Coda: Yes, Yes.
Vlechinse accepted our
apology charity demonstration of power. I had to get Tarcuna to call him and explain where the patients should go, though.
Osoth accept my offer to couple. He didn’t seem particularly unhappy about it, though not nearly as eager as the first time.
Terror Hospital (Day 948)
A grand of patients filled the Igtatte havocs arena quite nicely. The sicker and worse-injured lay on cots on the field, with a gross of harried nurses running to and fro trying to keep them alive. The greater part of the patients waited in the bleachers. A small herd of gendarmes stood attentively. A large herd of soldiers blocked the exits. The whole place smelled of fear and hatred.
Well, I had insisted upon this chore, and bullied my fiancés and Vlechinse into it. I landed in the middle of the arena, and started putting the Arcane Anodyne into everyone I could reach. Cancers and syndromes spilled shrieking into the outer darkness before me. Or at least hovens stopped being unhealthy.
“That feels much better,” said one young man, sitting up for the first time in probably a long while.
“Glad to hear it!” I said. I finished up the last two people on the field, and shouted at the gendarmes to bring the people from the stands down here because I certainly wasn’t going up there at my size.
“What happens next?” he asked.
“I think a bunch of people with Moray-Lagrozo Syndrome, if my tongue is right,” I said, showing off nearly the full extent of my hoven medical knowledge.
“I mean, after all the healing.”
I cocked my head. “That’s up to you, I suppose. Your family or whoever, too. You could spontaneously decide to contribute a grand of thurnies to me.” We are not specifically shaking the hovens down at the moment, so I added, “Or write a nice thank-you note, or whatever the Vlechinse do in response to nice gifts. And I certainly would appreciate it if, whenever someone asks why you’re still alive, you say that Jyothky healed you. You can call me ‘Spotty’ or ‘the black one’ if you’d rather. Not ‘The Black Curse’; I don’t really like that nickname.”
“Do I just go home?”
“I imagine so,” I said, as I made a ragged woman with ragged clothes stop having a blood disorder that didn’t quite smell like Moray-Lagrozo Syndrome. “Assuming that you’ve got a home.”
He shrank a bit. “What did you do to it?”
“Nothing! I just don’t know the first thing about you, other than you were sick. And come from Vlechinse. OK, I know the first and second things about you, but not the third. Maybe you’ve been an orphan for the last dozen years and don’t have a home.”
He shook his head. “I have a home. My parents are waiting outside, beyond the soldiers. I’m Hemm.”
I waved a wing a bit. “Glad to meet you, Hemm. Why are there soldiers out there, anyways? If they attack me I’m probably going to wind up killing more people today than I healed. Which isn’t what I got up this morning to do.”
“The soldiers? They’re making sure none of us run away.”
“Why would you run away from getting healed?”
His fur went muddy. “The rumor was, you’d be taking us for slaves afterwards.”
I shook my head. “No. I’ve got one hoven slave already and there’s no end to the trouble she causes me.” (Tarcuna is back in Damma, enjoying an utterly unearned vacation with the help of two very expensive hired girlfriends. She is treating them very nicely, having worked in that trade herself.)
“Glad to hear it.”
I smirked at him. “Glad that she’s causing me trouble? Do you perhaps think that she causes me so much trouble that I fly to Vlechinse for a day of medical exercises to get away from her?”
He dipped his head. “No, I spoke wrong. Glad not to be taken as a slave myself.”
I healed a couple more hovens, and said to Hemm, “Oh, that. I’m glad not to be taking slaves. For one thing, carrying a grand of you would be a bother and a half. And feeding and tending you would be even more inconvenient. A starving slave is a useless slave. A naked slave is a slave who is about to get his legs infested with mites, in Damma at least, and that’s not much more useful,” I said. He looked nervous, so I added, “I’m joking. I mean, everything I said is true — dragons generally don’t lie. But I’d rather have servants than slaves. They usually do a better job, and they don’t smell nearly so miserable.”
He didn’t look greatly comforted. “Can I go home now, please?”
I blinked. “Oh, certainly! Just chatting. Casting the same spell all afternoon is a bit tedious, and I’ve two or three gross more to do.”
He thanked in my general direction a bit, while I healed three more people, and ran off towards an exit. In a few minutes he was back, “The soldiers still won’t let us out. My parents are probably dying of terror outside.”
I looked at the line of patients. They were all dying too, of worse than plain terror, but by months not by hours. “I should do something about that, shouldn’t I?” I raised my voice and said, “I’m going to take a break and tell the soldiers to let everyone go. Back in a few minutes to heal you. Don’t go away!” Hemm looked a bit quizzical at that, so I added, “Unless you want to!” He grinned, though nobody else did. (I am clearly conquering Hove one hoven at a time. Two already, and I’ve only been working at it about 948 days.)
The soldiers didn’t want to let the patients out of the arena. “Rather, we’d love to let them go, but we have our orders,” said the commandant.
“Would it be quicker if you got new orders, or if I dispersed you myself, do you think?” I asked him.
“Let me call my commanding officer, please,” he said.
It wasn’t quicker, but in a third of an hour, ex-patients were leaving the stadium to their families.
Two hours after that, I finished with the last patient and got to leave, myself. I have no family per se here. I joined Osoth, who is the worst healer among my fiancés, and helped him finish up. He wasn’t particularly grateful, since I had made him do the work in the first place. So I let him stop altogether, and conjure a choir of ghosts singing patriotic Vlechinse anthems and drinking songs ‘til I finished his chores.