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Turenay, Naighei Hanre, eighth week of Timoine
I am bored! The past weeks have been very exciting, but now, now I haven't got anything left to do but sew baby clothes from the scraps Riei gave me. I'd never have thought I'd find sewing and embroidering boring, but I have changed! Dear sister, I must be boring you with my everlasting complaints about not recognizing myself anymore! Lyse assures me all women who are pregnant of their first will start feeling like this. I'm full, more than full, I'm tired and I am fed up! I want to see and suckle our daughter, I want to dance, I want to be able to have Aidan inside me again, and not just with his spirit -- and I want to go home! And I don't want to be tired all the time anymore, it's worse than the time I was laid up with exhaustion in Raisse's house.
But let me carefully think back to my last notes, about seven weeks ago, when we were on our way to Selle. I will first note down the important cases I have had since, and then make notes about our house and businesses, following up with notes on my friends, so your scatterbrained, silly, stupid (I feel so dumb now! I cannot read anything the least literary anymore!) sister won't forget about all the important things that have happened that she was too lazy to write about.
- In Tal-Valein (Selle's village): a boy, named Arin. He was about nine years old and had suffered badly from the lung plague. He complained he still couldn't run, or even carry wood from the forest. I investigated him and could feel the damage, and also that he was still young and malleable enough for me to work on him. I asked the semte of King's Lodge to help me, since I can no longer use my spirit to any great extent without our daughter lodging a protest in the direction of my stomach or liver, and went to work. It was like blowing soap bubbles and then putting the bubbles together -- very difficult, but so beautiful! I have never done anything as beautiful as this and Leva made me a compliment when I told her about this work. The boy was quite well afterwards.
- Also in Selle's village, an old lady, named Raneth. She is about eighty years old and when I visited Selle after the festival of Mizran, I had already treated her hips and her rheumatism. This time I worked on her knee joints and gave her warmth and suppleness with my spirit, using Aidan's power. She felt well enough afterwards that she confided in me and told me of her desire to marry again to a man ten years her junior. I told her that she has, for her age, beautiful legs and told her to go and dance with him. I did not lie about her legs -- I hope very much that mine will be as nice as hers when I have reached her venerable age!
- Also in Tal-Valein, Selle. Selle had already written me she was badly torn when giving birth. She allowed me to examine her, and I discovered that there both internal and external injuries. I am afraid that she will always have some scar tissue, and I hope that will not interfere with her enjoyment of her husband, but Hinla, the priestess of Naigha, tells me that it will not, in any case, interfere with giving birth again. To ease the pain, promote the recovery and minimize the growth of scar tissue, I could prescribe a salve I had looked up when I got Selle's letter (not because I had expected to visit Selle, but because I was afraid and wanted to know whether there were any remedies for myself), and I gave Hinla the recipe of this salve, and showed her how to apply it.
- At home, Jilan, a five-year-old boy, whose mother Jerna works in the ropery: he had started at school only this year, at the Temple of Naigha. He is underfed and his legs have started to bend like Rovan's. He claimed to be seven years old, which surprised and worried me because he acted like a five-year-old, and by now I know the difference! Leva says that we can give him splints just like Rovan, but only after he is stronger and has more flesh on his bones. So I have taken him home, that is, to the regiment's headquarters, and asked his mother to come too, and fed them eggs and bacon and bread. But blessed as Valdyas is, food is surely a problem! At the end of winter, the markets are empty! Without the occasional fish or bit of venison, we'd never eat anything but onions and cabbage, and Arvi tells me we are out of onions as well. And we are rich! No wonder there are so many famines, so many people underfed. I think there are too many people living in towns and in Essle, and not enough in the villages to feed all the town people!
- Note about the school: like last year, we started at the Temple School. This time it was me, Ghamri, Faran and Kancho, since Rhanyn and Lydan are no longer journeymen and Torin was happy to leave the initial inspection to Ghamri. Most of the pupils still remembered us, of course, and it was a great pleasure to me to see most of them grown and healthy, and free of vermin. All the children first had to go to Ghamri, who inspected their teeth and told about a dozen of them to go to the hospital that afternoon, after school. (When I went to doctor Torin's work place that afternoon, I found Faran, Ghamri and Leva together with Torin bent over the mouth of a small patient, working on his many sick teeth. The poor little boy is unlucky enough to be the son of a woman who goes into the forest to find wild honey; sometimes there is nothing else in house but sweet stuff!)
After the inspection of the teeth, the boys would go to Kancho and Faran, and the girls stayed with me and Ghamri, and we would inspect them thoroughly. There were far fewer cases of lice than last year, only a handful, and it was the same for the boys. Even the new children were cleaner: this, I pride myself on it, is our doing! There is still much work to be done, and besides, many of the poor children from down-town now go to Master Fian, because it is closer, and because that school can now afford to give the children breakfast and something to eat around noon as well. (There is an Ilaini word for that meal, but I haven't taken it myself for quite some time because I was too busy, and I've forgotten the word!)
