and double checked the stormflower measurements. Just to be sure.

Yes, I do. I thought there was no point in learning solely about the chemistry if I had no knowledge about what the products would be used for. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to medicine, but I know my way around most common ailments and how they present… specifically how different herbs can be used to treat specific symptoms. Useful, I thought.” Despite the appalling memory of meeting some heathen naerikk, the chemist smiled and looked up, “I even know a little bit about cleaning and binding injuries. But that’s been picked up through experience rather than study.

Finished with his assigned tasks, Leo rubbed his hands together. “I guess my go-to herb that I would consider would be basil. It’s a preventative, commonly available in Viden because of the harsh seasons… it can keep ailments at bay, to an extent. It’s expensive, though. It needs to be shipped in from warmer places in Idalos, but it has a good shelf-life, if adequately prepared. I like basil. It’s not a particularly strong herb, but the benefits can’t be underestimated.

Erm…” Leander took a moment of introspection, which was enough to answer Tristan’s question. If he had to think about it, it probably didn’t have a fever. Even so, he touched his forehead with the back of his hand for a few moments, assessing his body. “I don’t think I have a fever. I probably did, but nothing significant, compared with my other symptoms. Definitely not bad enough to cause any delirium, that’s for sure.

The kettle started to whistle over the fire, and Leander slowly turned and made his way over to the fire, grabbing a flame-safe glove to grab the handle of the kettle and bring it over to the table, “Careful,” he murmured - perhaps unnecessarily - to Tristan as he came up behind the other man and tilted it over the mug receptacle Tristan had located to make the tea in. “So which first, the stormflower cores or the echinacea?
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Re: Alchemy for the Ailing

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When Leander talked about his medical experience and smiled, Tristan automatically smiled as well before he remarked, “A lot of my knowledge comes from experience as well. I started out as an alchemist and went to university for it, but then I fell in love with an herbalist. She told me a lot, and we even participated in a potion contest together. Eventually, I started working as a healer on occasion. I can’t imagine being a full-time healer – I love alchemy and creating art too much – but it’s nice to be able to help people”, he admitted. He was really glad that he’d been able to save a life during the tournament that had gone so terribly wrong, for example.

“No, this doesn’t look like a delirium”, Tristan agreed and smirked a little when Leander talked about his fever, or the lack thereof. Leander didn’t have any of the symptoms that were commonly associated with a delirium. He was coherent and capable of staying focused. He was active. He wasn’t suffering from any hallucinations, and well, he didn’t have a fever (anymore). All in all, his condition was unpleasant, btu not concerning.

And soon, he’d feel better!

“Just add the Stormflower cores and the echinacea at the same time”, Tristan said when Leander wanted to know which came first and added, “The tricky part comes later. After fifteen bits, you can strain the herbs out. You can either save them for another medicine or throw them away. I’m not sure how long you can use them though”, he admitted. Tristan was a skilled alchemist and herbalist and familiar with all kinds of herbal remedies, but he knew very little about the art of making tea.

“I’ll mix the other stuff in the meantime”, he decided a moment later. He filled honey into a small bowl, added a drop of each owl and mixed the rest of the reagents in a separate bowl. In between, he disinfected his hands again, because he would be a bad healer if he didn’t take care of the proper hygiene and got sick as well as a consequence.

“We’ll add those once the tea is done”, he said and abruptly posed a question that had been bothering him for a while. “Do you think alchemy is a proper science, like physics?”

He didn’t like science particularly and thought it was unbelievably dull. He liked alchemy a great deal though. Alchemy was taught at the Institute of Sciences. Did that mean he loved something he was supposed to hate? He considered that question at length.

And then he stopped abruptly and looked at Leander worriedly. He had noticed how the other man had held his hand over his mouth and leaned against the wall for support before. Since he was not the kind of teacher that forced their students to pay attention even when they were sick, he asked, “Are you sure you are alright? We can take a break if you want to, or I can finish the potion on my own, and you’ll just watch.”
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What Tristan said mirrored what Leo had said and thought. Experiential learning was what Leander was best at. Books and theory only took one so far. Leander loved books, like any true Videnese, but for whatever reason he hadn’t pursued formal learning in Viden, instead choosing to teach himself through, you guessed it, experience. “No, I quite agree,” Leo’s voice came out chesty, like something was stuck somewhere between his throat and his lungs, and he coughed, clearing the airway before he continued, “I enjoy aspects of a physician’s work, but you won’t find me in a queue to work for the Order of the Adunih any time soon. I imagine that a lot of it is fairly routine, and I would grow bored. I think.

Following Tristan’s instructions, Leo worked with deft hands to add the various ingredients as guided (though he probably could have worked it out himself, with a little thought). He didn’t really want to think much right now. His head was starting to pound, and he guessed it was for being upright for so long; he had spent the last three trials almost exclusively supine.

I need to sit, I think.” Leander intoned as he glanced around and, finding a chair, dragged it over so that he could sit at the kitchen worktop and continue to work. The chair made him much too low, relative to the table, but it would have to do. he would just stretch and make it work. This was much better. Task done, Leo turned his attention to what Tristan was doing, mixing the honey and various bits and bobs with the reagent. He had a sneaking suspicion that he wouldn’t quite remember this recipe in the same way he remembered the first concoction (which had been a simpler version of the ‘Potion of General Wellbeing’) they had made together, but that was fine, he was still learning, even if he only retained some of it.

Taking his cues from Tristan, Leander also made a special effort to wash his hands at regular intervals. He wasn’t coughing or sneezing at all and, even though he was symptomatic he, didn’t think he was contagious, but he didn’t want to discover in a trial or two that Tristan had taken ill because of him.

What the Duke asked next caused Leander to freeze. The question was from so far left field that he wasn’t expecting it in the slightest. He didn’t immediately answer, instead busying himself with staring at a very interesting looking apple, which he picked up from the bowl on the table (Leo was a lover of fresh fruit - something you never got in Viden), and took a bite out of. Once he chewed and swallowed the bolus, he had formulated a response.

Yes,” he replied, “Physics is… not something I personally enjoy. It is hard, more maths than anything, which I was not the strongest student in. Then again, chemistry involves a lot of maths, so who knows.” Leander shrugged and took another bite of the apple. “But alchemy… I mean I barely know anything about it, only what you have taught me and a few things I have learnt from reading, but it is not so dissimilar to chemistry. There’s a certain element of…. what’s the word… mysticism? to it. It is probably viewed by some with an element of fear and uncertainty that chemistry doesn’t share. People trust chemists, much like they trust their doctors. Even the study and creation of poisons is probably more accepted in parts of Idalos.

So I can appreciate why people are not sure how to react to alchemy. In short, I would say it is like a hybrid: both magic and science. But then again, isn’t magic just science that we don’t fully understand?” His head still hurt. He laughed, then stopped abruptly as it made his head hurt a little more. “Next time ask me the deep philosophical questions when I’m feeling more myself!

The chemist shook his head in response to Tristan’s final question, glancing over and smiling at the look of genuine concern creasing the other man’s forehead. “I’m fine, really. I want to help you.” To prove it, Leo pushed his chair away from the table and stood up again, slapping his hands together as if to ask ‘what’s next?’
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