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Blue Days, Black Nights

Started by Odhrán Ó Dálaigh, September 12, 2021, 03:41:45 pm

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 12, 2021, 03:41:45 pm Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 12:53:34 am by Royal_Poet
Monday September 4th, 1961
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

A week in London had been too exciting an opportunity to pass up. Of course, Odhrán had decided to travel. St Mungo's were putting on an educational seminar on the subject of reconstruction of mind and memory and he could hardly miss it. The syllabus aligned perfectly with his research interests and the caliber of guest speakers invited was impressive. Ildebrando Morici was travelling from Ravenna, but much more compellingly Healer Orion Molesworth-Houghton would be present as well.

Odhrán had nothing but respect for the man. Who else on the British Isles could claim to have solved as many memory related cases as Molesworth-Houghton? The case studies published had kept Odhrán up at night. So brilliant. How had he managed to work out a completely new formulation for a brain elixir to stimulate memory recovery? It was unheard of. Rumour had it that Molesworth-Houghton had even managed to treat some patients affected by obliviation. How fascinating was that?

Unfortunately, not everybody had been as excited about his trip to London as Odhrán had been. The hospital administration in Paris, in fact, hadn't been thrilled at all, given that he had only been appointed as Chef du Département de Pathologies des Sortilèges last month. Why did he need to travel so soon? He'd made it a point to mention that under his leadership the department would focus on excellence in research and of course continuous professional development. Paris was a world-renowned medical institution and he was determined to do his part to ensure continued excellence on the forefront of medical exploration with cutting-edge treatments.

He'd talked a bunch of non-sense and he knew it. Still, the chairman of the board had been enamoured with his pathos and had even agreed for the Chef du Service d'empoisonnement par potions et plantes, Pascaline Hébras, to accompany him on his trip. This last bit, well, he could have done without. However, Pascaline was nice enough and a competent healer and colleague. How unpleasant could it be to spend a week abroad with her? It probably helped that she was quite an attractive and charming woman as well.

They'd checked into the Leaky Cauldron the night prior. It was at this point that Odhrán realised that he may have won a battle, but he hadn't won the war. Just what was the hospital thinking asking him to board in such a dodgy establishment? Really? They couldn't have afforded a nicely situated guest house in a quiet part of London? It didn't matter. They would make it work. He wondered though if maybe this was an excuse for him to return to Árainn Mhór for a couple of days. He could apparate the distance from there, couldn't he?

The seminar itself was everything Odhrán had hoped for. He was racing from one lecture to the next, trying to make sense of the labyrinthine layout at St Mungo's. Somehow, he'd managed to lose Pascaline in the hubbub. He'd learned that aside from hosting a seminar today, St Mungos was also welcoming its latest intake of healing students. Fresh faced youths were falling about the place everywhere and usually ended up standing in the way. Having passed two groups of healing students, Odhrán had to admit that he'd somehow gotten lost.

He had to stop somebody in a corridor and ask for directions.

"Excuse me, can you point me towards the Mungo Bonham lecture theatre?"

The elderly nurse he'd stopped, gave him a critical once over. Odhrán straightened his posture and squared his shoulders. His employer had insisted that he be wearing his white healer's uniform to represent. His fingers brushed over some of the flat, fabric covered buttons on the left side of his chest. He shouldn't complain, his work attire was quite stylish, but comfortable was something else. The elderly nurse looked at him for longer than was polite.

"New intern induction is on fifth floor next to the visitor's tearoom."

Odhrán scowled. The woman had completely ignored his question. It was true that his English didn't come as readily anymore as it had when he'd been a child, but surely he could still be understood. It was a native language for him, even if he had some vocabulary gaps after working in the French-speaking world for nine years. All that was missing was for this lady to compliment him that he spoke good English for a foreigner. He was Irish for Merlin's sake. Or maybe that was the problem?

He could never tell. Prejudice against the Irish was rampant in England. Though this trip had been peaceful so far, he still remembered a run in he'd had with a couple of Ministry hit wizards a couple of years prior. Paddy go home. Wands had been pulled.

Odhrán swept the memory aside and focused on the lady in front of him.

"I'm not an intern, Mrs..." he squinted to see the name embroidered on her lime green work wear. "... Mrs Farley. I'm a guest at the seminar for reconstruction of mind and memory. My name's Orin Daly. I'm a department head at Hôpital Magistra Hersend, Paris."

To his dismay, nurse Farley doubled over laughing. "Good one!" she wheezed and patted him on the shoulder. Odhrán looked affronted. How could, ugh, really! She didn't believe him, did she? He shouldn't shaved this morning, should he? Without the beard people always assumed he was 17 or 18 years old. "I'm not joking," he stated coldly. Nurse Farley meanwhile motioned one of her colleagues walking past them in the corridor to join. "Listen to this, Louisa, this pipsqueak here is pretending to be a department head in Paris. Even got the French accent down." She turned towards Odhrán. "Go on, say it again!"

It took everything he had not to explode. Why did people always think they could disrespect him just because he was young? Fine. If they weren't going to help him, he would find the damn lecture theatre on his own. How hard could it be? He brushed past them and their stupid laughter faded into the distance.

Then, he spotted her. Long blonde hair and light blue robes. Her voice was ringing crystal clear in his ears.

"Madely?! What are you doing here in London?"

Healer Madely Beaugendre turned around and gave him one of her dazzling smiles. Odhrán swept her into his arms and kissed her cheeks. Left, right, left, right. The habit had become engrained in Paris. Everyone kissed cheeks and at long last his Irish reservedness had crumbled under peer pressure.

"Transferred last summer from Montreux. You know I wasn't gonna get that promotion as long as Moosgaller ran the department, so I came here instead. Got my own ward and everything."

"I was going to bring you to Paris," Odhrán pouted, but then, of course, he congratulated his former colleague and lover.

Madely stroked a hand through his hair, tucking a strand of long, black hair back behind his ear. "Oh, Odhrán. You know we'd never work well together. Seeing you though, this is the best surprise," she squealed happily. "I've missed you." His mind pressed into her thoughts. He'd missed her too. "And look at you! So fancy. Is that your new uniform?" Madely mustered him approvingly, and Odhrán squirmed uncomfortably. Did she always have to do this thing where she embarrassed him in front of everybody? His displeasure seeped through their mental link. "There, there." Madely tried to assuage his discomfort.

They caught up for a few minutes. Apparently, Madely was hosting the new intern induction today, in charge of welcoming the new healing class of 1961. "You should come!" she insisted. "We're on the ..."

Odhrán interrupted her. "Fifth floor, next to the visitor's tea room. So I've been told."

He filled her in on his experience with nurse Farley and Madely laughed heartily. "Oh, I'm sorry Odhrán," she sympathised. "Try to take it as a compliment. There'll be a time when you'll appreciate looking younger than you are. I should know. I'm old." He rolled his eyes.

"Being six years older than me, hardly makes you ancient," Odhrán objected. "And while I'd love to come and see you do your thing, I really need to find this lecture. How about I pick you up by the visitor's tearoom once I'm done and we have dinner tonight so I can make it up to you.  I've come all this way for Orion Molesworth-Houghton, can't miss his talk now, can I?"

She nodded her understanding. "I finish at four," she told him. More kisses. He was about to dash off again when she grabbed him by the sleeve and pointed him in the direction he needed to go. Oh thank Paracelsus and the Holy Hildegard, she knew her way around this forsaken place. Lecture theatre this way.

------

Odhrán was a little later for Orion Molesworth-Houghton's talk. He ended up sitting next to an attractive gentleman in his late forties. When it was time to ask questions, he made a few clever observations. Demetrius Dankworth was clearly an experienced hand. Odhrán knew he should have been impressed, but something about the wizard next to him just set him on edge. He seemed so detached. People always said that healers should be just like that so they could make objective decisions, but Dankworth's approach to medicine felt soulless. Like it was just a job and nothing more.

They fell into awkward conversation after the talk had wrapped up.

"You really want to see Induction day?" Dankworth asked incredulously. "Well, come on, I'll take you upstairs."

Truthfully, Odhrán had hoped to go on his own, but didn't know how to decline the offer politely. While he'd struggled finding this lecture hall, he had no concerns that he'd manage to locate the visitor's tea room. It was signposted damn near everywhere making it easy to locate. Oh well, he was in it now.

"I should introduce you to my head of department while we're there," Dankworth said in a feeble attempt to keep the conversation alive. "Aurelius specialises in spell damage as well, same as you, Healer Daly."

Odhrán nearly stopped in his tracks. Aurelius. Now there was a name he would never forget. Was it the same Aurelius he remembered? It had to be. It wasn't a common name. Odhrán couldn't help a feeling of trepidation. His sister hated that man and he most definitely hadn't helped her when she had fallen ill. He was nothing but a talentless and pompous hack. Healer Aurelius Audish had promised his family that he would cure Aoibheann and had given them all hope when in the end he had delivered nothing.

Resentment almost overpowered him, but Odhrán kept his expression neutral. One of the things he'd been trying to do for a number of years now was to have his sister's records released to him. However, St Mungo's was stalling in delivering the files. Maybe, here was an in for him to finally get the matter progressed. If he met Audish he could ask his questions directly. What could be better than hearing it straight from the horse's mouth.

He was still battling his thoughts and emotions when Dankworth and him slipped into the auditorium where the next staff induction was taking place. Madely was standing on stage, giving her usual speech. The years you will spend here as a healer in training will be the best and worst of your life. You will be pushed to the breaking point. The words were familiar to Odhrán. He'd heard them on his first day in Montreux, though it had been Senior Healer Mosgaller talking rather than Madely. Cute, that she was bringing this old tradition forward with her. A smile spread across his features.

"She's quite something, isn't she," Dankworth commented.

Odhrán gave a tentative nod. "She's great with student healers. I was very lucky to have her as a teacher in Montreux."

Dankworth snorted. "I reckon she can teach more than medicine."

The vulgar humour was grating. Thankfully, as Madeły's little speech ended the room broke into applause. Maybe, he could make an escape now?

Life had no such mercy. Before he knew it he was standing with Dankworth and Audish, drinking from a flute of sparkling mead.

"About a third of them will drop out," Audish said about the new recruits as if it were a statistic to be proud of.

"Why?" Odhrán asked, realising too late that he would regret the question.

"You know, the girls get married and become mothers," Dankworth supplied helpfully. "Most of them only sign on to marry a healer. And truthfully, that's about all they're good for. I don't know why we bother to admit them."

