Three days. It took three whole days of meetings and wrangling and preparation and gods-knows-what-else to finish working everything out, and getting everything, and everyone, organized.
It was a far cry from Perinthus, where we’d been able to get everyone done in a day. Motivation, and prior organization went a long way.
Bless the governor. He’d organized nearly the whole thing, and not only that, he was paying some of the healers. Sure, it was only a quarter or so of what I’d offered them, but the removal of some stress helped.
I had a suspicion that he was going to end up with a lot more in his pocket at the end of it, once he did all his politicking-things well. “I paid for the people to heal everyone” and all that.
While people didn’t elect their governor – it was decided by the Senate – popularity was a factor that was considered, and the Senate would never remove a well-loved governor, which this one was well on his way to being. Well – they’d never remove one that wasn’t actively planning a rebellion or something. Why a governor would plot a rebellion, I dunno. Rich, powerful, got everything you want? Anyways. He could probably also raise taxes, under the excuse of “Had to fix that plague//pay for this event”, and people wouldn’t grumble too much.
Excess tax ended up in the governor’s pocket, of course. His pay for running things well. That was ripe for abuse. More of my lessons coming in handy!
They’d still grumble, of course. Nobody was happy when the tax man came around. But the tax man would just get deep sighs and the occasional insult, instead of a shallow grave in the backyard. The governor would get his taxes, and I’d get my damn politics headache removed.
Never. Again. I was going to camp outside of Night’s room until I had minions to help me out with this part of it again. I hadn’t given Kallisto and the like enough credit for making my life smooth and easy in the past. Or all the people in Perinthus who made things smooth.
Nor was I going to discount organizational and social skills. With all the damn work I’d been putting in, I’d hope to get an [Organize] skill or [Meetings] or SOMETHING like that offered to me. But noooo, the System had it out for me.
I looked over my skills quickly.
[Phases of the Moon] - arguably the best healing skill possible.
[Talaria] – Letting me fly.
[Fireball], later [Nova]- The System giving me exactly what I wanted.
Heck, getting [Detailed Restoration] at level freaking 100 – that was amazing, and quite literally saved my life.
Fine. The System loved me, it just tormented me by not giving me anything social. Not that I’d take it… so what was I doing complaining?
Back to the healing event.
We’d split the town into 12 districts, each one roughly 500 people. Sure, the wealthy district had fewer, with the average made up by the slums, but potato, potato. It was being billed as a massive party, an extra festival, all sponsored by various wealthy citizens.
Man, how did he do it? Convinced a bunch of people to throw a moderate party for the whole town? I was impressed. I would never have thought of the idea.
Ocean, to my great surprise, even chipped in a hair. Not enough to count as help, but, well, he’d managed to fish a fairly large sea monster out of the Nostrum, and had happily sold it to the organizers. “Try out exotic sea monster – Extra tasty!” had more than a little bit of appeal, and was helping get some of the more reluctant people out and about.
The guard was going through and talking with the last few stubborn holdouts. Flavinius was starting out stationed in the wealthy district, giving personalized healing to the rich and powerful, which was a lot of hand-holding and bedside manner, for not a lot of actual healing. Still, even if he wasn’t getting his money’s worth out of me, he was making it back tenfold in connections and a personal touch on the richest. I suspect his clientele would dramatically increase after this, especially with the Wood dude’s patients needing new homes.
Heck, if I had billed it this way from the start, he’d probably have worked for free. Ah well. I was happy that he was getting one of the better deals, given how nicely he’d treated me, and how much he’d helped.
He was also on-deck to run around the town with the guards, going directly to anyone who refused to join the event directly, and just flat-out healing them. We suspected we might miss a few people here and there, but the situation wasn’t nearly as urgent as Perinthus was, and the disease was more liable to burn itself out if we missed one or two people. Especially if they were so reclusive as to skip a big party paid for by someone else, and managed to dodge the guard’s attention.
Caecilius had eight districts, and Blue had four to manage. Caecilius had more on the basis of being specialized for this type of work, and quite frankly being dramatically stronger. He could do more than twice as much work and healing as Blue could, but we’d settled on this split.
Privately, I’d told Caecilius that I’d double what I was paying him, but to please not gloat or boast about it, otherwise I’d need to do a whole second round of negotiating with everyone. He seemed pleased at the recognition, and my attempt at fair treatment of everything, and had agreed without making a fuss.
There was some muttering between him and his apprentice, and what I’d gathered was the apprentice was going to try his own skills first, do what he could, before Caecilius cleaned up.
I had no idea what Blue’s plan was, but it was probably similar.
