by the Sally Gardens
The life band sang about being young
and foolish in the wistful tones of those who looked back on those
carefree days with the knowledge that life was simpler then. The place was
packed and by the rowdy cries and foots being stomped, the band was
Qin avoided taking deep breaths as the place stank of stale beer and old
sweat. The swamp district of Folk Valley wasn't exactly known for it's
good air. People lived in old mining tunnels or in alleys of buildings
stacked upon each other, leaving very little light to navigate by.
"Are you certain we're going the right way?" Fredric
Qin nodded, and led them on, right across the pub and through some door
that led to yet another hallway. The smaller human-dwarf hybrid easily
filtered through the bodies of those who were drinking or dancing, leaving
the larger human, Fredric, to struggle to keep up.
The alley was quieter and though the air was dank, it was an improvement
to the pub. Fredric looked around and wondered, not for the first time,
why a doctor would set up shop here. He guessed because there was a lot of
potential clientele with the way the swamp dwarves lived. But his expectations
of the place they were headed were low.
Fredric had come to Folk Valley while travelling. As usual he'd visited
the local medical education facilities to see if there was anything useful
he could pick up. While enjoying a break in the dining hall, he'd met Qin.
The acupuncturist was a couple of years younger, but closest in looks and
behaviour to Fredric and they formed an easy connection.
"So this Desi, can she really show me the insides of a person?"
Qin paused for a bit, feeling more uncertain as the darkness grew. His
family would not like him going down this far into Swamp City. But as
mostly was the case, Qin had visited this place plenty of times before.
Which was how he knew about the small sect of magical physicians.
"I'm going by rumours here." Qin admitted, "But if there's
some truth to them then she could."
Fredric felt the dip in spirit of his buddy and gave him a pat on the
shoulder and said:
"I don't mind if she can't. Just coming here has been an
Qin nodded, taking the comfort for what it was and continued guiding the
other doctor through the maze of streets and doors. There was hardly no
way of telling doors that led to streets apart from doors that led to
homes. But there was a system in place and Qin knew it well. Ten minutes
later they reached the house of the magic physician Desi.
Qin knocked on the door and stepped back to wait, but Fredric reached for
the doorknob and entered. Used to human standards, he believed there to be
a waiting room. There wasn't and he stepped right inside a room that was
unexpectedly bright and airy. The room looked out to a secluded courtyard
where a single willow tree and several herb and plant boxes formed a neat
Desi looked up to see the two men enter her home. One was very tall with
dark skin and short hair. He smiled and seemed to be a friendly sort. The
other behind him was smaller, but still a good head taller than Desi, with
a slender build and yellow skin. His eyes threw her a bit as he didn't
seem to look directly at her.
"Yes?" she asked, "Might I help you?"
"Sorry to disturb you in your home." Qin started and then
stopped mortified as Frederic unashamedly examined some of the woman's
"I'm surprised to see such delicate glasswork here." Frederic
In fact Fredric was pleasantly surprised by the physician's entire
workplace. The room was clean and every item had it's place, giving the
room a calm and open air. A small firelizard sat in the corner, attentive
but very well behaved. A door to the side presumably led to her living
quarters. And of course there was the window. Fredric looked out and
"Is that your garden?"
"To an effect. It was my teacher's but she has left it in my
Desi looked at Qin, figuring he'd be the one most likely to tell her who
they were and what they were here for. Though the dark man had been pawing
her equipment she did gather that he had a steady hand so she wasn't
overly worried of him breaking things.
"And you are...?" she supplied.
Qin reddened and introduced themselves. Then he quickly told Desi why
they'd come to see her.
"Looking at a person's insides?" she asked.
"Showing me their bone structure to be more precise." Fredric
elaborated, "Ordinarily we would strip the flesh of the deceased and
go from there but if possible I'd prefer to observe living people. That
way I'd get a far better picture of how the bones, tendons and muscles
work. I have charts on humans, but so far none have been made of several
of the other species on Khylar. I'm hoping to change that."
Desi got up and started walking in a small circle. Moving her body always
helped gather her thoughts, as did talking.
"I'll tell you a bit about the way the magical physicians work."
she started, "Like any type of magic, people can have an affinity for
it. Some are better than others and most of us have an area of expertise
just like other physicians would."
Fredric and Qin nodded as Desi looked up.
"I know there are some strange rumours going around about my magic
showing bones while I work it but I honestly don't know if it's an
illusion or reality. I speculate that it could just be my own imaging
technique being cast upon the patient. To heal one must visualise the
changes to have them take place."
"Can you show me?" Fredric asked and stuck out his arm.
"Wouldn't that be dangerous?" Qin asked.
"No more dangerous than asking you to stick needles in me."
Fredric answered jovially, "After all she's a specialist." he
turned to Desi, "Or do I need to be injured for your magic to
"No." Desi said as she and her fellow students had often
practiced their magic on each other.
"Go ahead." Fredric offered.
Desi held out her hand above his wrist and channelled her magic
through it. She was met with some resistance, but she found a small gap in
the wall and then she felt her mind search for injuries as she normally
"Logically, I can't find any wounds." she told Fredric,
"But you did break your wrist once though it has long since
"Impressive." Fredric said as he looked at the image hovering
above Desi's hand. Like a reflection in water, the image rippled as she
moved, but it became clear when she held still. As far as his knowledge
went, everything that he expected to see was there.
"Can you keep this up for a long enough time? I'd need to draw these
with a lot of detail."
"This isn't very intensive." she assured him.
"Now we only need to find people willing to submit to being the
models." Qin sighed.
He very much doubted that many dwarves would freely offer up their time,
but everyone had a price so maybe offering a small reward might be enough
"I would like to be mentioned in your book." Desi
She always wanted to be recognised for her work. Being part of this, even
if only a few books got sold to local teaching facilities would be
amazing. Desi agreed to accompany them to Frederic's lodgings to write up
paperwork, draft a contract and decide on an advertisement.
As they left the closed quarters of Swamp City, her firelizard Rikar
suddenly zoomed away. The creature was usually well behaved and clung to
her as if he was stuck with glue. Worried, she gestured to the men to wait
and went after him.
Not much farther she found Rikar's larger draconic cousin hiding in the
"Oh." a man in the vicinity said, "Ehm, I wasn't meant to
Qin and Fredric, who hadn't waited but had instead followed her, broke
through the bushes, causing the dragonrider to curse a bit more.
"You know the deal." his
dragon said, "You have to take them
"People are going to talk if too many people go missing."
"That's not our problem. And they can come
back anyway. These ones seem to have an affinity with healing. They might
be good for that Court clutch that's waiting at our sands."
"I guess you're right."
"I always am." the dragon
The rider turned to the three physicians and started his explanation.
[STORY] * [DESI] * [FREDRIC]