The mercenary glanced down the quiet hallway. "Again, just to make this absolutely clear, my specialty is the mace and three section staff. I am absolutely not qualified for this." The nurse waved him off. "Look, all that matters is that you can raise your voice a bit and restrain a patient if necessary. I'm not asking you to go outside your comfort zone here, isn't muscle work what you do normally?" "Muscle work, as defined by fighting people and sending them here, yes. Not dealing with them once they've arrived." Lloyd winced as a long, guttural groan echoed down the ward, likely from one of the Clarity patients. "Nothing in my contract..." "Your duties to the Mercenary's Guild supersede your contracts, and the Mercenaries are bound to us for mutual aid. Don't forget that we spend a lot of our time patching you boys up." The nurse folded her arms. "You're new to the guild, right?" "Received my third class insignia last week." He fished it out from his overcoat and held it to the atrium's skylight. The painted sword and mailed fist glinted in the sun. "But my trainer said I was the best natural staff fighter he'd ever seen." The nurse sighed and pulled her hair back. "Your ability to break people's heads and arms is possibly the least important part of your work. Let me ask you a rhetorical question. Why is this building called the Covenant?" "It's the name of your guild...? The Healer's Covenant?" Lloyd was nonplussed, but gave a sidelong glance at the hallway as a scream echoed out. "What are you getting at?" "The Covenant that we adhere to is an agreement between us as healers and society at large, that all healers would mend the sick, and in doing so further the Progress of Etoile. That is the founding principle of our guild. What is that of the Mercenary's Guild?" The nurse narrowed her eyes. "And yes, this is rhetorical as well." Lloyd shrugged. "To get paid for specific services rendered." "Wrong. The Mercenary is a helping hand when needed, and the fact that you're paid to help people is a tangent. There are no wars to fight, no battle lines to man, no hosts to charge. What you do is help people with their problems." The nurse raised a finger. "And right now, I need you to help the Covenant handle the mental wards until we can fix our staffing issue. Put on the coat and boots and see if the kitchen has the evening meals readied."
Purpose / Function
The Covenant is the headquarters and central medical facility of the Healer's Covenant, the medical establishment of the Principality of Etoile. A sprawling complex in the central district of the Etoile Capital City, the Covenant is the most advanced healing center in all of Etoile, serving as both hospital, research center, and training site for would-be nurses, doctors, and chirurgeons. As a hospital, the Covenant supports nearly two thousand patients across its four wings, more than twice the capacity of the next largest hospital in Etoile.
The original Covenant building was constructed as a monument to modern Etoile and Progress, a graceful wood-and-plaster building, curved as a sculpture, rising from the land in a fashion similar to a tulip bulb, enclosed under a pattern of glass dome skylights. While a feat of architectural engineering, this construction limited the capacity of the hospital and presented bottlenecks when quickly transporting patients in and out of the building. The construction of additional wings allowed for medical work to be transferred out of the original building, which is now an administrative center. The wings themselves are of ordinary brick construction, built to allow Power-Wagons quick entry and exit to deposit patients, though they are built to a height; contemporary medical thought understands that circulation of fresh air is of paramount importance to healing, and so each wardroom is built to a height of at least fifteen feet.
Prior to the Principality of Etoile, the medical profession was only minimally professional, with doctors being trained as apprentices and medical advancement mostly a matter of trial and error, with many charlatans and quacks peddling miracle ointments and balms. Queen Ciara of Nasse (the mother of the First Princeps) died to one such; she had purchased a rub that claimed to cure gout, and died in agony from the resulting gangrene and amputation. Though not an uncommon fate, the First Princeps pledged to resolve the matter, ordering the leading doctors and alchemists of his day to establish their own guild, and constructing the building in the Capital to house it. Though the central building was lacking in its capability as a hospital, the emblem of the tulip became a universal symbol for healing, and the building itself took on the name of the Healer's Covenant it houses. All services at the Covenant are free of fee or charge to all citizens of Etoile, leading to many of the desperately sick and indigent to travel across the Principality to be treated. The advent of magic in 715 prompted the repurposing of a wing of the Covenant towards magic-based healing, in partnership with the Wizard's Association of Etoile. The first great success of magecraft in healing was the curing of Matiosi, and the Covenant actively seeks out magi from The Academy of Etoile to lure them into training as healers, in order to research and cure additional diseases.
While the Covenant attracts admiration for the curved walls of its central building, its status as an active hospital (and the resultant traffic of the sick and unwell) precludes it being a major tourist attraction.
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