• Solo • Rare Flowers, Chapter One

The Wealth Thread of Ashan 720

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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Ashling
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Rare Flowers, Chapter One

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Rare Flowers
85 Ashan 720

CHAPTER ONE

It was a warm spring trial in Fensalir in southern Melrath. Ashling sat at the table in the kitchen of her mother Sol’ange’s healer house, where both of them worked. Ashling had been in her home town Fensalir since the 72nd of Ashan. Before this, she had spent a long period of time in Raelia, the capital of Melrath. Her errand in Raelia had been to search for information about disappeared people.

Along with outlanders and mages, the Ragnari had captured many stormtouched. Ashling didn’t know about other places in Melrath, but in Fensalir, healers had not liked it. They had formed an unofficial network they called "the conclave". Volunteer search teams had tried to help stormtouched in the city and the wilds. During a search, Ashling had made contact with a group of refugees in the old ruins northeast of Fensalir.

After this, she had travelled to Raelia. But, she hadn’t found out anything more. What had happened to the people the Aesir and Ragnari had captured brought with them was a mystery. One evening, in Raelia, a man had said that the stormtouched were “in prison where they belonged”. But, Ashling had never been able to check it up.

In Ashan, Ashling had ridden to Fensalir, but not alone. During her stay in Raelia, she had fallen in love with the foreign alchemist Tristan Venora. They were now engaged to marry. Her betrothed was a beautiful man of many talents and had a smile so dazzling that it could make anybody feel giddy. Ashling had fallen for him despite that he was an outlander. She was no longer so suspicious of people from abroad as she had used to be in the past. I would still be a lie to call her liberal but she was neutral. She had learnt to not judge people from other countries without knowing them.

If her daughter’s betrothal to an outlander had been something of a shock to Sol’ange she hadn’t shown it. Ashling wasn’t sure what her mother thought of it. Sol’ange didn’t reveal anything. But, knowing her mother, Ashling suspected that Sol was still appraising the situation. She would speak when she felt it was time. Ashling didn't try to rush her.

But, they had other things to think of now. This trial Ashling was in the healing house to work. It was what she got paid for so she could make a living, but it was also a vocation and an interest to her.

The healing houses in Fensalir were small, many and specialized. They worked with traditional medicine. The doctors in Raelia and the scholars at the university preferred their so-called scientific medicine. Those considered the traditions of Fensalir inferior old ideas. Some even called it “hedgewitch hotchpotch”. To them, Sol’ange might be an ignorant person, but Ashling’s mother was very renowned and respected in Fensalir. Sol'ange specialized in herbal treatments. Nowadays she also took an avid interest in the condition of the stormtouched. She had brought Ashling up to follow in her footsteps and felt pleased to see her daughter return to work.

“I hope you haven’t forgotten too much ... being away for several seasons,” Sol said.

“I worked in Raelia too mother. There’s always work for a healer.”

“So?”

Ashling nodded. “All people don’t want to turn to the doctors in Raelia ... but there are people who need us to let’s speak about today’s work instead! What are we doing today?”

The list of tasks was long. Ashling felt a bit daunted. To be honest she had forgotten exactly how diligent her mother could be. It would hard work to earn her wages in this healer house, as it always had been. For a start, there were patients to take care of. It was people Sol’ange had decided to keep there for continued treatment or for observation.

The two healers were going to go “the round” and check each one of those patients. Ashling was familiar with the routine. They would walk from bed to bed and speak with each patient about how they were feeling today. Then they would conduct examinations and give people herbal medicines and treatments.

“First we have Ida, a small girl of only five arcs who picked poisonous plants. You know how children are. No matter how many times you tell them that some of the beautiful flowers can be dangerous they pick them. In the worst case, they taste them. They can get poisoned even by a flower which isn’t considered dangerous to touch and smell. “

“What did she pick?”

“Bell Lily.”

“Oh, dear.” Ashling knew that plant. It was very cute to look upon, with many small white bell-shaped flowers along with low green stalks. The fragrance was lovely and a popular ingredient in perfumes. Growing in big colonies they blossomed in the spring. Despite that it was poisonous many people liked it and even grew it in their gardens. The biggest danger was the plant’s red berries but it was still too early for those. “What did she do?”

“Ida tasted it because she figured that a flower with such a sweet smell would also have a sweet taste. Luckily she spat it out due to not liking it. But, even a small amount of Bell Lily is enough to cause problems. Every part of it is toxic.”

“So ... stomach pain and vomiting, I guess?”

“Yes. But I felt worried that it was worse. Her vision seemed blurred and she was very drowsy. It can mean a reduced heart rate. So I kept her in the house. Now she also has skin rashes, red and itching.”

“Ouch. The poor child! That plant can be deadly ...”

“Like many other plants, it’s double-edged, Ashling. It can have beneficial effects as well as being poisonous and deadly. There are medicinal plants which are good or evil, beneficial or poisonous. It’s all about how we use them.”

“What can you use Bell Lily for? I know they make perfume...and salve for sore hands ...is there more? ” Ashling felt interested in the details, as always.

