Helping the alien girl to her feet, Ruili Windwolf handed her off to the healer, a dour, older merrow-elf wearing the white sash of a medical officer over his blue and red uniform coat. Ruili watched after her with a little twinge of concern. There was something fragile about this being, though indeed she seemed no more or less lost than any of the other intelligent creatures who fell into the vortices, those roving traps of the multiverse, as the wizards had taken to calling it. With a shake of his head, he turned his attention to his next tasks.
“When she’s cleared by the healer and cleaned up, bring her to my cabin,” he said to his First Officer, Mr. Foxrun. “And send the scholars there, too. Don’t let them pester her till she’s calmed down.”
Above decks, in the wind and clearing air, Ruili watched over the scientists and scholars fishing what they could of the girl’s broken vessel out of the sea and also chatted with his cousin and colleague, Captain Oeton Goldenbard. The two selkies leaned on the rails of their respective castle decks as the Pious Drake came alongside the Wolf and discussed the events of the day — “Purple, you say, cousin?” “Aye, and as pretty as a plum. Bald as one, too.” “Oh-ho, that’ll catch notice in the town.” — and agreed upon plans. The Wolf would make the two-day voyage to bring the alien and the wreckage into port, then send two ships out to relieve the Drake from solo patrol.
Meanwhile, below decks, the visitor to Aeldreth was taken to the infirmary. Though somewhat cramped, the interior sections of the Wolf were a surprising contrast, for while the sloop was mostly black on the outside, her inner portions were painted bright white to make the most of the light that filtered in through her portholes and the crystal prisms set into her decks. Crowded thought it was with the equipment of the ship and the possessions of the crew, the military neatness of the navy kept the passages clear and daily business running smoothly.
In the infirmary, the healer handled his new patient gently but efficiently. The long-experienced professional ran his hands over her head and limbs so quickly, she might barely have felt a touch, as he determined no bones were broken nor her skull cracked. A quick press of a simple listening instrument to various parts of her back and chest to check for telltale gurgles or whatnot indicating internal injury — satisfied, the healer stepped back with a terse, “Excellent.”
“Now, young…” he cast an arch look over the seeming girl, “…person, I’m going to cast a spell of purification on you. Don’t worry, it will not hurt nor will it cause any lasting changes. The purpose is to cleanse you of any foreign toxins or contagions. Stand still, please.”
Like the examination, the purification was over in moments – a few fleeting pressings of fingertips to her scalp, neck and other major joints, words whispered that seemed to resist the charm of the locket to translate them, and possibly, depending on her sensitivity, a feeling of being refreshed and clean in some intangible way.
“That should do,” said the healer. Opening a cabinet, he took out a dark bottle from which he poured a green, sweet-smelling potion into a small glass beaker. “Drink this, and you’ll be as good as need be.”
Just then a sailor entered and laid a small stack of folded clothes on another stool, simple cotton knee-britches and a shirt, with a pair of canvas slippers neat on top. “Mr. Foxrun’s compliments,” said the sailor, “and I’m to take the lady’s clothes for drying and give her these instead.”
The doctor glanced up from putting away his bottles and instruments and then cast another glance at the purple girl as if to indicate that part of the procedure was in her hands.