Letters of Jonas Vol. I-V
I'm writing to you to say that I am well, I have reached Halas and met the local medecine man (or "Shaman" as he refers to himself). He's a rough sort, but has a good nature, and his manner with those that are brought to him is as fine and caring as I would hope from any of my students.
Convincing him to allow me to study his use of herbs and potions has been difficult in the extreme. To his people, he is as much a member of the clergy as any Priest of Mithaniel Marr is to us, and his treatments are deeply held as sacred mysteries. We spent a full night of eating and drinking (these Barbarians are a rough lot) without success, although he seemed impressed that a 'City Man' could match his pace at imbibing.
Indeed, I had almost despaired of doing so until the next morning. Waking with a severe headache from my excesses the night before, I blearily made my way from my hut to meet him.
Initially amused at my state, he threw a dried Rat Ear and a Root I recognized as Alkanet ( A general folk remedy chewed for aches in these parts) into a Medicine Bag and proceeded to pulp the root to a liquid. Pouring the noisome concoction into a mug, he handed it to me. Not wishing to appear effete, I drank readily (if without mush enthusiasm) and a more disgusting flavor is hard to imagine.
However my pains left me entirely within seconds, as did any remaining intoxication.
He told me that he had developed this 'Somber Origins' so that he could recover his sobriety quickely in order to treat unexpected patients on Feast nights, when young bravos are prone to fighting.
With a wink, he also confided that these same young men were quite fond of his 'Charming Deceit', an unlikely combination of Undead Froglok Tongue and Mugwart, which aided them in impressing the ladies of the village.
Please write and tell me you are well,
I am overjoyed to receive your letter, but was dismayed yet again over the words your father had for me. My resolve to learn pharmacopial skills to make me a sought consultant and worthy of your hand in his eyes has only redoubled.
My education proceeds, as my host allows me to observe his treatments and preparations. Today a party of hunters came, they were preparing for a long expedition to the Icy Plains. Apparently these are as frigid as they sound, as the group was dressed in warm furs, even those these same men face the frozen avenues of Halas in no more than a kilt and pair of boots.
I was reminded of just how chill this was as I was sent out to the shops to find certain leaves and skins (cold enough I wrapped myself in the uncured skins). When I returned, my mentor arranged these on his bench where a couple of jars had been already opened.
I watched with interest as he proceeded.
First he removed a multi-colored Faerie Wing (I forbore asking how he had it) and combined it with Yebamante to create what he reffered to as "Troll's Essence". I asked why it was called that when there was no part of Troll in it, he said it was just how it came to be called.
Apparently this brew enhances the martial skills and constitution of those who take it.
Reucoat's leaves were matched with a odiferous piece of Zombie Flesh, to create "Spurn Affliction". Somehow the Reucoat reversed the effect of the putrid flesh, actually inuring the drinker against disease.
Then a piece of Wolf Skin of the Highest Quality was cut from the hide, and combined with Sticklewort. The resulting "Wolves Blood" was apparently intended as an energizer, reducing the need to rest from strenuous activity.
Certainly hunting in these climes is always strenuous.
I am sure that the skills I am learning will serve me well, and I look eagerly for your next letter.
I was saddened to hear of your sister's accident, and hope fervently that she is well again when this missive reaches you. It is shameful that the sunken portions of the dock area have never been fenced or railed for the safety of passersby. I saw no end of injuries like hers in my practice, and expect that there will be many more.
I am doing very well, and have found the cold mornings much more endurable since my patron instructed me in the creation of the "Frosty Insurgency" solution from Polar Bear Skin and Bistort. It is amazing how preferable this is to the usual Barbarian method of dealing with cold (which is to drink one's self to a semi-stupor, beyond caring of the weather).
Recently I managed to reverse things and teach my host a lesson in medicine, when a small child was attacked by a giant wooly spider and poisoned before the nearby patrol could arrive and dispatch it.
The "Gorging Toxin" he made from a Giant Wasp Venom Sack and Boneset herb was not sufficient to neutralize the arachnid's venom and he lacked the ingredients for a stronger brew. However, my mundane approach of lancing the bite to draw the poison made the difference (I doubt it would have done alone, so strong is the bite of that creature) and the child lived, much to the appreciation of her father (who nearly cleaved me with my axe when I made the incision).
In gratitude he brought out his rarest component, Vox's Dust and showed me how to Blend it with a ground Fire Drake Scale to make 'Skin of Ro' specific against heat and flame.
It was impressively effective, allowing him to stand in the flames of a bonfire without harm even as his clothing scorched and burned.
Please give my best to your sister and mother, and my respects to your father.
Fortified by Frosty Insurgency potions, I have begun exploring more of the area, traveling with hunting parties as they go out to bring in the food for the village. And such beasts they hunt, Mammoths as big as houses, white leopards with black spots, creatures I had only read about and sometimes not even believed.
Hunting the mammoth, especially, is a difficult undertaking. One party had a novel approach, taking along Gnomish Boils solution (a combination of Bat Fur and Eyebright), they surprised a cow mammoth at the night (which the solution turned nearly to day), in a scene of slaughter that was to much for me.
Another group, however, was even more amazing, they went swimming for fish, using Vox's Vitality (Froglok Leg and Sea Spirit) to remain underwater for incredible lengths of time, with no apparent need to breathe. Once again I was amazed at the hardiness of these people, as they litterally had to cut holes in the ice in order to reach the water and swim!
Even so, the men came out of the water even more exhausted than Wolves Blood could repair, as they immediately visited my host for an even stronger brew made from White Wolf skin and Burdock Root (called Fleeting Languor), before taking themselves to McQuaid's for more traditional libations.
With any luck, this letter finds your sister well, and you as well as always, I wish you and yours (even your father) my best, and hope that I may soon be able to return.
Truly I was overjoyed to hear your sister has recovered, apparently without permanent harm. She is, as you, of fundamentally healthy nature, and it served her well in her recovery. I hope that she will be more careful in the future, however.
Myself, life has settled into something of a routine, even the exotic becomes familiar with time I am finding. In an effort to see something new and different, I went seeking that shyest of creatures, the Air Elemental. Although an invader of our Plane much like the Fire Elementals of Lavastorm, it is not aggressive but retiring, not even visible except when defending itself.
To find it, I prevailed upon my my host to show me the way of combining Aviak Feather and Stinging Nettle to create a potion called Soul of the Incororeal. This substance makes the normally unseeable visible, and with it I was able to see the flighty but insubstantial sprites.
They seemed to be very amused with themselves, playing tag from one side of the icy plains to the other, like children almost.
However, I also witnessed a most primitive spectacle that day, fortified by another of my hosts concoctions made of Warbone Chips and Damiana leaves, one of the hunters wrestled a small bear with his bare hands.
The Undead's Recourse solution certainly seemed effective, as he won rather handily, even though this "small bear" was 3 times even his own rather impressive size.
I found the Elementals to be better company, especially after partaking of Gulon's Impunity (made from Figwort and a minor Lightstone) which allowed me, believe it or not, to sport through the air with ease, joining in their games.
However, when the fun was over I used Copal's Demise (Evil Eye Eyestalk and Horehound) to dissipate the magical effect, so that I could return on my own feet.
As always, I await the day when we may be together again.