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Healing Those Who Are Not Injured [4 Lage 4261]

Levande’s factotum is remarkable. Or, at least, the name of
the Countess of Gloun exerts a great deal of force when
skillfully applied. Levande herself is not particularly
skillful at using it, but her factotum is, so we got to
speak to Baron Chrentothany slightly before dinnertime.

Levande:“Thank you for agreeing to see us on
such short notice, Baron.”

Chrentothany:“Oh, a pleasure to have a visitor
in my office who is not sounded, deformed, or
ailing.”

He is a very small and compact and tidy Rassimel, with
impossibly tight rings on his tail. He uses a spell to
rearrange his fur’s colors into impossibly tight rings; I
checked. Which was, incidentally, my most effective action
the whole day.

Levande:“Though we do wish speak to you in your
professional capacity.”
Levande hasn’t mastered court
speech as well as, oh, most first-year Academy students.
She really ought to.

Chrentothany:“Of course, of course: about
Teltheryan oa Vinness’s pregnancy.”

Levande:“Well, yes.”

Chrentothany:“You are, no doubt, familiar with
the history of Duke Haniet Vo-Uacca, from Girath, in the years
3778 to 3779?”

Levande:“Well, no.”

Chrentothany:“She was a challenging woman, or
so the histories relate. She confiscated the property of
the temple of Kvarse in the city, for one thing, and had the
great statue of Kvarse by Neen Den Tenden burnt.”

Levande:“I had no idea. Though I am barely
aware that there is a city called Girath.”

Me:“It’s on Aradrueia. It’s famous for
skyships.”
I had taken a course on Aradrueia not so
long ago, and was quite grateful to have a chance to
contribute to the conversation, no matter how fruitless or
irrelevant it turned out to be in the end.

Levande:“Ah.”

Chrentothany:“Some time later, one of her many
enemies cut off the greater part of her left leg in a duel.
The goddess Kvarse immediately sent word to every healer on
Aradrueia not to heal her of this wound.”

Me:“Kvarse is a goddess of pungent opinions at
times!”

Chrentothany:“Indeed. So what do you suppose
happened?”

Levande:“This Haniet came here to be
healed?”

Chrentothany:“Not a bit so. The head of the
Healers’ Guild of Girath — who was, in fact, one of
Haniet’s politicial enemies, and had lost a great deal of
property when the Kvarse temple lands were confiscated –
healed her himself.”
He came to a full stop, seemingly
satisfied with his story.

Levande:“And…?”

Me:“And…?”

Chrentothany:“The Healers’ Guild, as you may
understand by this story, heals people.”

Me:“I might understand such a thing from the
very name of the Guild!”
Someone has to speak
in proper courtly phrases when there are so many nobles
around such a small table.

Chrentothany:“From time to time, people want us
to avoid healing someone. We generally refuse such
requests. Even personal requests from the goddess who rules
over healing and is the founder and nominal ruler of the
Healers’ Guild.”

Levande:“OK…?”

Me:“Ah, I believe the Baron is mistaken about
our purpose here.”

Chrentothany:“I am, ultimately, concerned about
my patient. Not about her patron.”

Levande:“What?”

Me:“He thinks we’re coming to bribe or force
him not to tend Thery properly.”

Levande:“Why would I want
that?”

l

Me:“There are rumors that you’re feeling
cheated by Thery — or possibly even jilted. Angered
countesses have been known to seek revenge.”

Levande:“Oh! No, not that. Baron, if money
were no object, what treatment would you recommend for
Thery?”

Chrentothany:“Well, her regimen would be
slightly improved if I stayed by her side constantly rather
than visiting her thrice a day. But I have other patients
as well, equally deserving of my attention, and in any case
the improvement would be slight.”

Levande:“So nothing more can be done?”

Chrentothany:“At this point, no.”

Levande:“And how likely is this to
help?”

Chrentothany:“With it, I should expect six
mothers and five children to survive out of every seven.
Without, it is five mothers and four children.”

Levande:“So little improvement?”

Chrentothany:“The main concern at this point is
prevention of birth defects in the child.”

Levande:“Oh. So … nothing more can be
done?”

Chrentothany:“Not this month. Near the actual
birth there are several choices. I favor Birth the Wise
Child
.”

Levande:“Well, is that the best
choice, if money were no object?”

Chrentothany:“Well … how much money of no
object is available? I could bring in, say, one of
those
[he pointed at me] “or someone else of
undue power and undue price. For a smaller but still
extravagant gesture, I could, say, learn Alivistiver’s
Delivery Ritual
and use that instead.”

Levande:“How much would that cost.”

The Baron was nonplussed.

Me:“And how much would it help?”

Chrentothany:“I’m … not quite sure.”

Me:“Can you find out? At least
approximately?”

Chrentothany:“Are you seriously considering
it?”

Me:“I don’t have the money. The Countess
might.”

Chrentothany checked in a few handbooks. “It’s cheaper than
I thought.” He named a sum which probably wasn’t much more
than a dozen times Iska’s tuition. “And less useful, too.”
He described a dozen assorted disasters, from routine to
horrific, and their chances of happening, from modest to
tiny.

Me:“That doesn’t sound less useful. It sounds
better than Birth the Wise Child.”

Chrentothany:“Less useful than I had
remembered.”

Levande:“Is there anything more
useful?”

Chrentothany:“Unlikely that there is anything
I could cast. Or anyone else in Vheshrame.”

Likely true — there aren’t very many ritual mages in
Vheshrame. It’s icky wicked stuff, even if it’s used for
healing.

Levande:“Describe them!”

The Baron gave us a summary of extravagant rituals, most of
which had only been cast three or four times, and for which
very little information was available. By the end of it, I
was quite dizzy, and Levande was worse.

Levande:“Well, order up … the one that you
could cast. I’ll pay.”

Me:“Alivistiver’s Delivery Ritual, she
means.”

Levande:“Yes.”

Chrentothany:“The full price, including my time
to learn it and cast it, will be rather more.”

Levande:“I’ll pay.”

Me:“How much “rather more”?”

We discussed the matter for some while. I pointed out that
buying him an exceedingly expensive spell was a form of
payment, and that he should at least be willing to reduce
the rates for other things as a result. I think I saved the
Countess about three Iska-tuitions.

And that was roughly that. She offered to take me to
Darraden’s by way of thanks. I countered with the Sloop in
Soup, which, considering how much she had just spent, was
probably extravagant enough. We settled on Tamvaus.

Me:“Um .. shouldn’t we make sure Thery accepts
this gift first?”

Levande:“Oh, great snotnosed gods…”

(But that turned out not to be such a terrible matter. Thery
and Yarwain — and Iska, who is pretty much their roommate
at this point, and bedmate too perhaps — were quite
worried about accepting such a big gift. I tried to
persuade them that Levande has no more wicked plan than to
attempt to retain or regain Thery’s loyalty. I’m not sure
they agreed on that point. In the end Thery said, “It’s
better for the baby. We’re doing it.
” and that was that.)

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