The Healing of Narova
I lugged Narova Black Hair twenty miles to a hidden grove in a mountain valley.
One Potion of Extreme Strength and a sled made from cedars was all I needed to make the haul.
To hear an outlander describe this country, you would think Skyrim was nothing more than snowy peaks and drunk Nords. But there are places nestled between those peaks with beds of soft flowers and clear pools. Secret pockets of warmth that have never been touched by frost or people.
You just have to know the roads that lead to them.
I laid her down in some tall grass near a deep pool that didn’t seemed to have a bottom.
Some damage had been done to the girl. I started from the feet and worked my way up.
One foot had three broken toes and a badly bruised ankle. On the other leg, her Achilles tendon was severed. There was a flesh wound on her right thigh. She had a perforated bowel that was already making good progress towards mortification. Her back was a mess—four or five deep lacerations. Her ribs were in splinters.
Her face, miraculously, was untouched.
She did not have much blood left, but what little bit remained was fleeing fast. It had a deep-purple kind of color that I had never seen before.
Narova had taken some beatings in her lifetime—the scars on her body told that story pretty well. But this appeared to be one of the worst.
She should have been dead already. I suspect her survival had something to do with the violet blood and the hundreds of tattoos that covered her battered flesh. And the dark aura that seemed to be radiating from her broken bones.
Already, the grass I’d laid her down on was dead.
I hesitated. I am a well-known meddler and creator of mischief, but even for me, this seemed like a bad idea. The blackness inside of Narova’s body was astounding. There are no potions that can recreate the power coming out of her. No secret recipes. No ancient concoctions.
And this, coming from an alchemists who once burned a hole through the core of Nirn on a bet.
Narova was a force unto herself. Forget a hole, she could probably split this crummy planet in half. Send the two pieces skittering along through that big empty.
Of course, when I realized that was a possibility, my doubts fled for the hills.
A power like that is most definitely something I want to see.
So I dripped a few disinfectants and painkillers down Narova’s throat using a silk rag. The goal was simply to prevent her from dying or moving around too much. Then I went around the valley collecting the other ingredients I needed. There is a reason I picked one of these hidden valleys: more flowers than a queer’s greenhouse.
It didn’t take long. Two hours, maybe. I always lose track of time when I’m collecting ingredients. I am always left wishing I could continue for a little while longer. Even a calamity like Narova can just barely manage to call me away. A life spent among the plants is a good life.
There are five or six decent grinding stones hidden in the dead grass, and a flat rock jutting out from the mouth of the pool. They are not master’s tools, but only a fool trusts his skills to a utensil.
I light a fire and go to work.
The bowel and the Achilles tendon are most difficult problems. One will kill her, the other with leave her a cripple. And Narova cannot fulfill her destiny if she can’t walk—so the first is just as bad as the second.
First, I grind down some canis root, mix it with some powdered imp stool, then add both to water. Stir that, heat it over a fire, and pour it into the stomach wound to paralyze the muscles and stop the bile from traveling. Then I sterilize my hands in boiling water (that stopped hurting centuries ago) and reach inside of her.
Four major holes. I pull some stitches out of my pack and start in the center of her guts, working my way out and dousing the paralysis liquid on her organs as I go. I am a little rusty with my stitching, but overall the repairs are quite functional.
Before I close her up, I pour the rest of the freezing powder into the wound.
People try sowing up stomach injuries all the time, but usually wind up with a gangrenous heap of pain for their trouble. The key is the paralysis. Narova probably won’t shit right for a month, but her insides will stay still enough to heal. And the bile inside of her won’t be going for any adventures.
Then there is the Achilles tendon. Easy to regrow, if I had all of my ingredients. But out here, with nothing but some rocks and a clear blue sky to work with? I have to be resourceful.
A worm lives in this part of the mountains that my people call an Ukram. (At least they used to, I have spoken with one of my kin for two-hundred and eighty-six years. Perhaps they came up with a new name.)
The Ukram is a simple creature—a mouth and an asshole. That’s it. But a parasite grows within the Ukram’s stomach with rather astounding regenerative qualities. That is how the Ukram manages to eat mud and bedrock all day without dying: the parasite regrows its simple insides.
I couldn’t use the parasite to regrow a heart or a liver. But something like a tendon? Different story.
So I dig a hole.
An Ukram is easy to find if you know the trick: Burrow a four foot tunnel into the ground, find an apple, coat the apple in shit, drop the apple in the hole, fill the hole.
I do this and then wait two hours. During the downtime, I stitch up the flesh wounds and the deep lacerations on Narova’s back. I’m far more careful on her flesh than I was on her bowel—something tells me the tattoos need to stay in place to work. When I’m done, the design is exactly how the artist wanted it to be.
Then I set her bones, which is unpleasantly hard work.
When I re-dig my hole there is an Ukram that choking to the death on the apple core. It’s about the size of a horse’s cock.
I yank it free, slice open the belly, and scrape the parasitic ooze out with my knife. Mix it with some Spartania and the last pinch of Vampire Dust to my name. When it’s done, I have a palmful of grayish paste. I pack that into Narova’s severed tendon and wrap it with one of the silk bandages she’s so fond of.
Then I wait.