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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 51: Kondor 17
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 50: Hastings 18
"You're the doctor named for a bird, the one they call Kondor?" the soldier repeated, blocking the only door from the building.
"Yes, I am. Is there a problem?"
"Yes, there is. My daughter," and as he turned Kondor could see a woman about the same age as the soldier holding a child in her arms. "No one knows what's wrong."
Feeling a sigh of relief pass through his body, Kondor sparked back to life. "Bring her in, please, bring her in." He led the way inside. "Set her on the table here for me please. Can you tell me her symptoms?" The soldier appeared confused, and Kondor remembered that few of his patients had any notion what "symptoms" were. "Can you tell me what has been happening that I don't see? Has she been able to eat or drink, has she been using the privy normally?"
The situation was serious; the child was feverish, dehydrated, with swollen glands and digestive complications. But there was every indication that it was a bacterial infection which had gotten out of control. As they described the situation, Kondor told his women to strip the girl down to her undergarments and dowse her with water to cool her, and to get her a dose of the antibiotic followed by a bit of the root. Her father started to object to allowing strangers to undress his little girl, especially with a man in the room, but her mother intervened.
"She will have to stay here for about two weeks," he said. "We have beds for patients in the ward."
"Where can we stay?" asked the mother.
Kondor stopped for a moment. It seemed a reasonable question, but he didn't have a good answer.
"This is difficult," he finally said. "I understand your concern for your daughter; if I had a daughter, I doubt I would be comfortable leaving her in the care of strangers for any reason. But many people depend on this place to take care of them, and some will not be comfortable coming to a place where there is a soldier of the shire reeve. The villagers fear being mistaken for outlaws, and some who come here have been too sick to work and so cannot pay their taxes. Apart from that, we provide housing for patients and for our staff, but we don't have the facilities to house patient family members.
"You are, of course, welcome to visit her every day, as long as she is well enough to have company and we don't have any more serious cases requiring special care. But she will need to sleep quite a bit, at least at first; and you should know that if everything goes well she will appear to be cured before she is all better, and I cannot let you take her home until she has taken all of the medicine or she will again get very sick, possibly worse than she is now."
"Is there nowhere close by that we could stay?" the woman asked.
Just then Friar Tuck entered. Everyone turned and looked at him. He was certainly a wanted man, and if the soldier recognized him it would be trouble.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #37: Character Diversity. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: