Monday, June 11, 2012
Minor Keys No. 3
Our next minor character is the physician who tends the king in the City of White Stones (I turned the pages of Azimuth Book 1, just a moment ago and this character caught my eye – thus, I am going to write about him as a stream of consciousness now and see where we get.) It is here that the young Magus’ inherent power to heal first comes to the fore as he and his father are drawn to the court of the city. It is also one of the earliest examples of CSI in human history! The boy examines the king’s wound, the result of an arrow strike.
-The tip in your husband’s body has been sawn from a poisoned hunting arrow, he told the queen, -The kind of arrow which is used to slow the death of wild beasts. The shaft you can see here has no clean break. The royal physician removed its metal head and then inserted the tip of a corrupted hunting arrow in its place. Your husband would have recovered quickly enough from his wound had it not been for the introduction of the poison. This man chose his venom carefully to allay suspicion. The shaft would have been thrown away and no-one would have suspected him by the time the king died. If another physician had investigated his body it would have been unlikely that he would find such a small tip. If he did then it would have been seen as an understandable oversight on the part of the doctor.
What happens next with regard to the royal physician you will have to read for yourself. Remember that Azimuth is a trilogy with serious intent, despite its being cloaked in fable and adventure. It is a discourse on philosophy and religion, too and people’s search for meaning in their lives.
So, to the physician!
He began medicine as did most at that time. His family were not well-to-do, surviving on low level trade, buying and selling corn and other staple crops. Wanting something better for their eldest son they paid for him to become a physician’s apprentice. He had an aptitude and did well. He was ambitious and managed to hide it under a generally fawning exterior which helped him develop his own clientele. After many years he was approached by blood relatives of the king who wanted to supplant him as ruler and within a short time the king’s old physician disappeared mysteriously on an errand to save the life of a nearby noble. He now became a mole in the court but was instructed to do nothing by his secret employers but ingratiate himself with the royal couple and after some time became trusted. All the while his wealth increased, his patients being attracted from a richer stratum and he tended to the king and queen in a most proper manner. He built a most admirable house, enjoying the advice of the king’s architect, married well and had five children. He was a key figure in the temple and was seen to pray longer and harder than any other, always making lavish gifts to the god of that city. No-one suspected that he was the cause of royal still births nor his judgment that the queen suffered from an imbalance of elements in her womb that could not be remedied. Satisfied that there could be no competing heir to the throne, his fellow conspirators finally moved to act and it is at this point that the young Magus and his father became instrumental in the events above described.
So there we are. The physician. Funny business writing isn’t it? All the while you are telling your tale you are excluding strands in your imagination which you might otherwise follow because there are more important characters developing and choking page space!