Sol’ange told her that Bell Lily could affect the heart and so it could help against certain problems. It was good against unstable heartbeat or even heart failure. Not only that. I was useful in remedies for infections in the eyes or in the urinary tracts and to treat kidney issues. It could also strengthen the body at childbirth. You could use Bell Lily was to drive out water from swollen body parts. It could ease the seizures of vigorous shaking some people suffered from. It could even help people seemed paralyzed to begin moving again. Some used it against the rot disease too, the illness some of those Raelia doctors called leprosy.

“It seems very useful!” Ashling felt a bit overwhelmed. “Such a poisonous plant, yet so beneficial for so many things ...”

“Only in the right hands, Ashling. You ought to put more efforts into your studies. A healer needs knowledge about poison as well as medicine. These are sometimes two sides of the same coin. Now when you have learnt about the poisonous effects of Bell Lilly you should memorize how toxic it also is. Handle it with care.”

“I know. I harvested some dangerous plants last arc. Wolfsbane and Hannyban. People who attacked me died of contact with the plants. Mere skin contact or breathing in the odour is lethal, sometimes. Some poisons can seep into your body through your skin if you touch them with your bare hands. Or they can get into the body with the air you breathe. Isn’t it odd that nature can be so dangerous?”

Sol'ange smiled at her daughter's eagerness. Ashling blushed a bit.

“We aren’t the only beings in nature. There are others ... insects ... animals ... birds ... and what ‘s toxic to human-kin isn’t always toxic to other beings. Nature caters to them all. It’s not all about us. Nature isn’t our servant ... we serve nature.”

Ashling nodded. She began to prepare a fresh lotion for treating rashes. As the rashes were a reaction to poison it was a kind of allergy, she though. A poison plant reaction often manifested as red and itchy streaks and patches. There was sometimes also red bumps or watery blisters. Ashling assumed that little Ida’s rashes must be pretty bad. Sol had, after all, decided to keep her in the healer house despite her tender age. An unpleasant insight, as it wasn't possible to cure a rash caused by poison. They could only ease the symptoms and wait for the body to regain its balance. That could take over ten trials or even more. But, at least a plant poison rash wasn’t contagious. It wouldn’t spread to other people or even to other parts of the little girl’s body.

The lotion Ashling made consisted of natural ingredients. She used peppermint for its cooling effect and mixed it with cucumber which also would ease the itch. With fine oatmeal and water, she made oatmeal milk. She mixed this into the paste of mint and cucumber until she had a smooth lotion. The consistency was neither too thick or too thin. For an adult, she might also have used some apple cider vinegar. But as the patient was a young child she found it best to not add anything the girl might dislike.

Satisfied with her result, she washed the utensils she had used and wiped off the table. It was time to treat little Ida. The girl knew Sol’ange but she was shy to Ashling and didn't want to speak so much. The chat they had with her was very brief. The rash was itching, but otherwise, Ida didn’t seem so affected by the Bell Lily poison anymore.

"This is Ashling, Ida. She is my big girl and she's a healer like me. Ashling, this is Ida."

"Hello Ida," said Ashling in a light and sweet tone children used to like.

The girl looked at her, saying nothing.

"We will make the rash stop itching." Ashling smiled at the girl but got no answer from the child.

Ida allowed Sol'ange to give her a lukewarm bath in a wooden tub Ashling carried in. Then it was time for the lotions. As the girl was shy to Ashling she found it best to let Sol apply it. She had crafted the lotion, but there was no reason for her to make the small girl feel anxious. She held the bowl, assisted and watched the procedure. Everything went fine. Afterwards, they allowed little Ida to play (calmly) on the floor with a ragdoll she owned. Ashling gave Ida a cookie for having been a good girl and the child smiled at her. a bit less shy now.

The treatment of the first patient for to-trial was complete. The two healer's continued to the next patient in line.

word count: 1869
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Re: Rare Flowers, Chapter One

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Ashling:

Knowledge:
Skill Knowledges:
Medicine x3
Poison: What is toxic to humans aren't always toxic to other beings
Poison: Some poisons can seep into your body via skin contact
Poison: Some poisons can enter the body when you breathe them in

Non-Skill Knowledges:
Melrathi Bell Lily: Many small white bell-shaped flowers along with low green stalks
Melrathi Bell Lily: Lovely fragrance, popular in perfumes
Melrathi Bell Lily: Grows in big colonies and blossoms in spring
Melrathi Bell Lily: The whole plant is poisonous, especially the red berries
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can be beneficial as well as toxic - useful in the right hands
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can cause stomach pain, vomiting and rashes
Melrathi Bell Lily: Also has beneficial effects on heart problems
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can cure infections in eyes and in urinary tracts
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can be used to treat kidney issues
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can strengthen the body at childbirth
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can drive out water from swollen body parts
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can ease seizures of vigorous shaking (epilepsy)
Melrathi Bell Lily: Can help against paralysis
Melrathi Bell Lily: Some use it to ease symptoms of rot disease (leprosy)

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5, for helping Ida.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: The amount of detail in your threads never ceases to amaze me.

I also appreciate the fact that you provide so much background information so that even people that are not familiar with Ashling and her story can understand what’s going on.

The dialogue between Ashling and her mother was enjoyable and educational (I didn’t know anything about that flower beforehand!).

Poor Ida though. I hope she’ll feel better soon.

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 291

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Ring of Reversal
Ring of Immunity
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