Lewd Winds.

2 Jul

As he entered the Windhaven Public Carriage Station, Vae Nunc recalled the ominous words of his father’s lettergram:

“…so you must take a leave of absence and spend the winter with me here in Harbatan. I dread that the evil gyres of this coast have cast the hyp upon me…”

The tall, thin faradic power engineer headed toward the single stagecoach still in the iron terminal, the one that was scheduled to travel over the mountains, onto the Windmark Peninsula, to the lowland hamlet where stood the inn of his father.

A short, tubby man in driver’s red uniform waved a hand at Vae, then stepped forward toward him.

“Be you traveling on the coastal route to Harbatan? There be one other rider for there, and she already be aboard.”

Vae inquired about his luggage.

“All impedimenta loaded and ready,” announced the coachman, puffing on a big, black claro.

The engineer began to climb into the horse-drawn overlander. A young woman with bright auburn hair and hazel eyes sat alone on the seat facing the front. She was dressed in yelloe grego coat and light slacks.

“Good morning,” she said as Vae sat down diagonally opposite her position.

He nodded as his eyes scanned her with curiosity.

“Good morning, Miss. The driver tells me you are also on your way to Harbatan.”

“That is correct,” she replied. “I will be the new public doctor there. My name is Riho Taba.”

The other gave a gulp of surprise. “You are replacing Dr. Grig?”

“He died last month and I was given the assignment,” explained the redheaded medical. “I hope that I can do some good for the people there.”

“Have you ever been to the peninsula, Dr. Taba?”

“No,” she gently admitted. “This will be my first work alone, on my own.”

Vae studied her pale, plain face a moment.

“I wish you much success,” he murmured through his lips. “You will hear many Ersic words still spoken among the inhabitants,but they soon become understandable to outsiders.”

A cry came from the driver, now mounted in his place.

“Git off, you jennies. Time for to earn your havers.”

The carriage started moving forward, both passengers quiet and thoughtful.

When they reached the summit barr of the mountain, the driver halted the team of two horses.

Noting her look of confusion, Vae gave her an explanation.

“The coachman always stops here at the peak to give the horses a short rest before the descent to the coastal lowland.”

Her eyes, peering through the side window, caught sight of a tall white tower.

“That is the transducer station,” explained the engineer. “All the directional hertzian waves from the many windmills located on the peninsula coast are focused upon the receivers on that tower. The energy from all the separate transmissions are combined, then retransmitted down to the faradic facilities in Windhaven.

“That is what provides power for Windhaven and its hinterland.”

The doctor smiled. “So, we owe our supply of electricity to the peninsular winds, by way of its transport over electromagnetic waves.”

“I had my apprenticeship up here at the transducer tower, several years ago. At present my work is mostly with the magnetogenerators in the city.” His face turned somber. “My father in Harmattan has fallen very ill, so I have taken a long leave in order to be with him.”

“I will in all likelihood be seeing him, then. What is he suffering from?”

“Paralytic fatigue,” replied Vae in a low tone. “It is a common ailment along the shore of the bight. The common people call it the hyp.”

For a moment, the passengers merely studied each other, until the stagecoach began to move again. Now, though, they were headed down the other side of the mountain.

The engineer began to point out aspects of the landscape in his native tongue, to enrich her knowledge of ancient Ersic. A ravine was a clough, a hollow became a combe. A mountain gorge was called a flume, a long ridge a drum. The pass the coach descended through became a col.

“A bosk is the thicket, a haugh the meadow,” he informed her as they approached the coastal lowland. “That stream is a bourn, its banks are its brae, the valley is a strath. The entire lowland is called the carse.”

“Interesting!” said Riho with a sigh. “But how will I remember so much new vocabulary?”

“It will all come to you in time, with patience.” He pointed toward the window to their left. “See those houses down by the shore? Those are the biggins in which the people of Harmattan live. We will soon be making our arrival here.”

The inn was a two-storey white building facing the gray waters of the bight and the narrow coast road. Behind it stood a dilapidated old barn of the same height.

Vae found his father sprawled out on a low dross bed in an upstairs bedroom.

He had never supposed that Gall Nunc could ever turn so frail, haggard, and gaunt.

The sallow face seemed to shiver and chitter as if with the palsy. It rested on a large white feather pillow.

“Do not tire yourself, father,” began the son. “We shall parle more another time, when you are more hale.”

The voice of the father sounded as dry as the caw of a corbie.

