“Caecilius!” I said, happily opening my arms.
“Elaine?” He said, somewhat surprised, blinking as he looked at me.
His apprentice just made an annoyed noise. Sheesh. Dude never liked me.
“In the flesh!” I said, twirling around, showing off somewhat.
He blinked a few more times, processing.
“Congratulations on your promotion to Sentinel.” He said. “What title did you get?”
Mmmm. He’d been around the block a few times, and probably had as much experience as an entire Ranger team put together. He’d probably seen his fair share of strange and unusual things, and me being a Sentinel might break his top 100, if I was lucky.
“Thank you! Dawn.” I said, answering his question.
A strangled noise came out of the apprentice, eyes bulging in jealousy. His face was turning all sorts of interesting colors.
Heh. I was probably 10 years younger than him, and had like 60 levels on him.
“Would I be correct in thinking that you are indeed the author of the Medical Manuscript?” Caecilius asked, pulling a scroll out of his bag.
“Yup!” I said, recognizing that he’d pulled out scroll 1 of it. “Markus put me up to it after Perinthus, and I spent almost a year writing it. Managed to get it distributed right before Academy.”
Caecilius blinked, doing some mental math.
“They made you a Sentinel right out of Academy?” He asked, the first note of surprise in his voice.
Yesss. Broke his top 20 surprising things in all likelihood.
“Kinda. I did it ass-backwards. Ranger first, Academy second. Sentinel third.”
“That’s quite the story. I’d love to hear more of it.” Caecilius said.
Man, his apprentice was just not coping at all. It was pretty funny, not going to lie.
“About that – I’m trying to arrange a short meeting between all of the town’s healers tomorrow, for lunch. Markus put me on to you possibly being in town, and I wanted to invite you to it. Share info about the plague, discuss a possible plan of attack.”
Caecilius gave me a little knowing smile.
“Using the Perinthus methods?”
“Shamelessly.” I said.
“We’ll be there.” He said.
His apprentice made a strangled, frustrated noise, and left the room.
“Great!” I said.
I gave him the directions, and the time, and set out myself.
Ok, healers secured. Guards – kinda secured. Depended on the meeting this evening.
Man, who thought that “healing a town” would devolve into “run around arranging meetings all day.” This was, quite frankly, not what I was for, and not my skill set.
Hang on. Magic was able to get a support crew of Gemstone artisans helping him out. Toxic clearly had people sourcing poisonous stuff. Could I get a high-level [Administrator] to help me out? Someone who could sniff out the right people, arrange meetings and connections, get the right people in the right room?
Wasn’t a bodyguard. Helped shore up a weakness. I was going to be in more mass casualty events, where massive organizational skills were critical. My skills were OK, and people were being generally cooperative and helpful. It was a miracle really that things were going so smoothly, that people were looking at the badge and not me.
It wouldn’t always go this smoothly, nor would I always have the time to arrange meetings and get people together in a slow, smooth manner, as opposed to diving head first into healing and stabilizing as many people as Elaine-ly possible. Someone to do that for me – or a small team – seemed to be just what I needed, to deal with the small details so I could actually do my job.
Right. I was basically free until the evening. Time to get at it, see how many people I could heal. The more I did now, the fewer I’d need to do later.
A few hours of ambling through the streets later, and I had a much greater appreciation for Caecilius’s method, along with the people that helped me get a stall in the marketplace for free healing. I’d tried, but nobody wanted to bite. I either looked intimidating, or like a bad deal – people would be too focused on me, if that made sense.
Another point for a helper – help me get a solid spot to heal from. I considered the temple, but that’d just throw a wrecking ball through what Caecilius was doing. That, and if nothing else, I was out and about and visible while doing this. The [Pretty] healing Sentinel offering free healing. It’d make my attempts to do a mass healing later maybe easier, as I was getting to know people.
6000 people was a small town. If everyone knew I was in town by the end of tomorrow, I’d believe it.
Evening started to fall, and I made my way back to the guard’s barracks. Meeting time with the guard captain.
I introduced myself to the guards, who were clearly expecting me. I was swiftly escorted to the captain’s office.
There was a man with the captain. Sitting down, he was at least a head shorter than the captain, which made him taller than me still. He had longer hair, tied back into a neat bundle at the back of the head. He was wearing a simple tunic, the simplicity betrayed by the quality of the cloth and the rich blue dye used to color it.
While he didn’t look pissed, he had a distinct “unhappy” air about him.
The captain stood up, while the man stayed seated.
“Governor Gaius. I’d like to introduce you to Sentinel Dawn.” The captain said formally.
Oh shit. I knew I was forgetting to talk with someone. The governor. Yup. That might be an important person to have a chat with directly, instead of through the captain.
Man, he’d even hinted at it to me.
Whoops. No wonder he looked annoyed. I’d dropped into his town, and started running around doing all sorts of things without once talking with him. He probably should’ve been my first contact. I was too used to being a Ranger, to letting Julius handle that sort of thing, and in Perinthus the governor had been notably MIA.
I saluted him, closed fist over my chest, bowing slightly.
“Governor. Dawn here. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I apologize for not coming to meet with you earlier, I ended up otherwise occupied.”
Right. A ‘mea culpa’, a show of deference, a polite half-excuse that we could all use to gracefully exit – if he wanted to.
Dear gods, I hated politics and socializing. I needed helpers. As soon as possible. Just get me a conga line of people that needed healing. Have person come in. Elaine-Heal-Bot 3000 lays hands. Heals. Next person!
The Heal-Bot 3000 was easy. The line was hard.
