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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Infirmary


Myrenna
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Auriane stood, diligently waiting, behind the Aes Sedai she was set to attend. She was Yellow Ajah, and they were in the White Tower’s infirmary. This whitewashed ward had a couple of Warders-in-training, a civilian and a relatively nondescript man who looked… awful. The only way to describe him was “awful.” He sat cross-legged on the bed with a hopeless look on his face. Beside his bed, there sat a woman in a red dress, with long, wavy hair and a vexed expression on her face. Auriane supposed that the man she was treating did not have a physical illness.

 

The Yellow that Auriane had been set to attend was shorter than her, and Auriane felt like a lanky youth following around the graceful Aes Sedai. She worked with great speed and aptitude, yet all Auriane could do was hand her a towel occasionally or hold the patient’s hand for a moment.

 

She found herself looking around the room. The two soldiers, Auriane supposed had had an accident while training, perhaps duelling with each other. They had no injuries now, they were the first that Auriane’s Yellow tended to. Although Novices and Accepted were not taught much at all about Healing, she knew that it left a patient incredibly drained and absolutely famished. Auriane wondered what could and could not be Healed, why this was the case. It was clear that hunger could not be Healed, and Auriane supposed that neither could fatigue. It was only logical, since they were both side-effects of the Healing itself. She wanted to ask her Aes Sedai, but now would not be the place. It surely would not be proper to reveal her lack of medical knowledge in front of patients.

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Seheria was in the infirmary once again. She didn't mind being there because she actually enjoyed knowing that without her work there these people would never be back to full health. Some would be with out jobs and some would be without life if it weren't for her quick response and careful work. What she did really made a difference every day and for many lives in many ways. Though sometimes she did think her patients took having an infirmary for granted and took far more chances, because they knew they could get quick healing, than they would have taken if they weren't in Tar Valon, with a force of Healers at their beck and call.

 

Today was not a very demanding day and there wasn't a big intake of injured people, so there weren't a lot of people left recovering. There were a few men who were still resting up from having been Healed earlier and there was one man that still made shivers run up her back every time Seheria glanced at him. The shivers were partially from the thought that she was so close to a man who once could Channel, and partially from the thought of how easily his connection to the Source had been lost, and how easily her own connection could be ripped away from her. How that Red could sit there just looking at him for so long was something Seheria just couldn't figure out. She almost looked sorry for the man, perhaps it was guilt that kept her there, knowing that it was Reds who had done this to him. He was just a man now, who had lost all he had to live for, and it was that thought that gave Seheria the strength to give him the care he needed.

 

The Yellow had been followed around all morning by a rather quiet Accepted. She was used to having Accepteds there to help, but most were more chatty than this one. Some were constantly questioning her on what she was doing, and some running off at the mouth about something or other distracting her from her work, but this one had hardly said two words to her since they entered the recovery room. She had been good to help and attentive when needed, so it didn't seem to be from boredom, lack of interest, or a queasiness that came over some of the first timers, but Seheria wanted to know what was going on with the girl. So when she had a quick moment walking between patients she turned to the girl and addressed her.

 

"Now Child, Auriane was it?" she asked absently, "You've been rather quiet. I feel as though I've been doing most of the talking today. Have you picked up on anything I've done here? Do you have any questions about anything you've seen me do? Feel free to voice your questions, that is the only way you'll ever get answers."

 

~Seheria Mori

Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah

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The Yellow Aes Sedai turned away from her patient, and Auriane, her faithful assistant, followed immediately, her train of thought interrupted. Today must have been a quiet day in the infirmary. Auriane wondered what the infirmary was like during times of disease or of war. Such incidents happened so rarely in and around Tar Valon -- surely such disasters happened so rarely that they were surprising and difficult for the Aes Sedai to deal with.