“I be dwine away till I be neigh a dead lich here on me kip. All now be agee and awry here, syne this kiaugh come upon me. Tis the hyp from the lewd winds!”

Vae leaned over the head of the stricken man.

“Ye have tholed and suffered, father. But now I’ll be here to help however I can. And there shall be a new doctor in Harmattan now. I have met the woman already.”

Gall’s blue eyes flashed darkly for a moment.

“No womanly cummer be but a nourice to serve the sick, no more than a helping hand, a gilly to fetch and carry. Nune e’er be a iatrie, nune.”

Vae took a low stool, set it beside the bed and sat down.

“What does Cook prepare for you to eat?” he asked.

The sick man’s brow formed into the gloom of a frown. He gave his son a glunch, sullen look.

“Ne’er a gigot of a lamb. She be made me a maigre-eater!”

Vae grimaced a small murgeon at the thought of his father on a vegetarian diet.

“She be filling me each and every day with her metheglin of mead and honey, yet nar a drop of nappy or mum allowed me. I be sick of eating goats and havermeal.

“No haggis pudding or slab of flitch bacon for auld Gall, the bedridden gaffer. We ballans of the coast customed to our glass of negus and pint of penny wheep ale. Not eath for this auld man without such drink.”

“You must now be well tired of havers brochan and duff, father,” said Vae, envisioning endless bowls of porridge and pudding.

“Indeed! I look forth with disdain on disjune each morn. At midnoon I be given weak beef, brewis, and for supper colcannon.”

Vae winched as he thought of he boiled cabbage and potatoes and the watery broth.

For a time, the two men gazed away from each other.

“I be doubtful this carline witch can do any cure,” muttered Gall.

“You must permit her to examine you, father,” insisted the engineer.

“I can foresee her with ptisans from Windhaven City. And she a quean!”

“Yes, father. The doctor is unmarried, still a burd,” nodded the son. “But more than a kinchin or a kimmer lass, by far. I think she be near to my own age.”

“I be in need of strong stingo, yet get not e’en shandygaff gingerbeer!” grumbled Gall. “Not the vilest spunkie for this dry gab of mine! Not the bitterest swats!”

Vae set his right hand beside his father’s left arm, still under the thick woolen blanket covering his emaciated body.

All at once, the innholder spoke in a clear, cool voice.

“There be an unco stopping here this even, at the gloam of the daystar.”

Vae perked up. “A stranger?”

“The chap be visiting incog, giving himself off as a traveling tinker, a kind of caird. His wish is to use false name while here.”

The son leaned his own head forward, toward his father’s.

“I lang be improvident as innholder and hosteler. Not at all the wise gerent. I be playing and losing at the hap table. Had I but sharper harns in my had!”

The son suddenly rose from his stool. “What are you telling me, father?”

“This makebate wrote to claim he holds me debts, all of them. He will come to make his exaction from me.”

“I will be the one to speak with the unco, father. Your condition precludes you from dealing with him directly. That shall be my task this evening.”

Vae stood outside the front of the white inn, watching out for the impending arrival of the unknown guest, expected in a flat-bottomed rowboat called a coble.

Like the sky, the waters of the bight grew ever darker. Stars began twinkling overhead. From inside the inn came the laughter and the voices of the local compotators.

His father had always depended upon these swiggers to keep the place going. Not many outsiders came this way in recent times. How serious was the threat passed to the inherited family emprise by this determined debt-collector?

Vae had taken a peek at his father’s disordered accounts, his “beuk” of bills and receipts. The total I.O.U.s exceeded the value of all Nunc property. The mysterious stranger was in a position to take the inn away, if he so desired.

All at once, the faradic engineer caught sight of a figure in white moving along the shore road, approaching where he stood. It was the new hamlet doctor.

As she came nearer, he noticed she carried a black medical case under her arm.

“Good even, Dr. Taba,” he greeted her coolly. “Out to see a patient already?”

Riho stopped directly before him.

“I have been getting settled into the chirurgery all afternoon,” she informed him. “Now, I’m about to see my first patient, who happens to be your father.”

“There are many other cases of the hyp hereabout, Miss,” replied Vae. “Why did you choose to visit this one? As you can hear, the hamlet’s topers are inside and are capable of being quite noisy.”

“That should not disturb my preliminary examination. My primary aim, really, is to become acquainted with your father and put him at ease with me.”

Vae, remembering why he was standing guard outside, made immediate excuse to the doctor.

