Turenay, Naighei Hanre, seventh week of Anshen

Yesterday was our wedding celebration! I wasn't able to help as much with the preparations as I'd hoped, because the days before were very busy. After the big accident with the burning house on Hanre Nafur last week, the hospital is full again. Leva could give me permission to visit the North School on Hanre Dochein, but on Hanre Donanei she could not spare me.

Indeed, after working in the hospital in the morning, dressing our patients' wounds and helping out with making beds, cleaning and feeding the patients (and Leva and Rani, the fiancee of Eldan: she has left the weaver and taken a job as nurse in the hospital, but for now, she mostly pays attention to Eldan, which is very natural and proper), Leva told me she didn't have time to go to the poor quarter, although it was the appointed day for that.

I hardly dared propose that I would go alone, but since the most difficult cases must have come to us last week, I was quite sure I would be able to handle what remained -- blisters, insect bites, broken bones, bruises, maybe some simple illnesses, so I did put this idea to Leva after all, and she assented, allowing me to go there.

I was really looking forward to it: meeting my three little friends, the sons and daughter of Alaise. Most of the afternoon was very good. Nothing too complicated to handle and I still learned a lot. Only people are now calling me "doctor", which I am not yet.

But when I was almost ready to pack my basket again I noticed a man who had been around for most of the afternoon, hesitating, coming closer then going into the shadows again. Well, either he was a foul criminal seeking to abduct me for Koll Konandé (in which case I am sure the people present would have stopped him), or he was ill with a private illness he didn't dare discuss out on the street.

So I called Alaise and asked her to go for a walk with her children while I went to the man and asked him to come in. He was very frightened and did not dare to say what was wrong with him, so I asked him to undress and examined him. I must say I understood his reluctance then! He suffered from the whore's sickness, and when I asked him whether he was married, he nodded, and when I asked whether he had made love to his wife recently, he nodded again.

Then I told him I needed to investigate his wife, too, and was all set to scold him about going to the whores and infecting his poor wife, when he explained, stammering and very ashamed, that he had been infected by his wife, to whom he professed to have been completely faithful ever since their marriage. And she had sent him, not daring to go herself.

This was something I had never heard of before, and I was wondering whether his wife would be a whore working outside the reach of doctor Erne while we walked to their house. They were not really poor: their house is fairly large, with at least two stories and a separate kitchen in the back. The man, Geran, left me alone with his wife.

She was very sad, in tears, when she told me what had happened: she had been married to someone who, even after she had repudiated him, came to her every time he was in Turenay and demanded the use of her body. It was him who had infected her, and she had only last week decided to tell her current husband, because she had refused and had been beaten by him, losing three of her teeth, besides being badly bruised all over.

I couldn't help that, not when it had happened so long ago, and the whore's sickness simply needed treatment with copper salve, which I prescribed them, besides telling them to visit doctor Leva within a week (for this is a serious illness, and I do not want to endanger them by my inexperience).

Her husband has not sent her away upon learning what had happened to her, which is very good of him, and something many man would not have been able to do. They still do love each other very much, and I had invited them to our celebration, and have seen them dance together yesterday night, which convinced me they will be very happy together, after all. He makes glue.

The evil former husband lived, according to the woman, in an inn near the West Gate (which puts paid to the idea that the West Quarter is all posh), and I decided I needed to do something about that. People do look to doctors for solutions, especially if their problems are bad for their continued health. So I went to the School for War, where Aidan was teaching the regiment something military, but without weapons. He gave me two big soldiers, a woman and a man, to go with me. I may be not very clever, and make many mistakes, but I am not so stupid that I will try to tell a man who beats his ex-wife without backup!

The man indeed was there: he was easy to recognize from his foul mustache, the scars on his throat (someone had tried to cut his throat) and his clothes. I did approach him and asked him if he was Ainei Lyan, the former husband of Hylti. He said yes, and wanted to know what concern of mine that was. I told him he needed to stay away from her, since she had married another, better man and besides, that he had made her ill and that he should let me investigate and treat him because he must be very ill, too.