 

Abruptly, between patients, Seheria Sedai turned around to face Auriane. The unexpected movement caught Auriane off guard, and she very nearly walked into the Aes Sedai. Clumsy, lanky youth, indeed. She spluttered, and, grunting, barely managed to keep her tray of equipment from clattering to the floor. Auriane’s face reddened immediately and she assumed a sheepish, apologetic stance, ready to be reprimanded for her clumsiness and ill-attention. She looked at the floor, avoiding Seheria Sedai’s eyes, which was a little difficult. The woman was shorter than Auriane, yet also so commanding that her eyes almost demanded to be met.

 

“Now, child. Auriane, was it?” asked the Aes Sedai. She had that absent-sounding tone that Aes Sedai often used -- the one that Auriane knew meant trouble. The one that they used when they wanted to lull someone into a false sense of security, then ask probing questions, or mention something incredibly important, passing it off as a minor detail to catch someone off guard, or… The Accepted’s train of thought was cut off once more when the Aes Sedai continued. “You’ve been rather quiet. I feel as though I’ve been doing most of the talking today. Have you picked up on anything I’ve done here? Do you have any questions about anything you’ve seen me do? Feel free to voice your questions, that is the only way you’ll get answers.”

 

Auriane stared at the woman for a moment like an idiot, thinking of the right words to use. “I apologise, Seheria Sedai,” she began. “But, I was always taught to speak only to elders and betters when spoken to. I worried that if I spoke I would be in trouble, or I would disturb the patients.” She paused a moment. “I was wondering, though, why some things can be Healed, yet others can’t. For example, hunger and tiredness I presume cannot be Healed, since Healing seems to cause them…” Auriane trailed off and glanced around the room awkwardly. “I’m sorry, Seheria Sedai. I spoke out of turn and what I did speak was nonsense.”

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Elin sat next to Jaef's bedside, weaving Spirit into a complex weave. Delving didn't take much effort, but the more complex you wove it, the deeper you could see into a patient. While Elin didn't have much skill with Healing, bruises were the extent of her ability, she could Delve with the best of Aes Sedai. Even as a Novice and an Accepted, her abilities with Spirit had been far above average.

 

Jaef wasn't a bad man, and he hadn't claimed to be the Dragon. He'd simply started channeling and been turned in by his family. Luckily for him, he'd lived close to Tar Valon, on the Andoran side, and he'd come willingly. His trial had been brief, and his Gentling as quick and painless as possible. Still, he had reacted as well as one could expect... the life drained out of him, and until recently he had spent his days being prodded around by an Accepted, forcing him to exercise. This morning, he had simply sat in his bed, refusing to move... almost refusing to hear. Elin was sure he could hear them, but he just didn't react.

 

She let the Delving weave settle into him, confirming that there was nothing physically wrong with him... aside from the fact that he hadn't eaten anything for two days. His body was dehydrated and lacking nutrients... but other than that, he was healthy. Moving deeper, Delving past the body, Elin found what had been his link to the One Power. It was cleanly cut, like any good amputation... it saddened her to examine this particular wound. No one had ever found a way to Heal this wound, and Elin doubted anyone could. How could a person remake what the Creator had made when forming a person's soul?

 

In the background, Elin heard the Yellow on duty bustling around the Infirmary. The woman was efficient, which was good, but she seemed to be avoiding Jaef. A good healer wouldn't let their own squirmishness make them avoid someone who obviously needed their help.

 

Letting the weave go, Elin simply sat there, staring into Jaef's eyes, willing them to move... willing him to pull out of this torpor.

 

Elin Hawes

Aes Sedai

Red Ajah

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“I apologise, Seheria Sedai,” The girl finally managed to fumble out. “But, I was always taught to speak only to elders and betters when spoken to. I worried that if I spoke I would be in trouble, or I would disturb the patients. I was wondering, though, why some things can be Healed, yet others can’t. For example, hunger and tiredness I presume cannot be Healed, since Healing seems to cause them…” Auriane trailed off and glanced around the room awkwardly. “I’m sorry, Seheria Sedai. I spoke out of turn and what I did speak was nonsense.”