My role was both easy, and hard.
I was doing everyone.
In the same way Markus had set up his Pyronox gates as a back-up for any last bits of healing, I was going back over where Blue and Caecilius had already done their healing, and doing a secondary heal, to catch anything they missed.
Or in Caecilius’s case, anything he Mist.
Artemis was a terrible influence on me.
All my work with Night had resulted in me having a strong, strong grasp on my [Oath]. Something I hadn’t mentioned a ton with the other healers was my free healing sessions after – throwing a rock through their business – but not only was it part of what I’d offered the guards for their help, before realizing I’d been an idiot and should’ve just talked with the governor directly, but it also let me see and heal basically everyone in town without [Oath] kicking in and demanding I take a detour.
I was just going to heal the current disease, and any and all problems were for tomorrow.
Sure, if someone was critically injured, I’d step in and help, but most problems could wait a day.
The sun was setting, and after some time, the moons started to rise – the only way we’d make this work honestly, if I had to lay hands on everyone we’d never succeed, and it was nice to throw a party in the evening – as the governor started his speech to the wealthy district.
I was on a makeshift stage with him, dressed to the nines. Part of my contribution to this whole thing – showing up, looking good, making the governor look good. I was treading dangerously close to politics and being political, but the entire damn mess was politics and political, and there was no dodging it at a certain point. Just had to look as neutral as humanely possible, smile and wave, and get out as soon as I could.
At last his speech was winding down, and fortunately he’d given me a heads up for this next part.
“…and now, Sentinel Dawn, with a few words!”
Whyyyyy did I have to give a speech.
“Thank you so much governor!” I said, mustering up as much cheer as I could. “I’m not going to hold you all – let’s get started!” I said.
A cheer from the crowd, a dirty look from the governor.
He didn’t say anything about a long speech, and I was sick and fed up of all the social stuff. I was never ever dodging a party to go to one of these ever again. A party I could at least… well… no that wouldn’t work…
Eh. A party was over after a few hours of agonizing.
This? This was ENDLESS DAYS of hours of agonizing.
It was kicked off, and Flavinius had already started socializing. I was staying on the stage, waiting a moment or so, shaking hands and plastering a smile on my face as people came to meet me.
“Sentinel Dawn! What a pleasure to meet you!” Another nameless, faceless dude in a purple toga said, offering his hand.
I took it and shook it.
“It’s such a lovely town here! So peaceful! So quiet! I’d love to spend more time here!” I said, faking enthusiasm.
Dude beamed at me, completely missing that his name had gone in one ear, and out the other. Good trick, complimenting the town. Everyone had some small amount of civic pride. Usually.
“Have you seen how the light hits the harbor at sunset? Prettier than any gemstone! Why…”
Yup. A real fanatic.
Blessedly, all I needed to do was nod my head and make appreciative noises, and nobody else butted in. Dude was content to tell me all about the town.
Come on Blue, where were you? I needed you to kick off your bulk heal before I threw mine out, then I could start swinging round to the areas where Caecilius was managing.
A shimmering series of flashes that went on for almost a minute, noises from the crowd, and I was jealous. Dude had a much larger area of effect. Was a lot slower than I was though.
Oh well. That was my signal.
“Excuse me, gotta start now.” I said, politely smiling at the dude.
“No worries! Thanks for letting me blather on!” He said, giving me a cheery wave.
Note to self: Find people who loved to talk, and were high enough on the food chain, and let them talk to me for hours on end when at my next social thing. That was so much easier and less painful than I’d imagined.
I walked through the crowd, focusing on [Phases of the Moon], empowered by [Moonlight]. I focused on healing only the plague, on catching anything that wasn’t caught.
On one hand, I didn’t need line of sight to people I was healing. On the other, if a group of kids hid under a table and declared it their fort – good fun that – [Moonlight] wouldn’t touch them.
My mana did some wild fluctuations. It was basically impossible to tell if someone nearby was severely ill, or if it was someone right at the range of my area of effect being a little sick. The [Moonlight] distance penalty was harsh.
To offset that, I kept “flickering” it – turned it on, healed, turned it off, walked around a bit, turned it on again. I made a few rounds – it was possible that someone was sick and somehow walking in a way that exactly avoided me – but this was good enough.
This wasn’t Perinthus, where we had to get every single person. There quite frankly wasn’t the political will for it, and having a big party like this was the best we were going to manage.
I had some fun diving under tables though.
“Rawr! The great monster is here!” I announced to the kids, diving under a large table that they’d commandeered to play with.
“Yar! Get her!” One of the kids waved a stick around, with great enthusiasm.