“I must stay out here to meet and take care of an expected guest arriving by coble this even. He should be on the dene before too long, putting his boat on the strand.

“It might be best if you wait with me a short while. I can, then, direct you to my father’s room and make the introductions.”

“Very well,” she answered, placing her bag on a low, flat post sticking out of the ground.

For a few seconds, neither of them said anything.

“So many windmills about Harbttan!” she exclaimed. “This place is surrounded with spinning blades on the south, east, and the west. A great amount of potential power must be going out on each hertzian transmitter.”

“Indeed,” nodded Vae. “All the directed waves from each mill post go to the transducers we saw on the mountain this morning. Each unit has a commutator that changes the faradic current generated from the wind into a hertzian wave headed westward.”

He could not see in the darkness that Riho knit her brows.

“So, there is a vast quantity of paramagnetic radiation traveling through the entire region, including Harbattan?”

“Yes, of course. Why do you ask?”

It was at that precise moment that the awaited boat appeared from the west.

“Here comes the fremdman,” announced Vae. “Wait here while I help him.”

The unco, a towering giant, walked ashore with a box full of tinker’s tools.

“I am called Maien Zeas,” he told the engineer as they shook hands. “First, I need to get my tools and graith to a safe place.”

“We can take them back to the byre behind the inn,” decided Vae.

Zeas, a man of black curly hair, charcoal eyes, and swarth skin, followed his guide toward the white building, his gear in both hands. Vae himself picked up two handfuls of the tinker’s equipment.

When the two came near where the doctor stood, she asked her recent acquaintance a question. “What do you wish me to do?”

“Follow us, please,” he said gently.

The gargantuan stranger stopped, sending Riho a withering look.

“This is my father’s new medical,” explained Vae. “She has come to examine her patient tonight. It is my considered opinion, Mr. Zeas, that he is much too ill to talk with you at this particular time, or to reach any decisions on matters of business. My father has made me his adjurant, empowered to deal on his behalf.”

“Very well, then,” muttered the new arrival.

Vae led the way about the west side of the inn, to the darkly silent rear court where the byre stood. He put down his load and opened the swinging door, showing the tinker a place to lay down his tools and gear.

“I will show you, later, where you will sleep,” he told Zeas. “Just now, I intend to take Dr. Taba in to see my father, then return to the byre at once.”

“I shall wait here,” promised the dark giant through his teeth.

Gall, his eyes burning like a blue gas, lifted his hand from the cushion it rested on. He glanced at his son for a moment, then turned to the unexpected visitor.

“I donna wish to let you be indagator of me organs, Missie,” said the innholder directly to Riho Taba. “Yet sith ye be here, we may have a brief gab together.”

Vae brought a stool close to the bed so that the doctor could sit.”I must go deal with the tinker, father,” he whispered, leaving the snuggery where Gall stayed.

It took him but seconds to run downstairs, then out to the byrne.

Zeas was taking out his tools, leaving them on a small table he had taken from the interior of the large barn.

“How is the health of your father?” asked the gigantic stranger.

Vae looked away momentarily, then gazed straight at Maien Zeas, or whoever he might in reality be.

“I am extremely worried,” confessed the engineer. “His condition is much worsened. His strength seems completely drained.”

The other stepped closer. “Let me be blunt. Should death strike him, I believe that you inherit both the inn and his debts. Is that true?”

Visibly shocked, Vae nodded his head. “Yes,” he reluctantly conceded.

“Thus, you cannot escape these obligations, young man. It happened that your father pledged the inn as a wadset mortgage. And now I hold it as primary wadsetter.”

“We do not have the ability to pay it back at the present time.”

“Oh, on the contrary, I believe that you do.”

Vae, saying nothing, sent him a questioning look.

“Let me explain what I mean. The lettergram I recently indited to your father specifically advised him to ask you to be here when I arrived.”

“Why did you do so?” demanded Vae.

The tinker made a sardonic face. “There will be a need for your knowledge of faradics. Let me digress for a brief moment.

“I come of a long line of illegal traffickers across the bight. But such a trade is no longer carried forth as smoothly as in previous times. So, the tinker must devise a new method for something never before smuggled from out of Windmark.

“Along the opposite shore, the Deltians have constant patrols on land and water. Yet there is a commodity that this peninsula has in plenty, for which there is a great shortage and demand on the other side of the loch.

“In case you have not yet guessed, it happens to be faradic energy.”

Vae Nunc, his eyes expanding, stared with wonder at the big man who had arrived by coble.

“Who are you, in reality?” he managed to say.

What are you? is perhaps what I mean to ask this unknown unco.

The man who called himself Maien Zeas gave a sudden, manic grin.

“I have told you the truth,” he insisted with emotion. “If you mistrust me, say it now and I will leave.”

Vae remembered his father’s financial position in relation to the wadsetter who had the legal right to foreclose on the inn.

“No, I shouldna asked such a question,” he backtracked. “There is no reason for mistrust between the two of us.”

They eyed each other carefully for a moment.

“You will cooperate, then?” said the giant.

Yes. But how can faradic power be smuggled across the bight?”

Zeas leaned forward. “You shall build me a speculum capable of deflecting hertzian waves northward. It must be able to send great quantities of energy to receivers in Deltia. Those will be set up once the speculum is operational.”

“Where can this mirror be erected without becoming conspicuous?” asked the engineer.

The stranger raised his head toward the barn’s upper storey.

“Upstairs, in this very building,” he answered.

His hand came down again and his dark eyes fastened upon Vae.

“We shall begin our project early tomorrow.”

Vae led the giant back to the inn, showing him to the rear room that had been prepared for him. He was about to go upstairs to his father’s room, when he heard a familiar female voice from the kitchen. It was Dr. Taba talking to the Cook.

He stood in the doorway, listening to the two.

“I dinna understand ye, Missie,” pleaded the short, heavy-set woman wearing an enormous apron.

Riho, taking notice of the third presence, spoke past the small cook to Vae.

“I am trying to tell her that it is perfectly alright for your father to eat meat and follow his accustomed diet. Nutrition is by no means a factor in his illness.”

Vae stepped into the large room that served as kitchen and began to explain what the doctor intended for the sick man upstairs.

“Ye must go to the meatman’s shop in the morn and purchase that wat he most savors. No more shall he eat maigre alone.”

Cook began to describe the favorite dishes of Gall Nunc, while Vae related these to the doctor for his approval.

“Haggis, containing the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys of a sheep. It is mixed in suet and oatmeal, then boiled in the stomach of the animal.”

Riho nodded her head that this was acceptable.

Vae went on. “Haslet, the heart, liver, and lungs of a pig roasted in a pot.”

Again, the medical gave her approval.

“Father may eat swine and shoat,” the son instructed the little woman in charge of the kitchen.

Cook asked him a question. “For the morrow, I may bring the master a roasted leveret.”

Vae turned to Riho. “That is a very young hare, less than a year old.”

The doctor, smiling broadly, nodded yes.

When Cook had left, she glanced at her horologue.

“It is later than I thought, time for me to get back to the chirurgery.”

Vae thought only a second. “I’ll walk back with you,” he proposed.

A light breeze turned the white blades of scores of wind poles at the edge of Harmattan. The waters of the bight swelled and gurgled, signaling a change of weather for the next day.

Riho unlocked the front door, then spoke to her companion.

“I would invite you to enter, but there is a lot of work awaiting me tomorrow.”

Vae looked her in the eye.

“I, too, have a certain project set for me.”

She made a guess. “Does it relate to the stranger who arrived by boat?”

The engineer blinked. “Indeed. He and I will be constructing a certain apparatus in the byrne. This promises to take up nearly all my time starting tomorrow.”

Riho gave him a wry smile. “I hope that you have a moment or so for me when I stop by to visit your father, Vae.”

The latter, for a second or so, was at a loss for words.

“You will find me in the barn with the unco, building a…device.”

She stared at him, her hazel eyes agleam with curiosity.

Did the medical dare ask what it was they were doing? Not this time.

“Good night,” she whispered silently.

“Till the morrow, Riho,” he old her, excluding all inner emotion from the tone of his voice.

Vae found it astounding how fast his new partner was able to get him the electronic components needed for the speculum.

Syntonizers, autodyne tubes, transposers, and commutators. Within a few days, the basic parts of a coulaubic connector that could change the direction of hertzian waves were in place. Where was Maien Zeas obtaining such expensive equipment? The tinker remained secretive in his comings and goings, leaving in his coble before dawn each morning, returning in the dark past dusk.

Vae did not accept his explanation of visits to second-hand stores selling used devices. Where were these places? he asked him. Here on the peninsula?

The swart giant gave a sly grin, but no concrete answer to the inquiry.

Gall Nunc demanded daily reports on the progress of the speculum.

“When shall our etitle be set for its for its first test?” asked the ailing one.

“In short time, father,” replied his son. “Within the coming sennight. Not more than five or six days of work, I wad judge.”

The old man’s face darkened. “She wot,” he said in a whisper.

Vae seemed stunned for a second.

“Dr. Taba?”

The invalid averted his eyes.

“She asked for the sooth and I couldna tell her a false sklent,” he explained. “The cummer willna betray us, son.”

“I hope not, Vae thought to himself. I hope not.

It was late that evening that Riho entered the byrne, climbing up to the second storey. Vae was busy setting and adjusting anodynes about the circular rim of the speculum that filled the attic from floor to ceiling.

He set down is wrench.

“Hello, Riho. I have wanted to speak with you about a matter.”

“The purpose of this mirror you are constructing for the tinker?”

They came close to each other.

“My father spoke to you of the piracy we are planning to commit. I can only imagine what you think of us.”

She looked downward a moment.

“It is not up to me to decide such matters. But be assured that I shall not speak of what I know.”

“The ether is full of transported energy, Riho. I will be subtracting only a minute fraction of it with this speculum. Don’t forget, I am a faradic engineer who has worked on the hertzian transmission system. This diversion of ours will not be missed. The winds of the peninsula produce an incredibly large amount of power.”

For a few moments, neither of them said anything.

“I do not intend to judge or criticize,” finally said the doctor. “That is not my responsibility. No one shall learn anything of this from me, Vae.”

The latter felt a stunning bolt of hormonal emotion.

“In less than a week the speculum will start to operate,” he informed her. “Everything needed has been supplied by the tinker.”

“How will you know that it works as planned?”

Maien Zeas plans to row over to Deltia to verify that the hertzian receivers there are absorbing our carrier waves.”

“But isn’t the stormy season about to begin soon?”

Vae stretched forward his right hand, grasping Riho by the wrist.

“He says he can cross the bight under any and all conditions of weather.”

Riho happened to be present in the inn late in the day when the speculum was placed in operation.

The engineer walked from the barn to tell his father of the achievement. He gave a start of surprise to find the medical sitting beside the invalid’s bed.

“We’ve done it!” announced Vae. “Hertzian waves are on a directed path taking them across the water to Deltia. Now, our partner will go to see how the energy is hitting the receivers on the other side.”

Gall Nunc seemed confused for a moment.

“Is the tinker gone on the loch?”

“In a little time, father, when the daystar falls. It is safest for Zeas to make his crossings at night. He will return to tell us the results by morn.”

Riho asked a question.

“What if he cannot row back at once because of weather?”

Vae thought a moment.

“The katabic wind from the southwest, as you have witnessed it, has been warm and dry. It descends from the mountains of the peninsula and off the continent itself, and is also called the foehn. But now the season is changing, and our area is beginning to experience the cold, violent blasts of the anabatic winds from the north. These will bring us a lot of rain from the other side of the bight. The first days of winter are approaching, Riho, and we will have to prepare ourselves for its severe consequences.”

A thick silence fell over the room of the sick man.

The doctor excused herself and left for her apartment at the chirurgery.

Gall Nunc whispered to his son.

“The wadset will no more thwart us,” he slowly declared.

“Yes, father,” nodded Vae. “We shall be free of that burden.”

Two figures braved their way through the dimming twilight that was an unusual sickly green. Bursts of chill wind struck them from the agitated surface of the dark water.

“It’s going to be a powerful Buster tonight!” said the tinker between his teeth. “But I’ve made it across in worse storm. It is important to find out if the energy we are taking is making it to the location I’ve targeted.”

The pair reached the coble,tied to a shore stob.

Zeas unfastened his boat, then set it into the waters of the bight. He turned to Vae and offered him his hand.

“I would head back as soon as I know for certain that we have succeeded. There is much more work lying ahead.”

Suddenly, the engineer felt uneasy. “We have completed the speculum,” he abruptly announced. “My father’s debts have now been repaid in full.”

A gust of violent wind made both of them sway for a moment.

Zeas, holding the side of the coble fast with his hands, stepped into it. Then, he turned to face and talk directly to Vae.

“You did not understand me,” his voice quivered. “I never told either your father or you that this one mechanism would completely wipe out the wadset that I hold. There is a need for several more mirrors to deflect the hertzian waves. This is only the beginning of our partnership, my friend.”

Vae sensed a furious anger inside himself, making it difficult to rein in his expression of it. It was best to say nothing at this precise moment, he decided. Best to await the return of this man and have it out with him.

