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A Herb Ritual Attn Rhya and Zie


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Continued from here for Rhya: 1,000 Points of Light


From outside Owen’s treehouse the sound of a gale blowing and rain lashing the windowpane meant that Owen had decided to start the herb lesson indoors. He was teaching both Rhya and Zie how to recognise the various herbs that were used to heal various injuries and illnesses.

In front of Owen, on a small table was a selection of herbs, herbs used for healing any manner of ills. As Owen was contemplating the display of herbs in front of him, Rhya and Zie waited patiently for him to say something. Looking up at them. Owen started to explain what the lesson today was about and then handed the various herbs first to Zie and asked her to pass them on to Rhya, letting them get a good look at them, a feel for their various textures and in some cases their identifying smells.

“Now the first one I want you to learn to recognise is Flatwort. This can be used to relieve fatigue, and also clear your head, if say you have got a headache, or have been knocked out.”

Owen handed over the Flatwort and then went on to explain it was best mixed in with a cup of Tea. “Another herb that has the same properties is Andilay Root. If you cannot find any Flatwort then as long as you can find Andilay Root you will be able to use it the same way.”

Owen then started to discuss, further, the two herbs with Zie and Rhya and even sliced them up to see what they would look like when prepared. Once they indicated they were certain they would recognise them, Owen moved on to the next two herbs he wanted them to memorise.

"This is referred to as either Grey Fennel, or Powdered Peach Pit, it is one and the same, but is very poisonous when ingested, either in a powder form or like this." He tossed the seed to Zie and wiped his hands. “Not all herbs are used for a good purpose, unfortunately there are many who will use the deadly ones for purposes that all decent people would never think of doing.” Seeing the look on their faces Owen continued quickly. “It is important we know as many herbs as possible, only then can we guard against their effects.”


The WhiteWolf

Ranger Leader

OOC: I hate herb lessons so the quicker we do this the quicker we can move on to something more interesting*g*

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Zierna was excited, today was the day that Owen was going to teach them about herbs. It was not that she did not know any thing about them, she was just unsure of what herbs were in the area that she could use for her headaches. Her supply from home was getting low and she was not really sure what she could use instead of it. Maybe she could talk to Owen about it since they were learning about herbs any way. It seemed hard to find an herb that dulled the pain while leaving her aware and able to function.


With each herb that he handed her she took her time to memorize all the aspects of it so that she would know it by sight, smell and even taste. There was no way to say if you would be able to taste it every time, if some one put it in wine or spiced cider it would make it more difficult wouldn’t it? There seemed to be a never ending line of herbs, some were safe in one form where others were deadly.


“Owen with our sense they way they are it would be easier to detect if an herb was put in to a drink wouldn’t it? Easier than say for some one who is not Kin.”


After looking over all of the herbs he had placed on the table Zierna thought that it was a good time to ask him about the herb that she used. She took it out of her pouch and held it out for him to look at, it was similar to several of the ones she had already looked at. There were only a few differences that caused one to wonder what part of the land it came from.


“ I use this for the headaches I get because of my eyes, at this point I have very little of it left and was wondering if you might be able to give me an alternative to use. It does not seem to grow in the mountains and I have grown use to not being confined to a bed for several days at a time.”


She hoped that he had some thing that was readily available because what he was holding was all she had left. It would last her at max only two more days and then she might not be able to do much of any thing in the stedding.


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When Rhya had heard Owen’s plans for the day, she had groaned inwardly, unimpressed at the notion of both staying indoors and having a stranger share her studies. Looking out of the window, however, she thanked the Light for his common sense as the wind howled around the house. Rain she could cope with, wind and rain together made for misery.


Sighing, she brought her attention back to the lesson, glancing at the other girl as she did so. Zie seemed nice in a rather serious way and Rhya had greeted her politely when she’d turned up. They were both recent arrivals after all and she wondered briefly how Zie was settling in to life in the Stedding.


Casting her eyes over the herbs on the table, she took them as Zie passed them on, sniffing delicately, fingering the leaves and considering their uses. She was no healer but she knew that basic knowledge of herbs could save a life, especially when out traveling alone, far from even a village with a Wisdom. More so for the Kin who could not always be certain of a welcome.


