Today was my first day of doing the rounds with Ghamri. We had a lot of fun together, I think we can become real friends. We went to the poor quarter first. Leva did not join us; she doesn't often join me when I cross the bridge anymore anyway. I'm not exactly worried about Leva, but since she returned from her native village after the epidemic, she seems more easily tired and also quite ready to leave a lot to me.
I was so very glad Ghamri had come with me since there were two cases I couldn't not have handled by myself yet. The first was about a woman whose baby child did not drink milk, but instead stuffed herself with air. The woman's breasts were swollen and painful and the child's belly was distended with superfluous air.
I managed to massage the air out of the baby's belly, but as for the breasts, I was wondering what to do when Ghamri showed me how to milk the woman -- the same technique Halla in Veray applies to her goats. I would have embarrassed myself because the only solution I could think of was sucking the milk out myself, and I'm not sure I would have the strength for that.
The other case was a girl who had been out in the forest, trying to find edible roots and herbs. She had eaten something she shouldn't have eaten, and I didn't recognize the symptoms. Ghamri did, and even though she doesn't know our herbary yet, could figure out which sort of plant the girl had eaten and what to give as a remedy.
Fortunately for my self-respect, I was able to teach Ghamri some things, too, about using the spirit when healing bones and things like that. It's good to have her with us: I am sure that not just doctor Torin, but all of us will learn a lot!
Note: need to buy lots of food for the Iss-Peranian evening tomorrow, when we will honor all the veterans of the war in Turenay. It must be possible to get some lemons and a chicken, even though it is the first month of the year!
I also need to visit Tiruppuvai and Bashi!
I am so, so, so very tired! Ghamri, Arvi and I have spent all day in our kitchen, just like Dimani and Hediyeh and Dimani's boys have spent all day in their kichen. And I'm sure that Khahid spent more time with his pastries than with his books, too!
When the evening came, I made sure that we were all looking our very, very best, because Dimani, Hediyeh and Ghamri had decided to also treat the veterans to an Iss-Peranian dance (one for Anshen, not one for men!), and I was to make music, so after painting our faces, doing our hair, I had to spend half an hour trying to straighten the strings on my lute to make them sound correct again! I haven't played on my lute for weeks now, not since Aidan came back, except maybe only once. I usually have something better to play on!
Aidan and Halla had prepared the fencing school's great hall, there were trestle tables and benches, and not only our best dinner service, but also the second best. And we had to borrow the hospital cart to ferry the food to the fencing school! And, of course, poor Tarin, who is still laid up in the hospital with his leg wounds. They keep festering, and neither I nor Leva seem to be able to do much about it, this is very vexing, maybe it will be better when there is fresh borage and rhubarb shoots.
Note: I got a letter from Selle today, she told me she has given birth to a daughter. However, what with her being as small as I am, she was torn badly. So I should prepare a salve of chamomile, agrimony, ale-hoof, vervain and winter green for internal application. If I can get Aidan to visit Lady Ryath Hayan's manor, there will no doubt be someone who can deliver it to Selle. I must also write down the recipe for the priestess of Naigha in King's Lodge (Tal-Valein in Ilaini) -- it is a new invention of Leva and Lyse's.
Having read Selle's letter, I am not sure I want to go to Gralen for Midsummer, after all... Away from Leva and Lyse. Though Leva is always doing her rounds in the month before midsummer, so she would be away anyway.
In any case, we pleased the heroic soldiers of the King very much. They had brought their husbands, wives and children, and there was still plenty of Iss-Peranian food. As one of the soldiers told us, he'd been in Iss-Peran for over a year and had only had army grub, this was the first time he tasted proper Iss-Peranian food! And the dance was a success, too, after the Iss-Peranian dance, a woman veteran took her flute, and together we played dancing tunes, and everyone was very gay!
I nearly didn't get up this morning, I was so tired and stiff! And Aidan snuggling up to me didn't help either. Plus, I had a bad night, I keep having to go out and use the chamber pot, and Aidan has to help me since I cannot get up from crouching over the stupid thing, and if I try using it while standing up I have to make light and mop up all the mess. Six times I had to get up last night, and I only had one small glass of wine-and-water! The ladder is getting hard to negotiate, too, I can only go up and down with my back to the rungs, keeping hold behind my back. This morning I slid down the last few rungs and lacerated the small of my back.
But enough complaints! I must not pity myself, because I have every reason to be happy, and besides, Aidan doesn't mind me waking him up, he says he's practicing for when our daughter is born, and besides, I always make sure I kiss and cuddle him when we get in bed again.
This morning, Aidan and I went to Tylse and negotiated renting her back room for the time being. I showed Aidan Selle's letter, and he seems inclined to agree to staying in Turenay for Midsummer, but that means we need a room on the ground and a real bed. Also a high chair for putting the chamber pot in. He has gone to the joiner to get both, as quickly as possible!
I took Ghamri to Erne, since it was the day for swapping with Sedi. We had a number of interesting cases, and one girl with teeth so bad that Ghamri told her to go to the hospital that afternoon. I was allowed to watch her and doctor Torin clean the girl's teeth and fill them with gold, this was very exciting. Ghamri must have a very steady hand, because the gold is very hot and should not touch any part of the skin or tongue.
