Ellorian Melith’endre frowned as he looked down at the man in the bed. The elder Whitemarsh’s labored breathing and pallid look were not good signs. The winter illness was not going easy on the people of Elenduil, and medical supplies were running low not only from the high demand, but also because of a severely dry summer the previous year.
Nor was he the best healer. His magics were much stronger in arcane applications such as translocation, illusion, and ward weaving. He was especially good in unweaving wards, and felt that was part of the reason they had kept him in Thril Gandir so long, likely as a test to see if he was anything like his sister who had similar gifts and had tried to escape the mage city more than once. He wasn’t. He had the patience to wait for an adahi to be assigned to him. His father was relying on him to be able to inherit the province, and the people would depend on his leadership and protection some day.
For now they only depended on his healing gifts. He had learned the art of mixing herbs to supplement his healing magic. As half of his garden had wilted, and died in the dry heat of the past summer, he had very little to spare. He took a deep breath, clearing his mind and held his hand over the old man’s chest. He closed his eyes and whispered some words while imagining the congestion releasing. The old man coughed weakly.
He opened his eyes, glancing up towards the door where the man’s daughter stood. She had already lost her husband to the illness, though she had come through it fine. Her unborn child was still growing at a good rate as well.
Tough decisions had to be made this year. He went to his bag and took out one of the small glass bottles. It was a diluted solution. He saved the full-strength medication for the young, or a family’s only provider. It was unfair that her father was likely to die as her husband did, but she would live. He wished he could help the people of his father’s province more, but there was nothing more to be done. All the letters he had written were either unanswered or had been responded to with a letter of rejection in his request for help, and always for the same reason. Supplies were short elsewhere as well.
At least the diluted solution would give him some chance, though Ellorian felt it was being started too late. The illness had progressed too far, and in that case, not even the full-strength solution would be much help. He walked to the woman and placed the bottle in her hands. “Two tablespoons each day. One in the morning, one in the evening. You may need to use a dropper like you did with your husband.”
She frowned, “It’s the same thing?”
“It didn’t work for Dhiren.”
“It worked for you. I hope it works for him as well. I’ve done all I can.” He closed his bag, and started towards the front room of the small house.
She continued to frown, but nodded. “I hope so as well.”
“Send word to me at the castle if there’s any change. I have a long list of people to visit, but you know I make time for everyone.” He grabbed his cloak from the hook, and wrapped it around his shoulders.
She nodded silently as he headed out the door.
He didn’t glance back. It was hard enough knowing he was failing his people without seeing the hopelessness on their faces. He climbed into the carriage, and signaled the driver to take them to the next house on the list. He sighed as he leaned back in his seat.
His adahi, Rissa, sat opposite from him. She looked up from her book. “Not good, I assume.”
“No, not good. I don’t know how any of them will trust me after this. I’m supposed to be able to help them.”
“I think even the best healers are being challenged this winter, and you are helping some. I’m still here.”
Rissa had caught the illness fairly early on as well. As required, he had to notify Thril Gandir that his adahi was incapable of performing her duties, even if it was temporary. For the week that Rissa was in bed, they had sent an adahi to fill in. He was young, and Ellorian was sure he was freshly graduated from the training academy. He and Rissa had built up trust, and had an understanding. The new adahi had his head full of rules, and would not bend on any of them. Ellorian went along with it, though having an armed man in a patient’s bedroom was not his idea of a relaxing environment for the patient, or for him. He had been quite happy when Rissa was able to return to her duties.
He sighed again. “I just wish I could do more.”
“You’re doing your best with what you have. You can’t do more than that.”
He nodded. He supposed she was right about that. He turned his head to look out the window. Rissa looked down at her book again.