"Why indeed," Audish agreed. "But you gotta give them that some are quite pretty to look at." He indicated towards a redhead with ample cleavage. "Might not be able to keep our patients alive, but she sure keeps me alive and motivated to get out of bed in the morning."

Odhrán nearly choked on his drink. While rampant sexism was hardly anything new, he had not expected to be confronted with it out in the open and without at least the pretence of trying to be modern and progressive. He gulped.

"We should give them a uniform with shorter skirts" Dankworth added as if needing to insure that the conversation remained disgusting.

"Excuse me," Odhrán tried to interject. "Healer Beaugendre is waiting for me."

"Let her wait boy," Audish advised. "Never let a woman gain the upper hand."

Was it acceptable to vomit in their drinks? He was sorely tempted to.

"Look at those two ugly little ducklings in their frumpy clothes," Audish continued, unfortunately unaware of just how deeply, deeply uncomfortable Odhrán was with all of this. This girls indicated were young and a little nervous, but otherwise there was nothing wrong with them. The one to the left was a cute brunette with a short pixie cut and wide, bespectacled eyes. Odhrán liked her freckles and the fact that she had worn a fancy pant suit to the occasion rather than a dress. She looked really cool. The girl next to her, well, wow. What on Earth was Audish talking about? She was a real beauty. Odhrán couldn't help but admire her big, inky black eyes and her brown, softly waved hair. And that little pout. Of course, she wasn't wearing a short, formfitting dress, so maybe that was why she had been dubbed frumpy.

Probably smart. If it was a choice between being ogled and groped by Audish and his associate and being considered a bit of an ugly duckling, well the latter definitely seemed preferable.

"10 galleons say those two won't make it until the end of the program," Dankworth grandstanded tastelessly. Audish didn't take the bet.

"20 galleons say at least one of them will," Odhrán heard himself object before he could stop the words spilling from his mouth. Just what was he thinking. Audish's neck turned like an owls as he faced Odhrán and mustered him critically.

"You'll lose boy. Are you sure you can afford that much?"

He was absolutely certain.


Monday May 15th, 1965
Saint-Germain-des-Près, Paris


It was early in the morning when an owl practically swooped through Odhrán's open window and perched on his pillow. What the? He certainly hadn't expected to wake up with a bunch of feathers in his face. The bird had a message attached to its leg, so he groggily reached for it to find out what was so damn urgent.

Cher Odhrán,

My apologies for the long silence. I know, we agreed to remain friends, but you know how I feel. Probably seen it for yourself, knowing you.

You're probably wondering what could be so bad I'd write to you despite myself. I need your help. A patient's life is on the line and I do not know whom to turn to other than you. Please, Odhrán, you must come to London to see this case. I've attached the file. Healer Dankworth wants to perform a lobotomy, but as you can see there is no clinical indication for it.

Please don't let me down. I know you're a good man, no matter how much you might insist otherwise.

With love,
Madely


Bloody Dankworth. Odhrán didn't need to read the file to know that Madely was right. He hopped in and out of the shower. His flat looked like a site of the Goblin Rebellion. Not having a house elf didn't suit him. He sighed and climbed over a pile of dirty laundry. Looking into his closet, a healer uniform was the only clean set of clothes he owned. It would have to do. As he put on the white jacket and buttoned it up he had to hold his breath and pull in his stomach. Why was his uniform suddenly so tight? A look onto his bedroom floor answered his question. The one he usually wore was lying on the floor needing a wash. This one, he'd been issued a size too small. His opinion. The tailor at Magistra Hersend had dubbed it perfect. Well, as long as he didn't sit, or eat, or breathe...

He checked himself in the mirror. Oddly enough, he looked alright. He combed and dried his long hair and tied it back with his usual light blue ribbon.

Okay, write to Madely, then call the hospital via the floo letting them know he'd be giving an unexpected consult.

A Madely, a chara,

Will be there as soon as I can. Sending the owl ahead, but I might be there sooner than it.

Yours,
Odhrán

P.S.: Don't let Dankworth scare you. Just tell him you're transferring the case to me.



Monday May 15th, 1965
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

He'd taken the first available portkey into London and rushed to be abandoned Purge and Dowse Ltd. building in muggle London. Might have been quicker to apparate, but he wasn't entirely clear in his mind where St Mungo's actually was. Better to ask for directions than splice himself on the way.

Odhrán arrived just a couple of minutes to ten. St Mungo's was busy, but thankfully not as chaotic as on conference days. He stepped up the reception desk and addressed the young lady there.

"Good Morning. I'm Healer Odhrán Ó Dálaigh. Here to give a consult on Madely Beaugendre and Demetrius Dankworth patient. His name is Quintus Cavendish. Could you call someone from his ward down for me please? Preferably Healer Beaugendre if she's available.

The lady got busy and Odhrán leaned against the counter taking a look around. How strange that he kept being drawn back to this despicable institution again and again. Every time he visited he resolved not to come back for a next time and yet here he was. Well, Madely had called. How could he say no to her?

Talia Bryce

"Sir, there's no part of this patient's readings that lead me to believe a lobotomy is the best course of action. I've gone over the chart numerous times." Talia trailed after Dankworth who was busy grunting and making an attempt to ignore her as if she were some fly buzzing about. "Even recent Muggle studies have started to show plenty of medical retractions about the benefits of such a procedure, the long term effects it has on the patient and not for the better. Removing this patient's frontal portion of their brain is not going to have any effect but a negative one and will only reinforce their anterograde amnesia, please!" Trying to keep her voice at a lower tone as to not spread about how she was actually questioning a superior, Talia hurried alongside Dankworth, chart clutched to her chest.

"In America I did over a handful of these cases and though it did help the seizing in two of them there were far more underlying problems that eventually turned up post-op. Healer Echols had a theory that-" Dankworth rounded on her cutting her off almost immediately, a finger lifted and inches away from her face.

"Listen to me and listen good as this will be the last time I say this to you again." His breath felt hot against her face as he swerved back around to lean into her. Unflinchingly, Talia stood her ground and tilted her chin up in his direction. He wasn't going to scare her, not anymore. "We are not in America, Healer Bryce and you are reaching above your station. If you can't stop this obsession over comparing our work here to that abroad then I assure you I can transfer you out of here as quickly as you can sign your pretty little name on the form." Dankworth hissed, a smile taking up space on his features only to keep up appearances that whatever they were discussing couldn't possibly be unpleasant to those that might have noticed them.

"It was my understanding that you chose my position for residency in America to be sure that I could-oh what was it again?" Matching his sweet smile, she chose not to remove herself from his space. She wouldn't bow to him nor cater to his constant need to be the biggest presence in the room.

"Observe and learn from our fellow healers in the United States so that I may return with a worldly view of healing and potioneering. One that will allow us to forge a future for this hospital, for the betterment of St. Mungos and our community. Return with a more modern understanding of healing so that we here at the hospital can continue to grow and serve our fellow witches and wizards better for years to come." Talia held her shoulders back and narrowed her dark eyes at the man, holding his stare. "Wasn't that the speech you gave me? I know it was only a year ago but Sir don't tell me your memory is already starting to slip."

That seemed to only infuriate him more, a red tint splotching at his cheeks and forehead. His eyes slid from hers and peered over to the nurse's station where a few of the women quickly turned away. Apparently they had an audience. His hand gripped at her arm as Dankworth ushered Talia to one side, away from most prying eyes and behind a dividing curtain next to an empty section of seating. This wasn't anything new... Between Audish and Dankworth the two of them were always far more aggressive with the female healers, and far worse to most of the nurses. She was sure that them sending her away to America had been a two part plan, getting rid of her and slipping in a male friend of the family instead to replace the vacant healer position that had opened up. To their frustrations Talia had not only turned down the stay in America, somewhat reluctantly, but she had returned almost an entirely new person. No more walking head down around the senior healing staff, yes sirs stuttering out of her as one of them breathed down her neck all sorts of demeaning insults about how she wasn't worth the efforts through her training despite her being only one of four having made it fully to the end of their training and more over the only female out of 25 other interns. No, she was worth more and she knew that now having been away this past year.

Talia rolled her shoulder back and roughly tore her arm from his talons. "Go back to the patient and wait there. Audish is going to be speaking to a consult that was called in and I don't want you in the way. It's bad enough Madely decided to call for outside help on my case." Venom dripped from his tone. It was obvious how jealous and petty he could be but more so Talia noticed when it involved a woman having the upper hand.

"I believe her signature as well as mine are the ones on the files so I'm not sure what case you're mixing up as yours." She knew she was getting dangerously close to pushing Dankworth too far but already she had been back four months and still treated as if she were an intern regardless of Audish even having given the title, certifications and badge himself to her upon arriving back in the UK. She had seen it then, a nasty half hearted smile forced upon both the men's faces but at least Madely had been there and supported her. If it hadn't been for her help and urging her to take the residency at the hospital in Boston she probably would have done exactly what the men expected, drop out and marry. There had been a time during her internship, towards the end of the first year here after two other girl's had taken their leave from the program, Talia had been in the break room and both Audish and Dankworth had slithered in discussing who was next to leave. Apparently then they had been shocked she had made it the full year... well how they must be stewing over those pretentious assumptions now, almost four years later.

"Bryce, I swear if-you-don't-go-sit-down I will make you and it won't be in that patient's room.. it will be outside this building and with all of your belongings, head spinning and you'll never set foot in this hospital again." The two stared one another down. There was no more room for her to push... he meant it. Her lips formed a thin line and nose crinkled slightly in frustration.

"Sir." Talia didn't trust herself to say much more. She fixed her eyes on his for a little while longer, a small snapping of energy at her fingertips. Turning on her heel, Talia white knuckle gripped at the chart over her chest and tried to steady herself by holding in a breath. Walking out from behind the partition, she gave a look at the nurses who were still looking in their direction, one of which had been craning her neck backwards to try and peer behind the curtain. She shot them a look that said it all and they gave an understanding nod. It wasn't exactly a secret how Dankworth and Audish ran this place.

If Madely had actually called for reinforcements, Talia would have to find her before Dankworth tried to weasel his way in again. It wouldn't be the first time he pulled rank and did a procedure before Madely found out. One of the nurses must have noticed the look on her face, as she left the other who was tending to a dark-haired man in a white uniform.