Then he became very rude, saying all kinds of things about me, asking who I had to enforce my opinion on him (I pointed him to my two soldiers), that I should go do something I didn't understand, and that as far as he was concerned Hylti was still his bitch. I do not anger easily, but on hearing that I slapped him in his face, four times, as hard as I could and told him I wanted him to come with me to the Guard House.

To my surprise he was shouting that yes, he would go to the guard house and lay a complaint about me, because he wouldn't allow little whores to hit him in the presence of his mates (he also said other words I didn't understand, but the soldiers turned red on hearing them, so they must have been very rude.)

Well, I have every trust in the town guard now that their captain is locked up, and they did not betray my trust. When I told them that this man had gone to a woman who was no longer his wife and had forced her to lie down with him, and beaten her when she refused and besides had made her sick, they locked him up.

There is this, however, which does not please me. I do feel, also from talking about this with Aidan, that Valdyan people somehow see the deeds of this man as less despicable than if he would have gone into the streets, grabbed a woman he didn't know and forced her to give him her body. As if they all agree, without saying so with so many words, that this woman still had obligations of a sort to her former husband. This is perhaps caused by marriage being something private, not guarded by the law, that it cannot be completely broken, as is possible in our country. In some respects, Valdyas is not a very well-ordered country, leading the people here to be confused in their thinking, as in this instance.

Lord Radan agrees with me that if a man takes a woman he is not married to and has not been married to, by force and makes use of her body, that he will probably be hanged, while the first inclination of everyone (including my father in law) about this man was that he should be flogged and banned from the town. As if banning from Turenay could ever be effective, with the poor quarter not having a gate, and the bridge to that quarter never being guarded!

They thought even stranger the following thing: namely that I intend to heal this man in time so he can be hanged, instead of letting him die from his illness. As if that would be a punishment! Curiously enough, doctor Jeran agrees with me on this point, but then, doctor Jeran is a very wise man. The bad man is extremely ill. I made him undress and washed his private parts with boiling water before applying the salve, but he was so far gone that it was a most gruesome sight.

Indeed, it made me doubt I would ever be able to enjoy the sight of a man's private parts ever again, so when I came home, I asked Arvi to leave the room, and Aidan to undress, so I could hold him and let the sight of him cleanse my eyes from the poison of looking at that foul man. Later that night, when we were lying together, I did touch Aidan's private parts most meticulously with my fingers and tongue: my sweet husband had foreseen this and made himself extra clean and fresh. It is not seemly, Lady Haluwa has instructed me, to enjoy this, but I do, and I love Aidan's scent, also there and also when he is overcome with pleasure. Besides, that reminds me of the thick soup made of large fish fins (the fish whose skin can be used as sandpaper -- I have forgotten the name in Ilaini), and which was a special treat. I never was allowed to take a second bowl, not even when I was Queen.

Life became complicated again in the evening, since Arvi and I went to the Síthi bath house, so Arvi could learn the skills a proper lady's maid cannot be without, and I had to go to doctor Jeran, too, to warn him about Lyan, since he cares for the prisoners of the town guard. Kancho gave me a bottle of lady Ysella's scent for Ehituwa, because I would visit her as his go-between that evening.

Sinaya and Anju received me with many giggles, before withdrawing. I am not sure whether I did everything proper and correct; but then, the Síthi in Valdyas have been away from Aumen Síth for so long that they do not remember everything either. But fortunately Ehituwa was very pleased with Kancho's present and with his suit, and confided that she had seen the love in their eyes already. And Kancho is a suitable candidate: he is well-educated, being a doctor is very prestigious among the Síthi, and he has a few hundred riders left him by his uncle. And he is Anasagga Síthi Sagga, which is very noble, as Síthi reckon these things. (And he may also want to learn in the guild of Anshen, only he thought Síthi weren't allowed. Which is silly, since he must have known about Kheti).

Next time, Kancho will go and meet Ehituwa, perhaps in my presence (although I am afraid I am falling ill already), and then the third time, Anju will be allowed to be present, too. And from there, they'd better do it the Valdyan way, because they're nearly bursting with the desire for a kiss.

