Though it was now after the time most places closed, an apothecary that sold healing potions would be open. Even if by “open” it really just meant “willing to come downstairs to make a slightly more expensive sale”. William didn’t mind that. Raised prices was reasonable, to a point. William knocked on one door, then waited until it was opened. A man who was probably older was the one who came, but William couldn’t tell. He looked to be in the prime of his life, which could have made him any age. Still, his bearing said he wasn’t at the beginning of life… and his mannerisms as well. “Yes, yes, come in. I imagine its an emergency or something.”
“Well, I might need a healing potion, or some other concoction.”
“Stop there.” The man held up his hand. “I know you wouldn’t come here without needing something. You don’t need to pretend you don’t need it.” He pulled out a board, with prices listed on it. The top read “off hours prices”. “So, tell me what you want, and I’ll get it for you, or tell me the problem, and I’ll tell you what you want.” That was rather direct, but William appreciated not having to ask for something specific and finding out that it was five or ten times what it should normally be.
As William looked over the prices, he casually compared them to the normally hanging sign. That one was rather permanent, so he knew those were the true prices. Now, everything was twice as expensive, sometimes a bit more or a bit less. Not great, but not criminal. The man looked like he wanted to go back to bed, so William quickly said what he needed. “One skin mending ointment, and one blood replenishing tonic.” The man went to a barred cabinet, key in hand, and looked over the various bottles inside, quickly pulling out two. “Did you hear about the lord who came through earlier today? It was an impressive retinue. His name was… hmm, what was it again?”
“Lord Lorcan Harridan,” the man said as he set the bottles in front of William and held out his hand. “It certainly was… impressive.”
William took a quick look at each bottle before putting the expected coins in the man’s palm. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome… but next time tell whoever it is to get injured during normal hours!”
William studied his purchases more carefully once he got outside. They looked good enough, but he couldn’t guarantee the quality. The herbs here were different, and the recipes would be as well, so even if he exactly remembered what they would have looked like, these wouldn’t be the same. He wouldn’t put it past someone to sell inferior goods at a markup at night, but that particular shop owner seemed straightforward enough. William thought he might have even picked out slightly better specimens from that cabinet.
As he continued on his way back, he couldn’t help but muse about the shop owner… briefly his honesty, but mostly in terms of what he meant for gevai in general. He was probably older, but he didn’t look it. Meanwhile, William remembered a rather discouraging old man when his father… during the incident. William thought hard, but he could only think of one or two other old people in the entire city. William’s parents were around sixty years old, but they still looked to be in their prime. He knew there were older people- at least a hundred, and probably many older than that. They didn’t seem to keep careful track most of the time, though if asked they could produce a number. Still, though, they could get old. William knew it wasn’t actually a matter of age, but of something else. Unfortunately, whatever that something else was, it wasn’t spoken. When he asked, all he got from his parents was “Well… it was just their time.”
Maybe people didn’t know… but they must have some idea. Then again, maybe people as a whole didn’t care. William knew someone who would care about that, but he didn’t know where she was. That was why he wanted to get to the academy in Duscon as soon as possible. They would know her… or at least know of people who knew her. Maybe she had fallen prey to whatever it was made gevai old, or killed. William had thought about that before, but every time he dismissed it as unlikely. This time… William shook his head. There was no point thinking about it when he couldn’t even find out whether he was right or not, even if he actually could settle on some kind of conclusion. Well, he had, but “Lorelei is surely still alive” was the result he wanted, so he could easily believe he was biased in that direction instead of fair in his logic.
Now was the best time to administer the ointment, even if it meant waking his father. William carefully undid the bandages, finding that the inner ones were indeed a bit bloody… but not too bloody. William carefully washed the wound with a wet cloth, careful not to break any scabs, but getting as much of the ointment on actual skin would have the best effects. The wound directly to the sternum didn’t look too bad. It had a terrifying purple, black, and yellow bruise, and William thought that it might be cracked, but it wasn’t broken. Instead, some of the ribs around had given in, and with them breaking some had pierced skin. That was where most of the scabs were, though the bones were now in the right place. There was one bigger spot that was much worse. It would have a nasty scar… not from the wound itself, but the way William had fixed it. It had been so torn up William hadn’t known what to do besides have all the skin stitch together, weaving over and under itself in a criss-cross pattern. Skin was not supposed to weave, but it did. It didn’t help that some of it was burnt from the electricity. It would probably not heal well, but at least it wasn’t leaking blood everywhere. As William finished applying the ointment, he heard a slight cough. “Jo…sef…” William smiled lightly and looked down at his father.