Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter Two Part Three

April 24th, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade

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When Alidra returned from her lesson Imalia was still kneeling by Rinia and chanting. The glow that had so perplexed her parents was still there but it had faded a great deal.

Alidra busied herself with clearing the table and other small chores but couldn’t resist taking furtive glances at the healer and her patient and every time she did the glow was less until eventually it vanished completely. It still seemed like forever before Imalia sighed – a blend of relief and exhaustion – and slumped forward over Rinia’s chest.

Tamasa hurried to her side with a mug of beer. Imalia looked up and gave her a weak smile as she took it.

“That’s done then,” she said. “She’ll be fine now.” She took a mouthful of the beer and pinched the bridge of her nose. The dark circles under her eyes were more pronounced than when she arrived.

“Give me a moment and I’ll deal with her father.”

“More than a moment, I think,” Denri said. “He’s in no danger. Rest, eat, and tell us what that glow was.”

Imalia opened her mouth to protest, but when he mentioned the glow she frowned and conceded with a nod.

“We don’t know why it happens,” she said. “But in the later stages of this disease the infected glow in the presence of magic. Not just healing magic either, it happens if anyone uses a spell near them or even if they are near a strong geomantic flow.”

Tamasa brought a bowl of pottage and a chunk of bread to her. “That can’t be natural?”

Imalia shook her head. “No.” She chewed on her lip. “It’s definitely a magical creation. The glow doesn’t seem to have any effect, but the plague is somewhat resistant to magical treatment.” She took the bowl from Tamasa with a grateful smile. “The magic that made it feels off though, just like Harsini magic does.”

“Could it be them?” The thought made Alidra run to Tamasa’s side and cling to her. She’d been born a couple of years after the the attempted invasion of the Archipelago, but she had heard the stories and her stomach churned at the thought.

“I wouldn’t think so,” Imalia said. “Kadria has spoken with the Mihani Chief Sorceror and there’s no sickness on Mihan, let alone in Gateway. It would have struck there first if it were.” She finished her pottage and beer. “But really, I should heal my other patient before we talk more. The longer I leave it the harder it will be.”

“If you insist,” Tamasa said. “He’s sleeping upstairs. Denri gave him a sedative tea when the symptoms started. I’ll go and fetch him.” She climbed up to the sleeping loft and returned a few minutes later with a very groggy Madric.

“Is Rinia okay?” he asked frantically as soon as he saw Imalia.

“Your daughter will be well,” Imalia reassured him. “I’ve already treated her and she’s sleeping naturally now. She’ll be awake in time for dinner.”

“Thank you.” He slumped in relief. “I’ve been so worried since she got sick.”

Imalia squeezed his hand sympathetically. “I’ve a daughter of my own so I understand. Now let’s see to you before you get any sicker.” She pointed to a chair.

“I don’t understand why she got sick before me,” he said as he sat down. “We were together the whole time, except for a few hours, when she visited the theatre while I was doing some business.”

“That’s all it needs,” Imalia said. “She must have encountered whoever infected her while you were apart. This illness isn’t infectious until a couple of days before the symptoms start.”

“I see,” he said. “Thank you for healing her.”

“It’s a good thing you weren’t infected at the same time,” she added. “I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with two infections at that level so close together.” She knelt down by his chair and took his hand. “Now I need to concentrate.” She began chanting the same spell as before and slipped into a trance. This time there was no glow and while it still took quite a while it was a lot less time than her treatment of Rinia had taken. “Okay that’s done.” She collapsed to her hands and knees. “Ugh!”

“I’ll need to treat everyone in the village as well. A lot of you are certainly infected and we also need to make sure no one else can be.” She started to get up and nearly fell over but Tamasa caught her.

“Tomorrow will be soon enough, Mage Imalia. It’s nearly evening, you need to eat and sleep before you do anything else.”

“I shouldn’t…” Imalia said. “Time is of the essence to stop it spreading.”

Tamasa muttered something under here breath. “Everyone will be eating and then settling for the night. It would be sad if you kept them from their rest.”

“That is… fair,” Imalia said. “And no one else will be getting sick yet. I guess I can do it tomorrow.”

“You can indeed,” Lilat said from the door. “I wouldn’t hear of you healing anyone else tonight. You can barely stand.” She looked at Tamasa. “Does my dinner invitation still stand?”

“Always!” Tamasa said. “Please come in.”

“I see Mayin hasn’t come back yet,” Lilat added.

“She’s by the lake haranguing my poor brother,” Denri said. “She wants their own house before they have children because she thinks Tam is a heretic. It’s been making her tetchy. I’ve been working out the geomantic plans for adding a house to Shael,” he nodded to where some charts were laid out on the table. “But the flows won’t be right to start building for a week or so.”

Tamasa snorted. “They’ll be back for dinner, I’m sure.”

“You’re the local geomancer?” Imalia asked.

Denri nodded. “I’m not certified yet, so I have to get my calculations approved by a master in Tehan but I haven’t been wrong yet. I hope to be able to get certified next year. We can earn some more coin that way.” He gave a wry smile. “Of course Mayin doesn’t like that either.”

“What? Why?” Imalia asked.

“She thinks a peasant studying geomancy is ‘messing around with magic’ and should be illegal,” Lilat said dryly. “I’ve tried to explain the difference between innate and common magic, but she’s really strict. Only mages of the great houses should work with magic.”

“Strict is the wrong word.” Imalia’s lip curled. “Leaving aside the ‘great houses’ nonsense, there aren’t enough mages to maintain the geomantic network without neglecting our other tasks.”

“I told her that too,” Lilat said. “She’s so scared of sinning by thinking the wrong thing that she won’t think at all.”

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