Rain, rain, rain. And work.
In the end, Moyri came with me to the leper village. Either captain Ferin could catch the bandits on his own with the soldiers, our band and the villages, or he would just investigate and not do anything yet, but it made no sense for us to separate. Not when I was going to teach three Priestesses of Naigha (or two and an almost-Priestess) how to heal the silver sickness, and doing a lot of the healing on my own.
Yes, sure, I am weird. I love these visits to the leper villages. I’m not bothered by their stigmata, I like helping people, I like seeing things getting cleaned up, I like walking around naked and see people enjoy their view of me. All of which I get to do, plus, there’s the regular restorative afternoon-fuck for the two of us, and a feast at the end of it, and I get to tease my patients and distract them with my body.
And, when it comes to the are-the-baroness-and-her-sheriff-cute-or-not, helping out in a leper village really takes us deep into the cute territory, maybe even into the they’re-ours-we-love-them territory. Not just for the people we heal, but stories of the baroness sweeping a village and washing clothes and caring for the doctor who is healing everyone, well, they get spread.
They hadn’t arrived in this leper village yet, though. It’s quite a way from everywhere else, north of the road, deeper into the mountains. The soil is thin and scruffy, the people here were thinner than in the other leper villages we visited. It bordered on actual malnutrition. Harvests are never more than fair, and only not most often disappointing because people have learned to expect no bounty.
Fuck. Good thing we’d brought plenty with us, having collected provisioning all the way from Hokaji and Tal-Borin.
We found a field to set up camp, and then it was time to make our entrance. (Everyone had left their clothes back in the camp, except for the Naigha squad, but the very next day they were as naked as Naigha is under her mantle as well, and not wearing a mantle either. It’s raining all the time, clothes are a nuisance anyway. The rain is kind of lukewarm, the wind is warmer still, it’s like having an Ishey bath all the time.)
The village head was a middle-aged woman, rather badly ravaged by the illness. Mazao’s uncle was the village carpenter and builder; he’s in his sixties, and apart from the fact that his dick has rotted away, gorgeous. It’s quite a small village, there’s no blacksmith, and I estimated that if we started with the children, who were well cared for, we’d be done in three days.
Gods… Uncle Leshin made me think of Mazao even when I was making love with Moyri. I thought — and, given this is me, put it into words while Moyri was trying to get me off by… Well, that’s neither here nor there, what I want to say is, I asked her whether she didn’t agree that having part-Ishey paternity would be good for our heirs? Given how many Ishey live in Idanyas, and how important they are.
She agreed, and she also thinks Mazao isn’t all that bad-looking. Besides, he’s got children already, and he doesn’t really involve himself with them. That would be a bad point if we were looking for a dad for our children, but it’s a good point if we’re looking for someone who can just make us pregnant and then NOT claim he’s the rightful baron of Idanyas because his heirs are the heirs to the barony.
One has to think these things through, you see.
After we’d both had sated our lust (as if!) I was struck with something else… I guess everyone has noticed that people talk about the King’s Peace and the Queen’s Law, right? But that’s a bit of a scary division, especially for us Síthi. There, there are two temples, Anasagga and Anchuk. Anasagga is the God of War, Anchuk the God of Justice. What gives that Athal gets associated with Anasagga and Raisse with Anchuk? Of course, she’s in the Guild of Anshen, but we Síthi, we’re above those picayune foreign associations.
Athal… Anshen. Raisse… The Nameless.
It doesn’t bear thinking of, yet that would be their role, if they would be Síthi.
Actually, only a token guard went back to our camp. Most of us slept in Leshin’s spare room. He, being a carpenter and builder, so surprisingly for an Ishey, had the nicest house of the village, and he’s been here a long time.
I was kind of annoyed that Moyri and I didn’t have separate rooms, but… We might be ludin now, and all that, but most people live in one-room houses, often without even the luxury of a bedstead. And the noises coming from some people I won’t name at the other end of the room made it impossible for me to keep my fingers out of Moyri’s crotch. So that’s how we came to make love, and I guess not only everyone heard and mostly saw us make love, they also heard the conversation I’ve written down above.
We’d started cleaning up, putting clothes in the laundry, cleaning houses, cutting hair, exterminating vermin (everyone is surprised when I say that when I die, there will be no living flea, louse or bed bug in Idanyas anymore, but there aren’t any in the City, so why here?), and then having dinner, mostly with the provisions we brought.
Moyri, me, Leshin and Jerna, the village head, we drank a bottle of walnut liquor and discussed the state of their village, their surroundings, their wishes and so on; I pushed for everyone moving out, because this land really is just too marginal, and I got them to agree.
Besides, Leshin wants to meet up with his nephew again, and there are people who think they can make a go of it in the New Village. I’m so stoked for tomorrow! I’ll be teaching and healing, and… Making love to Moyri.
I wonder if this is the last leper village in Idanyas… I don’t wish for people to be sick and maimed and scrabbling for survival and missing their family… But I so love this work.
The first child I healed myself, while the Priestesses were looking on, then we started working together. There was the cutest four-year-old, if he hadn’t had living parents I’d have adopted him then and there! (Or is it there and then? Must study Ilaini more diligently.)
There was also a gifted fourteen-year-old boy, who had the most admirable hard-on when I was treating him. He asked for my law book, though, when I told him, after healing him, to go outside, behind the house, he said he wanted to study law. Well! If what you want to learn is more important than a twitching boner, we cannot do anything but send him to Law School in Valdis, right? So I told him I’d give him an introduction letter to the Queen, who’d take care of him until he was settled — and at that point, he went all limp with apprehension.
But we’ll take him with us, and send him to Valdis, and he’ll come back, and help us in our reign.
And so the day went on. By mid-afternoon, we had healed all under-twenties, and I went out and found Moyri, tired after cleaning house after house, sitting on a boulder in the village square, and we made love ther and thene. The four-year old came to sit on the boulder to look at us, but I told him to look the other way, and he nodded, saying his parents told him to look the other way around, too, but that we were cuter.
Well, I mean to say!
That night, I started thinking of why there are no east-west or west-east rivers in Idanyas; only north-south rivers. But there are only two east-west roads, and as far as I know, no north-south roads. No access to the sea for most of the people, so transport is always slow and village to village. Can we improve on that? It must be possible for people in this area to reach Banay, so maybe there is at least one north-south road?
The next day was good. Just plain good. People we could help get better and give a future. We had some really good talks. We had a good supper again, and I got some unexpected cuddles from people telling me to pass it on (or is it hand it on) to the Baroness. You see, cute is in the ascendancy, and no matter how often we make love in the rain, in the village square, shameless is down.
At supper, Moyri drank so much of the awful, awful, awful beer they brew here, that I kind of had to drag her to the stream, so she could let go… I took her in my lap, and she was, “I don’t understand why you even like that, Khushi, but why should I mind…” — she was a bit tipsy from all the beer, even, but it made me feel quite content.
There are no water beings in this stream, neither before, nor after pissing in it.
Also, my courses have started, curse them. Though baby-wise, it’s perhaps better. And it’s my own fault, I decided to stop drinking the tea already. Kind of felt bad for not having offered to the Mother for so long, too.
There were so few elderly people left — only Jerna and Leshin, in fact — that the next morning we were done bright and early, and while I and the priestesses were healing them, the rest of our band and the village people were packing up everything that was worth taking, and making ready for the march back to Tal-Ryth.
On our way back, Leshin and I had a good long talk about Mazao, babies, mines and so on… I think he’ll help me get Mazao to come with us to Selday so we could get him to make us pregnant.
Moyri has decided to stop drinking the tea, too.