Is There a Healer in the House?
Location: Stormholm Infirmary, Stormholm Caer, Harkania, Cymeria
Timeline: January 3551
Mikhael sauntered along the corridor leading to the keep's infirmary. He measured his long strides so that his small son could keep up, glancing down occasionally to make sure that Vasily was not faltering. The boy hesitated at the door. He might be stoic and brave to a falt, but he had a child's wariness of healers. Mika smiled and leaned down, scooping his son up into his arms, "It will be alright, Vasya. Lady Grace took care of me when I was injured by the wyvern. It did not hurt at all."
Vasily simply stared at his father, disbelief apparent on his face.
Opening the door, Mikhael entered the room and called out, "Healer Grace?"
"In here!" Sofi called, looking toward the door from where she was in one of the side rooms where she had been changing the linens and disinfecting after discharging a young guard who had been bucked from his horse. He'd been under her care for the last few days while his broken leg had been set in a plaster cast and she had monitored a rather nasty concussion. She was appreciative of the work she'd been given here but sometimes Sofi missed the adrenaline of a good paramedic run.
"My Lord," She bowed her head in greeting as was common here when she realized who had stepped into the infirmary. "And my lord." She said, greeting Vasily in kind. "What do we have here?"
"Healer Grace," Mikhael greeted the young woman with a pleasant nod of respect. "Vasily took a fall while we were playing in the snow. He cut his hand rather badly on a rock. It needs looked at, cleaned and bandaged. I do not think it is severe enough to need stitches." In fact, Mikhael was fairly sure it was not that serious. However, he was not a healer and wanted to make sure that the chances of infection were kept to a minimum.
"Absolutely," Sofi said, giving both father and son a warm smile as she went to rinse her hands in an antiseptic wash then drying them with a clean cloth. "Rocks can be evil things, hiding out in the snow." After gathering a couple of supplies, Sofi set them on a table before walking over to Vasily, still in his father's arms. "Can I see?" She asked, holding out a hand for his. "I won't hurt you, I promise."
Mikhael bent his head next to Vasily's and whispered encouragement to him in the ancient language of the Cymry. Vasily stared wide-eyed at the healer. Finally, quite reluctantly, he held his arm out and unfurled his hand. Moving deftly, Mikhael managed to set Vasily on the taller table used for examinations so that he could unwrap the clean strip of cloth he had bandaged the jagged gash with. The boy winced as he pulled the material free yet did not cry out, merely keeping his hand extended to Sofiya.
Sofi couldn't resist the smile that curled the corners of her mouth as she watched the High Lord and his young son. It seemed that Mikhael cared quite deeply for the boy, which reminded her of her own father and the way he'd cared for and loved both she and Kenna. Mouthing a silent thank you over to Mika, Sofi took Vasily's smaller hand in her own, examining the boy's wound with the tenderest of care. "You're right, it's not deep enough to need stitches, but it does need to be cleaned out."
Moving over to a wooden cabinet, Sofi opened it and pulled out a couple of supplies; a soft cloth to clean the injury with, an antiseptic solution to remove any bacteria that might be hiding within, a small jar containing a poultice that would keep any further bacteria from getting in and some bandaging to cover afterward. Gathering everything in her hands, she moved back, setting things out on a small rolling cart that she pulled over to the table where Vasily was seated. "Alright, so," She said, looking at the little boy. It wasn't hard to see that the child was nervous, that was to be expected at his age. "I'm going to start by cleaning your hand. I'm going to be as careful as I can but there is a chance it might sting just a little but I know you can handle that."
As she spoke, Sofi poured some of the cleaning solution on a cloth and retaking Vasily's hand in her own, she began to gingerly clean away the blood and dirt that marred his young skin. "You were out playing in the snow and the nasty rock came out of nowhere? I've done that. Rocks are silly things." She said, giving Vasily a wink as she continued cleaning the gash. There was actually an agent in the antiseptic solution that slightly numbed the area where it was applied, which meant that young Vasily would feel no pain, and she'd known that but she'd warned him just in case so that he would think himself brave afterward for not having any pain at all.
Once she was satisfied with the cleaning, Sofi blew on his palm gently to allow it to dry before she dipped a fingertip int the poultice, then dabbing it gently along the wound before she took the bandaging and carefully redressed the little lord's hand. "Keep it dry when he bathes and come see me in three days for a recheck. He'll be fine." She said, looking to Mikhael this time.
Mikhael nodded his understanding of her directions. He had had to tend enough wounds in his lifetime. Lifting Vasily down from the table, he laid his hand on the boy's head, "You were very brave. Go tell your aunt Oksana how stoic you were and see if she won't give you a couple of those honey cakes you love. You and Aeonar can play inside for the rest of the day." Vasily smiled, mumbled a polite thank-you to the healer and darted out of the infirmary. Turning back to Sofiya, he said, "My thanks as well, Healer Grace. Do you have time to talk for a few minutes...perhaps in the atrium? It is less...sterile...than the infirmary."