There had been two sides to their fight, and it looked like they had been playing “Humans versus Formorians” – Deva was more on the west coast, so it made sense. The war was a lot closer and a lot more real for them, than it was where I grew up.
However, the great Sentinel-Monster was fun and novel enough that they were suddenly all humans, and ganging up on me.
Perfect. I’d get to contact all of them, and I wasn’t going to just heal the Coughing Illness from them – I’d smack them with everything I had.
About 15 minutes of roughhousing later – hey, it was fun, and I was in desperate need of a break – the monster was “slain”, and screw the “bad optics” of the Sentinel, in her gear, being the monster and killed by kids. It was good, clean fun.
I got up, dusted myself off, grabbed my guard escort, and we were off to the next party/gathering!
I had a little map with me, with the order of who was doing what where, and long story short – I did a lot of running around town, from spot to spot.
More monsters were slain, although I did mix it up once, doing a surprise appearance as myself, a Sentinel, when it looked like one side was badly losing. Same difference really.
I made it to the last stop on my merry heal-go-round – the slums – and checked my mana, and my Arcanite.
I was doing well on both.
“Caecilius! How’s it been?” I said, initially greeting him. Somehow, in the mad rush around, moons glaring down on us and torches flickering light all over the place, we hadn’t bumped into each other. Spoke to a well-executed plan in my opinion.
“It’s going well. Any issue on your end?” He asked, dignity in his voice betrayed by the chicken on a skewer leaving grease marks all over his fingers and chin.
I resisted the temptation to laugh.
“Nope! Blue’s only so-so on his bulk healing. I don’t think I had a single person who needed anything more from any of your sections.”
Caecilius looked pleased with himself, pride in his word lacing his voice.
“Why thank you. Mist is pretty good at getting everyone.”
I refrained from mentally wincing. [Moonlight] was, like, a C at best for bulk healing. Hopefully I could upgrade it on the next class-up.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure with a solid supply of Arcanite, you could’ve knocked the thing out by yourself.”
Caecilius smiled at the compliment.
His apprentice jumped in.
“Not without me!” He said.
“No, probably not.” I replied, too happy to do anything.
“Anyways, you wouldn’t mind if I did some mass healing?” I asked, gesturing around broadly. The party in the slums barely qualified, although it looked like someone had pulled a string, and the bulk of Ocean’s sea monster was here.
“No, but it might deteriorate the relationship you have with the other healers.”
“Not my problem” I said, focusing on [Phases of the Moon] to the max range of [Moonlight]. I mentally winced at the mental image that was forming – just ‘heal’.
I focused, and discovered a new trick. I didn’t need to say the skill, just be focusing on it.
With a voice that tinkled like the stars, a word laced with moonlight, an intonation that invoked the vast skies above, I said:
Limps vanished. Eyes restored. Fingers fixed, and arms un-broken. A new lease on life was given to dozens within my range, as my mana vanished in a second. I breathed in, pulling more mana in, and repeated the process, watching most of my mana disappear again.
Caecilius blinked at me, looking around, processing what I’d done. It was his turn to start catching flies.
“What? What’d she do?” His apprentice asked.
Caecilius didn’t answer him directly.
“Sentinel Dawn.” He said, as politely and formally as he could manage. “That was incredible. Could my apprentice perhaps follow you and take some notes the next time you perform a feat like that?”
“Sure.” I said, a little puzzled by his request, then it clicked.
“Oh. Yeah, I’m going to do it again in a moment. Just gotta move to a different place in the crowd.”
Caecilius bowed to me, then straightened up. Seeing his apprentice still looking bemused, he cuffed him.
“Owww.” The apprentice said, rubbing his head.
“Follow Sentinel Dawn. Watch her. Try to learn. She’s the most powerful healer alive right now. Her area isn’t the largest, but her speed and detail is unrivaled.”
I gave Caecilius a brilliant smile at that.
“Thanks! Let’s go apprentice!” I said, diving into the crowd, who was just starting to process that some of them no longer had old injuries.
I repeated the process twice more, draining a good chunk of my Arcanite in the process. I did have a frankly absurd amount of the stuff though.
I was slightly offended that I wasn’t getting credit for my moves though – once the crowd figured out what was going on, they descended upon poor Caecilius, giving him thanks and credit.
I snuck out, after answering a few questions from the properly-awed Apprentice. Hey, he got a nickname now. Sort of.
I worked my way through the empty streets, to the guard barracks, where I had a little room/cubby thing, and crashed. I’d check my level up notifications tomorrow – I’d gotten a few. Hurray!