There were no really urgent cases, except for Jilan, noted above. The priestesses themselves have learned a lot since they have started helping us in the hospital and notice bad situations quite early and bring them to us, so this was expected. And Jilan's legs were never really visible since he was wearing his father's old hose, so nobody could see how bent they were! Likewise, his father's cotte, which almost comes to the ground!
- Rayin, the boy at Lady Ryath's farm: his clavicular bone was well healed indeed when I inspected it on our way back from Selle.
- At home, Tyan, a boy working at a smithy. He suffered from very weak lungs after the epidemic and the work at the forge did not help him. I have sent him to Lady Ryath Hayan to recover, and perhaps find new work.
- At home, Halla, Jerna's daughter. Halla and Jerna have come with us and Khisif to Turenay because Leva wanted to see them again. Halla is doing very well, and now can almost walk, as well as speak (which she does very well now, she is almost as much a chatterbox as I am). Now that Jerna and Halla live in Khisif's village, they are not as mal-nourished as they used to be, but then, nobody but the richest merchants and nobles are well-fed this spring. And it's already midsummer in a slightly more than a month!
Aidan is so good -- not only brave and kind, but he desires to fulfil my every whim. So when I mentioned my desire to visit Selle and see her daughter, Aine, when we were at Lady Ryath Hayan's with Erdan, the messenger of victory Athal had sent, he immediately said that we would go there, and even offered to ask Leva for permission, but that I did myself, and I got permission without fail, also because Leva wanted me to take Khisif, Jerna and sweet little Halla with me back to Turenay. So we went there after I had my afternoon helping the sick and wounded of XXX and Lady Ryath's manor.
We were eagerly awaited by Rovan's father and people from his village before we arrived at Tal-Valein -- they must have travelled quite a bit to see us without meeting us in Tal-Valein, since their village is between Tal-Valein and Khisif's village, if I remember correctly. They were very happy, since they had already had Rovan's letter, and were quite proud of him. Rovan's father was a bit grumpy when I told him about Rovan's girlfriend, Amirthi, but after I told him about her, he became even a bit proud. And we still haven't made him leave his Guild, which surprised him. (And me, honestly!) Also, Leva was there, my dear friend from the mill, the dumb, ugly, spiteful girl who becomes so lovely and nice when you treat her right -- she actually isn't as poor as she was anymore, because it's her mill, and it's being used by all the villages in Lord Arin's domain.
Selle's baby is so sweet! She's very small, little Aine, but Selle is as small as I am, so Selle was very torn. As noted above, it's a good that when I had read Selle's letter I had gone through the herbaries to find a salve, frightened as I was (and am!) for myself. Selle and Arin are so happy -- as are Arin's parents, and his mother, Aine, asked me to paint her face again, which I did, so they have a very good night together again. Aine's Síthi maid, Taruni, hadn't come to Tal-Valein, since her family in Turenay had needed her for some thing -- probably also the birth of a baby, though not the maid's.
When I had my special morning in Selle's bed, when the men had gone out hunting, Selle allowed me to hold Aine, and when I felt her little body, my breasts went all hard -- I wanted to write firm, but that's not strong enough a word and I just asked Aidan and he says that my breasts are always firm anyways -- and the same for my belly! It was very uncomfortable, but Selle only laughed and told me I would feel that from time to time before giving birth, and indeed, it has happened at other times since then, though not as strongly. Aine also tried suckling on my tits, and now I know that this is something the smallest baby is more in than the strongest man! And I have a strong man to compare Aine to!
After we had returned with Khisif from Tal-Valein, we had another guild meeting of the doctors and midwives' guild. We have them quite often now, because we there are so many new apprentices (though the midwives have the majority of them, we only have Faran) and new doctors, like Ghamri. Khisif was present, too, since she acts as doctor in Selle's Arin's domain. Now that Rayin is no longer dean, disputes about boundaries are past, and we can speak of interesting things, like cases or generally important things like the food shortage, which people tell me is worse than last year. I think I remember that last year there was still some dried beef to be had, as well as sausage, and that there were more turnips and dried peas. But last year, Raisse fed me, and this time, Arvi feeds me, and I seldom go to the market any more. But my poor patients all look thin. I keep writing this down, I see, now that I read what I have written, but it worries me so!
Maybe that is part of being nearly done with being pregnant: over-worrying. Selevi tells me that in her last month she always starts worrying about how Geran, her husband, can provide for yet another child, but it always works out, the eldest is now apprenticed to his father, and the second one with another copper-smith.
More tomorrow! I am now tired, very tired, and I want to join Aidan tomorrow when we make the rounds of the widows and widowers of Rhyn's regiment.