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."
Chrentothany:"You are, no doubt, familiar with the history of Duke Haniet Vo-Uacca, from Girath, in the years 3778 to 3779?"
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.
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.
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."
Me:"Ah, I believe the Baron is mistaken about our purpose here."
Chrentothany:"I am, ultimately, concerned about my patient. Not about her patron."
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.
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."
Chrentothany:"The full price, including my time to learn it and cast it, will be rather more."
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.)