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Someone Special

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Oldive had never wanted to be anything special. He had spent his early years at his foster mother's knee, listening to stories about dragonriders and Threadfall and all of the past amazing feats that had happened. He had learned the Teaching Ballads like every other child on Pern. He had, every once in a while, fantasized about what it must be like to have a dragon, but overall, he had never really wanted to do anything special.

Maybe that was why being the Master Healer of Pern now was such an astonishing thing.

Oldive looked out the window of his new offices place he had been before, many times, though never like this. Always it had been to discuss a case, get advice, and even occasionally be reprimanded. Now, he was the one in charge.

He picked up his glass of wine and sipped it slowly, savoring the Benden vintage. This was a perk now, of sorts. He would occasionally get these things, skins of wine or foodstuffs. He was a master healer, but more... the Master Healer.

He really had to wrap his head around that.

"Master Oldive?" said a soft female voice, accompanying the knock to the door. Silvina stuck her head in and smiled. "May I come in?"

"Of course, Silvina," Oldive said, gesturing for her to come in. "What can I do for you?"

Silvina slipped into the room, shutting the door behind her. "I just came to congratulate you, and see how you were faring," she said. "May I sit?"

Oldive gestured for her to take a chair while digging around for another glass. He unearthed one, checked that it was clean, and offered it to her. "It's Benden white?"

"Oh, thank you," she said, accepting the goblet and holding it steady while Oldive poured. "To the new Master of Healing on Pern," Silvina said, saluting him with the glass before sipping it. "How are you feeling?"

"Gobsmacked," Oldive said dryly. "A bit like it's not real. Surreal. This was never an ambition of mine."

Silvina raised an eyebrow over the rim of her glass. "I daresay that's exactly why you were selected," she said. "Coupled with your inexhaustible knowledge of healing and healing plants, you never had ambitions that might be detrimental to anyone. Your true calling is to the patient."

Oldive considered that, studying her face. She wasn't being facetious in any way, he knew. Her face was earnestness personified, without a trace of anything that might be considered teasing or sarcasm. "You might be right," he finally allowed. "I mean. I suppose. Do you think?"

Silvina laughed softly. "Yes, Oldive, i do suppose. It's not been something you wanted, so it's something that you were given. I would say that proves your worth, don't you?"

Oldive looked away, back out the window. He was quiet for a while, and Silvina let him be, a fact that he appreciated. He considered her words for a while, that he was given this because he hadn't wanted it, because he had never strove to become anyone other than a healer that cared for others.

"You're right, I'm sure," he finally said, and looked back at her. "Are you the only one that thinks this?"

Silvina chuckled. "Of course not. Robinton does, too, and anyone who truly knows you. We know that your patience are what matters. It's what Pern needs." She hesitated then, clearly debating something.

Oldive thought he might know what it was. "And that I believe in Thread?" he asked.

"I'm sure it helps," she finally said. "I think it might have been a factor for some masters. You all have much more graphic records of what's going on when Thread attacks than most others, except for maybe harpers, and even those..."

Oldive nodded. He had seen those records, had lost his meal over some of the worst ones when he was a journeyman. HIs master had simply handed him a glass of water and admitted that she had done the same thing the first time she had seen them. "We do, and it will come back. We know this. The harpers know this. Anyone who doesn't think it will is fooling themselves."

"Gently, Oldive," Silvina said, but she was smiling. "I'm convinced. No need to tell me."

"Sorry," he said, sheepishly. "I know you are, I"m just..."

"Unnerved? Astounded? Worried?" Silvina offered.

Oldive nodded. "All of those. Excited. Eager. Energetic. Or maybe I mean energized?"

Silvina grinned. "Whichever it is, I'm sure you're going to set a few masters on their ears. Do you have plans for changing things?"

"Shards," Oldive said, blowing out a breath. "I haven't really had a chance to even think about what I want to do. I don't know if...I mean, the way we deal with some of the outlying holds could probably be better. Teaching basic healing skills with the teaching ballads, perhaps. Things that could mean the matter between life and death, of sorts?"

"Oh?" She looked thoughtful at that. "You should suggest it to Robinton. I think you're right, and it's a good idea, especially as the Pass nears. THose first moments are the most important, right?"

Oldive nodded, eyes searching his desk fo hide and pen. "Absolutely right. Water...cold if possible...numbweed. We'll have to work on numbweed distribution, or teach people how to make it..."

Silvina laughed at him, finished her wine, and stood. "I'll leave you to your planning, Master Oldive." She set the glass down on his desk, and headed for the door. She paused and looked back at him. "Oldive..." She waited until he looked up at her, slightly distracted.


Silvina smiled. "You may not have ever wanted to be an important person, somebody important, but you're going to change Pern." She slipped out the door then, shutting it behind her once again, leaving Oldive to consider her words.

He turned back to the window for another moment, noticing a dragon coming down in the courtyard. The rider slid down the proffered arm and strode across the field. That rider, Oldive knew, would one day make a difference for Pern. He looked back down at the hide in front of him, pen poised above it fo the note to compose to Robinton. A teaching ballad for basic first aid... yes. He had work to do.