"Are they still going through with it?" The nurse stepped in front of Talia as the two turned to walk back down the hall and further into the hospital. Talia's temper flared allowing for her to only nod in response. "You'll have to get her, that man back there just asked to see Madely he must be who she sent that owl to. Third floor, you better hurry before Dingleworth decides to warp the poor man's mind into going along with his plan." Talia couldn't agree more. She gave the woman's forearm a squeeze and slight smile before hurrying to the third floor. If she caught Madely in time and could head Dankworth off then all the better.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 12, 2021, 08:54:01 pm #2 Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 12:33:35 am by Royal_Poet
Think of evil and it shall appear. Odhrán was still waiting for Madely when Dankworth and a younger healer appeared near reception. They seemed to be lost in a world of their own, discussing a case. Odhrán's attention was caught as soon as he heard the term 'anterograde amnesia'. That had to be his patient they were discussing. Part of him wanted to join in on the conversation, but previous experience with Dankworth and his superior Audish had taught Odhrán a thing or two. If he wanted more information, it was best to be patient even if the situation was dire.

Oh, so treatment protocols were decided based on geographical location now? He couldn't decide whom he found more stupid, the junior suggesting a treatment because she had seen it in America or Dankworth refusing to consider it because it had been used in America. Could these two even hear themselves? There were deaf patients in the waiting area who could probably follow their argument without too much difficulty. His immediate thought was that if this were his department they'd be both suspended for a week. Unbelievable to make such a spectacle of themselves.

The woman, at least seemed to act with the patient's best interest in mind. He found himself softening a bit towards her, but Dankworth, he was truly a vile and despicable creature. Well, what was he expecting. They were both working for St Mangled's. Chances of them actually curing a patient were probably slim. If the things he'd heard from Madely were anything to go by, it was better not to come here as a curse damage patient. For the umpteenth time he wondered why she was still working here. He'd said he'd give her a job in Paris. What more did she want?

He zoned out as the argument between Dankworth and his junior healer got personal. He didn't really care for the internal politics of this hospital. If only they had the same passion about patient care. Novel concept. He knew.

It seemed to take until the 12th of never until finally somebody appeared in the reception area to pick him up. Unfortunately, it wasn't Healer Beaugendre as hoped, but rather Aurelius Audish himself with a coffee cup in his hand. Oh well, here he went again.

"Healer Ó Dálaigh," Audish greeted grumpily. "There was no need for you to come out here. We have everything under control. I'm sure you're very busy at Magistra Hersend."

"Exceedingly. So why don't we just cut to the chase and you let me see my patient upstairs."

"But no release form has been signed."

"Yet." Odhrán gave Audish an unphazed expression. He was not going to leave Madely to the wolves because there was a gap in the paperwork. "The patient has personally requested me. You're honour bound to respect his request." A blatant lie. "May I ask where Healer Beaugendre is? I was expecting to catch up with her."

"Attending to an emergency."

Oh, what a convenient excuse. Deciding he had heard enough of Audish's bullshit, Odhrán moved in direction of the lifts, figuring Audish would follow and escort him.

"You can't go upstairs," Audish insisted. "You're not authorised staff."

Odhrán looked at him with an expression that said it all: really. Uncaring of the consequences he stepped into the lift and pressed the corresponding button. Audish followed him.

As they exited onto the ward, Audish was calling for guards, except there seemed to be none that could respond to his call. Sometimes, ministry cutbacks had their perks. "You wait for me Healer Ó Dálaigh," Audish yelled after him. Odhrán had already slipped into the patients room.

The patient, Quintus Cavendish, was a fragile-looking waif of a man. Odhrán thanked the great Nimue for blessing his stars. His eyes focused on the man lying on the hospital bed in front of him and his mind pushed into his thoughts. Not his finest hour, not by any stretch of the imagination. He only had a few seconds to embed two thoughts on the man's brain. You called for me. I'm Chief Healer Ó Dálaigh.

Then Audish was once again upon him. "What do you think your doing!" Audish gesticulated wildly with his coffee cup, the brown liquid splashing over the rim of his cup.

"He's Chief Healer Ó Dálaigh," the patient echoed. "I called for him."

Audish looked dumbstruck. His mind went off in a loop of how this was even possible. How could a patient with anterograde amnesia remember calling for a second opinion? That shouldn't be possible. Odhrán gave a smug smile.

"Now, if you wouldn't mind leaving me with my patient please," Odhrán said sweetly.

"We have the lobotomy prepared. Healer Dankworth is waiting over..."

"There will be no lobotomy."

Audish was shaking his coffee mug in anger. "Think of the patient, Ó Dálaigh. It's his best chance."

"I am thinking of the patient."

"There is brain damage here and it will spread. A lobotomy is the only way to preserve the status quo."

"Oh, so this patient came to have the status quo preserved? I thought even you tried to make patients better on occasion."

"Give me that chart!" Audish was starting to get properly angry. Looking down at his hands Odhrán gave an amused shrug. He hadn't brought his copy of the patient's chart with him, figuring Madely would supply him with an up to date copy. It was only now that Odhrán noticed they weren't alone with the patient. The America-loving junior healer was here was well, awkwardly standing between them like a dear caught in the headlights of the Knight Bus.

"Don't even dream of letting this man have anything belonging to my patient." Odhrán hissed at the girl.

Audish seemed to enrage further. "I pay your salary, you do as I say." He was flailing about with his damn mug again. He wouldn't be happy until he'd inflicted a burn injury on someone, would he? Odhrán decided to seize the opportunity.

"What are you doing with that mug? I mean I knew you were under-qualified here,  but really, you don't even know how to drink coffee?"

Audish, ever predictable brought the cup to his lips and took a sip, giving Odhrán a superior smile. Gagworthy. Who in their right mind bragged about being able to drink coffee? Well, Aurelius Audish apparently.

Odhrán turned to the junior healer again. "Can I have the latest arithmancy chart for the patient please? I haven't got all day. As he spoke, Odhrán moved his right hand behind his back and started to cast a spell.

"Not until the patient signs a declaration of choosing you against official medical advice."

Audish had him there. The man was within his rights to demand that. However, the plan set into motion was beginning to unfold. Audish brought the mug to his lips again. Then a gurgling, spitting sound of horror. A slug had slid into his mouth and he was spitting it out as fast as he could.

"Ó Dálaigh!" Audish hollered. "I'll bring charges against you!"

"Me? What for? Did anyone here see me do anything?" The patient didn't pipe up and Audish was storming out of the room before the junior healer could say anything. The door slammed. Odhrán let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

He plucked the file for the junior's hands and took a look at it. "Alright, wonderful. This patients needs a spagyric ablution. In order to start with that I need a full arcanogram. Do you know how to take one Septic? I believe they do these in America, right? But before you start, could you bring me some tea leaves for diagnostics please? Some oolong if you have those in stock. I need to divine the root cause and exact location of the brain damage. Also, do you have any invisibility potion in stock? I also need some ashwinder eggs, a bit of wiggentree bark and fresh flobber worm muscus."

The silly thing was staring at him as if he'd grown some additional arms and legs. "I know you can talk. I heard you earlier." His blue eyes met her dark and inky ones. Oh, it was her, wasn't it? He almost hadn't recognised her with her hair tied back into a ponytail. "Also, I liked you better when you didn't look like a horse," he snarked at her.

Fancy that. Dankworth owed him money.

Talia Bryce

"There has to be something else..." Talia muttered to herself, flipping through pages of readings and diagnostics. Standing off to one side of the patient's room, she leaned back against the counter and let out a drawn out sigh. At least she had gotten to Madely in time and warned her about Dankworth as well as the man up front. She hoped her senior would make it there before Dankworth or worse Audish could dig their talons in.

"I'm sorry Mr.Cavendish." Rubbing at her eyes, she whispered at the man lying silently in bed still drifting in and out of a catatonic state. Dankworth had sedated the man so much she wasn't sure what sort of state his mind was even in anymore. There had been no reason to fry the poor patient's brain beyond the damage it already was when the man had arrived. There had to be a better way to handle all of this and not just Cavendish but all their patients.

Stepping to the side of the bed, she checked the man's vitals and gave his hand a gentle squeeze, a soft smile settled on her features. A small vibration rippled through her hand and something struck her suddenly. Oh! There had been some research she had learned about at a conference last year... something about dipping into a patient's mental state through the subconscious, filtering layers of their thoughts. But how had that gone again? Straining her memory, she tried to recall the lecture more clearly.

However, instead of thinking on the medical learning she had done that might actually help the patient she was immediately met with loud voices and the door swinging open wildly to the room. Jumping back, Lia clutched at her wand in her pocket. Who in the name of--who was this?! Wait, that man from before. Talia blinked, stunned as he stared down the patient. Her brows tugged together and she adjusted her green uniform. About to tell him off for bursting in, in such a manner her mouth hung open as Audish rounded into the room shortly after.

Mouth hanging slightly agape she watched the scene unfold before her. Dark brown eyes slid from Audish to this mystery man with each shot they snapped back and forth at each other. Something crackled in the air between them and it made her uncomfortable. Clearly, there was more here than the fact this patient suddenly knew what was it... O'Daly? Who exactly was this healer?! Madely assured her he could be trusted and barely had time to fill her in before sending Talia ahead to the room to keep watch in case Dankworth decided to slip past them.

Partway through their little war on words, the young woman realized she must be invisible to them. Neither of the men had looked in her direction or even acknowledged they weren't alone in the room beside the patient whom they were fighting over. Then slipped from Audish was far more striking than her presence being of very little importance. The status quo. Talia's stomach dropped and tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. It had been something she knew wasn't discussed openly but had an inkling this was how both Audish and Dankworth viewed the patients belonging to St. Mungos. Of course it made her sick but as a junior healer and even less, a woman, she struggled to try and figure out how and where she could help improve things or even be allowed to--hold on a minute he wasn't his patient, Lia closed her mouth and pursed her lips at the newcomer. 

Audish was quick to correct the man who snapped back just as quick. Talia had to bite back a laugh. Despite his rather abrasive nature she enjoyed the way it made Audish squirm like he did to all the hospital staff. About time he got a taste of his own medicine. Lia bit down harder on her lip, that was no way to think especially about her superior.
 
"H-" Audish cut her off as she flipped through the chart and made to hand it to O'Daly. Her eyes lifted to shoot a look at Audish. Why was he so intent on fighting this man every damned step of the way? Was-Was that a slug?! A snort slipped from her as she tried to hold in another laugh.