Sofi smiled, watching the moment between father and son before Vasily expressed his gratitude quietly and took off with his father's permission. The young Traveler turned blue eyes toward the High Lord when he offered his own thanks, nodding in return. "Yes, I do." She confirmed, happy to take a break and get out of the Infirmary, even if it was fairly quiet today. She was pretty sure she hadn't done anything wrong, or else Mikhael wouldn't have brought his son and heir to her for care. She rinsed her hands with a sterile solution before drying them on a towel. "Ready when you are." She stated, giving Mikhael a warm smile.
The High Lord led them through the maze of corridors, finally exiting into a huge glass-in atrium. In the past, it had been one of the keep's many courtyards. Soon after coming to live at Stormholm Caer, his mother had had the atrium created as a retreat for herself and her ladies on cold days. It was seldom used now that there was not a High Lady in residence although the staff maintained it. It offered winding stone paths through boxed hedges and flowering plants. Mikhael guided them to the small section where High Lady Sonja had kept roses year round. In the center of the rose retreat was a small fountain and pool, complete with colorful goldfish, surrounded by a riot of winter roses. He had no objections to people using the atrium, but most seemed to feel it belonged to the land's reigning couple.
Mikhael saw the healer seated on one of the fairly comfortable garden chairs that sat near the fountain. He seated himself on the edge of the fountain, smiling a bit as the fish swam toward him, obviously assuming he had brought food. Finally, he turned his eyes to the young woman, "I wanted to let you know that although our inquiries and research continues, we have discovered nothing that would aid us in returning you to your home realm. For that, I am deeply sorry." He paused for a moment because it was news he had been loathe to deliver to Sofiya Grace even though it had been what he expected when he sent his request for information to the Sanctuary. Mikhael had also been honest with both Travelers in that he had told them that the likelihood of finding a way to return them to their homes was not good.
"You are welcome to remain here, of course," Mikhael continued. "In fact, I would like to offer you the permanent position of Healer of the House. The Chief Battle Surgeon thinks you are more than qualified for the position. If you accept, he will provide you with a few names to consider as your staff."
Following the High Lord, Sofi was not prepared for the beauty of the atrium he led them to. "Oh, wow.." The young woman breathed out the words as she looked around, amazement clear in her features. "This is absolutely beautiful." She said, wanting very much to walk around and explore the atrium in its entirety. However, they had come here for a reason and Sofi took a seat when it was offered.
The air was scented with the roses, making Sofi smile. Rose was one of her favorite scents so this atrium and all it contained might have just become her new favorite place in the castle. It was calming and warm, even if it was cold and snowy outside the glass. Crossing one knee over the other, Sofi gave her attention to Mikhael with a smile. The smile held, even as disappointment flickered through her eyes. "No, I understand. I knew it was a very long shot, if at all." She knew it wasn't his fault and he had gone above and beyond in trying to find a way to get herself and Richard home.
Sofi also knew that he was sorry, it was written all over his face. Reaching over, Sofi squeezed the man's wrist gently. "I appreciate all your help, truly. Thank you for everything you've done." She told him before settling back in her seat. The High Lord continued, and the offer he gave made her eyes widen with surprise. "My Lord, your offer is beyond generous and I'm flattered by the Chief Surgeon's faith in my skills." She couldn't help but smile. "What exactly would being your House Healer entail?" She asked. "But I accept either way."
"It would be much the same as you have been doing. You just would not be under Kiernan's direct supervision. You would select and train your own staff. Your primary area of responsibility would be to House Stormdanovich and our immediate area. The Healer of the House also assists the home garrison's healers should the need arise," Mikhael enumerated the various jobs a dedicated to the House healer would be expected to do. "You would also accompany myself or other House members when they travel on official Cymeria business."
Sofi nodded along with Mikhael's words, nothing he was saying sounded like it would be a problem. She liked having a purpose, even in this new world not her own. She also liked the fact that she would be recognized for her work, and not for the fact that she was a stranger to their land. "That all sounds pretty good. I've never had staff before." She smiled softly. "Thank you."
Mikhael returned her smile, "You should accompany us the next time we ride to the fort. There is a very good hospital there which serves the Highlands. There's another one in Dinas Ulchedir but that is not a journey for winter. Anyway, in return for your service to the House, you will receive monetary compensation as well as the full protection of the House."
Sofi nodded. "I will, thank you my Lord." She said, knowing that his suggestion to travel with them out to the fort to check out the hospital was a smart one. She would be able to look for skilled staff as well as see how things were run, which would give her a feel for what she could do here. "Monetary compensation is nice, I like that idea."
"Good," Mikhael rose to his feet and gestured at the atrium, "Feel free to use this area whenever you feel like it. It is not off-limits. Perhaps you would like to see the rest of it. My mother even had a section dedicated to rare flowers from the southern marches including orchids." He waited for Healer Grace to rise and offered his arm. Guiding them onto one of the paths, Mikhael began explaining what region of Cymeria each section represented and how the hypocaust system worked to keep some areas of the atrium warmer than others, imitating the different climates of each march.
~ Finis ~