The Alchemists' Quest
After Salah’s final meeting with Aiden, he is handed a stack of letters. He knows which wife they’re from without even looking at them. He sighs and decides he should go home to visit. Aiden tells him the Alchemists will pay for his travel expenses and wishes him luck.
Salah returns home and is greeted by his wives.
“Look who finally decided to come back home,” says Virtue. “I wrote you letters and you never responded and then out of nowhere just decide to show up? What a good for nothing husband. I hope you have something to show for yourself for your time gone…” she trails off when she sees the necklace presented to her. “For me?” For once she seems speechless but quickly recovers herself. “You should waste your money on such trivial things,” she says as she hits him with a rolling pin but it’s really more gentle than Salah remembers it being. “Well I should go get food prepared,” she mutters as she hustles back into the kitchen. Salah can’t help but notice she’s wearing the necklace.
“Don’t mind her,” says Ardence, “She’d never admit it but she really missed you, husband. Come, you must be tired from your journey. Allow me to quench your thirst,” she says as she takes his arm and leads him to a chair. Before he sits down, he presents her with the flowers and is pleased to see her face light up. “You remembered our flowers,” she sings as she takes them. “I’ll need to get these into water right away. I’ll be back shortly with water for them and you, my sun and stars.” And she disappears into the kitchen.
Finally Salah presents Phoebe with some pain medicine he picked up in the city. She smiles approvingly and continues with her weaving.
That night the wives are happy to have Salah home. He should spend the night with his first wife, Virtue but she claims she’ll have trouble getting used to sleeping with him so he should spend the night with Ardence. Salah spends the night with his lovely younger wife and enjoys her embrace. He is awakened in the night by her coughing and he is reminded of the sickness she had when she first came to him. The next morning Virtue tells him more about it, “She’s getting worse again. You never should have taken her in. She’s going to make the rest of us sick.”
“What do the doctors say,” asks Salah.
“Tch. They know nothing, just like before,” responds Virtue, “And that healer from before, the hospipotomous, she is nowhere to be found.”
“How much time does she have left?”
“It’s hard to say. Phoebe thinks a couple of years at most. Of course we don’t tell her these things.”
Suddenly Ardance enters and says to Salah, “My sun and stars, please come with me. We have something for you.” She presents Salah with a fine set of clothes embroidered with his house symbol. “I hope you like them,” she says, “We had them enchanted so you can use them on your…” her sentence is halted by more hacking coughing. “Excuse me, I must lie down for a bit,” she says as she leaves the room.
Salah spends the next few days with his wives. Ardence spends more and more time in bed. Salah decides he must find the Hospitallers and find a way to cure his favorite wife. It pains him to leave so soon after he arrives. Both mentally and physically as Virtue does not pull any punches when she hears the news. However after being home a little over a week, he leaves to seek the Hospitallers.
There’s a Hospitaller guild house near Mavi’s temple on the water islands and it’s to there that Salah heads. When he arrives they gladly accept him as they always need new members. They teach him the basics of water healing which is the easiest form. He has to have the strength to hold and control the water and the constitution to maintain it in a certain state while the healing takes hold. The water healing is about soothing wounds but drawing out damage and replacing it with fresh cleansing water. He has plenty of opportunity to practice as many people are injured by saugahin attacks and the hospitallers are out in the villages fighting the saugahin and helping the people. While in the area he does hear that Commander Roland has been increasing the size of his fleet and adding new ships and captains and Lieutenant Faye has taken a liking to one of them.
He picks up the water healing techniques fairly quickly and then heads to Kizil to learn fire healing techniques. It’s totally the opposite of water healing. It cauterizes wounds and warms injuries to speed healing and sooth pain. He actually has a bit of a challenge here as a there are many people that need treating for burns from an intense fire at a nearby island. Everyone’s saying this red-headed guy literally exploded and burned down some other person’s mansion and half of the island before the hermit came and stopped it. At first Salah tried treating the burns with water but the other healers tell him to use the fire healing to draw the heat away instead of applying heat. It takes him some time but he eventually figures it out.
The fire healers warn Salah about Light healing. They tell him how hard it is and how difficult it is to master. Since it took him so long to do fire healing they warn him to be prepared for a long time up north in Ishik. When he arrives the Hospitalars there give him the same speech. Light uses pure energy to heal. It’s neither hot nor cold. It is distilled pure energy and don’t get discouraged as it takes most healers years to master. Salah has it down in less than a month. Everyone is amazed at how easily he learns it, like the light just comes to him and he doesn’t have to call it and purify it himself. After a few weeks he’s learned about all he needs to know and since there seems to be a shortage of injured people to work on he leaves the practice to others. He notices a lot of shifters in the city and they appear to be moving into the abandoned buildings. Yet the entire city seems calm. Apparently there was a split and all the dark untrustworthy shifters moved south and all that are left are the good ones that are trying to free themselves of their darkness.
Anyway, Salah finishes up at Ishik quickly and is inducted into the Hospitalars. There he consults with the healers about his wife’s condition and they recommend he use what he learned. First to heat her and draw the sickness up towards the skin, then to use water to draw it away from the body and finally use light to purify her and remove any traces left. They also think this disease will continue to come about. It seems to be a part of her so she will need routine treatments. There is medicine that can be given to her that will greatly extend the time between treatments but it is very costly. He thanks them and returns home.
Ardence is not doing well when he returns and it takes a lot of work for the treatment to work. However it’s all worthwhile when she opens her eyes and smiles at him. He spends the next day resting and is surprised to hear that Commander Aiden has come to visit. It seems Aiden has heard about his wife and the medicine and used Alchemist funds to purchase some. He tells Salah that he does want to help but also that he needs Salah and his party for a special mission and he’ll probably have to be away from his wives for awhile. He’s sent word to the others and they should all be returning the Portakal shortly. Salah should enjoy a week with his wives but report back after that.