Talia had to remove her eyes from the two men, her mouth twisting into a smile as she lifted her hand to try and wipe it away before either of them noticed. Never had she seen someone stand up to Audish in such a way and even if she hadn't been directly involved it was beyond gratifying to watch such a thing unfold. Hearing the door slam shut, she finally looked up to see Audish had left the three of them alone.

"Everything is in there..." Talia chirped, her voice trailing off as the healer took the chart from her. She was still half shocked that he had spoken to Audish in such a way and more so gotten away with it. Audish had actually retreated. Never in her career thus far had she seen such a thing.

Giving a minute to let O'Daly read over the chart, Talia opened her mouth to introduce herself and mention things she and Madely had discussed outside of Dankworth's meddling when he was already off and running.

A spagyric ablution...??? She had done very little of that in America and nothing she felt certain would be the same this man would want. Alchemy wasn't exactly brought up so quickly from her experience with other healers here and seemed to be placed on the back burner at Mungos, thanks in part to Audish. Arcanogram, what did he think she was an intern or worse an imbecile? Her eyes narrowed the more he rattled off his demands. Most of his list had sounded ridiculous. Was he just sending her on errands simply to remove her from the patient? Her jaw set firmly in place as she eyed him up and down.

"I'm not the one with a prize winning ribbon in my hair." She replied in a curt tone to his comment about her appearance. Talia felt herself bristle at such a thing. She had been called plenty by other men especially when working in the hospital and though she never thought much of her appearance being attributed to a horse had never crossed her mind. Straightening her shoulders, she pushed the dig from her mind. They needed to focus on the patient. He wasn't the first male colleague or healer that gave her trouble and certainly wouldn't be the last but that didn't mean she was going to let him walk all over her.

"I can have the nurse tend to some of the other items you need. If you flip to the next page there's already three different arcanograms and not that you asked for my name but had you, you'd notice it is signed off on each one, so yes indeed I do know how to do that." Tapping at a few of the papers and leaning over the chart in his hands, she flipped back to the second page. "There's already noted several locations of the damage in detail and imagery to the frontal portion of the patient's brain should you be bothered to read or do you need me to do that for you as well? Though I suppose you'll have your own opinions and not believe my own diagnosis even if it was made alongside Healer Madely." She said flatly and took a step back, glaring pointedly at him. She probably shouldn't have spoken to him in such a way, she didn't know this man from the next on the street.. he could be some fancy schmancy healer far above her station but the way he spoke to her just set her teeth on edge and sparked her to react.

"But yes, let me go get your tea. Try not to let our patient be taken by Dankworth while I step out." She gave a sweet smile before excusing herself from the patient's room, her smile melting from her lips as soon as the door closed behind her. What a pompous... self-righteous... snarky, pretentious--handsome--ugh!

Muttering to herself the entire way and reliving the last few moments in her mind, regretfully as she'd rather invest her energy onto poor Mr.Cavendish... Talia set about retrieving tea and having a nurse gather a few solutions and the ingredients O'Daly had requested, oh so nicely. Nurse Leslie was a kindly old woman and had been around Mungos longer than many of the healers even had started their training. At least she could lift Talia's spirits a bit as she let the young woman gripe on the way back to the patient's room. Lia sent her ahead to the room while she grabbed the potion from the locked stock room, then hurried back not wanting to leave Cavendish alone for too long.

"Has Healer Madely been in yet? I did let her know you were here." Stepping back into the room, she lifted the tea in the man's direction and set it on the counter along with the potion, eyeing the rest of the counter to be sure the nurse had brought everything back in. She mouthed a silent thank you to Leslie.

"As requested." Clearing her throat she tried to steady her nerves. The patient had to come first. Maybe they had just gotten off to a rough start due to Audish. He seemed to push O'Daly's buttons almost purposely, noticing the way the two men looked at each other. Without him in the room some of the tension had dissipated.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 18, 2021, 07:56:57 pm #4 Last Edit: September 18, 2021, 08:13:31 pm by Royal_Poet
What a feisty junior! He hadn't expected her to be a worthwhile opponent after having seen her with Dankworth. It seemed she was a little more gutsy when she didn't feel that her job was on the line. Prizewinning? A little smirk tucked on the corner of his lips, but his focus was quickly reclaimed by Cavendish's patient chart.

She pointed him towards a series of arcanograms and Odhrán couldn't help but knit his eyebrows together. Why anyone would use so much contrast to take one was entirely beyond him. He sighed and then sighed again as she showed him the supposed location of the brain damage. How could she expect him to work with those images? They were a muddy mess. Well, he had to remind himself that he wasn't in Paris and that this was St Mungo's. Exactly what was he expecting from a treatment administered under Dankworth and Audish? Really, the only saving grace on all of this was that Madely had called him. He'd do right by this patient.

He didn't pay any further attention to Healer Whatever's commentary, instead running through his next steps in his mind. First of all, he would have to get a mental connection to take a closer look. Given her reaction, it was probably best if he took another arcanogram himself and then he'd have to clean out the signs of infection with a spagyric ablution and maybe then he could make an attempt to actually repair the damage. That sounded about right. He certainly had his work cut out for him.

Odhrán moved to sit down at the patient's bedside and carefully took his hand. Was that the door? Good. Just as soon as Healer Whatever had left the room he ran his fingers through his hair. Undoing the blue ribbon, he stuffed it into the pocket of his trousers. Prizewinning. Really?

His attention then drifted back to Cavendish. "I'm deeply sorry for this," he whispered to the patient. "They don't know what they're doing here. This was the only way." The expression the man gave him wasn't exactly promising. If he had to put to words to what he was seeing he would have called it terrified and uncomfortable."I won't cut into your brain. I can promise you that. However, you are very, very sick. And treatment will hurt a great deal. They should have called me much, much sooner." His fingers trailed a soothing pattern on the back of the patient's hand.

"I must take a look what happened to you," Odhrán warned the patient. "You're safe with me. I'm a healer. I know what I am doing." His mind burrowed in the patient's thoughts and began digging. How had this happened? Had there been a duel? An accident?

Between the sedation and lapses in memory it was easy to maintain access to the patient's mind. He found himself singing an old Irish tune to the patient while leafing through the stories he found in his mind. A crack here, a fracture there. He couldn't recall how the damage had been done. But the memory was still there buried under trauma, pain and physical injury. Odhrán lost his pitch as his thoughts pressed against a spot that was painful for the patient. In his mind Odhrán was building up a chart of the size and extend of the injuries.

Even after his survey had ended he sat with the patient for a while, minds touching, his hand squeezing the patients hand softly. It's alright. You won't remember any of this. I'll look after you. Trust me. He repeated the words over and over in his mind and tried to push a feeling of safety from his thoughts into those of the patient. He relaxed subtly and Odhrán moved his hand to press three fingers against the patients forehead.

"Somnus gravis, Tausendschlaf," came a whispered incantation, knocking the patient into a deep magical sleep. He rose from where he'd been sitting and made his way over to one of the cabinets. Having found a clean piece of parchment he produced his wand once more and started casting the necessary spells for what would be the patient's fourth arcanogram, this time done properly.

He applied himself to the task with all his focus and abandon, recording the magical currents in the patient's body with the same sharp precision as an arithmancer. Each incantation was carefully repeated two, three, four times, comparing results before ever making a mark on the parchment. Being nearly done he looked up to see Healer Whatever standing in the room watching him. How long had she been here? He'd not heard her come back in. "Go raibh maith agat," he mumbled at her, his brain not yet having caught up with it being time to speak English again. He stepped to the other side of the room. "Thóg mé a arcanogram agus..." Odhrán blinked several times. Healer Whatever seemed confused. He shook his head as if to shake out the incorrect language. "Sorry, I don't need you to help with the arcanogram anymore. Did it myself in the meantime. Thank you for the tea."

He picked it up from the counter she had placed it on. Okay, time to fib. He couldn't tell this woman that he had looked into the patient's head and taken a detailed survey of the brain damage. So instead he poured his magic into his cup holding it between both hands. He'd watched his aunt Mia read tea leaves about a million times, he could fake doing that, couldn't he? "A piece of parchment, please." Healer Whatever complied grudgingly and placed one on the counter for him. Biting his lower lip, Odhrán poured more magic into the tea cup. It was quivering and shaking in his hands and becoming a little bit difficult to hold. If he just... maybe from this angle... a sigh. Eventually, he let the tea pour from the cup holding the image of patient's brain damage in his mind. Making a replica in tea was surprisingly hard.

"Alright, alright, here we are. Would you like to assist or should I call a nurse for that since you're too good to help?" He really hadn't intended to be crabby, but her attitude bothered him. Who was she to speak to a senior like she had spoken to him? "I need the patient's head shaved. Getting invisibility to take in hair is always tricky during these treatments and I want to make it easy on both of us." He stepped closer to the patient, and gently held his head between his hands. "Could you also set two burr holes, please? Patient is at risk for a subdural haematoma if I nick any blood vessels during treatment later and I am sure there will be fluids from the ablution. I hope you have a strong stomach. This will be a long and difficult session today."

He looked over the ingredients provided and mixed them into the potion she had brought him, save of course the wiggentree bark. He would need that in a moment. Stepping up to the patient he applied the modified potion to the patient's scalp, rendering skull and bone invisible in sections. "When I'm done here with the potion we will clean the injury with Wiggentree bark. Do you know how to transfigure a herb to mist and feed that into the brain?" he asked curiously. It wasn't a protocol he expected much familiarity with at this institution. "Next step of course is to cause a magical reaction in the brain, by pushing a pulse of light. It'll dissolve all the sludge and detritus and should give you a clean surface to help me with targeting healing charms into the damaged areas. How good is your fine motor control? Can you target tidily to just a few millimetres and through layers of skin and bone? I'll pin the diagram to the wall to help you visualise the internal damage."

Talia Bryce

Talia shifted uncomfortable and somewhat irritated. Not only had he been speaking in tongues but his tone still hadn't changed. Sorry or not he certainly didn't sound it. She folded her hands together silently in front of her and annoyingly resided herself to taking a backseat to whatever treatment he was going to give. 'Right..okay you can just learn from this.. a learning experience, yes that's what this will be.' Admittedly, it would be great to see someone else work again and not the senior Healers Mungos had. Since returning she felt like she had been forced back into the same old box and it was beginning to grate on her nerves, crushing against her chest.

