Elf Boy's Friends - IX

by George Gauthier

Chapter 8

Healers Collegium

"So Corwin, how are you doing in your classes?" Drew Altair asked Corwin Klarendes at the offices of the Capital Intelligencer where they both worked as reporters.

"My class in anatomy is fairly easy since I learned the basics during my training as a combat medic. General biology is a lot harder. There is so much to learn. I hope I can master it all. The magical gift itself is not worth very much without the knowledge to wield it properly."

Corwin was a part-time student at the Healers Collegium where he would learn to use the gift of magical healing recently engendered in him by the Order of the Druids and the New Forest. A healer had to distinguish between ills which should be dealt with by herbalists, chirurgeons, midwives, and other specialists in natural medicine while reserving magical healing for when ordinary methods would not work.

Hence a trainee needed a solid grounding in biology, alchemistry, and medical subjects like anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. A part-timer like Corwin could take only two courses at a time, so he had signed up for introductory courses in anatomy and biology. At that rate it would take him more than two years to earn his certification. Full-timers took only fifteen months.

The biosphere of the planet of Haven was partly natural and partly the result of seeding by at least two space-faring species including ancestral humans. The gamut of life forms ranged in size from those visible only thru the microscopes of natural philosophers to brontotheres and elephants, which were the largest creatures to walk the land, and various sorts of sea monsters from cetaceans to mosasaurs.

The next day it was Corwin's turn to be examined by his seventeen classmates, most of whom were females of the four main races of the Commonwealth: humans, elves, dwarves, and frost giants. Their teacher Josip Holm was fully human and was at least a score past the century mark, but the only outward sign of his chronological age was a touch of gray at the temples which gave him a distinguished look. As a male his gift might not match the best of his female colleagues, but he was esteemed for his intellect, his diagnostic skills, and his ability to teach and inspire students.

"Now Corwin, if you would disrobe and stand before the class… "

Corwin had expected this and slipped off his stylish square-cut short-shorts and moccasins to stand before his classmates in a state of nature.

"Students, take a good look at our subject. Now without invoking your gift, what can you tell about him from casual scrutiny. All right Klare, you go first."

A pretty red-headed Frost Giantess started off:

"I know that Corwin is supposed to have a considerable admixture of elven blood, but in his outward appearance he very much favors the human side of his heritage. At only four inches over five feet he stands shorter than all but a few elves, and no pure blooded elf has hair the color of corn silk. On the elven side, his eyes are the green of growing things, and he is totally glabrous, without any body hair on chest or limbs or even in the three usual places.

"Your turn Matt." Holm said indicating a young full-blooded elf.

"No body odor at all which would indicate that, like elves, his skin has only only one kind of sweat gland: the eccrine sort that produces only salty water to cool the body. He is lacking in the apocrine glands which produce sebaceous oils that can turn rancid and smell bad."

"Good, good. Anything else? Marta." he said pointing to a female human.

"Though he is slight in build, Corwin's physique is more robust than that of pure elves like Matt who has the willowy build typical of his race. I hail from the town of Harben a junction of iron roads situated on the Eastern Plains. So I was interested enough to read Corwin's book on the Lighting War, which was fought not far from my hometown. Yet I cannot see a sign of the scar on his ribs left by an enemy quarrel. He mentioned in his book that he told the healers that he wanted to keep that scar as a sign of his courage in battle.

"In other words a girl magnet." Holm nodded, but frowned as she shook her head.

"Definitely a boy magnet in Corwin's case."

"Oh, I see. You fancy boys, do you Corwin?

"Very much so, sir."

"So what happened to your scar?"

Corwin shrugged.

"It disappeared when I acquired my healing gift. It was there when I lay down for my transformation, but when I got back up, it was gone. All that healing magic must have made me whole."

"Exactly the point I was trying to make. Students, your gift will keep you healthy and youthful for a very long time. You do have to consciously invoke it to deal with serious illnesses and injuries, but only then."

"Now I want the class to scan Corwin's body magically. Delve into it with your psychic awareness. What is the first thing that you notice?"

"He's backwards!" Matt blurted out.

Holm nodded.

"By which you mean that his internal organs are transposed left to right. Corwin's heart sits in the right center of the chest rather than the left center, his liver is on his left side while his spleen is on the right. And his stomach and intestines are similarly transposed. What health effects would you expect from this odd arrangement, Matt?"

"Er… none I hope, for Corwin's sake."

"Correct! Corwin is perfectly healthy, as are all who share his rare transposed anatomy. I always love it when someone in the class manifests this phenomenon. Having seen it for yourselves you will never forget it, and you will be know not to make assumptions when you treat wounds and injuries."

"Anything else you can say about him, Matt?"

"Well he's awfully cute and sexy!"

That brought a chuckle all around. Everyone knew how strongly elves were same-gendered.

After class the two youths got to chatting. It turned out that the elven vale where Matt had come of age in had sent him to the Healers Collegium for the very best in a medical education. After completing his studies, Matt would be obliged to practice back home for a period of twenty-five years, which was not terribly much in the lifespan of a full-blood elf who might easily live for half a millennium, even without the benefit of healing magic to enhance his longevity.

"So you won't mind going back to the country after spending almost two years amid the bright lights of the big city?"

"No, not at all. When I go home as a Healer I will no longer be obliged to serve as a boy toy for any adult male who fancies me. Our laws say that Healers are considered adults as much as any male who has passed his first century."

"A sensible law since it recognizes the necessities of the situation."

"What do you mean, Corwin?"

"Just this. No one can force himself on a Healer who can invoke his gift to cool the ardor of any unwelcome suitor. And if there is any rough stuff, a rapist would find himself without the ability to perform, either temporarily or permanently."

"Gosh I hadn't thought that far ahead. But wouldn't such tactics make a frustrated male thirst for revenge?"

Corwin shook his head.

"Healers can stop a heart or tear a blood vessel in the brain or paralyze the arm wielding a blade or blind a man. Consider your options carefully. If you spare your assailant then you would have to keep alert for an arrow in the back or a cosh on the head some dark night. My advice is that if you ever face a would-be rapist you should take care of the problem permanently."

"There speaks the combat veteran in you, rather than the healer."

"True. One thing you learn in combat is that when you are fighting for your life, it is no time for half-way measures. Make a maximum effort and hold nothing back. Make the outcome final."

"So instead of impotence or paralysis I should inflict a heart attack or a stroke or strike him blind?"

Corwin shrugged:

"Combat is no time to be squeamish. Sorry, but that is how it is. Anyway, to change the subject to something far more pleasant, namely yourself, let me ask you Matt how long have you been in town? How do you like what you have seen of it so far?"

"Actually I haven't seen much of the city at all. I got here three weeks ago. I live at the collegium, but I have yet to make any male friends much less a boyfriend. The girls are very nice, but of course they are female."

"Ha! Then what you need is a tour guide to show you around the city, and luckily for you one of the most knowledgable happens to be available, meaning myself. We should start with a visit to Twinkle Town."

"Twinkle Town?"

"It's the liveliest part of the city for young guys like us. Named after the cute twinks who are its prime denizens, Twinkle Town is a district or rather a cluster of dining, drinking, and dancing establishments favored by males who fancy pretty boys and by pretty boys who favor being fancied."

"In that case lead on!"

"We'll start with dinner at the Sign of the Whale."

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