• Solo • Rare Flowers, Chapter Two

Continued work

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 Two

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Rare Flowers
81-123 Ashan 720

CHAPTER TWO


Ashling is working in the healing house in Fensalir this trial. She has begun by taking care of a small girl afflicted by a plant poison rash, Ida. Now, the workday continues...

The next patient was a lumberer who had been injured in a work accident. They had given him surgery in another healing house where they specialized in it. Then they had moved him to Sol’ange’s house for aftercare and herbal treatments. His broken leg should be whole again, but it was still a bit fragile. The muscles were weak after the long inactivity and he would need to strengthen them. So, in a few trials, he would move on to a healer house specialized in physical exercise to make people fit again.

The man still had to use crutches but he was in a good mood. He joked with Sol’ange and asked for "the liquor”. Sol’ange laughed and gave him the daily dose of a herbal tonic. He would still get it in the next place, don’t worry.

At this point, the small girl Ida arrived and asked to taste "the juice”. Sol’ange told the child that it was medicine, so no, but she had real juice in the kitchen. Then, she left with the girl. It fell on Ashling to take away the plaster from the man’s leg.

The leg looked thin, pale and miserable when it came out of the hard shell. The lumberer didn’t say anything. But Ashling saw how his smile died...she understood that he found the leg an unpleasant sigh.

“It’s looking perfect,” she said. “After a bit of exercise to grow the muscles and get the strength back, it will soon be as good as it was before the accident. “

“Yeah?”

“Yes. Now, I’m going to put a herbal wrap on it, to stimulate the muscles and to soften them up. It will also soothe the skin. I’m sure it has been itching under the plaster, but that will stop now.”

“Thanks, Myrkvior!” The man was over the shock of seeing his pale and weak leg and had regained his happy mood. ”The itch was killing me.”

Now, little Ida came back. “It’s white,” she said pointing at the leg. “Itch kills me too.”

The lumberer looked perplexed but then he laughed. "We will survive Ida," he said. "The healers save us!"

Ashling took the opportunity to tell Ida to keep an eye on the lumberer. "Make sure that he doesn't try to escape while I fetched the salve!"

The child's shyness of Ashling seemed over. Ida giggled. She found it great fun to be a guard and make an adult behave. “Stay there, “she told the man who was now trying his best to not laugh out loud.

Ashling didn’t have to prepare the poultice. Sol’ange had already crafted in the early morning. It was a bit messy to smear in on the leg and wrap it in cloth but it didn’t bother her. Healing could be messy. The sight of the man’s leg didn’t bother her either. She was always working with people’s bodies when they weren’t at their best. To her, the leg was the beautiful result of good and successful healers’ dedicate work, not an unattractive body part. It was bones grown together as they should. It was joints and muscles working as they should. It was a ticket back to leading a normal life for a man who was still young.

The leg injury made her think of the cartographer. Brent. He had been coping well despite his permanent limp. He had even challenged her to a race up a hill. This was already long ago. After completing his work in Fensalir he had left, busy with his missions elsewhere. Ashling liked him. Their meetings had been brief though. There had been so much work do and little room for anything beyond friendship. Right after he had left Fensalir she had often thought of him and wanted to meet him again. But, the feeling had faded out when she had met Tristan.

“Are you married?” The lumberer’s question tore Ashling out of her brief reverie. Looking up from the now wrapped leg she met his gaze. He had a nice an open face and smiling grey-blue eyes.

“I’m engaged to marry.”

He laughed. “They always are,” he joked, winking at her.

Ashling winked back. If it could help the patient feel well, why not? He wasn’t serious. He had been flirting with her mother too. She guessed that he needed to pass the time and socialize a bit.

“Not my mom,” Ida informed them, eager to get included. She danced around on the floor with the rag doll.

Ashling smiled. The lumbered chuckled a bit, but then he became serious. “It’s strange times we live in, Ashling. Strange times indeed. You know, that giant three out there in Myrkvior keeps growing bigger and bigger. It’s unnatural. We who are working in the forest are beginning to feel very uneasy with it."

"That big tree ... it's very unusual."

The lumberer nodded. "They say that people who tried to go and have a closer look at that tree disappeared. That’s the stories spreading around. Some believe that it has something to do with the ritual sacrifices back in Cylus. A lot of members of Myrkvior’s Kin volunteered as sacrifices. I was there and I can tell you that it was something of a bloodbath. And now that tree is growing ...”

“It’s weird,” Ashling agreed. She felt quite interested in the topic. The mysteries of Myrkvior was always important to an avid spirit worshipper like her.