 

"Knowing where you stand and knowing how to act and address those in a position above yours is a very good thing to know and practice, but you only get so many opportunities in life to learn things, so you need to take them when you get them. Your place as Accepted is to learn all you can from those with knowledge to teach you, and as you know, the Aes Sedai don't often say as much as they could without being asked. Don't worry about the patients, no one here today is blinded and they can all see your dress. No one assumes you are a Yellow here to bring them back from the grave with your extensive knowledge of Healing. Oh, and another point I will offer, just because someone is your elder does not always make them your better. Learn your place and act within it, but take your opportunities when they come child." Seheria turned back to the patient she had begun to check up on but continued talking to the Accepted.

 

"To understand what Healing can and cannot do, one must first understand what Healing is, and what it does. Healing with the One Power, as we know and use it now, simply accelerates the natural healing process your body would go through when you are recovering from an injury. The strength required in this process is equal to the total strength required over the natural healing process, which is why a patient would eventually get very hungry and tired after the Healing. He would need more food and rest during the natural healing process without the One Power, but because he is not given the time to eat or sleep as he would have if he were left to heal naturally, he feels the hunger and need to rest soon after the Healing." Seheria paused to make sure this was getting through to the girl. When she was satisfied that the girl had at least caught the general idea she continued, "So if the wound is too severe, and the patient wouldn't have been able to survive the natural healing process anyway, channeling wouldn't be able to save him. A wounded person needs to rely on their own strength to get through the Healing, and if they are too weak for this than they will not make it through the Healing. Have you any more questions on what I just explained or anything else?"

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Auriane was surprised, when, instead of a reprimand for her clumsiness, Seheria Sedai seemed to encourage her to speak up about her curiosity. She still felt very awkward around the graceful woman, but Auriane smiled at the woman’s kindness. The bed bound man they were stood next to gave a weak chuckle at Auriane’s foolishness and seemed almost as interested as Auriane when Seheria Sedai roughly explained how Healing worked. He obviously knew the effects of Healing, but perhaps did not know the reason for it.

 

She had been puzzled for a time over why Healing had the effects that it did, and she supposed that it was perfectly logical, knowing what she did now. Auriane felt slightly stupid at being so confused earlier, when the answer seemed so simple. Of course the patient would need time to recover after healing himself so quickly. Auriane had always assumed that it was the Power that did the Healing, rather than the patient. To hear that the Power merely accelerated the process made perfect sense.

 

The Accepted felt a myriad of questions bubbling up within her, but knew that unfortunately most of them would only be answered when she reached the shawl. “Seheria Sedai, is that why women never learn how to Heal until they reach the shawl? Because a woman has to know when it is safe to heal and when not to, judgement that only the experienced and educated mind of an Aes Sedai could make?”

 

Her job seemed a lot brighter now that there was this new warmness in the room. Auriane still felt uneasy, however, about that strange man in the corner. She wondered what could be wrong with him: he appeared physically hale and well rested, but the Aes Sedai sat next to him seemed frustrated. Had he angered her? Was that why he was still in the infirmary even though he had recovered?

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Seheria could see the embarrassment in the girl as she realized how simple it all really was. It didn't surprise the Yellow, she herself had once had the same unsureness about Healing. The thought of how intrusive it was, how important it was and how it could hold the key to life and death at times, had made it seem like it would have to be very complicated to learn. That was intrigued her about it, what made her choose the Yellow, just the thought of really being able to do something to make a true difference in the world, to really affect a life in a way that no one else but a Yellow Sister could. She hoped the girl could overcome the embarrasement. If she had to ask the question she did than she must have million more bubbling in her brain. Seheria hoped that she would chose the questions wisely. There was a lot she was willing to answer and discuss that the other Yellows may reserve if the girl came to help with them.

 

“Seheria Sedai, is that why women never learn how to Heal until they reach the shawl? Because a woman has to know when it is safe to heal and when not to, judgement that only the experienced and educated mind of an Aes Sedai could make?”