She watched him carefully as he tended the tea. Had he actually been serious about using a tea reading? Rarely had she seen serious healers use this and only read about a number of cultures basing their medical treatments off of it. The indigenous people she had met while in America used it a great deal but they also relied on tons of other herbal medicine as well not just reading some leaves. Plus, she noted he had swirled the cup the wrong way. Her features softened as she tried to study what he was doing closer. Had he? Maybe it was just part of his process, did he know something she didn't? His hand didn't appear as steady sparking her curiosity.  Her eyes narrowed as they lifted from the image to the side of the man's face. Why did Madely trust him so much? He seemed insufferable at best--had he taken that ribbon out of his hair? Interesting....

Oh! He was actually going to let her-- "...since you're too good to help?"

Her smile slid from her face to the floor. What was this guy's problem?? When had she even given the impression she was 'too good' to help let alone mention such an absurd idea? Her name was all over the damned chart! A silent rage boiled in her skull. 'Patient. For Mr.Cavendish.' A voice overpowered the seething flame and cooled her temper. Oh-Now it's 'both of us.' Her lips formed a slender line as she gave a nod in understanding. Fighting was not going to help this patient and if this man could actually do what Madely claimed then Talia wanted to help anyway she could. Especially if helping made him work faster and be on his way quicker... Plus... passing up a chance to partake in the surgical part of this was absolutely not an opportunity she was willing to give up.

Not wanting O'Daly's mood to sour her own, she set to task while he tended his own part of the treatment. Was he really going to use the invisibility potion to take a look at Cavendish's brain? Whatever annoying little ticking had set in her skull, twitching at her thoughts, had melted away and been replaced with an exhilarated curiosity, probably morbid if she thought about it in a more sobering atmosphere. Though getting to see a live brain through a man's skull was... well... beyond fascinating! Audish and Dankworth would never have let her partake in such a treatment, not even consider using something like this... and certainly wouldn't have let her even be in the same room.

"-Do you know how to transfigure a herb to mist and feed that into the brain?"

Talia had to shake her head slightly at his question, teeth gritting together. "I do not." Rarely was she embarrassed about not having been trained in something but there was an heir about this man that made her feel foolish as it was so having to admit she wasn't familiar only made the feeling sting twice as much.

Nodding along she tried to shake off the feelings of insecurity. This was more familiar to her however. She had watched numerous procedures in America and some of them involved various types of neurological damage, not to this extent however and she hadn't been allowed to lead the procedure and only watched from an overhead gallery. As modern as things were across the pond, she still hadn't the credentials to do everything she wanted to even at the urging of her senior attending, Daniel, who had taken on her residency while she had been there.

"That I can do." Having the diagram would help but after watching him work she had already burned the image into her brain, occasionally her photographic memory came in handy.. well, more so at work than outside of it. Her eyed widened as she peered down at their patient. Hungrily her eyes took in the sight before her as the man's skin and bone were entirely gone from view.

"Alright," Rubbing a thumb into one palm then the other, she gave O'Daly a steady nod. "Ready when you are-Oh, actually." If they were going to be bending over the patient... she glanced at the way his hair fell and wondered how appropriate it would be to-well.. Her fingers tugged off the extra elastic around her wrist. The comment about her looking like a horse filtered into her brain at that exact moment and she felt herself recoil. Pausing she felt her resolve peter out.

"Nevermind." He probably wouldn't appreciate her gesture even if she offered, hand dropping away from her wrist and to her side. Still, she wasn't about to work with someone who was constantly going to grumble and push their hair out of their eyes while they worked. One less thing for him to gripe about and most likely take it out on her. "The diagram?" Waiting for him to turn just long enough to wave over the parchment, she gave a quick twiddle of her fingers in his direction and silent incantation to hold his hair back, something she used constantly while in the garden at home probably the handiest spell she had for gardening if she were to admit to it.

As he turned back around, she swept the smile from her features and readied for their work to begin.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 19, 2021, 05:21:35 pm #6 Last Edit: September 19, 2021, 07:51:37 pm by Royal_Poet
He turned to gesture towards the tea stain diagram. "I know, the colour is a bit faint, he apologised to her. "Should have probably let the tea steep for a little longer, but Mr Cavendish here doesn't have an awful lot of time. Any doubts or questions about any of the shapes and depths, please just ask me." As he was speaking he felt a sliver of magic trickle over him. The nerve, the audacity! He wanted to turn around and give this woman a piece of his mind, but he was pretty sure that Madely would be deeply upset with him if he messed up her junior.

"I don't care that this isn't Hôpital Magistra Hersend and that we're not in my department, but this is unacceptable. Since when is it appropriate to cast spells on your colleagues without consent or prior warning. If you want to work with me I have to be able to trust you." He tried to channel Madely in what he said and swallow down his anger at her invasion of his privacy before turning to face her. "If you'd done that during treatment it could have been highly dangerous. I'm an alchemical healer. We do a lot of wandless and non-verbal casting requiring very precise control. Unless my patient is dying, you don't startle me."

There. He though he had handled the situation about as gracefully as he had in him. If he was honest with himself and her, he felt terribly on edge. Being here in London was anything but comfortable and the imminent thread of Audish or Dankworth coming back was stressful. "I wonder what's keeping Healer Beaugendre. I was hoping she'd be here to join us as she's used to how I run a treatment room..." A deep sigh escaped him as he was starting to realise something. "Probably keeping Audish busy to buy us some time. I suppose it's best we get going with this."

He took a moment to inspect the burr holes on the patient. Everything looked in order. He stepped over to the counter and found two kidney dishes to hand over to her. "I'll try to explain as much as I can while we step through this. If you're struggling at any point please let me know. I've put this patient under with a deep sleep, which is only mildly sedative. He seemed tapped out, so I didn't want to go heavy handed. Whoever has been prescribing here, that's way too much sedative. Makes it very hard to see the arcane flows through the brain and I am hoping you know how important it is we don't accidentally cause a disruption here during treatment." He sat down on the patient's bed again and took the patients hand gently. "The ablution will likely strip away some of that medication and I will sedate again afterwards in a less disruptive manner. Just, don't be surprised if his eyes open, or if he cries out in pain. He won't be able to wake up or to remember it once I'm done. Honestly, I wished I could be gentler with this patient, but some of the choices on this case have been made for me by whoever administered all that valerian with passionflower compound. Takes a special kind of brain damage in opinion to think these two things should go into the same remedy."

Talking seemed to calm his rage about the mismanagement of this case, while he was softly pulsing some warmth and happy thoughts into the patient, trying to affect his state of relaxation and making him feel more comfortable with the procedure to follow. His junior was ready with the dishes and seemed to wait for him expectantly. He summoned the wiggentree bark to him and  held it suspended in the air with one hand, while using his other to cast a layer of transfiguration over it, breaking the solid piece of bark into a stream of magically charged particles. He directed the stream to enter the brain through the burr holes and settle around the brain and in the crevices. "This part of it actually doesn't do much, I'm just distributing the ingredient evenly here. There are other ways of doing it. Your colleagues here probably prefer doing this with potions, but I prefer having more direct control. However, doing it my way is  harder to do. If I'm in an acute emergency I dose with with potion too. Anyway, to activate the wiggentree bark you need to add light. Here the invisibility makes things easier. Of course you can cast through skull and bone, but if you don't have a clear visualisation of the patients internal anatomy that's very exhausting to do. So even if I don't need it, I prefer to work that way."

He paused his explanation to rub his palms together. As he separated them again a band of light arched between them. He carefully moved his hands around the patients head, causing a reaction with the wiggentree dust. Fluid and dirt escaped through the burr holes and onto the kidney dishes. "If you look at those darker parts of the brain, that's where he has inflammation and swelling." Odhrán moved the ribbon of light to trigger another reaction. "Can you lift him forward to lean against me. I think the back of the head is clear, but I do want to check it just to be sure we haven't missed anything. Oh, and for the light... this is Lumos Solem modified. I like it because the ribbon is easier to place, but Morici for example does this with a wand light just as well as I can. Doesn't really matter which light you use, as long as you can focus it into a narrow band rather than a wide scatter."

It was relatively natural for him to settle into teaching mode, though it was strange to be speaking English. Normally it was all French or sometimes German, but never this. She didn't seem to object to his words though. Either it was going entirely over her head, or she was able to follow his thoughts without too much trouble.

Odhrán repeated his cleaning ritual twice more with a fresh piece of wiggentree bark. Each time some sludge dislodged until at last clear fluid spilled into the kidney dishes. His predictions about the patient seemed to hold true as well. Pained moans and flinching were getting more and more frequent. The patient had grown a little restless. Odhrán gently pressed his fingers against the patient's temples, muttering something inaudible. He was pushing into the patient's thoughts again checking his status. Hmm, everything was as he thought. "I'm just going to sedate again," he offered as an explanation, but the charms he cast came so quick there was little chance of anyone making sense of what he was doing. Legillimency layered with charms  upon charms, until the patient seemed to drift off again peacefully.

Odhrán produced his wand again, and started drawing on the diagram on the wall. He circles the points of injury that would be seen on the surface of the brain in green. The ones buried deeper inside got a blue marker.  "You'll be tending to the green injuries," he instructed the young healer. "I'll do the first one with you and then you carry on by yourself. Anything that is marked blue I'll be handling. I expect you will finish long before me, so you can watch the last few."

He got up from where he was sitting on the patient bed and stepped next to Healer Whatever. "My personal preference here is to heal with Salus Abunde rather than Episkey, though the latter can work. Avoid Vulnera Sanentur. Brain tissue is very sensitive, you don't want to cause scarring and while it's possible to administer dittany the same way I have administered wiggentree bark I'd just prefer to avoid any more invasive magic than strictly necessary. Now, downside is that you might have to repeat a light healing spell many times. Don't get frustrated if each pass only gives you marginal improvement. It'll layer over time."

Odhrán showed her what he meant by casting Salus Abunde with its typical wave shaped incantation. One, twice, thrice, and again, and again. Tightly controlled, over the same tiny spot he made it look like it took no effort at all. Yet more layers of the same spell. Again and again. He had a steady and soft flow and only seemed satisfied when the tissue pinked up. "Watch this carefully, that's the colour of tissue you want. Ready to take the next few on your own?"

He didn't really wait for her to say and moved on to tend to the deeper injuries that couldn't easily be visualised. Every so often between his flow of spells his thoughts drifted into his patient's mind checking his work. He angled and repeated his spells in a way that seemed almost supernatural. He couldn't see the injury and yet he seemed to frequently course correct and respond to changes in tissue he couldn't possibly see with his bare eye. By the time he had only one wound to go he looked visibly worn from the magical ordeal he was putting himself through. He'd probably cast well over a hundred spells at this point and though his discomfort was edged into his features he never slowed or complained until his last spell slid into place.