I looked up, to see the governor looking much happier. Me deferring to him, apologizing to him, clearly went a long way.
“Dawn. A pleasure to meet you.” He said, with a surprisingly high-pitched voice. “What brings you here?”
I gave the short version of the plague, along with reassurances that of course he probably already knew all this.
“What do you hope to do?” He asked.
“A mass-heal event.” I promptly replied. “My skills, knowledge, and experience are letting me know that this is purely a human to human transmission disease, which means that if we cure everyone, the plague’s done. Over. Gone. I go home, everyone continues on happy.”
“Human to human?” The governor asked.
Whoops. Common medical knowledge not being so common strikes again!
“Diseases can transmit in a variety of different ways. Person to person, animal to person, water to person, contaminated food, bad air, insects, parasites, and more. Some diseases are purely internal, things like cancer, diabetes, and more. This current one is purely person to person, meaning we don’t need to exterminate all the rats or find a contaminated well or anything.” I continued to ramble on about diseases – just a short, quick overview – before looking around, realizing I’d lost my audience.
I coughed awkwardly. Was it my fault that I found talking about disease easier than managing meetings and politics and organization?
The governor and the captain looked at each other.
“Yup. Most certainly a Sentinel.” The governor said. The captain nodded in weary agreement.
Hey! What did he mean by that!?
“Help me out. Why is this a problem now? I’m aware that we have a minor disease going around, but how is this any different from any other minor disease that we get?” The governor asked.
I winced. Dude was smart, and was going to roast me hard.
Screw it. Honesty was the best policy, and it’d worked for me so far.
“Honestly… it’s not. You may have guessed, but I’m relatively new at being Sentinel. This is a shakedown run, so to speak, me getting my legs. As opposed to most Sentinels which just go off and murder some moderately high level monster, I have to deal with a bunch of people.”
Something in my tone must’ve betrayed me, as both the captain and governor started laughing at me.
“Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” The governor said, between fits of laughter. “brilliant at healing. Terrible with people.”
I felt my lips pursing together. They looked up at me, and started laughing even harder.
“Alright, alright.” The governor said, calming down. “I think I’ve got the picture here. We’ve got a bit of a problem – I will acknowledge that – and I do appreciate you coming in to smash the problem in its early stages. Or late stage. Can never tell with these things.”
He had a point there.
“Tell you what. I’ll help you organize this, but put in a good word, or fifty, into your report.”
Oh bless him, I’d hire a bard to sing his praises from here to Aquiliea if he was able to handle most of this. Granted, him organizing it also meant he could claim most of the spotlight – and credit, and good will – for the save, but at this point I didn’t care. I’d been dealing with people too much. The relief must’ve shown on my face, as he got a sharp grin.
I should probably do a deep session of weighing the pros and the cons against each other, but I was tired. I wasn’t any good at wrangling people together. He had the recognition, and the authority, and I was happy to hand it off/delegate to him.
“Sure!” I said, thrilled that it was no longer my problem. “I’m working on organizing the other healers in town – I’m meeting with them tomorrow – but in terms of mass, bulk-healing, I work best under moonlight. New Moon was a few days ago, so any time shortly after sunset works best for me to heal dozens of people in one go. Additionally, Caecilius is in town – a [Plague Healer] – and he’s also got bulk healing.”
The governor gave me a sharp nod.
“I’m familiar with Caecilius, and him being in town does give merit to the idea of knocking the disease out now. Normally, I’d use a party outside the walls as an excuse, but the solstice just finished, and everyone’s still partied out. However…” He said, drumming his fingers against the chair arms.
Man, he’d stayed seated the entire time I was standing. That had to be some sort of power play or something, but again, I just didn’t care enough at this point. I just wanted this to be done and over, a line of people in front of me to heal.
We hammered out a few more little points, and agreed to meet again tomorrow – at the governor’s place.
Perfect. Now I just needed to meet with the healers!
Endless. Damn. Meetings. Next time I was going to the party, at least the pain and agony would only be an hour or two, instead of this protracted, drawn-out affair.
Seriously, just shoot me now.
“On a last note, I’d like to congratulate Dawn on her apprehension of the Purple Flower grower.” The captain said.
“Oh?” The governor asked.
“Yeah, she single-handedly took down the entire thing.”
“ehhh… funny story that…” I said.
“Do tell.” Gaius said, leaning forward.
“Well… I just walked into his shop.”
An awkward silence stretched between us.
“Yeah, that was basically it.”
The governor facepalmed, while the captain – clearly already knowing the story – laughed himself sick.
I couldn’t help it. The mirth was contagious. I cracked a smile.
“Welcome Sentinel Dawn!” Flavinius said, opening his front door for me personally, at my lunch appointment the next day.
His digs were nice. A big, fancy villa, as nice as anything else this town had. Heck, it even rivaled the governor’s place! Again, it was brought into sharp focus for me how nice healers had it, how wealthy they could become with little to no risk, or danger.
As we walked through the villa, Flavinius playing the perfect host, pointing out artwork and statues and the like, as slaves bustled through, I mentally revised my estimate. My Sentinel quarters were nice, but this was indeed a tier of luxury higher, if only for the extra room for artwork and frescos, and having a large support staff able to wait on you hand and foot.
Ah well. My bed was made – well, not made, I’d gotten up too fast – and I was happy to lie in it.
We made it to the room, and one of the healers instantly got on my nerves.
“Oh, hey, serving girl, get me another jug please.” He said, comment directed to me.
Ok, be cool, be calm, don’t-
“Fuck off.” I said, barely suppressing throwing him the finger.
Welp, so much for that. And good initial impressions.
This was going to go swimmingly.