A turn in the weather overnight. No rain or wind, but as I set to the morning meditations at daybreak, I found the sky overcast and dull.
I stayed in last night. Dinner was unappealing. A soup that was Cream of Yesterday’s Supper and a bread-loaf suitable for masonry work. I asked the servant to bring me some wine, and he replied, with surprise, that such a spirit of festivity hasn’t been here since some meaningless year numbered by Ælim cultural reckoning.
Breakfast was the exact same as yesterday’s. Humdrum Callia conspires to dull my excitement and anticipation for tonight’s Guild recruitment banquet. The Ælim territory is supposed to be the frontier lands. Back in the great city of Silabrek, distant Ælim was held to a high standard regarding intrigue and adventure.
This country is many things. A gateway to the mysterious and far-distant East. Uneasy southern neighbour to black-marsh Grison, a terrible land not far enough away behind sharp mountains and dangerous passes. And guardian of the sea-lane straits between the North and South continents. South across swift waters are the first steps into the dusty, baking deserts where it is said the Imhid Empire rules impossibly far and wide, sinister eyes ever northward.
Here in Ælim there be tygers, as the annotations on a map might say. This is not in jest or hyperbole. This is frontier, edge of the wild, and a place where anything can happen. Here there is excitement; here there is fortune to be found and Good to be done. Names are made here. Legends are born here.
I hope this is true. I have spent a lot of money and risked my life and health to make the journey here. I could have found work in a city like Tabrek, Moravis, Vos…or struck out into the Torim territory. Close to home, relatively safe. Not lucrative, but useful and much needed work as a healer and a doctor of medicine. As so highly skilled a graduate of the Order of St-Jude, I could even have been welcomed into the ruler’s courts in any great North-West city.
But it would be dull work; minor ailments, seldom ever a good Plague or a supernatural disease to challenge even a modestly skilled Cleric – what would someone of my sublime skill do to stay awake? I do not fault my fellows at the Order; theirs was to enroll, learn, and return to their villages and towns to open shop and while away their days dispensing minor healing and bandaging scrapes.
If the Attending Clerics at my school thought well or ill of my interest in adventuring and wilderness medicine, in either case they did not speak against it. Pelor, they said, shines upon the whole world as he shines upon a single, rooted plant. This was as close as an endorsement to go forth and adventure as they would commit. The rest of the time, the implication was to find a safe, comfortable niche and grind away for experience.
I recall Doctor Byuhay, the stout Physiology instructor who was fond of binding his tomes with bandage-tape to preserve their covers. “One might sooner trap air in a tin pot,” he would grunt, “Than find he has outwitted all the diseases and wounds of this world. Harm always finds those who seek it. Seek those who mindlessly heave themselves into harm’s path. Help them out, and you will be found most useful and welcomed to their company as a fellow adventurer.”
I am a thousand miles from home, bored, and in need of a drink. Hopefully, tonight’s recruitment banquet proves worth-while. I haven’t any other leads.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
3rd Day in Callia, territory of Ælim.