poultice


The Royal Infirmary
Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia


You stand in the Cair Paravel Infirmary, a long, narrowish room that runs half the length of the Hall. The south wall is lined from ceiling to floor with long wooden shelves, each of which holds a variety of jars, bottles and wooden boxes. Most of them are labelled with hard-to-pronounce names, and there is the strong, pungent odor of drying herbs lingering in the air. The north wall is lined with windows above and cots below. There’s also a kind of desk here, with lots of books and scrolls scattered across it.

Doors are found at either end of the Infirmary. To the east, an open doorway leads out to the Northside Tower. To the west, a wooden door leads out into the Royal Gardens.


Lanisen is perched on a very tall stool, one made to match the very tall counter, which is made for a centaur’s height rather than a human’s. He’s got a book open in front of him and is watching Stormsbreath put together a /something/ in a large glass jar. It seems to be mostly wood shavings. “So what do the spirits do, then?” he asks. “Why not water?”

Avery comes in through the infirmary door. Her left hand is roughly wrapped in a cloth, blood staining the white fabric. She does not appear panicked, though.

Lanisen looks over his shoulder as the door opens, while the centaur explains the virtues of spirits in drawing out the medicinal compounds of the bark. Lanisen hops down from his stool, wincing slightly on the landing, and bows. “Lady Avery?” he asks, and Stormsbreath turns to look too.

Avery looks up from tucking one end of the fabric more secure. “Oh, Lanisen. Hello.” She nods to them both and holds up her wrapped hand, shrugging.

Stormsbreath comes nearer, holding out his hand for Avery’s injury. “What happened, Lady Avery?” he asks. Lanisen hangs back.

Avery holds out her hand to the Centaur. “A foolish mistake, really…It’s from the knife I use to sharpen my pencils. I recently had it sharpened, but it must have slipped from its pouch during travel. Usually I take more care, but I was in a rush looking for something and I didn’t realize the knife was there in the trunk…”

Stormsbreath reaches for a clean white cloth and unwraps Avery’s hand, looking at the injury closely. “Lanisen,” he says. “Go out into the garden and bring me three leaves of comfrey and two of plantain.”

Lanisen straightens immediately and scrambles a bit until he finds the shears. He makes it three steps toward the door, and then doubles back and grabs another clean cloth from the stack, to Stormsbreath’s approving nod. He darts out the door.

Avery winces a bit as the fabric is unwrapped. The cut is a clean slice right below her pinky on her palm. The bleeding has slowed some, but has not clotted yet.

Stormsbreath calls after him, “Cut from the top!” He steps toward a lower table, one more at a human’s height, and draws Avery with him, keeping the clean cloth underneath to catch any dripping blood. “In truth,” he says, “it is not deep; a washing and a few days under a bandage would be sufficient, but I hope you will permit me this teaching moment.”

Avery follows the Centaur toward the table. She nods. “I could not wrap it myself…”

Stormsbreath turns away and fetches down a basin from a high shelf, then carries it to the pump in the wall. He works the pump several times until the water begins to flow, then fills the bowl and carries it back to the table. “It is an awkward place for an injury,” he agrees, reaching for her hand to submerge in the water. “Is this hand your dominant hand, or the other?”

Avery says, “No, thankfully. It is the other.”

Stormsbreath says, “Good. You will want to leave this hand unused as much as possible in the coming days to let the skin knit. Ah,” he adds, glancing up as Lanisen returns with the herbs. “Do you know how to make a poultice?”

Lanisen says, “Um,” and glances at Avery. He’s a little bit wide-eyed and nervous, but he says, “Yeah, I’ve– yeah, is it– Where’s, where’s your pestle?” When Stormsbreath indicates a drawer under the tall counter, he rummages until he finds it, then settles to the task. There’s a degree of confidence in his actions, broken occasionally into uncertain moments when he can’t find the right bowl and has trouble with the water pump, but he clips and crushes and mixes and thickens the resulting green mash without needing direction, and Stormsbreath watches approvingly.

Avery nods to Stormsbreath, watching Lanisen as he follows the Centaur’s instructions.

Lanisen presents the poultice once he has finished, watching Stormsbreath’s face anxiously as he inspects his work. The centaur tilts the bowl back and forth to check for excess runniness and pinches up a bit between his fingers to check the consistency, then nods approval. “Well done,” he says, and Lanisen fairly glows.

Avery smiles lightly at Lanisen’s expression.

Stormsbreath folds a new cloth in thirds and scoops the tiny heap of mash onto it. He folds the edges over and places it carefully so that the poultice covers the cut directly before tying it off. There is likely a soothing effect from the herbs. “There,” he says. “You may leave that on until suppertime, then wash and wrap it again. Keep it covered for the next few days.”

Avery pulls in a breath through clenched teeth as she injury is wrapped, but she calms once it’s tied off. “Thank you, Stormsbreath. I will take care to follow your instructions.” Her gaze moves to Lanisen. “Thank you, Lanisen.”

Lanisen watches Stormsbreath work, and looks back at Avery when he’s addressed. He bows mutely, glancing briefly at the Centaur again, and grins.

Avery observes the bandage as she stands. “I did not mean to interrupt your lesson. I will let you get back to it.”

Stormsbreath laughs, a deep and pleasant sound, and says archly, “Interrupt to put the infirmary to its intended use? How shall we recover.”

Avery chuckles as well. “In truth, I never would have expected to find myself here. I tend to be very careful.” She glances at Lanisen, as if considering something. “But despite some unpleasantness, a part of me is glad for it…”

Lanisen blinks back at her, unsure.

Avery lifts her hand. “Oh, should I come back for you to check on this?”

Stormsbreath says, “If you notice swelling or redness, or if you need help wrapping the bandage.”

Avery nods. “Alright. Thank you.” She bows her head to both of them and turns to go. After a few steps she turns again to face Lanisen. “What was it you fetched for the poultice?”

Lanisen says, “Um,” and shifts his weight. “It was– comfrey and plantain, my lady. Comfry’s for helpin’ it heal and plantain’s for…” He hesitates, glancing at Stormsbreath. “For… inflammation?”

Stormsbreath confirms with a nod.

Avery repeats, “Comfrey and plantain. Hmm. I was just curious.”

Stormsbreath asks, “Do you also have an interest in healing, Lady Avery?”

Avery shakes her head. “No. Not specifically, but I like learning new things.”

Stormsbreath offers, “There are texts I could recommend…”

Avery asks, “Oh?”

Stormsbreath lifts his eyebrows and moves for the tall counter, reaching for charcoal and parchment. “Certainly,” he says, and starts writing. “These can be found in the library, but if you have read those and find yourself interested in further study, you may seek me out and I will gladly share my notes.” He hands her the parchment, written over with a list of about six books with daunting titles like “Medicinal Tubers and Their Applications” and “Infusions and Tinctures: A Study”.

Avery takes the list, reading them over. She chuckles. “I can assure you I have not read these…and I will probably never read them fully, to be honest.” She looks up. “But if I find myself with the desire to learn more thoroughly, I will take your recommendations.”

Stormsbreath’s eyes twinkle at this frank answer. He puts his fist over his heart and inclines his head and says, “Keep your injury clean, Lady Avery.”

Avery holds up her hand with a slight smile. “Certainly. Good day to you both.”

Lanisen, slightly behind Stormsbreath, bows.

Avery turns and leaves the infirmary.

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