Entry 6: Riloth 19th the 6th
I awoke this morning and trudged down to the lobby. I couldn’t ignore the sleep deprivation or sickness I was feeling any longer. I’m so tired, all I want to do is sleep, but I know if I sleep through the day I’ll just wake up once more in pain, no closer to a solution. In my mind, I know that each day's illness is the same as the preceding’s, but it feels like they are getting worse. Finding a remedy became my top priority, surveillance and subtlety be damned. I decided to go out and find a solution.
It didn’t go well.
To begin my search for relief, I approached the ever helpful—if disloyal—Simon.
He saw me approach and said, beaming, "Good morning Mage Theral! How can I make your stay magnificent?"
I couldn’t help but think the emphasis on “morning” was intended as a slight, highlighting how close to noon it was.
At the emphasis, I looked down to discover I still wore my sleepwear.
Oh. Well, he doesn’t need to be condescending about it. I’m sure I’m not the first patron to walk around in their robe. At least I’m wearing pants.
"Do you by chance know a good cure for a hangover?” I asked, ignoring his possible barb. “A really, really bad hangover."
As I spoke, I held my hand up to protect my eyes. The near-noonday sun shone in through the skylights, feeling like daggers that passed through my corneas, directly into my throbbing brain.
"I just might have something to take care of that,” he said with a knowing look. “I take it you and Mistress Trish had a long night. I'll have it brought out."
I missed his suggestion in the moment, as miserable as I was. I don’t remember what Trish and I did the night before all of this, but I can assure you it was not what Simon thought it was. Drinking was obviously involved, but what did we drink? Poison?
Sometime later, a waiter bearing a silver platter woke me with a polite cough. Well, the first one was probably polite, by the time I woke he was coughing quite enthusiastically.
“Mage Theral?” he asked, obviously dubious on the accuracy of the title mage, “Simon has asked I bring this to you.”
He handed me a glass of a dull grayish brown liquid, it brought to mind the puddles seen on city streets when it hadn’t rained in days. I knew it was going to taste awful, but it was far worse than I feared.
I'm not going to describe it. I can feel that trying to remember it with your aid will make me taste it once more, and I will not put myself through that again.
Needless to say it didn’t help and I added another betrayal to Simon’s tally. I wonder if the man is truly hostile to me, is an incompetent acting in good faith, or if I’m simply trapped endlessly repeating the day he decided to have one over on me.
I left the lobby and went to find Daulf, I knew he wouldn't help, but I had to ask. Outside, the light of day almost knocked me off my feet. I hobbled down the stairs, clutching the rail, and garnering looks of morbid curiosity from those I passed.
The quest to find Daulf was arduous, the sound of the market hammering my sensitive ears. At the edge of the camp, I realized I had no hope of finding him in my current state. My limbs felt weak and gelatinous after such a short walk, and I resigned myself from playing the adventurer card.
On the outskirts of the camp, between the camp proper and the town gate, I approached a soldier in the livery of a Landing guard. I didn’t recognize him but was confident he would know me by name, if not by sight. Two guards watched me suspiciously as I approached.
“Excuse me,” I said. “I’m looking for my companion Daulf. Have you seen him?”
At Daulf’s name the guard’s weary suspicion turned to confusion and then recognition lit in his eyes as he made the connection.
“You must be Stormcaller Theral! Of course, I know where Chosen Daulf is. Let us escort you to him.” He took me in more closely and added, “You don’t look so well. Do you need me to fetch you a ride?”
The thought of swaying on horse began to turn my empty stomach.
I should have drank some coffee before leaving.
I waved away the suggestion and followed them—very slowly—to Daulf. Eventually, we found Daulf teaching a class of children out in the camps.When he saw me, he paused the lesson and approached.
Mustering as much misery as I could, which wasn’t hard, I asked—nay begged—"Daulf, please, please, please, heal me of this hangover. I don’t exaggerate, the fate of the world may literally be at stake. I know you see this as a way to teach me a lesson, but can you allow me to skip it just this once?"
Daulf looked at me intently. I could tell he was going to say no out of habit, but he paused, confusion clear on his face.
"Boy, I don’t know why you believe the fate of the world is in the balance from your fuzzy noggin, but I’m nearly all tapped out of power for the day. Even if I wasn’t, I still don’t think I’d do it. I know you got your demons, but you need to learn that drink is not going to chase them away for long."
At that, he turned back to his class.
Dejected, but not surprised, I returned to the market square, refusing the soldiers repeated offers of support. I found the herbalist from before, completing a sale to a young girl.
"You tell your mother to come herself next time, I still need to weasel out that sweet bread recipe. I’ll get it someday, just you see!"
The woman completed her transaction and looked up to see me approach.
She greeted me with a wave and said, "Ah, young master wizard, what brings you to my humble cart?” With a raised eyebrow she added, “Still looking for strapping young men?"
Through force of will, I was able to avoid blushing—mostly.
Before I could tell her my purpose she noticed my haggard state and said, "Oh I see. You look positively dreadful, tell me what ails you and I can make you right as rain. Assuine will it."
"I have a very bad hangover, I think. Or I was poisoned. It’s hard to tell. In either case, I slept very little last night. Can you help me?"
"I think I have just the thing to help with that,” she said.
She turned to rummage through her cart and began to mix a concoction. What she came back with looked like, well, dirt. I gave it a sniff. It smelled like dirt. Tentatively, I pushed my finger into the mixture and felt a familiar spongey give. It felt like dirt.
"Is this dirt?" I asked
"Of course it's not dirt, it's an old family recipe for curing hangovers, malaise, and general all round frumpyness. It's been well used too; my late husband was known to frump about after a night of drink." She explained with a laugh.
She continued, ignoring my question, "If the symptoms are mild, use a spoonful to brew a tea. Moderate cases of frump can be treated by pouring hot water through it like you would coffee grounds. That whole jar will brew two cups, which you should drink. From the looks of you, I recommend just eating half the jar—You have a severe case of frump if ever I saw one. That will have you right back to drinking in no time at all. All for the bargain price of 5 coppers."
I tossed her a silver coin, instructing her to keep the change.
As I walked away she shouted after me, “Make sure not to take that if you are currently using herbs to treat a lover’s rash! Also, incontinence is not to be unexpected.”
I took my "not dirt" to my room and—after mustering the courage—took out a spoon from my travel kit and shovelled it into my mouth.
It was dirt. Sure there were some herbs mixed in here and there, but it smelled like dirt, looked like dirt, and tasted like dirt. I paid a silver for a cup of dirt, and I ate it. Does everyone in this town seek to punish me?
I don’t feel up to writing any more tonight, I’m exhausted from running around, and I’m beginning to think she may have been right about the side effects, if not the medicinal properties.