 

"That is part of the reason. A very large part, however, it is more about the experience in the One Power, and the maturity of the woman. Healing is serious, and dangerous. It is not like lighting a candle, or shielding someone. Healing can be the difference between saving a life and loosing one, and that is not something to be played with. A lot of things done with the One Power can be reversed with the One Power, Healing is not one of these things. You only get one chance. If you set a broken bone and do it incorrectly someone can not come behind you and reset it, and that could affect the life and abilities of the one who was Healed for the rest of their life. As Novices and Accepted you are still just learning to handle the One Power and how to use it properly. Until you can use the One Power in a stressful situation, keeping a calm clear mind and have the knowledge of what to do this is far to dangerous to try. One slip and you could kill a man who should otherwise live, and as Accepted we would never put you in such a situation. " Seheria looked the girl in the eye in hopes that would help sink in the seriousness of the situation, but she hoped she was not scaring the girl. The last thing she wanted to do was a scare a potential aspirant for choosing the Yellow.

 

"There is a lot to learn, and as Accepted you have many other lessons to focus on. When you learn of Healing you must focus on it and devote your time to learning it properly. If you wait until you are raised you will be confident in your use of the One Power, and you will have the ability to focus on learning what you must learn. However, there are a few things you can learn before hand, such as Delving to find out what is wrong with a person. This is how we learn what needs Healing and what is going on within the patient. Watch." Seheria was now at the man who had a gash in his leg. She spoke with him breifly and then made the Delving weave. When she was done she wrote a few notes on the paper then turned to the girl. "Would you like to try that? Don't worry, there is very little you can do wrong, and I will walk you through it. If it is alright with the patient you may try it. However, I understand if you would prefer to watch today and simply ask questions, which ever opportunity you choose to take is up to you, both have their merits."

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Elin kept her eyes on Jaef, though she could hear the Yellow and her Accepted getting closer. Despite how often she was out of the Tower, Elin made sure to keep up with who new sisters were, so she was always aware of who really had earned the shawl and ring... also so she would know her place in regard to the hierarchy. It wasn't taught to Accepted or Novices, but your strength in the Power mattered in your interactions with other sisters. Seheria, the Yellow, was close enough that Elin could feel her strength in the Power now, and it was obvious that the Yellow was stronger than Elin.

 

Jaef wasn't moving, but Elin Delved him again as she thought on the situation. Jaef was here because he was a man who could channel... rather, he used to be a man who could channel... and he had been Gentled. Elin herself had been part of the circle that cut him off from the One Power. He had wept that day, falling to his knees. By that connection, he was practically Elin's patient, so she had every right to stay where she was, doing as she was, even if the Yellow objected.

 

Plus, it pleased her just a bit to tweak the nose of a Yellow in the Infirmary. There was a long standing tension between the Red and Yellow Ajahs, so standing up, slightly above her station, was acceptable.

 

This second Delving showed nothing new. There was nothing wrong with him, excepting that he'd given up the will to live.

 

As she sighed, she realized the other two women were at the bed next to Jaef's. All she could do now was wait to see what the Yellow did.

 

Elin Hawes

Aes Sedai

Red Ajah

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Auriane listened intently as Seheria Sedai explained the rest of the reason that women were not taught Healing until they reached the shawl, nodding whenever required by politeness. It definitely made sense. Of course women needed maturity and dexterity to practice such a complex weave in such pivotal situations where Healing was required.

 

The woman demonstrated the Delving weave on a man with a gashed leg. Auriane knew about Delving, but she had never tried the weave before. She watched the intricate threads of the Power entwine and weave, flowing into the man and was amazed, as always, by the Aes Sedai’s immense skill. She could not imagine being as strong or as clever as this woman and sometimes fretted over that. Surely she would never reach the shawl, clumsy and stupid as she was. Seheria Sedai turned to the Accepted, and asked: “Would you like to try that? Don’t worry, there is very little you can do wrong, and I will walk you through it. If it is alright with the patient you may try it.”