Apart from that girl (who also was not very clean!), there were the usual girls with their usual complaints, one had overstretched a muscle in her back trying to put her ankles around her neck. That is a trick I have seen in illustrations but never have dared try myself! I could ease her pain with my spirit and my fingers, which impressed Ghamri.
We prepared food for Erne and Sedi, but didn't stay, because Arin, Selevi and their children were coming for dinner, and I wanted Ghamri to meet them, too. Since Selevi has seven children by now, and the eighth coming up, Arvi had decided to bake pancakes with bacon and apples. Our bacon is now gone, and I gave the children the last few apples from our barrel.
I fear I will have to stop working quite soon, within a month! I'm growing rather stupid and forgetful -- and I need to find time to make clothes and blankets and sheets. Nappies I've got plenty, but I think that linen will work better than silk... But first to the hospital, it's time to do some work in the herb garden, in the apothecary and to do my rounds in the children's ward.
Athal has won the war! Athal has won the war. A messenger arrived today, he's called Ervan and comes from Lenyas. He had letters for Aidan and Radan and an official letter for the town.
We gave him a hero's welcome, much better, he assures me, than Veray did. I brought him to Lord Radan and to the town hall, and the message has been posted at the gates and at the temple of Mizran. He had to tell all the students in school before their dinner, but his dinner he took with us and Lord Radan and Lady Halla. Arvi managed to get some venison and even a few good sausages so we could give him good food.
He is staying with us because very early tomorrow we're going to Lady Ryath Hayan and we're coming with him. I want to see little Coran again and his mother! And Aidan hasn't seen my name-son yet. I'll take my basket with remedies and bandages and so on, I don't think any of us from the hospital have been to visit the manor and the village (it's called Tal-Valein) for weeks. Right now Ervan is asleep in Arvi's bed, and Arvi in ours -- being poked in her back by my unborn daughter!
I have packed for Halla: a very nice gold-with-amethyst earring and a really good kitchen knife made by Mernath, and for Coran one of the teething rings I was given in Valdis. Since I know that Coran is a very big child, I have selected the one with the lion's head -- it is very nice, with the ring being held in the lion's mouth.
What a lovely chamber! Lady Ryath gave us the blue room. Aidan asked for a room with a real bed since ladders and straw pallets aren't very comfortable anymore for me, and what a room it is! Beautiful tapestries along the walls, a bed just like Raisse's spare bed but four times as big, with four pillars that support draperies. I wonder whether a carpenter could make one with a ceiling made out of mirror glass... That might be a bit expensive, though.
I have just woken up from a short nap, it will be dinner time in a moment. All afternoon I've been treating people from the manor and the village. People with festering thorns, corns and so on. There was a girl with the whore's sickness. The stupid girl! She was sent to town on an errand, stayed for dancing and made love to the first boy she met. I wonder whether Lady Ryath is an irresponsible mistress -- first Halla, now this girl. She doesn't strike me as irresponsible, but maybe she should be stricter. But then she's already very old and maybe doesn't understand why young girls go after men anymore.
Note: Ask Rovan the shoemaker to go to the manor. There are many people here who need new shoes, one man had a horrible corn because of ill-fitting shoes. I managed to cut the corn out very cleanly, though.
And finally a boy with a very badly healed broken clavicular bone. I had to break it again and reset it. He says he is very clumsy, but maybe all twelve-year old boys are. He is quite handsome, with a nice, well-shaped breast and hair and eyes like Lara. I couldn't help complimenting him on his good looks when I removed his shirt, which pleased him, and it pleased me that he did compliment me in return. Aidan did not mind, he was present to give me power for the breaking and repairing, and he knows that without compliments I start feeling ugly and dowdy, especially now that my belly starts looking like I have swallowed a pointy egg. But healing the boy was very hard work, harder than it used to be, I think. Maybe our daughter needs my strength?
And we are going to Selle! Tomorrow we'll go to King's Lodge (Tal-Valein) with Ervan. I will see Selle's daughter, I will meet Arin and Arin's parents, priestess Hinla, and I've asked the sergeant to warn Khisif, so I can meet her, too. It's time for Khisif to come to Turenay, in any case, since she got pregnant around the same time as me, and Lyse told her to to take no risks but give birth in Turenay.
It's a pity I didn't think of taking a present for Selle or her daughter Aine. (I like that name -- I wonder whether it is apprpriate for Aidan and me to discuss names or whether it is bad luck to do that before the birth in Valdyas) Halla was enchanted with her presents and Coran immediately used the teething ring, he has one little rim of a tooth in his lower jaw. Halla wore the earring at dinner. I played truant and didn't sit near Lady Ryath, but next to Halla, who came in last with the last dishes.
It's so stupid of me -- I should have realized I was going to want to go on to Selle, so I should have prepared myself. We met Rovan's father and some other people from his village (including my friend, the ugly girl from the mill), and I should have taken them a letter. They had heard about Ervan and were waiting on the road to Tal Valein to hear the news about the victory and the King. It's amazing to consider that every village, even one as isolated as theirs has sent men to the King's banner.