This document has been heavily redacted. The author’s name, the location of the Chalana Arroy temple, and any identifying elements about the people involved have been erased in the most invasive ways possible, sometimes by directly punching holes through the scroll. All we can say is that these are notes from a literate initiate of Chalana Arroy who maintained some kind of personal journal of sorts. The paper, ink, and writing point to Esrolia as the source of this document. We estimate that its author wrote it between 1622 and 1624. It was recovered just recently from the ruins of a Lunar intellectual’s mansion.
The following texts1 are relevant excerpts from the 26 pages that survived and that we were able to analyze.
The initiation ritual was everything I expected. To bask in Her generosity and compassion was a transforming experience that healed every part of my soul except one. She said that there would always be the unhealable wound. It’s in the world, and it’s in every one of us. I wanted to heal it, for I wanted to be pure and whole. It filled me with a great desire I couldn’t fulfill. It transformed into frustration. She smiled knowingly, and I returned to the sacred grounds.
After this, I made my vows to the Goddess, to the Infirmary, and to High Healer […] who was officiating. There was much happiness at the feast, and I can still hear it going as I write these lines. But I admit I still feel this burning frustration inside me that the Goddess seemed to know about.
Work at the Infirmary has been rewarding. My apprenticeship had prepared me well but the affairs of a town like […] are vastly different to those of the small village I came from.
Some cases are very similar, such as easing difficult births and dismissing evil spirits. Others are new, such as when I assisted with my first search for a recently departed soul, which we successfully returned to the body. Yet, most cases are just of a bigger scale than what I was used to. At the beginning of the season we saw an unfortunate plague go through […] and it took many of us to keep it contained.
The High Healer said that we just didn’t have the capacity to fight so many poisonous spirits. Most of us still had the strength to continue but she wanted us to keep our magic for raiding season. And indeed she was right, for only a week later we had many kinsfolk to take care of, as they came back from the battlefield.
I thought of the unhealable wound during these past few weeks. Is it the wound that comes when your magic is gone? Is it the wound you leave to nature, for you expect a graver one tomorrow?
I talked to a man yesterday in the sick ward. I took pity on him and spent one of my last divine favors of the season on him. The High Healer wasn’t pleased with this, as she wanted my powers the following day for another patient.
I didn’t share my concerns with the High Healer but I sometimes wonder about how we choose who receives the help of spirits and gods, and who receives simple bandages and herbs. Surely the most equitable way is to do everything we can for the first people who wander into the inner yard? Sister […] said I was extremely naive. That we needed to manage our resources “like managing our grain to last the winter“. I pointed out that nobles get more bread than stick-pickers, and that surely Chalana Arroy wouldn’t want such inequality. We pondered this for a while, but Sister […] only replied that the High Healer surely knew this.
The High Healer wanted me to attend a meeting of the tribal ring as an observer. I was surprised by this but understood soon enough, for the man I had healed in Earth Season was here, defending his clan’s right to raise a blood feud against former allies of the tribe. Many arguments were put forward and the debate became heated. I did not pay too much attention, for healers should not take sides. High Healer […] glanced at me in a way that have trouble putting out of my mind.
The Chieftain I healed two seasons earlier has mustered his militia, as authorized by the tribal ring. As I write these words they are marching towards […] and I fear many lives will be wasted.
Earlier today I went to see the High Healer about this, but interrupted some of her meditation. My eyes might have deceived me but I thought I saw a large spider spirit conversing with her. I blinked and it disappeared. The High Healer invited me in. Our chat was brief, and she just said that maybe the tribe would have been better off if the Chieftain had not recovered fully. My heart is still racing as I recall her words.
Maybe that’s what the unhealable wound is. The destinies of mortals, with their inevitable tragedies and violent ends. Surely the Goddess wants us to help anybody, regardless of their past, present, and future? I feel the frustration mounting again. I dare not think of what the High Healer truly meant.
The raids led by Chieftain […] were disastrous. They found a secret temple to […] and the entire […here most of the text has been lost…]. The tribe lost many good men to these disease spirits and other creatures of evil.
I talked to Sister […], mentioning that this might not have happened had I followed the High Healer’s instructions and not healed Chieftain […] as he was wasting away. She nodded and told me that only the utmost trust would earn me a place in the High Healer’s inner ring. I’m starting to see more clearly what goes on here.
I was visiting a sick child in […] this morning. As I was fetching clean water outside the home, the clan’s Earth Priestess approached me and whispered that the decisions of the clan ring “would go as planned“. She wanted to know if her son would be taken care of. I didn’t know what to say, so I just replied that, of course, her son would receive all the care he needs, for that’s what Chalana Arroy promises.
It only occurred to me later what she really meant. I confided in Sister […] and she said it was probably just the Earth Priestess keeping the High Healer informed of recent developments, for our cult often helps settle disagreements.
Yesterday I fought a spirit of disease that was leeching off of the tribal Lawspeaker’s mother. I am sure I had seen this spirit before, among Chieftain […] men two seasons ago. I will track down who is summoning this pestilence into our midst.
I am still shaken as I write these pages. I went into the caves with a few thanes I trust, intent on destroying the Mallia nest I uncovered. But as we were ready to ambush the Disease Master, I smelled a perfume I knew too well, fleeting away under the putrescence of the place. I ran down a tunnel alone and found her about to escape.
The High Healer turned to face me. “You never really understood who our Goddess is!” she screamed at me. “She is older than their gods! She has seen it all happen! While they bickered and went to war, the Goddess knew that to truly heal the world was to bring balance! She has a…. perspective… that all other gods lack” The High Healer smiled. “What do you think seeps through the unhealable wound of the world? What do you think gives us free will and purpose and happiness and despair and all the glorious fucking range of mortal experiences?“
She was shaking, and the paint on her face dripped down onto her teeth. This sweet smile that once welcomed me was now the blackened rage of blasphemy. I couldn’t move. “There is a higher purpose for us! Can’t you see?! Aren’t you tired of just healing wounds after the fact?!” She chuckled. “Men are stupid aren’t they, with their little games? But I see the big picture, and I can save them from themselves. I know what True Harmony is, dear.” She stepped right up to my face. “It’s when there’s someone with the courage to keep the fucking world going!” She wiped the paint off her face and splattered the tunnel with it. “We are the guardians of the Compromise, the daughters of the Web, and you’re too… small-minded… to understand what that means. It’s a Compromise! We need to infect as much as we heal! This is the only way we get to go on!“
She laughed as she put her hand on my cheek, but she looked incredibly sad. Her hand was cold. I don’t know what would have happened if the entire cave complex had not collapsed at this moment. I barely made it alive. I think it took me hours to dig my way out of the rubble. As I write these lines, I’m camping near […] and I want to leave it all behind. But I need to know if the High Healer survived. I fear that I will find her at the Infirmary, walking down the sick ward as if nothing happened. What then?
I will wrap this journal and hide it here in the […]. Nobody visits these ruins but the birds and the deer. If I don’t come back to collect it, you can assume the worst about my fate.
Safe travels, stranger.
1 This is another article that comes from a writing prompt mentioned in the Chaosium Discord server. KungFuFenris is the one who suggested this topic. You can read Diana Probst’s own thoughts on Chalana Arroy, too.
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