"There you go, Miss. Next time, tell Madely to call me sooner or you call me. I'm Healer Odhrán Ó Dálaigh, I'm the head of spell damage at Magistra Hersend. And for all that is good and magical, when this patient wakes up, tell him that sticking his wand up his nostril while casting a wit sharpening charm won't make him smarter. Study might do the trick."

Talia Bryce

Merlin, she was learning more from him than she had from most of her superiors here at Mungos, aside from Madely. It made Talia feel somewhat guilty for having wanted him to be gone so quickly. No wonder he didn't work here... Clearly he was leagues ahead of the staff here she thought bitterly. Every little word he said she clung to and logged away in the recesses of her mind. Each movement painted into her thoughts as her own hands moved ever so slightly, mimicking what he did to commit them to memory. This was one of the reasons she had loved America, hands on teaching but also a thorough explanation of things instead of simply being brushed to one side, though some of what he said she found abrasive and dismissive that she wasn't up to snuff to understand what he was saying. If she hadn't been so enthralled in learning she might have been more annoyed by it.

"Understood." She flexed her fingers and gave him a curious look. Salus Abunde? Really? Her eyes twinkled slightly in awe. Finally, someone else other than Madely who made any sense when casting healing spells. Vulnera Sanentur, steer clear. Well that made more sense than he seemed to give her credit for. She hadn't worked on such a delicate part of the body this closely but it seemed fairly obvious to her that would have too many risks to attempt it in this case. Though she did suppose he didn't have much faith in the system Mungos had in place. Talia found herself torn between agreeing with him and bristle in defense of the place that had taken her in and allowed her to study for so many years already, some sort of annoying undying loyalty that was rooted in her so deeply she couldn't shake.

Her eyes focused intently on his work as O'Daly moved his hands and magic flowed from him. Greedy, her mind soaked up every shred of knowledge she could. Nodding here and there, adding in a yes clearly so he knew she was paying attention every so often, finally he turned to her and let her take over.

Hands moving in rhythm with one another, casting and incantation repeating and ringing through her chest as magic poured from her hands, Lia set her focus entirely on the patient. Waves, Salus Abunde, waves, a shifting of color, rinse, repeat. Working silently absorbed by the motions and calming repetition, Lia realized she was just about done. He had been right, she was already finished with her sections and looked up to see O'Daly working away. She had to admit, despite his attitude he really was a wonder to watch. Standing off to the side so she could observe but not be a distraction, especially after his last warning still stinging, she watched closely. There was more to it than just his hands moving and at that she hadn't done half of the amount of casting he had done and her own energy felt strained, fingers burning slightly. The joints in his hands had to be aching at this point but he still was at it and in such a meticulous way. Brown eyes lifted to sweep over his face, lines crinkled at the corner of his eyes. Ah so he wasn't so superhuman after all...

After they had finished and things were cleaned up, a silence still between the two that Talia felt obligated to fill but was happy to let linger in the room, O'Daly began to lead into his own version of a 'goodbye.' Her eyes widened as he gave his title and she felt her face burn. She had assumed he was a senior but the head of a department and she had spoken to him in such a way?! Oh Merlin.. was he going to get her sacked? Even if there was tension between him and Audish maybe she had pushed a little too much. Surely one word from him and she would have her recently received title be stripped, Dankworth for sure would be all too happy to snatch it from her himself.

"Thank you." Her head spun and blood drained from her face. "I-I will." Her stomach clenched and twisted, gaze falling to the charts in her hand as she nervously folded the top corner of a few pages. A whit sharpening charm through the man's nostrils?? Hold on a minute...

"Wait-" Too late he was already gone. How exactly had he known about the patient casting a spell in such a way?! It hadn't been in the files and Cavendish himself hadn't even remembered. Talia stood blinking at the door and lowered the chart in her hands as Madely finally entered the room hoping to be filled in. "W-Who..? What? Who exactly is he?" Sputtering in shock, she tilted her head at the senior healer who let out a soft chuckle in response.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 19, 2021, 10:35:01 pm #8 Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 11:29:03 am by Royal_Poet
Tuesday May 24th, 1965
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

"Anyway, Madely, that just happens to be the way I feel about it. I hate being a department head. I should have never accepted the position. They're turning me into a paper pusher!" Odhrán ran his hands through the short waves of his hair. "So, I've accepted Thierry's offer to work in Quebec. No, don't give me that look. Madely!"

Healer Beaugendre pursed her lips. "Odhrán, I only want what's best for you. I can't picture you so far from home. Your heart is always in Árainn Mhór."

"Whatever do you mean, I haven't lived in Ireland since I was eleven years old. And Quebec is beautiful. You'd love it too. Come with me? You can't like it here in this terrible department. You'll never flourish under Audish and you know it. You're better than this." He pointed his finger right at her chest. "I know how you feel Madely, don't deny it."

Odhrán tried to push into her thoughts and read her mind, but instead found his thoughts deflected. She'd been practising.

Madely launched into a bit of a speech about her junior healers here at St Mungos and that they were relying on her. Unexpectedly, those words hit a nerve. He'd miss his students when he left Paris. The thought of parting with Séverin in particular was painful, though Healer Seive-Mauvernay was hardly a student anymore. He'd be running the department at Magistra Hersend once he was gone. Myriam and Carl on the other hand, they still needed him. And yet he was certain he had to move on.

"It's not a decision I've made easily. I'll write and Quebec is just a portkey away. Just call me when you need me. You know I will come."

"Of course," she tried to reassure. "I'm just worried about you. That is all. Now anyway, tell me about those two junior's you brought with you from Paris?"

"Healer Myriam Bouajila is wonderful. She's a joy to teach and one of the best juniors I ever had the pleasure of working with. Her specialty is regrowing of bones. And I think you know Carl Friedrich. Steady, analytical, a great researcher... He paused.

"Not the best with handling patients," Madely concluded his sentence for him. "You're right. We've met."

Healer Beaugendre ushered him out of the St Mungo's staff room and towards the lecture theatre. "We'll talk more later Odhrán. I guess for now we should just focus on the case. Audish, by the way, is livid. He was expecting to be treating himself, rather than have you take over. How did you manage to score this appointment?"

"I didn't score it," he objected to her. "I had it foisted upon me by grandmother. Adelaide Mercer went to school with my grandmother in Aspermont." A deep sigh. "So when she told my grandmother that her son had been injured in the line of duty she was told that I'm the best." He gave Madely a worried look.

"Modesty doesn't suit you, Odhrán. You are the best."

"You flatter me, and be that as it may, even if I am the best, how am I supposed to patch a curse breaker back together that is as reckless with his own life and health as Francis Mercer? That's no small feat. And before you say it, I know the patient is stable at the moment, but that could change any minute."

Their conversation ebbed as they enter the Mungo Bonham lecture theatre. The place was crammed. It seemed every junior healer in the hospital was in attendance. It was strange to experience that here, so far from Paris. He knew he had a reputation, but it couldn't be enough to warrant all of this. It was too much. He'd expected to speak with a few students about the case, not to a packed room.

"You could have warned me," he hissed at Madely but when he looked over his shoulder to face her she was nowhere to be seen. He took a deep breath and scanned the room for familiar faces. His favourite two junior healers, Myriam and Carl, were standing next to the stage, looking dashing in their white Paris uniforms. Otherwise, the room was filled with a sea of lime green ugliness. How did these people not all cringe every time they saw themselves in the mirror?

While he made his way over to his juniors, Audish took the stage to say a few words. Of course a few were way more than necessary and Odhrán didn't like what he was hearing. The way Audish was phrasing things, he was presenting this case as if he had organised for Odhrán to be here and teach the students and juniors at St Mungo's. How dare he. He'd come for Francis Mercer, he'd come for Madely and maybe he'd even come for that plucky American junior, but he would never do anything for Audish.

He was seething on the inside but tried to keep his expression and emotions in check. Audish would pay for this in some way later. He'd make sure of it. Odhrán only listened on one ear as he was being introduced. 'Chief Healer... blah, blah...Magistra Hersend...a truly unique case... blah, blah, blah, let's welcome him on the stage.' Clapping. Part of Odhrán just wanted to die. Audish had no right.

Still, he made his way up on the stage.

"Thank you all for coming and taking an interest in this case. My patient, Francis Mercer, presents with several instances neural, mental and arcane damage. He has been the victim of several curses, some slow acting, some not so slow. Parts of the patient's body have necrotised all the way through to the bone. His memory has become fragmented. I have a case file here," Odhrán motion for Carl to bring it on stage. "Taken by over sixteen healers in 6 different countries. Some might be true, some most likely isn't and some, no doubt has been missed. I need all your eyes and ears and hands to help me get a correct and accurate case history. I want every test run you know how to run, I want everything checked. Twice." He looked around, studying the faces in the lecture hall. "Whoever is the most helpful to me and me team, may not only observe from the gallery, but will join us for whatever procedures we deem necessary."

Quite a few of the witches and wizards in attendance started whispering, exchanging ideas. "You will run your ideas either past me, or Healers Bouajila and zu Plettenberg. Nothing happens without our approval. Healers Bouajila and zu Plettenberg will evaluate your performance, but the final decision on who joins us is mine. Be warned that I will be looking at everything you do." He paused again and pointed at a blonde lady who was giving him a flirty smile. "You there! Would you mind creating a few magical copies of the patient chart for everyone here?"

The girl fell over herself, getting busy with the task he'd been assigned. "Good luck to all of you. You'll find me in the library of you need me, where I'll be working on a treatment plan."

That being said he left the room in a hurry, leaving his juniors to wrangle the exited flock of St Mungo's students.

Talia Bryce

Regardless of needing the day off, Talia managed to wiggle her way into taking over an extra shift especially after hearing all the buzzing about the hospital with a special case or some such thing. It had taken awhile for the news to reach her, mainly focused on a few of her patients and at first assuming the news to just be a bit of gossip floating about near the nurse's station. A fellow healer and close friend, Mags had been the one to bring everything into focus for her. Explaining that there was some big-wig from a French hospital arriving today that would be speaking to everyone and heading the case himself. Talia had been invested in a chart shoved under her nose, leaning back into a rather stiff chair in the staff lounge on the second floor.

