Abul goes looking for someone who can craft medical implements for him. He speaks to the town’s smith, Asbjorn Villemsen. When Abul describes what he wants, Asbjorn mentions that he made some similar things for the local surgeon, Dr. Westergaard.
Abul walks in on the good doctor performing surgery on a man to remove an animal claw from his abdomen. Abul balks when the doctor prepares to suture the wound without cauterizing it. He intervenes, and likely saves the man from infection. He inspects the doctor’s instruments, and finds them passable, so he heads back to the smith and asks him to make a set. Asbjorn tells him to come back that evening.
On the way back to the ship, Hector questions Abul’s actions at the doctor’s office, and Abul explains the theory behind it, giving Hector a lot to think about. Clearly, Thean medicine is not up to Maghrebi standards.
Blood Knows, Part 2
Dorotea helps get Signe & co outfitted for a camping trip with supplies and warm clothes, and one of Ulfgar’s men, Toke, draws them a rough map indicating a lean-to that Ulfgar usually uses for shelter when hunting in the hills, and they head out.
Once they get up into the hills, the weather changes drastically. They can see that snow had fallen sometime in the past day or so, and while the sky is clear, the air is crisp and the winds biting cold. Enzo in particular is not happy.
That afternoon, they come across the lean-to that Toke specified. It is currently uninhabited, but they can see the smoldering remains of a fire, and surmise that Ulfgar’s crew is not far off. They set about making camp and settle down to wait.
Just after sunset, the group hears a monstrous roar in the woods. Hjalmar and Signe both recognize it as a bear. When they hear the roar again, closer this time, Hjalmar speculates that the bear must be hungry to come close to humans. Everyone draws weapons and gathers round with the campfire to their backs. The bear can be seen moving just beyond the treeline.
Having no other drawing implements close at hand, Signe cuts her hand and uses her blood to draw a rune to allow her to speak with animals. The scent of the blood emboldens the bear, and it enters the clearing. Enzo raises his rifle and stands guard in front of Signe, who breaks the rune, and greets the bear, which causes it to pause.
Enzo is surprised when he sees Signe begin to growl at the advancing polar bear, and in response the bear halts and growls back. He stands his ground with rifle raised, in case things go wrong.
The bear states that he is hungry, and tells Signe to let him take one of them, and he will leave the rest in peace. Signe warns the bear that they are armed, and if he attacks them, it will not go well for any of them. The bear recognizes that neither of them can lie. Signe says that her kin is also out hunting, and if the bear agrees to wait she will ensure he is fed when they return. However, she doesn’t know when that will be, and the bear hasn’t eaten in five days. She offers to accompany it on a hunt, but he is not interested in assistance, only food.
The bear is about to attack when he smells the approach of other humans. His first thought is that Signe deceived him in order to surround him, but she is able to convince him that this is not the case. She advises him to lie down, or her uncle might get the wrong idea and attack him. The bear responds that he is not a dog, but reluctantly complies.
Ulfgar and his entourage arrive at the camp, towing a sled laden with two elk. When Ulfgar sees the situation and recognizes Signe, he orders his men to untie one of the carcasses from the sled. The bear is happy to drag the elk off and leave the humans in peace. Once the danger has passed, introductions are made, and Ulfgar’s men set about barbecuing some of the remaining elk.
Enzo makes a good first impression on Ulfgar’s men with a crude joke, and from then on they get along famously. Ulfgar speculates that the bear is the same one they had driven off a couple of days earlier, but not before it had taken a nasty swipe at one of his men. Signe relates recent events to her uncle, and attempts to explain her parents’ scheme. He doesn’t understand the details, but recognizes the danger. He confides in Signe that he never liked her mother, and considered her a bad influence on her father. Signe tells Ulfgar about their first raid, and he says he can put them in contact with someone to sell the whiskey, if it’s good quality. He also tells her about a place they can hide the ship if it becomes necessary. Everyone beds down for the night.
In the morning, they break down the camp and head back to the house. Enzo has a talk with Signe about sorcery, and compares her ability to that of his grandmother, who is a Sorte Strega. Signe questions Ulfgar about foreign visitors attempting to spread their religion. Ulfgar says they wore the robes of Vaticine priests, but not the normal missionaries they usually get.
Signe takes Ulfgar, Brigit, and Dorotea to see the ship, and meet Abul. Ulfgar samples the Mist of the Moor, finds it agreeable. He will take them to meet to the buyer after lunch.# NotPirates