Some of the herbs looked familiar, others very different from what could be found in Saldaea. Her mother and sister had used herbs for creams, soaps and other feminine potions. She, on the other hand, had learned to use them for eating. Cook had always had a most attentive audience when explaining their various uses as seasoning and garnish. Admittedly, that was because Rhya knew she would be allowed to taste whatever was being made and it could never be said that she didn’t have a healthy appetite.


She looked closely at the Grey Fennel, trying to imagine the kind of person who would use it for such a cowardly purpose as poisoning anyone, before placing it back beside the others, sure that she would recognise them all in future. She considered asking Owen about herbs that could put someone to sleep. Her dream disturbed nights were beginning to take a toll, leaving shadows around her eyes and effecting her concentration. She hurriedly dismissed the idea though, not wishing to answer any awkward questions in return and instead listened to Zie’s questions with interest.


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“Well either of these two herbs can be used to relieve the pain you are describing Zie. I suggest you try one and see if that helps, and if it does not then try the other. Often one herb will work and another will not. It would seem it is the person who is taking it that makes the difference between whether it will work or not. As to whether it is easier for members of the Wolfkin to avoid being poisoned by some unscrupulous type? Some herbs do not have a distinct taste or smell so we are just as vulnerable to them as any two-legs would be. The best way to guard against this is to not accept anything from a person you do not trust.”

Owen’s answers seemed to satisfy Zie and so he decided to move onto the next batch of herbs he had placed on the table.” This is called Worrynot Roo and this one is [/i]Feverbane[/i] both are useful if you patient has a fever. With any luck if you use these in time the patient should recover fully.”


Owen handed them to the two girls to let them get a closer look. Herb lessons were not Owen’s favourite, truth be told he hated them and had done for a long time. For some reason of all the lessons he had to give ones concerning herbs always seemed to drag on. When the girls had finished Owen picked out two more herbs and explained to them what they were used for.


“This is sheepstongue root, it really has no practical use, but we have found it helps with eye pain. Other than that it can be used as a threatt to young unruly children.”


“Why would that be Owen?”  Rhya only just beat Zie to the question, and Owen was tempted to tell her, but thought it would be better to show her instead and sent her off to the kitchen to boil some water. While Rhya was doing that Owen showed Zie how to mash up the root until it was ready to be immersed in the boiling water. When the water was ready Owen added some of the root to the boiling water; vigorously stirring the water until it had all dissolved. Owen poured two mugs of this concoction and then handed them to Zie and Rhya  “See what you think.” Owen did his best to hide his smile, but once the two girls had taken a mouthful he bust out laughing at the expression of disgust on their faces.

Wiping her hand across her mouth Rhya looked at Owen, “you could have just explained to us Owen, I am not sure I will ever get that taste from my mouth.”

“Well this way you will not forget what it tastes like, not all lessons can be learnt just be someone telling you.”


Quickly moving on Owen handed Rhya another herb. “This is Chainleaf it is very good for queasy stomachs and nausea. Again it is prepared in a drink, most usually a hot one.”


A short while later Rhya handed the herb to Zie and then turned back to Owen. “What now Owen?”


“Well now I want the pair of you to go out into the forest and finds as many of these herbs as you can.”

By now the rain had subsided a little, and the wind had died down, but he long grass would still be very wet and no doubt their feet would get a good soaking. 



The White Wolf


Ranger Leader


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Rhya eyed Owen balefully. That stuff tasted absolutely foul and still lingered on her tongue. Never mind the unruly children, I wouldn’t want to taste it again!! she thought in disgust as she got up to go find her cloak and a container for the herbs she had to find.


When she was ready, she made a brief stop in the kitchen to rinse her mouth out with some clear, cold water. The taste didn’t go away but it did at least lessen slightly and she headed out onto the balcony, spotting Zie already heading into the trees. Glad that the wind had calmed somewhat, she took a deep breath of fresh air, shoving her tiredness to one side and swung down into the clearing.


Rhya set off into the woods at the back of the house, glad that her cloak stopped the worst of the rain dripping off the branches. She’d only taken a few steps when Shadow appeared, uncaring of the light drizzle with his thick fur to protect him, bounding around her legs. He almost knocked her over before loping off for a few feet, stopping and then taking off again. Grinning, she gave chase, dodging branches, jumping fallen trunks and slipping and sliding on the muddy ground while Shadow avoided her with ease. Finally she halted, laughing breathlessly with her hands on her knees….. and came face to face with some Chainleaf, bringing her back to the purpose for being out there.