“As soon as I have confirmed that this first speculum is working, we shall go on to construct several more in your barn,” continued Zeas. “I also intend to rent locations elsewhere in Harmattan for our purpose. There are unlimited possibilities along this coast. Perhaps your friend, Dr. Taba, will allow us to place one in her chirurgery. That would be a good spot to use, I believe.”

The man wgo claimed to be a tinkerer pushed the flat boat into the roiling waters of the bight, fighting several sources of wind.

“So long, Vae,” he called into the howling wind. “See you in the morn.” The one left on the shore watched as the coble disappeared into the dark storm. When all trace of the coble was gone, he turned around to head back to the inn.

His eye caught sight of a whitish sark moving toward him from the corner of the building. What could it be at this hour, in such a storm? There were no swiggers expected out on a night like this one, that was for sure.

Vae made his way over the beach, toward the strange, ghostly shirt.

It was his father in a bed slip! he realized all of a sudden.

How did the invalid get down here on the sand? Vae wondered as he ran to the eerie figure.

I must get him back upstairs, safely in bed.

This is a dangerous situation for a person as ill as him, Vae told himself.

“Father!” he scraiched as his arms embraced and sheltered the shivering old man. “What are you up to, wandering away?”

Gall Nunc gazed with clear eyes at the face of his son.

“Yes, father. His coble is in the loch.”

“A wanion on him, then,” screamed the invalid. “Such was the skellum he has brought us.”

The wauling of the man with hyp melted into the shrill wauling of the buster enveloping both of them.

Vae guided his father toward the front door of the inn.

As if through an eldritch premonition, Riho came to see her patient. In spite of wind and rain, she made it quickly to the inn, up the stairs to the second storey where Gall Nunc had his snuggery.

She found father and son together in the dimly lit room.

Gall ws sitting up in bed, leaning on a cushion. Vae rose from the stool beside him the moment he spied who it was.

“Riho!” he gasped. “I was hoping you would come. Let me tell you what has happened here.”

As soon as she learned what had transpired, the medical began an examination of her patient. An expression of wondering amazement fell over her face.

Vae noticed her surprise. “What is it?” he inquired.

For a time, until she had completed her measurements of the patient’s vital signs, Riho said nothing.

She asked the old man several indirect questions about how strong he felt.

Her own eyes grew larger with each confirmation received.

Finally, the doctor turned and addressed Vae.

“Breathing, heart action, and physical vigor have not been this good since I first saw your father. I began to notice this improvement earlier today, but was still somewhat uncertain.

“But it is now clear that the hyp is in sharp, rapid decline. Your father is making a recovery of amazing proportions.”

Vae gaped for breath. “I can’t believe it! Nothing new has been applied or given to him.”

“But there is one new factor that none of us could foresee.” Riho moved her head in the direction of the back of the inn, toward the barn where the engineer had been busy building the specula.

As both of them considered the possibility of unplanned, unforeseeable, hertzian therapy, the storm outdoors wailed and scraiched as if in sprattling terror.

The pair stayed with Gall till he fell into placid sleep.

Then, Vae took her to an unoccupied bedroom across from his own.

“Stay here tonight, Riho,” he whispered. “It will be safe and dry for you.”

The clishmaclavering gossiper of Harmattan had much to mull over in habdomads that followed the arrival of the Great Buster and its first storm of the winter.

“The ault gaffer has lost his hyp! He is up and about with full smeddum!”

“The innholder gave over his haft to the new doctor for a hospitium. The ill are welcome from throughout the peninsula and all Windmark!”

“Vae Nunc is the doctor’s Leman. Before lang they shall be wed, she shall be his frow.”

“The unco caird washed up from out the lough, dead as a paddock toad; his kyte full of water. His coble capsized and he droned in the storm, the loun!”

“As if by eldritch gramary, the young cummer makes her cures, but without medicaments from the gallipot. No one wot how she accomplishes it.”

From an upper window of the two-storey byrne, Riho and Vae looked out on the morning bight on the first spring day. The katabic wind of the mountains was back.

“We would not have found this therapy had not Maien Zeas come with his demand that you construct a speculum for him,” she sighed. “His aims were greedy and selfish, but look at what has resulted!”

Vae smiled pleasantly. “My father is cured, and soon hundreds of others will be free of the hyp. Zeas is dead, but it was more than an ill wind that brought him to us. We call those winds lewd, but they contain a bit of good among the evil that they carry.”


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