I’m good at this. I am good at this! And I don’t mean nursing and doctoring… Though I’m not too shabby at those, too. No! What I find I’m surprisingly good at is organizing stuff. Within an hour of entering the Leper Village, I’d had all of us squared away on a nice little, if not too horizontal campsite, had people digging a pond (to collect water for now, later we’ll make it a millpond), organized the order of patients for the morrow. Of course, Arni is even better than me at this, and she had the meals for the village and doctor folk organized, and a rota for cleaning all the houses — begone vermin!
The work was hard, but it felt great. Doctors Rovan and Prithi are really good teachers, and I didn’t disappoint them either, pretty soon I was doing the same work as they and the journeymen. There are things I cannot do, of course, like using a knife on a patient, or some sicknesses that are too deep and stubborn, like most lung infections. But I was learning all the time, and there was a great variety in cases for us to handle.
Strangely enough, because that had not been the case in the leper village in Ryshas, there was no malnutrition. Everyone was eating well and healthily, with lots of vegetables, and since they had their own clay pit and potter, even making preserves for winter wasn’t a problem: Mother Jerna has done really well. Of course, sick people get tired sooner than fit people, and this village wasn’t as productive as others in the area. But that’ll change soon!
We first cleaned up all vermin, while Arni and some others were cleaning all the houses. We had brought a big copper, and boiled all clothing and all bed-clothes. It meant we had to sleep outside, all of us, mostly naked, but we made a big fire, also as a Temple for Anshen, but also to keep us warm. Fortunately, the work progressed so quickly that everyone was clean in two days, and clean and healed in five!
That’s to say… There were some things nobody could do anything about. Missing digits and toes were common, and a few cases of malformedness from birth, or from hunger. There was one case, though, which had my blood boiling. Jeran, a sixteen year old boy was all crooked. He’d been cruelly beaten by Lord Faran when he was six! He was trying to keep Lord Faran from raping his mother, and after the beating, dumped near the village by the lord’s henchmen. He doesn’t even know where his mother is, or whether she’s still alive.
He’s really smart — and a cripple for life. Doctor Cora might be able to help him, but that would take years of breaking bones and letting them grow together, but straight. It would also be incredibly painful! But we’ll take Jeran with us to Three Hills, to introduce him to the Queen. She might have some job for him — something clerk-like, since he, like everyone in the leper village is really quite proficient when it comes to reading and writing. Mother Jerna again.
We ended up having a big celebration. A neighbouring village specializes in breeding pigs for the market, and we bought half a dozen. Finally everyone could have lots of meat! There was music, and dancing, and at one point, Mother Jerna tells me, I had been dancing with Timoine, who has never before been close to me… She said I was wrong in that, and she probably is. But she cannot go into the Temple of Naigha, of course.
And to end the night, Doctor Prithi and I, we danced for the Gods.