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Voyage's Crossroads

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"'M not hungover," mumbled the half-elf clutching at the ship's rail with one hand in a death grip, otherwise slumped over in a heap next to a spreading stain. Her broom clattered to one side. By Mint's reckoning, she'd tried to fly up so she could hurl over the side, either miscast or aimed badly and slammed into the deck, then lacked the energy or concentration to pick herself back up again, "'M seasick."

"In that case, I can do something about that, too," the healer smiled and put the potion back in her belt pouch, picking out a different one. This one was dark green and stank of pungent herbs, "Please try and drink it all, even though the flavour is rather strong."


Groaning and trying to cover her nose while still not letting go of the rail, Arche poured the substance down her throat. She gagged, spluttered a little and forced herself not to immediately spew out the rest of the liquid that was burning her throat. After her vision blurred and pulsed bright colours for a few seconds, accompanied by a roaring noise in her ears that drowned out the turbulent ocean waves, she found that she wasn't throwing up any more. Her stomach felt stable. Scoured by fire, maybe, but now at rest. Her senses all felt clear as well, her awareness focused as though she'd come close to death.

"Poisoning me won't get you closer to Cless!" she snapped.

"Says the girl who almost gave herself alcohol poisoning," countered the healer, her tone more amused at the accusation than defensive, "And who was also saying some interesting things in front of Cless last night. You know, elves can't safely drink alcohol designed for humans. I was unsure whether half-elves were different but now I have my answer."

An acid rebuke settled on the tip of Arche's tongue, then she sank to the floor again and burst into tears.

"N... no, I'm just a lightweight who thought she could act all grown-up! I've probably ruined my chance with Cless forever. And now I've turned you away as a friend. I bet Klarth is angry at me again, too. He'll never treat me like an adult now," she sobbed, "I... I just saw a chance for the first time in ages and I had to take it, is that so bad? Klarth never lets me go out into the world and have adventures and find romance!"

Her compassionate smile not wavering, Mint patiently waited for a break in the girl's tirade. Then she patted Arche on the head and spoke, "A good friend wouldn't stay angry at someone for so little. Anyway, you should see the state the boys are in."

Arche's flow of tears stopped, replaced by surprise when the healer stroked her long, messy bright pink hair. She hadn't felt like that about anyone - not about Klarth when he was acting like a good father-subtitute for once; not even about Cless, even though she was acting out the role perfectly in the hope that the actual emotions expected of her would come about later. Whatever she had just felt, it was as powerful and genuine as the effect of those horrible concoctions Mint kept feeding the party. A shudder ran down her spine.

Then a grin lit up her face, "Hey, want to pull a prank on them?"

"I took oaths against such a thing when I became a fully trained healer, I'm afraid. Although," she winked, "It would not be against Martel's Oath to fix them some very... effective potions, even compared to the one I just gave you. Rather drastic cures, one might say. After all, it would have the side-effect of encouraging them not to repeat these antics during an important mission, wouldn't you say?"

Arche's face went white, "I... I thought you were a nice girl! Please don't kill Cless!"

"It's okay, I'm learning Resurrection. That was a joke, Arche, don't look at me like that."