“There’s the stormtouched too. Some of them took to the forest and they are still out there. People sight them once in a while.” The lumberer seemed to have more to say, but he didn’t ramble on.

“A lot of stormtouched are moving into the settlement at Lake Svariella,” said Ashling. “They aren’t evil. They are only different. Until that storm, they were our neighbours, colleagues, family and friends. It’s a shame how the Ragnari treated them.”

The man shrugged. “Some of the stormies are dangerous. Some may look like people and come off as people but if you have a closer look at them...they are something else. There’s something very uncanny with them. They are almost, but only almost, people like you and me. For a moment, or even for a longer period of time, you may believe that you are dealing with ordinary folks. But then they say or do something out of place. You realize that you are dealing with...horned beings, feathered ones, hiding tails under their clothing and whatnot. ”

Ashling knew that it was true to some extent but she still considered the stormtouched human. “They aren’t freaks,” she said. “I spent some trials in the settlement at Lake Svariella not so long ago. It’s a nice place. Peaceful and lovely.”

“Not all stormtouched are peaceful and lovely. Some have the mentality and traits of predators. The wild stormtouched in the forest are for certain of that kind. Those live as hunters roaming around in search of prey. They will never be peasants and crafters building settlements and tending to gardens."

"The wild stormtouched?"

Rumour has it that one quite big ... tribe ... of stormtouched were staying in The Old Ruins during Zi’da and Cylus. For what I know they may still be there. It’s not like people want to go there to investigate the situation.”

Ashling shook her head. “The Old Ruins has always been a place to stay away from. Only animals use to go in there. I don’t think stormtouched people would settle there. “

She didn’t want to reveal that she had been at the ruins at the end of Vhalar and found a stormtouched camp there. Somehow it had leaked out ... so someone must have let their tongue slip ... but she would do what she could to kill the rumour.

“You know how people like to tell a good story,” she said. “Many stories are told and shared in the taverns late at night and people make up things to get attention. Especially if they are drunk. The last place people would choose as their home is an ill-reputed heap of ruins. We have all learnt to avoid it since they were small children. There must be many better places to spend the winter in. If there still are stormtouched people living in the wilderness I’m sure they have built log cabins. It stands to reason that they would build warm cottages as we do in Fensalir.”

“I guess you have a point there. Why stay outdoors in old stone monuments when you can spend the winter in a cosy cabin.” The man laughed a bit. “As you say, people tell stories ... but I still believe that there’s wilderness stormtouched. Some have seen them. But if you try to contact them they run in among the trees like wild animals and are gone. That’s what I’ve heard.”

“They don’t seem so dangerous then.” Ashling felt that it was a good point for ending the conversation and carry on with her work. “Now, do your exercise and get that leg back to how it was before, then you can run after every skirt in sight.”

Chatting a bit with the patients could be important. This man seemed to need company. She couldn’t spend the whole trial on him though. But, an idea struck her ... there was one more person who needed company and attention.

“As you are healthy and strong, except for needing a little bit of exercise, could you help out with Ida? She is only five arcs and it’s hard for a child to be alone ... but we have to work, we can’t give her attention all the time. Also ... it’s not good for her to be too active right now. Can you tell her stories?”

“I’ll try.”

They had a deal.

Two herbalism treatments were complete. Ida had a person who could entertain her and give her attention. The lumberer had something to occupy him so he wouldn’t die of boredom. There wasn’t anything more for Ashling to do with these two patients.

It would be different with the third patient...so different, so very different... and so very much more strange. But that would come later in, in the evening.

word count: 1797
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Doran
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Re: Rare Flowers, Chapter Two

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Ashling:

Knowledge:
Medicine: A newly healed broken leg has weak muscles due to the inactivity
Medicine: Physical exercise makes muscles regain strength after an injury
Medicine: Applying a poultice to stimulate muscles that haven't been used for a while
Psychology: Telling a worried patient that they will not become crippled
Psychology: Making the patients give social support to each other
Intelligence: Getting news by chatting with a patient

The Giant Three in Myrkvior
Myrkvior's Kin: Many of them volunteered as sacrifices to Myrkvior in Culys 720

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5, for working as a healer.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.

Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I think it’s interesting to read about a PC going about their work.

You described Ashling’s patients in detail, the dialogue was entertaining, and your threads always seem to contain a bit of humor (the lumberer who asks for the liquor, but really means his medicine, for example) which is something that I like.

I also appreciate the references to other PCs in this thread.

The conversation about current events in Melrath was interesting as well, especially the part where Ashling and the man talked about the Stormtouched. I like how protective she is of them!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 209

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