 

Auriane glanced uneasily at the injured man and replied. “You said… ‘very little.’ That means that something can go wrong. I am reluctant to risk something like that, although I would gladly practice the weave elsewhere and, were I to accompany you in the infirmary again, could try it on a patient, when I had had time to improve.” Trying to appear calm and confident to the Aes Sedai, Auriane secretly wrung her hands behind her back. She was not comfortable refusing an Aes Sedai’s offer. Even after her sixteen years in the Tower, Auriane still had not managed to shake off the entire cultural distrust for Aes Sedai she had been brought up on. Perhaps because it was indeed wise advice.

 

Sensing the Power being woven beside her, Auriane turned to her right and spotted the awful-looking man sat cross-legged on his bed, and beside him on the other side, the Aes Sedai, also Delving. It was a sorry sight indeed. He had rather handsome features and looked physically strong… He probably could have had a very good life, but the sunken, apathetic look to his eyes, the pallid tone to his cheeks, unsettled her. He reminded her of her dreadful test for the ring and banded dress, of the starved men who had given up after two years trying to recover their crops. Only, this man looked worse.

 

Twisting the ring on her finger behind her back, Auriane leaned in closer to the Yellow and breathed, “Seheria, what’s wrong with him?

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Auriane sheepishly backed out of the offer to Delve the man, and Seheria just let it go. All she could do was offer the girl the opportunity, it was up to her if she took it or not. She did make sure that she stood on an angle that made the weave easy for the girl to follow. Seheria didn't want the girl running off Delving everything she could, but the girl seemed responsible enough to let her feel as though she were sneaking a glimpse and getting away with something. She would be learning it at some point, and if this put a little extra spark of curiosity for the Yellows in the girls head, then it was well worth it. The girl had a good head, and Seheria was glad to see that she worried more about accuracy and doing it correctly than getting to do it in the first place. The girl was wiser than she looked, or less confident in herself than she should be at Accepted. Seheria finished the develing and had another quick word with the man. She asked Auriane to jot down a few notes on the man as she told her what she wanted recorded.

 

Next they made their way to the gentled man. Seheria hated working with people who had Aes Sedai visitors. It wasn't that she didn't want to help the man, it was just that she didn't want to interupt the visit. She was the one in charge here today, so it was her place to come between the other Aes Sedia and the man, at least for a time to check on him. But she could tell that no matter what she said or did this Aes Sedia would have something to say. All of the Sisters were like that, if this was the Red's charge than she would feel like anything Seheria did was not good enough, or getting her way. Seheria didn't know what the Red was hoping for. The way she was constantly delving him Seheria could only think the woman was trying to fix the severed connection. Of course Seheria knew that was useless, but struck her most oddly about it was that Seheria was sure this woman had been part of the party that Gentled him after the trial. Perhaps it was the guilt that was weighing on the woman, but wasn't it thought that by gentling the man they were saving him from himself when he finally did go mad? Now he would have a chance at live again, once he accepted that what has happened cannot be changed, and it really is for the best. He can love his family, and work at a job he loves and never fear for his sanity.

 

As they began to approach the bed where the Red sat hunched over the recovering man the Accepted whispered to Seheria, asking what was wrong with him. Seheria glanced at the Red before answering. She knew what she was going to say would probably cause some sparks, but it was the truth, at least the truth how Seheria saw it, and how she believed the man needed to see it if he had any chance to survive. "There is nothing wrong with this man. His body and mind are in perfectly healthy condition. He is going through some very difficult emotions, and needs supervision and rest." She lowered her voice so only the Accepted could hear, "He came to us after his trial and gentling, we are monitoring his recovery, trying to help him through the difficult emotions." She didn't want to remind the patient of the gentling, she knew it had to be something on his mind, but she was trying to help him move forward now.