Then, on my way home, I decided to visit Maile and Mernath and retrieve my scarf and jacket and also Hylti and her husband, to tell her that her ex-husband had been apprehended. Maile and Mernath invited me to the Namegiving ceremony on the day of Anshen, which is a great honour.

So, on the day of the celebration, we first went to the school temple for the ceremony for Anshen, and I realized that it has been a long time since I had attended it, having been busy with the boy with the inflamed appendix last week, and being in Gralen for weeks before that. Afterwards we did go to Mernath and Maile -- Aidan, Raisse and Leva came, too. They named their first son Athal, which will please Athal and Raisse very much!

About the celebration there is not much to write down: there were very nearly five hundred people, and I think I have spoken to most of them. Not just our street, but the side streets and the street in front of school, too, were filled with guests. There people from all parts of Turenay, from Lord Radan to really poor people from the swamp, like Lara's ex-neighbour and her children. But there was enough to eat and drink, and nobody got too drunk. At least, we didn't find anyone sleeping in the streets when we cleaned up. Maile had come with her baby, and sat on a bench with our neighbour, Sidhan. There were plenty of children, and I played a game of tag with them -- I may be married, but I am not too old for that! -- and danced with them.

(note: go to Aule today and tell her that Maile has milk aplenty for her baby. Also make sure she eats enough.)

I gave my presents to Selle, Hinla, Kheti and Halla, and we received wonderful presents in our turn: towels from Tylse, a kettle with a lid from Selevi, a mirror from Doryn and the other whores, kitchen knives from Mernath, wine from Lord Radan and much, much more. A chest for our new linen. Honey from Lara, and more honey from Merain, who goes into the forest to find wild honey. All these people have been so very good to us!

I danced with Aldan, the boy whose muscles speak a different language from his mind. I tried to move his feet for him with my mind, and noticed that not only do they speak a different language from my mind, too, but are also very independent in their desires. But with some effort, I managed, and Aldan was very, very happy at having danced. Before, he was standing in a darkish corner, only darting to get some pasties from the table with the food. His parents had loaned us lanterns and given us candles, so the street was very brightly lit and gay.

Later that evening I saw Rhanyn and Lydan standing together, having drunk perhaps that little drop of wine extra that makes people overcome their burdensome inhibitions, and they were very nearly kissing each other. And a little later, they were kissing, and kissing very thoroughly, also exploring each other with their hands, practically becoming improper, so I though I had better make my beloved colleague apprentice-doctors (only they are journeymen already) comfortable and offered them our bed, Aidan and I wouldn't need it for some time, having duties to our guests.

After having had courtly Valdyan dances and proper Síthi dances, we had some very vigorous dances on a mingling of the two styles of music, and then, when it became later, princess Ayneth played the lute while people softly chatted and drank their last glass of wine.

When most people had gone, we cleared most of the food and wine away and extinguished the lanterns, then went inside. Lydan and Rhanyn were still upstairs, they had fallen asleep. They were so cute, Aidan and I decided to let them sleep. In the end, we sat downstairs for another hour with everyone who had celebrated their marriage, Lara, Jichan, Raisse, Orian, Vurian, Rava (who had sent their children home with their children's maid) and some more people. Ayneth and Alyse, too, I believe.

In the end, Aidan and I just went to sleep on the other side of the bed. I was so tired, I hardly noticed I was sandwiched in between Aidan and Rhanyn and felt only a little regret I couldn't stay awake to make love quietly and silently with Aidan, as we had done in the inn in Veray, when we went there for our pilgrimage at the festival of Timoie, about four months ago.

Next morning, we had a very lazy breakfast (but we have finally managed to surprise Arvi, when there were four people down for breakfast), and then went out to clean up the last remnants of the celebration. When Aidan and I went up to sleep some more, I saw Arvi cleaning away the old sheets. I think it must have been the first time for both Rhanyn and Lydan, but about Rhanyn I am absolutely sure!

Well, I couldn't sleep, and Aidan only had to see the bed to fall down like a corpse again, so I came down to write these notes. Will have to go to the hospital now -- but first to Aule.

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