Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Cruel Hands of a Healer.

"I've nearly finished setting all of the bones in his fingers, but the poor man has passed out from the pain again. If only he could relish this symphony of anguish with us! Every crack of a metacarpal, another note in the praise sung to Najis! Now, hand me my knives. These splinters must be excised before inflammation worsens..."
- Hital, overly enthusiastic barber-surgeon of Ferrith.

Najis is a name spoken in nearly every city, town, and village across the vast cultural region of the Ersuun-descended folk, including even the pristine platforms and towers of Deneroth tucked away in their small yet illustrious corner of the greater world of humans. The name is on the lips of everyone who fears injury, disease, or disorder, those who suffer them, and those who have escaped their worst effects. It is also chanted by those who would call themselves healers acting in the name of Najis, which is their deity. It is the being through which the gifts of healing and curing may be gained, assuming that the proper conditions are met.

Najis has no set facets, qualities, or appearance beyond what the most central myths, lore, and theological writings by its followers state. Besides its relationship to healing and harm, everything about the deity is mutable and wildly varied from place to place. Perhaps this is the reason why Najis is so ever-present and popular- besides the fact that people prefer not to get sick and die, of course. Wherever her, his, or its influence is felt and its healers, priests, and doctors respected, weal may accompany woe in nearly all of its forms.

But for weal to come, woe must exist. And a fact which is often glossed over is that Najis is the wellspring of suffering and respite together. This is readily understood by most of its faithful, layperson or otherwise, for the concept of gods giving and taking in equal measure is a common one to the peoples of those lands. They accept it, and accept Najis as being at least as much help as it is harm to them all. To the most deeply initiated of Najis' mystics, scholars, biologists, and esoteric surgeons, this is revealed to be a lie.

The truth is that the faceless god of healing craves the suffering of every living being by nature, whether it be mindless or fully and exquisitely cognizant of its condition- but with special preference for the latter. The world is an inherently dangerous place, and life leaves it as quickly as it arrives and can dig its claws in. But the period in between birth and death is too brief, the flavors of misery sampled too few, for Najis to be pleased. Creatures never healed from the injuries they sustained, once upon a time, but with mighty clout and insidious means, all other gods were swayed by Najis to allow its great work to begin.

And so those dark primeval days were ended, when tender mercy was first visited upon the dying and pestilent, overwhelmed with suppurating buboes and weeping lacerations. In their desperation, they accepted the gift without realizing how it damned them and all who would come after. With every cut closed or broken bone mended, there is an implicit promise that more numerous and splendid sufferings will be visited upon the survivor, until all is jaded, haggard, and worn down by a long and empty life of pain, and death finally comes to rob Najis of the last few fruits of its carefully-tended nest eggs. To heal is to help in the short term, but harm in the long run. The most cunning deception Najis ever cast upon the world was convincing the living that any life--even a truly hopeless and miserable one--is preferable to the embrace of Ergil-Who-Is-Death.

The development of preventative medicine, then, is the most complete heresy and abomination of purpose to Najis and all those who serve it without the merciful blanket of ignorance still cast over their eyes. To completely circumvent disease or maladies is to earn the ire of a god, and the punishment for this can be years in the making so that it may strike and inflict a thousandfold cruelties, according to the most fanatical of healers. But the truth is known only to these madman miracle-workers. Others seek to cultivate true mercy and compassion, unknowingly and with the best of intentions furthering the goals of Najis.

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