Too many dead

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Orianna Aubellard
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:20 am

The Stacks: Aubellard Apothecary40 Ophus 2718: Nighttime
It was Clock's Eve and Orianna was working, but not at the hospital. The hospital was running a skeleton crew and Anna had the night off. Anna longed to join the celebrations around town, the revelry and joy that came with surviving one more year around the sun. It was the one night a year she let herself relax. But, this year, there were more important things to do.

Whooping cough had spread far and wide in the Stacks, the brutally cold winter taking entirely too many lives. Entire families had come down with the illness and Anna had given out many medicines at cost, knowing her brother would understand the lack of profit. She had opened her apothecary at dawn and kept it open until dusk and instructed her apprentice Desdemona to do the same. Because of the rush on medication, Anna chose to spend her Clock's Eve in her apothecary's lab, making more expectorants, immune boosters, and inhalants that would let the afflicted breathe easier.

Anna knew that she wouldn't have slept well anyways. She was having nightmares about the children that she had seen this winter, the ones whose parents came back a few weeks later and tell her that they didn't survive. For the first time ever, she felt like she was losing an important battle. She had lost patients before; every doctor, apothecary, and surgeon did. Those deaths hadn't been as hard to accept. She mourned them, but she knew she had done her best. Sometimes the body just gave out regardless of what you tried.

But the loss of so many infants and children was wearing on her. So much potential stolen away by a disease that should have been preventable. Yes, they were humans and wicks and many galdori would just have let them die without a care. But Anna took her duty to protect and heal people very seriously and, for the most part, she tried not to discriminate. Yes, it was still difficult for her to treat wicks; her father's death at Tashwa hands still hurt as much as the day she found out the news. But she knew that she would anger Hulali if she turned anyone away just because they were a wick. A child's death was a child's death and it was still a great loss, regardless of what race that child was.

Anna had spent the day working on keeping her stock up, while Desdemona had dealt with the patients. Once night fell, though, Anna told Desdemona to go enjoy her night. The girl had been reluctant, knowing that Anna would probably be up entirely too late making more medicine. Anna had promised that she would go to bed before midnight, but she secretly hoped that Desi didn't stop by to check on her. Anna wasn't sure that she could keep the promise. She was exhausted, having pulled a number of 30-hour days in the past week, but she wanted to do another batch of inhalants before she went to bed and it was closing on midnight.

Rubbing bleariness out of her eyes, Anna ground up another batch of elderberries and rose hips, then mixed them into a sweet honey-based syrup that most children would take easily. The syrup already had extract of a spicy pepper from her homeland that was known for clearing the head and chest. The syrup made the extract easier to swallow and the herbs and berries she had mixed in would disguise the taste, softening out the burning of the spice extract.

Anna finished the batch of syrup she was working on and then stood up, heading upstairs for another mug of kofi har while she waited for the herbs and berries in the syrup to spread their flavor in the pot she left on the pot-bellied work stove. She thanked Hulali for his help as she poured her kofi, stirring some honey in to settle the tickle in her throat. She sat on her legs at the low table that she used for her personal prayers, raising the glass and whispering a prayer for strength to finish one last batch of medication. She took her time drinking her kofi, letting each sip purify her intentions and settle her weary soul.

Once she was finished with her mug of kofi har, she stood up, pouring herself another mug to take down with her. She felt more at peace than she had before the break and, when she took the pot of cooled syrup in her hands to start enhancing it with magic, her mind was as clear as it could be under the circumstances. The enhancement wouldn't stay for more than half a day but, even after the enhancement faded, the syrup would be useful.

She closed her eyes and started reciting monite, asking the mona to enhance the syrup she had made. She imagined the molecules of the herbs she had introduced into the syrup soothing children's throats, making their coughing more productive, loosening and clearing up their air passages so that they could breathe easily again. She clearly pictured the children growing healthier, recovering and returning to a life that had almost been stolen from them.

She let out a small sigh as she felt the mona respond.
word count: 931

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Muse
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: Corwynn, Nauleth, Rhys, Tristaan, & Xavier
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Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:01 pm

The mona was, as far as anyone was concerned, timeless, ageless. If mona was born or mona died, no one had yet discovered such evidence, though it was well-known that the mona had a long memory. Anna had been moving about her days and her nights without resting, without pausing, pushing herself to go from one task to the next as illness and duty led her. While it wasn't at all for personal gain, her willing sacrifices had begun to take their toll on her body, on her will, and perhaps even on her ability to think clearly for herself while so busy thinking about others.

As she began to cast yet another spell, her intentions clear and her phrasing well-practiced, there was only the hint of resistance from the mona in her field. It was subtle, sluggish, and it felt almost tired like she knew her body really was. There was an ache in her joints as she spoke the last of her spell, and a heat crawled up her spine that felt reminiscent of a fever—sudden and high in temperature.

Her spell obviously worked, the mona acquiescing to her will, but she would find that her enhancements wouldn't last as long as she was used to. This batch was weaker, inferior. Unlike typical runoff, the ache in her joints wouldn't fade in mere minutes, either. Nor hours. In fact, the soreness would linger as if she, herself, was growing ill.

Was it a warning or just an illumination of the truth?
word count: 274
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