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Nov 17, 2019 6:32 PM
demigod Erin in Murune
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"That's not why you accepted that power, is it?" He reminds her. 

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"...No. It isn't." 

Ara'Vine is said to be at the Olivine Monastery. He's been there for most of the past century. It shouldn't take her terribly long to get there if she and Sam just make their way down the river from here, then cross the ocean to reach the mouth of the Soth river. They can stop at the villages on the way, and she can offer what healing she had been capable of before she gained this Sorcery, and try to figure out how to use it on others for herself in the meantime. 

"Downriver, then, if you don't mind, Sam," she directs him. 

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Sam obliges, humming contentedly as he goes. 

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They travel for a few days through the southeastern edge of Garnethold, stopping at islands along the way for food and rest.  Then it's east along the northern coast of Soth for a few days beyond that.  There are many villages dotting the shoreline as they go, happy for the help of a traveler trained in medicine at her father's church.  Even without a cooperative sorcery, there are plenty of ways to help. 

The magic does seem to steadily regenerate at a rate of slightly less than an hour per day.  

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Meanwhile, Ara'Vine has been packing up to leave. 

He'd originally been sent to Olivine Monastery to help it with a potential battle against Eunova the God of Architecture.  When that had fallen through, he'd been content to remain for another decade, even somewhat enjoying the place.  Creating vaccines, medical plants, and advancing medicine with the help of the well-organized monks.

However, with the chance of fighting over, the God of the Dead had stopped paying close attention to his monastery.  The monks, left to their own devices, had eventually devolved into squabbling for status, skimming profits, and the other usual sorts of problems one developed when too accustomed to wealth.  

Ara'Vine had already given his remaining stash of chargestones away to his favorite monks.  His room had accumulated a number of nice things over the years, but there wasn't much point to bringing them with him.  He had his orich-tungsten mask, his spool of weight-wire, and a bag of empty diamonds set into coins to fill as he could.  The rest of the space in his bag could be food and a lightweight tent.  

Perhaps the south pole would be a nice place to visit next?

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A massive city-sized being bends into visibility, dizzyingly choosing to appear to be both at her normal size and yet somehow also fit within the confines of the cluttered adobe-walled room.  Her thousands of crystalline eyes glint and blink from across a body that resembles both a dragon and a bulb of garlic.

"I think you should go north instead."

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Ara'Vine blinks at the geometric impossibility for a moment. 

"You know I like to know the reason for things," he reminds her.

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"The god of healing is upset at you again for upstaging them with these last decades of productivity.

"They and I made a bet. We've turned their current demigod child into a sorcerer with an exact copy of your power. They think she can get beyond your skill level with the power in under a century.

"The child is reasonable and concluded that the fastest way to improve would be to learn from you directly. They'll be coming south down the river any day now. If you head north, you can meet up with them and become the girl's teacher."

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"You don't want to win the bet?"

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Indifference.  

"It's unlikely we'll win either way.  The child is driven in a way you aren't.  This is just a way to make Paean happy so they don't go after you in a more destructive manner."

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"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he mutters sarcastically.  

But it did make sense.

Beyond that, it would be nice to have someone to share the burden with.  He hated how he couldn't go a year - a month, a week - without feeling like he wasn't allowed to take a break without people dying.  Wanting to go somewhere quiet and live on a mountaintop or something, only to be dragged back by guilt that every month he wasn't working was counted in lives lost to disease.  

Not to mention all of the people who would crowd around, asking for more than he could give.  Having to say 'no' to a hundred tragic stories of dying children and blindness and missing limbs, because 6 hours of magic is barely enough for a small village, let alone the world.  Because it is more efficient to spend a hundred hours making a vaccine that can save ten thousand lives than manually healing a hundred missing arms with that time.  

Maybe if this demigod is as reasonable as Diamondeye thinks, then in a century he can finally wander off into the woods and just send her chargestones every so often.

 

As Diamondeye's presence fades from the room and it stops being so geometrically impossible, he makes his way to the door and leaves, heading north.    

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Their route northeast through Garnethold sees them passing through many villages they'd already passed through. There are few new cases in these, growing slowly in number as she gets farther along. Mostly there are the old ones, which she couldn't fix with only her knowledge and the medicines she carries, and cannot fix now, unable to use her Sorcery to help. This only drives her on more, the thought of what she could do to help if only she could use it on others. 

