A possibility for a Restoration or Mysticism skill-up book.
I wrote this originally for use in another roleplay setting, and so I plugged in location names and geographical details as best I could to match TES lore. They might still need changing.
Also, the Editor's note is written to give the story more context (that someone in the roleplay setting would have already known), but it might not be needed.
by Naveris Ralyoman
[Editor's Note: Naveris Ralyoman was an Buoyant Armiger of the Third Era, most famous for his participation in the Arnesian War, and for his advances in Mysticism and Restoration into his waning years. He was posted outside of Andrenthis at the time of this writing, responsible for patrolling the rocky roads of the Valus Mountains while on the lookout for flanking attacks by the Argonians.
Sir Ralyoman has had many controversies attached to his name, including the taking of a Nordic lover as mentioned in this journal excerpt. However, it is the editor's belief that such political controversies pale in comparison to the Sir's wisdom and dedication to Vivec's teachings. Thus, I have not changed any of Sir Ralyoman's account here beyond basic grammatical errors.]
I remember the first time I met Kysana--or was it the second? She said that, as a healer, it was not her place to judge those she healed. She would heal anyone, no matter who they worked for, who they really were.
I remember thinking, how stupid! You would heal your enemy, only for him to whip around and kill you. It was only ever a gamble.
But after today, I think I understand better.
I was on the road, in between two villages hardly large enough to be worthy of putting down their names. I met an Argonian on the road there. He was dying.
I don't know what he met to put him in such bad condition. In places his scales were seared through to reveal the red-striated muscle beneath his skin. He was missing an eye, blood pouring across his jaws from the wound, and more blood was coming from his mouth from something internal. He wasn't going to make it for much longer, but he doggedly kept putting one arm in front of the other, dragging himself along. Trying to get to who knows where: he was probably too delirious to tell Black Marsh was in the opposite direction of where he was heading.
He collapsed in front of me, sprawled across the road, as I rode up. Normally I would have just ridden past him, but this was on the near side of the Kragenmoor Pass, up in the foothills where the land starts to get rocky and unsafe off the beaten trails. Not good for soft guar feet. I dismounted and went to drag him off the road.
I was not being careful at that point; my guar knows my patrol route by heart, and so I tend to slip into thought while he plods along under me. Into thought, into the realms of the spirit. And so I was still touching on the spirit realm when I grabbed the lizard's bare arm to pull him off the road.
Then I felt his spirit: his emotions and memory sliding past me as if I had jumped into a river. A searing hot river, for the Argonian was in pain. I had to sit down, could only hold on as the spirit-waters swept past me, buffeting me like an annoying piece of driftwood.
He had memories of many terrible things, that I will not put to ink here. Some troubled him, some did not, but the longer I stayed "connected", the more I understood about him. Why he thought the way he thought, did what he did. And the more I understood, the more I knew I was in no position to judge him. He had been good once--was still good now. But the trail had gotten rocky, and he did what he had to to keep intact.
And I say keep intact, not survive. Great mer will die for their beliefs, which is by definition not surviving. But to contemplate death, even for a noble cause, is mind-breaking. This Argonian was not strong enough for that. He avoided death, by causing the death of others. But don't we all do that?
The more I saw of his path, the more I saw where it could lead. Dark twisted paths, mostly, but always there, in the back of the mind, hope. Hope for light, redemption. The fact that he could get there, if he tried, if the stars fell into place just so. I could see how the stars were even now moving, and how even my own actions, sitting there blinking in the sun, holding his arm, pondering whether or not to kill him, were also moving those stars.
When healers heal, we don't heal for knowing. We heal for hope. We don't know for certain whether our patients will survive, how far they'll go in life. If they'll thank us or hate us. If someone else deserved the healing more. We only know that by healing, we push the stars more into their favor. Dropping coins into the bank, as my father says, in hopes it will some day cash in.
For some people this is not enough, obviously. But who are we to judge? Nothing is certain, except death.
In this Kysana and I are both right. Healing someone is always a gamble. They may turn around and try to kill you. But if it's also possible for them to go on to great things, to save the world...
I healed the man.