“Enough, my silly friend! I have work to do,” she said with mock severity, dropping the herb into her pouch and they continued on at a more sedate pace as she ran over her mental list of the herbs and what they looked like, eyes scanning the ground. It was not too long a list but to her dismay it took an hour to find any Andilay Root and another 20 minutes to finally discover a patch of Flatwort and some Feverbane, which she was only certain of after checking its texture.


Circling around the Stedding so that her route would bring her back out in front of the tree house, Rhya hunted for the remaining three herbs. The Worrynot Root turned up in the corner of a secluded glade and the Sheepstongue Root she stumbled over at the back of the Infirmary but the Grey Fennel was elusive and the sky was beginning to darken again. Shadow had vanished some time before, obviously having better things to do and Rhya didn’t blame him in the least. Deciding she’d had enough and that her feet and legs were quite thoroughly soaked, she gave up and walked briskly back towards the house, thinking longingly of a hot cup of tea.


She was just about to exit the trees when she spied the Grey Fennel nestled amongst the growth at the edge of the clearing and she hurriedly added it to her collection. The skies opened again, rain pouring down and she made a thankful dash for the house, gaining the balcony in quick order. Having hung her cloak up and kicked her wet boots off, she took her prizes and padded into the kitchen intent on getting some tea.




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  • 2 months later...

Finding the herbs he suggested would not be hard she had already seen them around the stedding and just outside of it. Zie knew that she would have to start trying one of them and give it a chance to see if it would help before trying the other, already she was preparing for the pain that time would cause her. More herbs were presented and she took her time to learn their look and feel before cone of Olwen’s comments caught her attention, threaten children? Her class mate asked before she could and a strange sense of foreboding, she did as Olwen told her and prepared the herb. Once that was done he finished it and handed them both glasses.


By the look on Olwen’s face she could just imagine that both of them had looks that were not meant to be on a human face. Oh the stuff was foul; she wanted to find some mint or ant thing to help take it away, and resisting the impulse to wipe her tongue against her sleeve she just stood there. The next while they were looking at other herbs that were in the area and of good use, to soon Olwen stopped handing them herbs. Now they had a task to do and Zie could not wait to get out side and begin the search, she was out of the tree and ducking in to the woods before any one said any thing else.


The feel of the air made it easier to forget the nasty taste in her mouth some what, it was the thrill of the hunt that caught her as she moved though the trees. She let the picture of each herb flash through her mind as she walked off one of the path, only a few feet off the path she found sheepstongue root. Just the sight of it caused her to grimace and the taste to come back stronger, growling and spitting she collected it. It took her a little longer to find Worrynot Roo and Feverbane, once she found their likely places to be it was easier to locate more of them.


It started to rain again while she was looking for the last herb, the water did not bother her but it did make it a little harder to see. Just as she was about to give up on finding it she spotted what looked like the right leaf poking out from under a larger plant. Shaking her head she picked it and was glad to see it was Chainleaf, shaking off some of the water she headed back to Olwen’s with her treasures. She reached his home some what quickly, having stopped a few times to pick up herbs she saw. Climbing up she left her wet cloak and boots at the door, the others were inside drinking tea as she came in and set her bag down. Zie accepted a cup and wondered what else they would be doing this day.


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  • 4 weeks later...

When the two girls returned Owen looked over the herbs they had brought back and commended them on their diligence, not only for listening to his descriptions of the herbs, but for collecting enough of them to please the Sages, something that was always a good thing to do.


“Well that is it for now, you will find these herbs will serve you well when it comes to basic needs but there is one last task I would like both of you to undertake.” Owen saw their faces drop at his words, no doubt they were thinking it would be some onerous task that they would have to undertake but with some initial effort on their part the task would almost complete itself.


“What I need both of you to do is start a small herb garden, something that contains the very herbs we have talked about today. As you have realised these herbs are not easy to find and the Sages always need more, so every student I have I ask them to plant a small herb garden of their own. So you can undertake this together, or you can make a separate garden each, it is your choice.”


Owen left Zie and Rhya to talk over what they wanted to do and while they were doing this he took the mugs they had been using to his kitchen and proceeded to clean them.




OOC Ok guys one more post from each of you and this lesson is over. Apologies for my slackness in replying I have the writers block really badly at the mo.


