Linvin looked at his cousins whose gaze was fixed on him and answered, “It is fine. Yes. Fine. Um…here. I have two ointments you may find helpful. The first is here.” He opened a large jar, which concealed a brush in its lid. The smell was horrific.
Miri plugged her nose and asked, “What is that terrible stench?”
“It is a suave made from the mearock root. Once I apply it to your back, it will cause puss to excrete from the wounds. I will bandage it. After about a day, all the moisture leaves the medicine and the hardened root flakes away. Your back will heal much better and faster. I have seldom had a chance to use it. The root only grows in the northern climates and is nearly impossible for my company to obtain in trade. It is worth more than gold.”
Miri retained her hand on her nose. “Is there perhaps one that is only worth as much as silver that might smell better?” she asked.
Linvin sighed. “Just lift up the back of your shirt and let me put this on you. If it helps, you can take solace in the fact that your hair is beautiful.”
“Beautiful?” Miri asked as she fished for compliments and lifted the back of her shirt. Linvin wiped her wounds with a thick coat of the ointment and answered, “Well, as beautiful as you can get with a horse brush.” He sliced a cotton shirt in half and pressed it against the mixture. It adhered perfectly and required no wraps. Miri lowered her shirt.
“I feel like a slice of bread covered in marmalade,” she said as she turned around. Perhaps tomorrow I will thank you but for the moment sentiments lean toward repulsion.”
Linvin sat the jar down and commented, “I can respect that. You may, however, feel differently about the next jar I have for you.” He held a much smaller vessel in his hand. “I can tell you from past experience that there is little I can do to make your ribs heal more quickly. This medicine, however, will make the situation bearable. It is actually a toxin derived from a spiked fish in the Great Eastern Ocean. If it penetrates the skin in the smallest amount, it is lethal. On the other hand, if it is applied topically it has the effect of deadening the afflicted area starting with the skin and working down to the area beneath. It is scarcely used on the battlefield due to the frequency of open wounds and its cost. In your case, however, it should provide temporary relief of your pain if rubbed over the injured ribs.”
The description Linvin gave did not inspire great confidence but Miri’s pain was substantial. If Linvin recommended the treatment, she was anxious to test it at once. She reached for the jar and Linvin pulled it back.
“Wait,” he said. “You must apply it with a cloth.” He tore as section from his shirt and handed it to her. “Whatever skin it touches will be numb for a good while. Be sure not to touch the medicine with your fingers.”
Miri heeded the warning and took the cloth. Then she went to a corner and opened the jar carefully. She dipped the tip of the rag in the liquid and lifted the front of her shirt with her back to the others. Cautiously she applied the medicine and then lowered her shirt. She closed the lid on the jar and returned to the others. “It just feels cold,” she told Linvin.
“Give it a few moments,” he responded. “Soon you will feel nothing. In the meantime why do you not join my cousins? There should be a good selection of clothing in your size. Drop the rag on the floor for now.”