 

She wished the girl hadn't asked about him while they were so close. It wasn't the man she was worried about really, him she knew she could handle. It was the Red she worried over. She knew the woman thought she knew it all, as all Aes Sedai did, and with how much time she had spent sitting with him, doing what ever it was she was trying to do to the man, she would obviously feel strongly about what was going on. Seheria just wished she knew where the woman stood before she had to comment. Did she feel that they had done the right thing by gentiling him? Was she trying to find a way to reverse it? Or was she trying to find a way to stop him feeling how he felt?

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The Yellow and her Accepted were here now. Elin sighed, waiting for the Yellow to interject herself or to request Elin to move aside, but it didn't come. Instead, the girl asked Seheria what was wrong with the man. The Yellow's callous response stung.

 

"There is nothing wrong with this man. His body and mind are in perfectly healthy condition. He is going through some very difficult emotions, and needs supervision and rest."

 

If she were anyone but an Aes Sedai, Elin's face would have shown her anger. Instead, she turned to Seheria and the Accepted with icey calm. "Not to contradict my sister, but there is in fact something wrong with this man. First, though, his name is Jaef. He is a person, even after what was taken from him."

 

Standing, Elin directed her comments to the girl. "Just like any amputee, this man is grieving the loss of something integral to his person, his self. We cut him off from the True Source, as we must, but it still caused him grievous hurt. Just like if gangrene has set into a foot, beyond the point when it may be Healed, the foot must be removed... so must this man's connection to the True Source. And just like that man who no longer has a foot, this man is no longer whole."

 

Elin kept the bitterness from her words, thinking of her long dead brother and all the men she had helped to Gentle over the years. Men who could have been their brothers, but were lost because of the taint.

 

"Like many amputees, men who are Gentled often give up on life. Jaef has reached a point where he is refusing to acknowledge stimuli and will not take food. Unless he chooses to live again, he will waste away here in this bed until he dies."

 

Looking at both the Accepted and the Yellow, "There is indeed, something wrong with this man."

 

Now, to see what Seheria did. It might not have been the wisest course, but it had been the right one.

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Seheria held off a sigh and a roll of her eyes as the red sister spoke. When she had finished Seheria spoke up once again. "I was attempting to spare the patient of being reminded of what he had gone through like this. I would think it would be easier for him to deal with his emotions and focus on moving forward with his life than continuing to focus on the past, however now that it is out in the air like this we may as well inform this Accepted as well as we can." Seheria turned to Auriane and continued, clearly still speaking to Elin.

 

"Yes this man, Jaef," she emphasized his name purely to satisfy the Red, "can be compared to an amputee in some ways. Yes, a piece of him was removed but, as my sister noted, this was something that needed to be done. Just as a man who had gangrene in is foot must have it skillfully removed and the wound healed before it spread its disease to the rest of his body and killed him, Jaef needed to have this connection severed for the same reasons. My sister and her's helped cut this man off from what would ultimately spread and destroy him. They cut the connection quiet cleanly, and if you were to delve him you would find the spot cut properly and accurately. When a man has had his foot amputated and the physical wounds heal, his body is still considered healthy if there are no other sickness' or injuries. If you were to delve this man you would find no illness or injuries, and thus we can say that there is nothing physically 'wrong' with him.

 

Just as the man who lost his diseased foot grieves for its loss, this man is indeed grieving the loss of his connection. However, grief is a very normal emotion to be feeling at this time, and so I say there is nothing mentally wrong with him. Jaef can feel grief, and is dealing with it in a very common way for one in his condition. My sister is correct when she says that he is refusing to acknowledge stimuli and will not take food and that unless he chooses to live again, he will waste away here in this bed until he dies, which is why, as I stated, we are keeping him here and monitoring him.

 

We are doing all we can to give him reasons to go on, but ultimately it must come from within him. Only he can truly find his passion and find something to throw himself into life again. We worry over his lack of eating, though while it is a common symptom of grief it is still quite dangerous. We are doing all we can for him, as we do for all of our patients."

 

Seheria then turned to the man, stepping between he and the Red and began to do her routine checks.

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