But it is worth it to stop in the villages, still, despite her determination, especially once they reach Soth. Every life saved is a life saved, all suffering eased is as valuable as easing any other. 

The latest is large enough to have a small hospital. Sam crawls out of the water, pulling in his flippers and plodding over to the edge of the settlement on his legs. She hops off his back once they're on land, walking beside him and stretching out her limbs until he settles down. 

"I'll see you later," she says, hugging him around the neck, "This one might take longer than most - it's a large town. I'll sleep out here so you can make sure I actually do, though, I promise." 

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"Pace yourself," he reminds her, "This town will still be here tomorrow." 

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"It will," she nods. 

She hugs him again, and makes her way into the settlement, beelining for the hospital. She's a bit light in supplies, as well - hopefully the hospital will have medicines she lacks, but she should check the markets for a relevant merchant later. 

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The hospital is an old L-shaped stone building with two floors and a flat roof.  There's a path with lots of benches and a large tree nestled into the empty space of the L.  An herb garden circles around that with neat rows of plants.  Most of the herbs are easily recognized, but there are some palm-tree-shaped succulents in pots along the back wall which are unfamiliar.  A stylized wooden statue of the God of Healing stands at the center of the garden beneath the tree.  It and the tree's trunk are decorated in draping ropes covered in brightly-colored paper charms cut into the shapes of birds or feathers - prayers for good health.  

A few patients are sitting along the path.  There are two men in white robes of different cuts tending the herbs, and an old woman hanging up laundry.  

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She eyes the cactus plants with interest, but stops before the icon before anything and bows - this step is automatic at this point, most villages appreciate when visitors honour the divine statuary they put up. Then she turns to the nearest of the robed men. 

"Excuse me," she murmurs, "I am Erin, a traveling healer, trained in my Father, Paean's temples. If I would not be interfering, I would be pleased to offer my expertise to anyone ailing from unusual illnesses, and to assist in handling your more common cases as well." 

She has a token marking her as trained thus, which she takes out to show the man - though many will take one look at her wings and simply believe her words, she believes it's best not to encourage that habit. 

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The man in the robes of a healer bows to her.  "We would be honored to accept your presence and your help."

He begins speaking about the current state of the town's health.  Silcardine's town government has ensured all people have shoes, which prevents many infections common to the region.  They've had problems with people drinking the river water lately.  Perhaps they would remember to head to the safer wells if prompted by someone with more obvious authority?

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The other robed man, obviously foreign and wearing robes more suited to a travelling pilgrim or nomad, watches curiously from where he was kneeling between rows of plants near the back of the garden.  

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She commends their shoes policy, and would be more than pleased to remind people of the dangers of river water! And, perhaps, that boiling water makes it safer. 

The man in foreign robes does grab her attention somewhat. She eyes him curiously back.  

"If it would not burden you, I would ask to replace some of my depleted stores of herbs from your garden before I begin," she requests of the healer. "I will compensate you, of course - I know running a hospital is not easy." 

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The water problem is less to do with bacteria than with runoff from whatever happened in Xeni.  Slow poisoning that builds up over months or years of exposure.  They've been testing filters for the irrigation to food crops, but the alchemists say the wells are purer. 

They do have plenty of herbs and medicines.

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She frowns, "What happened in Xeni?" She asks. One drawback to spending months at a time traveling around to small villages is that news just doesn't get to her as quickly as it did at the temple. 

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"There was some kind of massive explosion or possibly a meteor and the town of Xeni was turned into a crater.  It stood on the tributary river leading from the eastern mountains.  There was a while when the river level went down as the crater filled up, then the water returned it was tainted with whatever the crater had in it."

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"Oh," she breathes, stricken. A sudden explosion or meteor suggests most would not have escaped alive, or unharmed. 

"Were there survivors? What became of them?"

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"I haven't heard anything about survivors, though if they exist they would have been taken in by towns in that country.  All we know of this far north is the water."

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She shakes her head, "That is truly awful news - both the disaster and the tainted water. I will be sure to impress upon the people along the river to avoid using the water drawn from it. Thank you for explaining to me." 

She politely takes her leave of him and makes her way over to the herb garden. Humming, she begins harvesting a few key herbs she has run low on - and in one case run out of. She glances over at the foreign-robed man in the garden when she comes closer to him. 

"Hello," she says, "Are you a traveling healer as well?" She asks. 

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