The brilliant white curtains across the center of the tent split, and out comes Rhaessa, the mage that Hepalonia met briefly two days ago at the House of Light. That conversation was cut off by the arrival of an injury needing treatment. Today, Heppa is that injury. She cradles her bruised wrist, and Rhaessa escorts her over to a seat, requesting, “Please put your hand on this table so I can examine it.” Heppa does so, and the mage looks at her more closely. “Forgive me, but you look a little familiar. Have we met before?”
“Why, yes! I was in the House of Light a couple days ago. I was curious about how your magic might be similar to or different from elvish magic. I’m surprised you remembered!” It did get rather hectic there, after all.
“Well, I’m afraid I don’t know anything about how elvish magic works. Those secrets are kept closely guarded by your kind.”
That is news to Heppa. Maybe she really did not attend enough of her shaman classes. “Are they really? I didn’t know! Maybe we can share information.”
First, though Rhaessa focuses on her medical responsibilities. After a brief examination, she determines that the injury is merely a surface-level bruise, not a sprain. She advises Heppa to just take it easy. Ulf had seemed quite concerned, but Hepalonia knows enough of medicine to not be surprised by that diagnosis. Sounding a little apologetic, Rhaessa adds, “This won’t require any use of magic to mend. Rest is the main treatment. Really, it just needs for the swelling to go down a little bit. Maybe if there was some way to conjure ice… Is this injury the sort that an elvish shaman would expend magical energy to heal?”
Heppa admits to not knowing very many spells herself, but even what little magical healing she possesses would be overkill for something like this. It only feels bruised to her. Rhaessa asks how many years Heppa studied to learn those spells. “I’ve studied a lot of different subjects. For shaman, I spent less than a year, I believe, but I only know one healing spell,” Heppa replies. “How long have you studied? Of course, you’re probably much more trained than I am.”
“Generally one spends ten years on Alduin to earn the rank of mage,” Rhaessa says.
“You probably learned more than one spell, right?”
“Well of course, of course, yes. Our ten years of studying are spent learning a lot of magical philosophy and discipline. And of course, most children, when they come to Alduin, they don’t even know how to read. So a lot of the time spent there is on just general education. Some nobles send their children, not even intending them to become mages, but wanting them to get a good education. Sometimes good mages are a result of that. By the end of ten years, these completely ignorant children are transformed into adults ready to go through the ceremony to take on the title of mage. They leave behind the brown robes of apprenticeship and, in most cases, take on the red robes of a proper, learned mage.”
Hepalonia is eager to learn more about this, but she realizes she must be a little careful how she trods. Kachen warned to be wary of those of Alduin, and this woman clearly spent a long time there. During her stay in South Tower, Heppa has already accidentally mentioned the wrong thing in a few conversations. She does not want to shut this one down too quickly. Rhaessa has just mentioned red robes, but she herself is wearing dazzling white. “So, do your white robes signify healing?”
Rhaessa explains that they mark her as a member of the House of Light. She has chosen to put aside a life of being absorbed in study. “Many mages tend to become so focused on their research.” That sounds perfect to Heppa. I need to meet one of those! she thinks. “Whereas those who don the white and align themselves with the House of Light are really focused on healing people and combating the spirits of darkness that make the whole world ill.”
In the spirit of sharing, Heppa says, “It is similar for elves, as far as the amount of study.” Many elves spend their centuries honing their understanding, going deeper and deeper into the mysteries of natural magic. “I believe we may start later because we are children for longer. I personally dabbled probably a little bit more than other people. But I believe it would be a similar sort of experience.” Among the elves, there is the druid path versus the sorceress path. The sorceresses are more militant, as they play a strong role in defending the forest, while the highly advanced healing arts are in the realm of the druids because they are less focused on the offensive magics. “I think the elvish focus is a little bit more around forest and nature—defending the forest and harmonizing with nature. And human magic focuses on… study?” She is not entirely clear on this last point.
Rhaessa chuckles. “Certainly harmonizing with nature is not how I would phrase the focus of human magic. Mastering it, some might say. Bending it to their will.”
“But is the magic different or just the school of thought? That is what I wonder,” Heppa says.
“Well, even among human mages, there are those with different focuses. And, as I said, I have decided to give up that life of books in favor of doing real practical, useful work here. Not that I don’t use books in my work!” she clarifies with a laugh. “We have reference tomes and things like that back at our building.” Then she offers, “If you’re interested in more heady discussions, there are other more learned and advanced mages here for the festivities. My own superior, Sethoic, is probably up with Gweddry. I know he’ll want to watch the joust. I do know a red mage was going to be here as well.”
While those sound like useful people, Heppa is here now, and what is in front of her is of great interest. “Would it be possible for me to observe your healing magic? I’m not so great myself, but I would be happy to demonstrate—”
“Oh! If you wish to volunteer your services here in the tent, you are certainly welcome to stay.”
“That would be wonderful!” Heppa says, eager to observe whatever she can. “I do have some knowledge of medicine as well that I could contribute.” Rhaessa does not do all her healing purely by magic either, and she takes the elf over to look at ointments until the next patient arrives.