"-and out of all the men that could be--Lia are you listening?"

Talia peeled her gaze from the diagnostics listing in front of her, blinking at Mags. "Sorry," Mags was giving her a serious look, arms crossed over her chest and baring down over Lia's shoulder clearly wanting to know what could be more important than her ranting. Fussing with the papers, she clipped everything back into order and tossed the pile onto the small coffee table in front of her. "Alright, you have my full attention!"  She could be so demanding... Mags eyed Talia closely before launching back into a small tirade about the super secret patient, Mr.Fabulous-Frenchman, Madely suspiciously appearing more giddy that week and on edge leading up to today, and something involving a bet she had with a few of the other nurses. Talia felt herself tune out, eyes glazing over as she nodded at her friend pleasantly. She hated gossip and more over wasted time. Honestly, she could be anywhere else than having to absorb the importance of the speaker's hair or-...or... 

"Hold on!" Talia blurted cutting off Mags who startled at the sudden outburst. Gritting her teeth, Lia sat back on the edge of her chair and glared up at her friend.

"What did you say his name was again?" Really she should have been paying closer attention. Mags obviously thought so too as she responded with a huff and rolled her eyes before answering. "Orin-Oran? No, Orin O'Daly." Mags let out a sigh and dramatically fluttered her eyelids, bumping her legs against Lia's side trying to provoke a reaction. A little flame blazed in the back of Talia's mind, her fingers wrapping around the hem of her bright green uniform sleeves.

Of course it was him! Audish had been rip snorting angry for a full week after the whole slug ordeal. In fact he had taken it out on her more than anyone, assuming she had been in league with him. Talia's hands clenched into fists as she thought about true, how funny it had been at the time but how she had been ordered to scrub bedpans and attend to scut the day after. For some reason the vision of his face had plagued her thoughts almost daily after he had arrived and vanished so quickly helping a patient who had stupidly blasted his own brains into oblivion. How poetic that had been. Mags was back to blathering on while Talia's brain sped away a mile-a-minute. If he was heading this exclusive case well then she would have to partake. For academic purposes of course. Last time he had gotten the best of her and regardless of willing to teach her things, his attitude had still been--ugh! She really couldn't place it. He had been kind one second and made smart remarks the next. Let her work on the patient but then snarked at her abilities.

"They're giving the talk at what time?" She cut off Mags detailing the way the cut of the white uniform that the French hospital had was far more superior in design to Mungos. The two glanced at the clock hanging over the door to the lounge. "About a half hour til."

"Right, c'mon we better hurry then if we want a good seat." Somewhere not too eager but close enough she could gauge if this fantastical French healer had altered his attitude or would be the very same as last time. Mags trailing at her side, Talia made towards the lecture hall. A group of people were already filtering inside as they rounded the hallway. Some of the newer first year interns were boiling in a little group, giddy and laughing as they passed.

"Chef du Département de Pathologies des Sortilèges... what a mouthful then again I bet that-"

"Mags!" She hissed through her teeth as they reached the double doors leading into the lecture theatre. Talia shot her a stern look before her friend could finish that thought. She could only imagine where that was going to go, eyes trailing after Mags as the blonde passed through the door and into the fray of people. Who knew so many would show! Not that there was ever anything exciting going on... probably the most exciting thing in ages if Talia had to admit to it. It appeared that even some of the other staff who had the day off wanted a piece of Chief du-What's-His-Face. Ó Dálaigh Her mind corrected, rather annoyingly.

--

As soon as the talk had finished Talia had slipped by a number of other staff, interns chattering excitedly, peers rushing off to start researching, and her seniors amused with Audish's speech but whispering over the patient's case exchanging ideas. Mags had taken off at a run as soon as she was able. Meanwhile, Lia's brain was zipping along a mental checklist, mildly distracted by the fact Healer Ó Dálaigh had returned to Mungos. Sixteen healers in six different countries... How in the heck was she supposed to come up with something that would work that those healers hadn't thought of or tried? If she had been a few years younger it might have been overwhelming but that fact had spurred her to dig deep. The curses alone were one thing but the fact he had some form of necrotizing fasciitis? Maybe not exactly that... If it had been then surgical procedures especially with magical abilities could've helped stop most of that damage. If the patient was still suffering... hmm.

Talia had been so caught up in her thoughts as she turned the corner to the lift that she hadn't noticed the looks she received from a group of interns, cutting through their pack as they planned out who was going to do what for Healer-rather Chief Ó Dálaigh. Talia rolled her eyes as she passed catching the tail end of one girl claiming she was going to bring him a fresh cup of coffee and pastry along with some medical research she had read about during her time in Australia. 'Good luck,' Lia thought bitterly. She wasn't convinced he was much different from the other men giving side eye to any woman wanting to dive deeper into anything medical.

"I bet if anything two of the curses are counteracting with each other... an actual blood toxin.. maybe something impeding blood flow to the bone-" Muttering to herself, she waited for the lift to arrive so she could head to the library. If that had happened then treating it with certain potions would only be harder, limiting what they can and can't use for fear the wrong ingredient even in a low dosage could trigger a response, cause the necrosis to speed up. Waiting for the lift, she wondered what sort of arcane damage Mercer had sustained. All the details would be in the chart and unfortunately she noticed both of the healers everyone had been directed to were already bombarded with a slew of staff. She wouldn't have had a chance to get a word in edgewise and now hearing some of the stragglers wanting to take the approach to just ambush Ó Dálaigh in the library she worried she had made the wrong decision to check in there first. Hopefully she had gotten away quick enough that only a few others were there.

The door opened, Talia stepped in and turned. As the doors began to slide shut she noticed a few of the interns from earlier waving for her to hold the door, one of which had been the girl babbling about coffee. Biting at the inside of her cheek, Lia pretended to not notice and feigned a quick 'Oh! Sorry!' as it closed. "She'll live." She reassured herself feeling somewhat guilty at the look the girl had given her.

And lived she had. As Lia made her way into the library, taking a quick lap to grab some of the material she knew had at least some bits and pieces that could help get a start on the gears in her brain moving for treatments, she noticed the intern standing all perky in front of where Ó Dálaigh had sat himself, coffee in hand. What a sneak.. she must have apparated. How insane! All for coffee! As if that was going to solidify some sort of working relationship with the man. Interns.

"Wood." Talia stepped over to where they were, books in hand and gave a nod to the intern who had a smile plastered across her cherry red lips. Turning to look at Ó Dálaigh she let her eyes wander over him perhaps a little too long before greeting him. He looked different... and not just his hair but the way he held his shoulders and far less lines crinkling at his forehead. Maybe he was in a better mood this go 'round.

"Chief Ó Dálaigh, good to see you again." Better start off on the right foot again. She gave a small smile and nod of her head. "Your juniors seemed to be plagued by the rest of the staff here without me adding to it. I thought maybe I could help you here instead?" Her eyes drifted to the intern, Wood who was puffing her cheeks and taking a step closer to where he sat. Really, what was the deal with him and women?

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 27, 2021, 01:31:44 pm #10 Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 06:21:42 pm by Royal_Poet
He was a pathetic coward. Even though it had been Myriam and Carl who had suggested they were fine wrangling the interns, he still felt guilty leaving them to it. Regardless, he needed some time to get familiar with the cases beyond the conversation he'd had with the patient's family and a cursory look through the patient file. There had been so many different things attempted and some of them were nothing short of outrageous quackery.

Odhrán settled on a library table by the window and spread out the file into sixteen separate piles one for each healer who had worked with the patient before. Probably the best way to tackle this mess was to start by making a list of current symptoms and current treatments. Figuring he could abuse the window as a blackboard, he pointed his wand at it to cover the left side of it with current symptoms, while starting to add the medications to the right.

Oh wow, he'd seen Ellen Wollwinkel? If there was one colleague aside from Audish who had earned the highest level of professional disrespect from him it was that woman. A complete quack. It bothered him that the German ministry still hadn't revoked her licence as a medical practitioner. Had she really prescribed potentiated belladonna? Why not just poison the patient? With a little grumble he added Belladonnna D60 to the list of medications given. Arnica D30, Periwinkle D50 and Fly Agaric D12 followed. Just how had Mercer even survived this treatment?

Odhrán flicked his wand again and produced a model of a healthy wizard's bloodstream, nervous system, and arcane flow on a piece of paper in front of him. Now, adding Belladonna D60 into the mix would affect primarily the heart. It could potentially explain some of the arhythmical heartbeat that was being talked about in the chart. He made an alteration to the drawing. Unfortunately, the next medication would cause...

His head was hurting by the time he had gotten through the five first potions. He tried to considered effects and interactions, but the truth was that he wasn't too sure of anything. Odhrán didn't work with potentiated ingredients for a reason. Altering herbs and spices by infusing plants and soil with highly concentrated magical energy was just a recipe leading to disaster. Wollwinkel claimed that doing so increased the efficacy of the active ingredients in her mostly herbal remedies, but Odhrán was sure the only thing it actually increased was dangerous unbound magic. And unbound magic usually did whatever it wanted.

He took a deep breath and picked up the next little pile of his sixteen. Okay, what had the next healer prescribed? His train of thought was interrupted when a young intern joined him and introduced herself as Miss Wood. She had a cup of coffee for him that smelled rather tempting. He accepted it with a grateful nod and allowed himself a moment to wind down just cradling the cup between his hands.

"Thank you," he mouthed at her and then turned back to what he was working on. He really had to get through this file first before he could worry about teaching or showing anybody how to work on this case. Wood had a slightly different agenda. She launched into a little explanation of some test she wanted to run on the patient. None of it sounded harmful, though Odhrán was unconvinced that it would be much benefit. While he accepted that a part of medicine would always be trial and error he tried to keep that component small in his own work. Not every healing student seemed to feel the same way.

"Okay," he confirmed tentatively. "Run your tests. I am not sure what you're hoping to find, but they won't do any harm." And maybe she'd find something. He tried to hold onto hope. With sixteen healers involved in the case, him being healer seventeen, he thought it was far more likely the current state of the patient was due to mistreatment rather than an underlying undiscovered condition, but that was just a hunch. He could be wrong and for all he knew Miss Wood's investigation of surrounding arcane fields would reveal something that would let them help the patient.

Having dismissed her, he took a sip from the coffee she had brought him. Vile. Lukewarm, brown water would have been a more accurate description. Add to that the regrettable presence of sugar. Sickly sweet brown water. His favourite thing.

