Chapter 98:

Chapter 98 - Calm Teacher!

The Flight of The Draykes

The Golden Blades had assigned us a carriage for the Hoard. It was old, not very well maintained, and it creaked as it went along; But it got the job done.

As the teacher and I wobbled inside the carriage as it made its way to Maeqil, I pondered on my path.

Vaguely, I felt that I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t understand what exactly.

A few hours later, Maeqil was in sight and I felt my stomach churn as I thought of what lay ahead.

An hour later, we were sitting in an anteroom, waiting. I was nervously shaking my legs, and the teacher was sitting composed while circulating his warforce.

Time passed and then the door flew open and a man in a bloodstained smock with red hands and a wild look in his eyes entered.

Teacher and I jumped up instantly and then.... We greeted Sir Galen. For it was he who was the questionable character standing in front of us.

A warm smile split Sir Galen’s face as he saw us, though he immediately turned it into a darkened frown a moment later.

“What are you here for?” he asked brusquely.

Looking at the teacher for encouragement, I stepped forward and went on my knees as I said loudly, “Faustus Drayke greets Teacher Galen!”

“Eh?” Sir Galen said as he looked on blankly. Then slapping his head, he immediately helped me up and asked, “You’re agreeing? No, you’ve agreed?”

Nodding, I said, “Teacher, I want to learn the medical arts from you.”

Hearing that, a rare look of excitement passed through Sir Galen’s face before his face resumed its normal expression and he said, “You want to learn my medical arts? Then come. A few patients have just come in.”

Nodding, I followed after him with the devil teacher trailing behind us.

Walking into a chamber where there were beds everywhere, divided by curtains, I was struck dumb.

Because almost every bed had a person lying on it in dire straits.

Some were missing an arm, others had cuts and slashes till the bone, still others were rolling about in pain on their beds.

It was a hellish scene, but a scene that I could somewhat bear because of my experience in the battles that I had fought in before.

Sir Galen led me to a bed at the end of the ward, and there my composure slipped and I felt bile rise up in me. For a man lay there, his guts spilling out, his legs askew, and his body trembling and being held down by two other men who were wearing equally bloodstained smocks, while a third was using needles to expertly suture the wounds up.

Sir Galen then spoke rapidly with a serious face, “I need you to help me staunch his bleeding. Take a cloth from the pile there, and put it on the wounds that I point out. Then apply pressure and don’t stop until I tell you to. If the cloth starts dripping blood, add another cloth on top, but do not remove the first cloth or the pressure. Do you understand, boy?”

Nodding, I quickly moved beside the man on the bed in the direction of the wound that Sir Galen was pointing out.

Grabbing a cloth, I held it against the open wound and put pressure on it, eliciting howls of pain from the man that nearly made me drop the cloth.

Shaken, I continued pressing down on the cloth until blood started running down the sides and onto the floor.

Hastily, I grabbed another cloth and laid it on top of the initial one and kept up the pressure on the wound. Looking down, I watched as my hands were soaked in blood that darkened the skin slowly until it was as red and wretched as Sir Galen’s hands were.

Then the man started bucking and screaming as Sir Galen joined the original doctor in suturing up the wounds. A dozen needles flew in the air and into the man's body before they flew out, and in a cycle this continued for a few minutes in which the only sounds were the man’s hoarse screams.

Then Sir Galen turned his attention to the guts which were hanging out, and he shouted out, “Faustus, I want you to put his guts back in after I’ve stitched up his guts. Can you do that?”

I went white, but I resolutely nodded, and as Sir Galen’s needles danced through the man’s guts, I waited with clenched teeth and when Sir Galen roared out, “Now!”, I abandoned the pressure on the previous wound and cupped my hands around the hanging guts.

It felt slippery, rubbery, and most of all it felt wrong and I felt vomit threatening to escape me; But I pushed the slimy mass back inside the gaping hole in the stomach while Sir Galen’s needles danced as they became blunt and adjusted the angles as I worked.

Then the guts were in and I stumbled to the side where mercifully a bucket lay, and vomiting into it again and again, I clutched my own guts as they screamed out in commiseration.

Rising pale faced, I was just in time to see the wound being stitched shut and then for a moment there was silence before one of the people holding the man down sighed out in relief.

Then the others also relaxed, and the original doctor, who was stitching up the wounded man, turned to Sir Galen and began thanking him. Thanks, which Sir Galen waved off as he touched the man and sent his warforce carefully inside, checking for any errors or problems.

A few minutes later, once my stomach stopped churning, He turned around to look at me with a blank expression on his face and said, “You see all those beds?”

I looked around at the ward, which I realized was quite spacious, and I nodded.

“We have to take care of all of those patients.” Sir Galen said with a ghost of a smile.

Gulping, I nodded weakly and then followed Sir Galen as we went to another bed, another patient, and a lot more blood.

We worked till the night fell and the moon rose high.

Then we lit candles and laid lightstones before continuing to work.

We worked till dawn when more patients were brought in.

Then we extinguished the candles and took back the lightstones before continuing to work.

By noon, I was sound asleep in a corner alcove.

An hour after noon, I was again helping Sir Galen and the other doctors.

At sunset, my body began convulsing as my heart began beating erratically. As though he knew it would happen, Sir Galen was beside me in a heartbeat and injecting warforce into me that soothed me and brought me back to my feet within a few minutes.

Then we were again working, and the night grew long.

Dawn came, and this time, there were no more patients to be tended to urgently and we finally could relax.

Sir Galen grabbed my body as I stumbled about, nearly falling, and steered me into the anteroom where we had seen him a day….days(?) before.

Then, seating me on the couch, caring not for the blood that stained it from my body, he looked at me with a sombre expression on his face.

Waving a hand in front of my face, he quickly injected more warforce into me and I gratefully blinked at him, too weary to speak.

Then Sir Galen spoke, “Faustus, I accept you as my disciple but your training will begin after a year has passed and contingent on three conditions. One - You will need to help at the Yamal hospital every day. I will write you a letter that you can take to them and then you will be allowed to work there.” Continuing he said, “Two - you need to read all of these books and answer my questions without any error a year later.”

Saying so, he summoned a pile of books onto the floor in between us.

Looking at the books and gulping, I squeezed out the words, “No errors?”

Nodding severely, Sir Galen said, “No errors. An error can cause a person to die and we are meant to save people, not cause their deaths. Remember this well, Faustus, we are physicians and doctors. We have rules that bind us and ethics that guide us. If you fulfill those two conditions and the last one, then you shall be a part of us.”

Looking at Sir Leonidas, I firmed up my resolve and, turning to face Sir Galen, I declared, “I shall accomplish both those goals and whatever the last condition is, as you said, Teacher!”

Waving his hands, Sir Galen said, “I’ve said this before, but call me Galen. I don’t like these formalities.”

Waving my own hands weakly, I said, “No can do. I can call you the Calm Teacher, but no lesser than that.”

“Calm Teacher, hmm,” Sir Galen mused, before saying, “I am calm, yes. I like this form of address. Very well, you can call me the calm teacher,” he finished, magnanimously.

Then he lifted a third finger and said, “Last condition. You have to become an iron rank in the next 2 years.”

Nodding, I signalled my agreement and so it was decided.

After I changed my clothes and dragged my weary body into the carriage with Sir Leonidas, I fell asleep conscious of the fact that my path had changed and changed in a direction that I was not expecting.

But so what?

I shall move forward regardless.