While traveling abroad in Khymeria (of all places) I once drank a potion of questionable origin. What began as a slight upset in my gut quickly turned into a crippling and all-consuming hell of uncontrollable vomiting (and other things). I knew what I had to do. Waiting for the next break in the vomiting (and other things), I set out about the countryside to find the nearest Divine Healer.
I was not entirely sure that I was in need of divine healing, but I was quite certain that a good dose of regular healing would prove beneficial.
The healing methods of these strange country-dwellers were particularly catered to the medical needs of Khymians. Being a human merchant of Lyveria, I knew not whether Khymian medicine could help my tummy, but I had to try.
After a three mile hike that pushed my innards to the limits of discomfort, I finally reached my destination. Blue smoke plumed from the chimney of the peculiar little cottage, and several Feral Spirits wandered the front yard, watching me with curiosity. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I approached the front door and rang the bell.
My ringing was immediately met with a series of crashing commotions as the Divine Healer made her way stammering and sputtering to the door. The door suddenly opened, releasing a huge cloud of fragrant blue smoke. A small, bony arm quickly shot out of the smoke, seizing me by the wrist, pulling me strongly into the cottage, and slamming the door behind.
We seemed to run into everything as the small woman pulled me blindly through the house. She was muttering to herself about Dragons all the way but had not yet addressed me as her visitor. The smell of the blue smoke was beginning to make me feel dizzy, which could have proven disastrous for my already upset stomach. Finally to my relief, the lady sat me down on a stool. She sang a strange chant, the smoke began to clear and I could finally take in my surroundings.
The walls of the cottage were covered with many different colors of writings and drawings, most of which looked to me like complete nonsense. There were some numbers that I recognized, and the occasional arrow (a symbol with which I am familiar), but it was mostly gibberish. All of the Divine Healer’s possessions appeared to be strewn carelessly around the room; nary a drawer, closet or cabinet could be found. I wondered how she got any work done in the mess.
The fire was overflowing from the modest fireplace that was built into the wall. Coals had been pulled out onto the floor, and sitting upon them was a huge blue orb. It was unmistakable; the orb could only be one thing. “Is that a Dragon egg?” I asked.
“That’s what they told me,” the Divine Healer replied. This was the first time she had actually spoken to me. “But I don’t want it around here when it hatches, believe ye me.”
A wiser man may have at that point proceeded to his ailment, but I was too curious about the Dragon egg that was burning blue on the cottage floor. I made further inquiry: “Why do you have a Dragon egg burning blue on your cottage floor, Madame?”
The toothless Healer looked for a moment like she might slap me right upside the head, but she quickly shrugged off my ignorance. “Tourists,” she snorted while carefully looking me up and down. “It’s Egg Week. Terrible time for ye to catch ill, but ye done come to the right place.”
Egg week! Of course! I
suddenly remembered an obscure detail from Lyverian primary schooling. The Dragons of Draykh-Nahka had severe reproductive problems, and to save themselves from extinction, they were forced to make a deal with Khymeria. In exchange for Heliostones, the Khymians had agreed to bless the Gloridax eggs each year, magically increasing the chances of successful hatching.
Suddenly I felt like nothing but a burden to this poor Divine Healer.
“I’m incredibly sorry to bother you during Egg Week, Madame…” She cut me off.
“Front or back?” the old woman asked, rather impatiently.
I hadn’t the slightest idea to what she was referring. I looked nervously around the room and stuttered like a schoolboy on a quiz, hoping an answer to her confusing question would reveal itself. It did not.
Finally, the Divine Healer decided to clarify her question. “Is it coming out the front or back of ye?” It was a rather uncouth question, but she was a medical professional, so I answered. “Both, you say? Yep, that’s been going around! Glad ye made it all the way out here with clean britches!”
I was mortified. I felt my face turn red. Now this old woman of Khymeria knew everything about my… problems, and I was still reasonably sure she could do nothing to help me. Sheepishly, I rose from my stool and said, “I’ll see myself out.”
“But I hain’t even fixed ye’p yet! Only take a few seconds. Jes lift up your tunic there!” From one of the piles of stuff on the floor, the Divine Healer retrieved a gnarly loose branch of some mysterious purple weed. She slapped the weed a couple times against the Dragon egg, making large puffs of smoke, which I now realized were coming not from the fire, but within the egg. The brambled weed began to glow a brighter purple, and the woman turned to me, holding it up as a weapon ready to strike. “Lift your tunic up there,” she said again.
I come from a long line of cowards. To comply with the old lady’s instructions, I had to battle with every cowardly bone in my poorly-toned Merchant’s body. Squeezing my eyes tightly shut, I tensely raised my tunic, exposing my belly to the probably sadistic Khymian Healer. She laughed aloud while watching me squirm with confusion. Then she said, “This may sting,” and smacked my gut hard with the magic purple weed.
It didn’t sting. It tickled. I was instantly doubled over with painful laughing. The tickling feeling was so severe that it threatened to drive me completely insane. I wanted to tear myself apart from the inside out. I could hear the old woman cackling as I writhed on the floor in a mix of laughter and ticklish agony. Was this really how she healed people?
I still couldn’t stand up straight. The unbearable tickling in my belly was turning into an even less bearable pins and needles feeling as if my insides were waking up from a long nap. “How long will this last? I thought you said it would sting?”
“I said it may sting. Consider yeself lucky. Ye only got the tickles. Ye belly’s gonna be fine.” Even as she spoke, the tickling and tingling were finally subsiding. “Never know how a Human’s gonna react to my medicine. Now just stare at that green squiggly yonder on the wall for a good thirty seconds, ye’ll be right well.”
I wasn’t about to start arguing this late in the game, so I quickly complied, locating the green squiggly she had mentioned and affixing my gaze upon it. It’s hard to explain what happened next. Just looking at the strange little shape crudely drawn on the cottage wall transported me back in time. The clutter of the cottage melted away and I was taken through flashes from my past, one by one. I was shown moments from my childhood of profound comfort, happiness and satisfaction. I never wanted to leave this trance.
The Divine Healer was clearly not going to allow me to enjoy more than thirty seconds of the squiggly trance. She grabbed me again by the wrist and quickly ushered me toward the door. I was feeling completely refreshed and free of any ailment. “What would you ask for payment, Madame?”
“Ye don’t owe me nothing,” she quickly replied. “Jes be glad there’s a Healing Dragon in that egg.” Apparently, she had borrowed the healing powers of the baby Dragon inside the egg, using them for my benefit. The cottage was almost completely filled with blue smoke once again, and just before she closed the door on me, the Divine Healer had one more strange offering: “Ye may notice some changes.”
I felt twenty years younger that day as I headed back to my traveler’s lodge; I may have even skipped for a time. I hadn’t skipped for forty years. I wondered what the Divine Healer had meant by changes, but I felt so great that I had no concerns.
Later that evening I was having an ale in a Shimmer City pub with some new friends when a mighty gas bubble manifested in my stomach. There was going to be a belch, but fortunately, the pub was the perfect place to let them fly. I gathered up the gas bubble in my proprietary fashion and cut it loose. Much to everyone’s surprise, a huge blast of flame came from my mouth, burning my mustache and the mustaches of my two friends. Luckily, the flame died off as quickly as it appeared.
So that’s the story of my visit to a Divine Healer. I got a little more than I bargained for, but overall I’d give her a positive review. I have to be more careful about my surroundings when I’m enjoying carbonated beverages, but now the Gloridax let me into their more exclusive clubs. They say I’m an honorary Dragon. So how about it? Would you like to go for an ale in a well-ventilated area?