He'd been about to focus on his arithmantic analysis of the case again when the door to the library swung open and another familiar face entered. Looking up he saw the face of the young woman he had worked with before on patient Cavendish's case. He'd not wanted to, but it had been hard not to pick up some of her surface thoughts the last time they had worked together. They had been so loud they'd more or less jumped at him. She wasn't his biggest fan and would never be even despite Madely, no doubt, having put in a good word for him. Oh well, at least this one was unlikely to come over and bother him while he was trying to construct his model.

He was wrong. Healer Bruce - he had read her name on the chart the last time, thank you very much - came straight for him. Oh Merlin, was it going to be like this for the rest of the morning? Would people drop by every couple of minutes wanting a piece of him? Surely not. He felt vaguely surprised that Healer Bruce considered him worth her time. Or maybe she didn't. There was every chance that she was partaking in this charade because Audish had ordered her to. He supposed things could be worse. At least she took to instruction and wasn't as poorly educated as some of the other junior healers at St Mungo's.

"Good Morning, Healer Bruce. My pleasure to see you again." Odhrán hoped that if he adopted a civil tone, she would as well. "Come, sit with me. But please, don't Chief Ó Dálaigh me. Even my own juniors wouldn't. That and it's my last week at Magistra Hersend. Call me Odhrán or if that's too strange, Healer Ó Dálaigh will do." Being overly formal with colleagues, in his opinion, rarely bred a good working relationship.

"And yes, I'd appreciate a hand seeing how it's unlikely I will see either hide nor hair of Myriam and Carl for the next couple of hours. I don't know what Audish was thinking asking all these interns to assist. Not that I mind teaching, I've spent the last seven years doing that, but this case is a mess. I don't even know what I'm doing yet. I was trying to model..." Odhrán paused as the young woman who had brought him coffee leaned in as if she were a part of this conversation. She reached for the patient file in front of Odhrán and looked over the notes.

"Wow, these are amazing," she enthused. Odhrán sighed. If by amazing she meant amazingly bad he was inclined to agree. "Miss Wood," he whispered. "I was working with this copy. Would you be so kind as to check in with Healer Bouajila to get your own copy." She nodded but didn't move away still looking at him expectantly. "And thank you again for the coffee," he added. Wood was still standing rooted to the spot. What more did she want?

"If you could leave Healer Bruce and myself to focus, please? This is a complicated case. I'll call on you should I need anything." Well, he'd rather chew his own arm off, but the young woman in front of him didn't have to know that. "How many points did I get?" she finally blurted out at him. At last, the beast showed its true colours. Odhrán sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Let me think, discussion, coffee, conversation... umm, twenty. Yes, twenty points. Now, if you'd please."

She let a little squeal. "Could I join you and Healer Bryce, please?" Now, she was pushing her luck. He reminded himself that he was supposed to be teaching. "Actually, Miss Wood, you'd be helping a great deal if you could take a family history from the patient's mother. Can I send you to do just that?" The intern beamed at him brightly before confirming his request and scooting off.

"Merlin, give me strength," he muttered under his breath. Turning to Healer Bruce a slight blush settled into his features. "How long do you reckon until she figures out that Mrs Mercer isn't here today and where can I hide from this madness?" He laughed softly, then rearranged the chart in front of the both of them, determined to get on with some work.

"Sixteen healers, sixteen levels of mess. I've been trying to figure out how the medications given over the last couple of years interacted in the patient's body. But to be honest, I'm struggling with modelling the interactions of the different treatments already. Can you believe the patient went to see Wollwinkel? I don't know why people put stock in her treatments. It's a little bit terrifying really."

Oh good, Wood had finally left. He lifted up the coffee mug, looked at one of the plants on the windowsill and poured the drink into the pot. "It'll enjoy it more than me," Odhrán offered as an explanation. "Warm water with sugar. Absolutely vile."

He focused on Healer Bruce again. "Anywhere, where was I? Oh, yes, the model! So, I am afraid that strategy won't work. I am also terrified of taking the patient off his current medications. I am sure they are part of the problem, but it is hard to tell what removing them from the equation might do. Withdrawal symptoms seem likely to me and there is all that unbound magic in the system as a result of, well, Wollwinkel." He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to ease the sense of pressure that was starting to get to him. His family expected that he would fix this patient in the same way they expected him to fix Aoibheann. It was too much.

"It all started a few years ago with Francis coming in to have an injury on his wand hand healed. He'd come in contact with a dark curse as part of his work, slowly necrotising the tissue in his hand. St Mungo's for that, Healer Dankworth treating. Standard protocol was followed. Injury cleared up Mercer was declared fit to go back to active duty. Rather disappointingly, there is no arcanogram on record, so we don't know if other curses were already present at this time. Possible that he caught something slow acting that was missed. Then readmitted a year later, this time under Healer Derby. Don't know the colleague, but the chart looks fine. Rinse and repeat, necrotising tissue healed back up, declared fit for duty. Next time the patient isn't so lucky. Travelling to Germany for work he collapsed during an investigation of an old castle. Seen in Berlin by Healer Albrecht Baum. First one to take an arcanogram."

Odhrán nestled with the files and produced the results for healer Bruce to see. "Um, here we see I think two other curses interacting. He does something quite clever here, I think, casting geographical displacement. He separated the curses out into different areas of the body to ensure the treatments don't interact. Nice idea, though I am sceptical of it. Anyway, treated with local application of potion through the skin. Good theory, less sure of that in practise. I think the active ingredients would have mixed in the blood stream all the same."

"And that brings us to Wollwinkel. After the treatment in Berlin didn't take a German colleague of Mercer's recommended her and she prescribed Belladonna D60 or bundimun poison as I like to call it. High concentration of unbound magic interacting with three curses..."

"Odhrán, dürfen wir Dich kurz stören?"

Odhrán had no idea how this had happened, but suddenly Carl and Myriam were standing next to him. "Wir haben eine Liste mit den Assistenzärzte und Auszubildenden sowie ihren Behandlungs- und Untersuchungsvorschlägen angelegt." Okay, that was good. Odhrán nodded. "Danke, Carl." Myriam, still adjusting her headscarf gave a worried look. "Il veulent faire 46 examens," she added gravely. "Voici la liste." His head was starting not to like this. "Merci beaucoup," he echoed weakly and took the document that Myriam was holding out to him. "Could you two agree on a language while we're here? Please, for my sake."

"Deutsch."

"français."

They said it at the same time. Odhrán gave them a pained look. "Come on guys, I know it's my last week and you enjoy giving me a hard time, but I need your help with this. And you don't want me to start speaking Irish, now do you?"

"Das nun wirklich nicht!" Carl exclaimed in mock outrage.

"Bien sûr que non."

Odhrán didn't dignify their behaviour with a further reaction and instead studied the chart. In their bid to haze him, his two students had noted the procedures down in German and French respectively. After summoning quill and ink to him from one of the other library desks, he started to work through the list and translate the items into English. "That one here, Healer Gill, magical stress test, sounds like a half decent idea. We should do that one first." Scanning through the rest of other suggestions, he shook his head several times. "Bloodpurging, also a good idea. Mr Bull can do the procedure, but Carl would you please supervise. I don't want a mess."

"Die Punkte nicht vergessen," Carl reminded. Odhrán nodded and tried to a number of points to each line and suggested procedure. "You've forgotten Miss Wood on the list, Carl," Odhrán admonished. "She scored twenty points with me earlier." Myriam let out a low whistle. "I know," he sighed. "Pulled ahead of the pack and will probably be scoring a high score at the rate it's going." Both juniors gave each other concerned looks.

Myriam turned to Talia. "Should we add you to the list as well," she asked switching to a heavily accented English for her benefit.

Odhrán shook his head. "She's worked with me before. There's no need to assess her. Healer Bruce has exceptional control with charms. Et elle peut supporter mon tempérament. Aber Alchemie ist irgendwie nicht so ihr Ding."

"Also nehmen wir sie?" Carl asked to confirm.

"Aber sicher doch. Sie hat unter Madely gelernt."

"Elle connaît le guérisseur Beaugendre?" Myriam squealed.

"Je ne viens pas de dire ça?"

He could feel a headache coming on. "Come on you two, organise the troops and get those tests done. Back here in an hour and a half. I need some peace and quiet to work with this young lady here on diagnostics. Actually, don't meet me here. The student healers are bound to come in here. Let's regroup in front of Madely's office. I need to talk her into assisting with the spagyrics since Séverin didn't come with us. And now go wrangle the monkeys before they kill our patient."

Carl gave a sympathetic look and put a hand on Myriam's shoulder to walk her out of the room. Odhrán looked a little sheepish. "I'm sorry. They're upset I'm leaving Magistra Hersend. So, they're making me suffer. Not sure what I did wrong with them. Do you think it's because I didn't insist on being called Chief Ó Dálaigh?" he asked as a defeated smile settled into his handsome features.

Anyway, there was no time for silly games. "So back to our patient." He'd completely lost his train of thought and where he had been before the multilingual assault on his brain. He made a note to his future self to never explain anything to a junior again in their native language to help with understanding. He could just about handle English and French happening at the same time but add German to the mix and he was headed straight for meltdown.

"Actually, would you care to take a walk with me? I need some air." He picked up the patient files, carefully stacking the different sections of it at different angles to avoid having to go through the exercise of separating things again. He then flicked his wand at the window he had made a mess of to clean away his notes. "I was thinking we could try reducing the current medications one by one until we get a better understanding of how everything is interacting. I am fairly certain there is a necromantic component to this curse. A lot of the slow acting curses are constructed that way feeding on the magical blood of the victim. Hence the purge being a good idea."

He swung himself over the desk and made a bee line for the exit. "Do keep up," he teased and then headed straight for the garden in the inner courtyard. Usually, convalescing patients came here to get a bit of exercise and fresh air, but there was nothing that precluded healers from enjoying it too. Settling on a bench under a swaying willow tree, he divided the patient folder in half and put the smaller stack into his companion's hands.

"If you could help me decide on an order in which to try and reduce current medications, I think that has to be our starting line. I mean obviously Belladonna D60 is a contender for the top spot but due diligence." He shifted around, trying to make himself comfortable on the bench, while starting to leaf through the records again. A little snort escaped him. "Someone here tried to treat with temporary transfiguration to slow down the curse. Apparently, the patient was turned into a sofa for a day." He rolled his eyes. "I mean, I suppose that's one way of furnishing a reception area, but I can't imagine that would have been comfortable."