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It had not taken the girls long to agree that it would be far simpler for them to work on their own gardens. This would be an ongoing project after all and they did not live together. It made sense to have a small herb patch each close to their own homes. It had taken even less time for Rhya to decide that she would make a start on hers right away. Better to make use of the long summer nights while they were still available and the earlier rain, which had gone off again, would have left the ground soft enough to turn.


Within the hour, Rhya had rummaged around and found several items that she would need; a small trowel, a larger spade, cuttings from the herbs she'd picked up and last but not least some bread and butter. All that walking earlier had worked up an appetite and she left the tree house once more with a sassy yell at Owen that he could cook dinner that night. Chuckling to herself at the thud against the door frame behind her, she didn't bother to look and see what missile he'd thrown at her, but dropped to the ground below in good spirits and turned to find Shadow waiting on her again.


"And just where did you disappear to earlier my friend? Leaving me to get soaked like that. I bet you were holed up somewhere warm."


Shadow's tongue lolled from one side of his mouth and he looked for all the world as though he were laughing at her, which indeed was confirmed by the humourous tone of his response.


~If the silly she-cub had moved faster, she would not have been so wet.~


Rhya laughed aloud at that and aimed a mock cuff at the wolf's ear that he dodged with ease.


"Come on then, there's more work to be done."


Looking about the clearing and checking the sky to see where the last of the sun's rays were falling, she picked a likely spot between some bushes. Sheltered from the wind, shaded from the worst of the sun's heat but open enough to get light and rain both, Rhya was pleased with her choice and set to work. A good hour of digging had the top layer of earth turned and the soft turf cleared and rolled to one side as Shadow watched her with a slight air of interest. The turfs would be useful later for building fires. That was not something she'd seen done here since her arrival but it was common enough practice in the north. She didn't believe in wasting anything.


Enjoying the soft, rich odour of the peat in her nostrils, she turned to reach for the smaller trowel and found her attention caught by a movement in the sky above. An eagle soared on the air currents, its wings spread to catch the up draughts and Rhya watched the sight for long minutes, envying the bird its freedom and grace. When she returned her attention to the small area she'd opened up.... it was to find all the earth in her plot churned up and one very mucky looking wolf watching her with a self satisfied expression at the help he'd provided. He looked so eminently pleased with his efforts that she collapsed onto her back in gales of laughter, only to have him pounce, planting his muddy paws on her chest before they rolled, wrestled and tumbled across the grass together. Giggling uncontrollably, Rhya was definitely coming off worst and she finally lay still, letting Shadow bound away from her.


"Who is the cub now?" she said in mock severity, eyes sparkling and edging closer to him. "Look at the state of me!!" She tried to grab the scruff of his neck but he bounded quickly away towards the trees. Shaking a fist at him she grinned and called, "I won't forget this!!"


~Still too slow cub~ the thought drifted back to her as his tail vanished in the undergrowth.


Smiling to herself, Rhya slowly went back to her task, determined to finish it. Now that the earth was loosened, it was short work to carefully space and plant the cuttings she'd chosen and the soil was moist enough that it shouldn't need watering any time soon. Most herbs thrived even in dry ground from what Cook had told her when she'd watched that woman tend the kitchen garden. Obviously, in spite of her mother's views, cultivating friendships with the servants was no bad thing!!


Brushing her hands off on her trousers, Rhya regarded the little herb patch with pleasure. Something that was hers, that she'd made and would look after. It was a good thing she decided, nodding slightly and its purpose would be two fold. Good for the Sages and good for her own cooking.


Realising that the light was fading and that it must be getting late now, Rhya's tummy grumbled at the thought of food and she gathered her belongings quickly. Climbing back up to the veranda was a rather slow process, encumbered as she was with the spade, but she finally dropped everything at the door and kicked off her shoes before walking into the house.


"What happened to you?" Owen's voice startled her, his eyebrow rising as he took in her appearance. "Are you sure you were only planting herbs out there and not digging for buried treasure?"


A smile tilted Rhya's lips as she replied happily, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you I had found treasure," and padded towards her room to get changed, hugging the knowledge that every time Shadow appeared, the longer he stayed around, the less chance there was of him choosing to leave her. It was another step towards building a new life and having a home and meant more than she could find the words to explain.




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