Rumours about His Majesty's miracle cure being false? Pah! Of course people would say that. What with all the imbeciles always trying to scam people, offering false promises of being able to procure some of this miracle cure from a mysterious recluse alchemist who would be centuries old. Still, you better not profess doubts about His Majesty's skills and honesty out loud. You will learn soon enough...—provided your loose tongue don't get you killed before that!
State of medical healing
The most well funded research in the whole history of humanity
Despite thousands of years of intense and highly motivated studies, the best doctors and scholars have not managed to find what they were all looking for: a miracle cure, capable of healing anything. The first step towards immortality!
Most consider this to be a fool's dream. They are instead attempting to focus on specific conditions and attempting either to cure them or at least to somewhat treat them and reduce people's suffering. Yet, a fool's dream it may be, it is a persistent one. Monarchs throughout the world and throughout time have never been able to resist the temptation, the small "what if". Not all of them are optimistic—or delusional enough—to believe they would be the one discovering the solution to that eternal problem, but that small glimmer of hope has been enough to convince them to invest enormous amount of resources into the research.
Scholars both love and loath those miracle cure research. Being given enormous amounts of money and told to go crazy on the experiments is the dream of many. Yet, scholars are particularly prone to pride, arrogance and the desire for recognition. Wasting time on a miracle cure is a sure way of never inventing any cure at all and saying goodbye to increasing their renown. Not that monarchs would trust this all important research with anyone who has not already accomplished a lot, but one who has already tasted the embrace of success can never completely say goodbye to it.
But all of that is in the past, of course! Now people are literally killing each other for a chance to get into that research group! Aaaaaah... You gotta love progress....
Limits of current cures
Current cures are rather limited, although what can be treated or cured is highly geographically dependent. In Europe, pathological conditions are sorted into the following categories:
The usage of ritual using human sacrifice during battles has greatly reduced the numbers of wounds that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, if a detached or destroyed member is not reattached or recreated immediately, the effects become permanent—or at least they would use way too many lives in sacrifice for the magical energy to be wasted on those of us not of the high nobility. Without the use of rituals, treating wounds on a battlefield is near impossible and preventive amputation is necessary. Even outside of battles, any wound has a high risk of getting corrupted and killing the patients, thus they require the same preventive amputation.
Caused by small animals that are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen with optical lenses or greatly magically-enhanced eyesight. Each animal gots its own strengths and weaknesses, and so every time a new cure needs to be invented.
Cure inexistent. Once symptoms become too important and inconvenient to ignore, the "lunatics" are interned in an asylum.
Bad teeth is one of the most terrible killer in the country. No need to be in contact with unsavoury persons to catch an infection or to put oneself in danger and get wounded. Simply eating can be enough to kill you. Treatment for bad teeth is to pull them out and hope for the best. Or be extremely well connected and manage to get the magical energy from the sacrifice of an individual condemned to death.
You better learn to speak with fewer teeth than hope for a miracle!
Complex operations such as the removal of a cataract have been known since the time of the old Egyptian empires, however it may be difficult to find a surgeon experienced in this technique—of course, money helps jump the queue.
Infertility, contraception, pregnancy risks, sex
Ancient empire such as the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks were rather knowledgeable about those domains. However, they dealt with them exclusively through magical rituals during which the names of patron gods were invoked. Conversion to Christianity meant a good number of the more complicated rituals were lost from public knowledge. Small rituals kept to be practised at home by everyone, with the names of the deities exchanged for the new saints'. Luckily, most of that lost knowledge was rediscovered during the Renaissance, and although the Church attempted to forbid the use of sex rituals, rumours about them quickly spread. While the official religious position is still against them and all the different European states have agreed to outlaw them, in practice people's enthusiasm for all that is sexual cannot be repressed. If parents refuse to teach their children, they can learn well enough by consulting prostitutes and courtesans.
What do you mean, you don't know any of that? You sweet innocent! We need to go into town to rectify that immediately!
Opium: against pain.
Laudanum, a tincture of opium: to help sleep and against gout.
Willow bark: against pain, fever and headache.
Broth of chicken magical concentrate made from ground bones: against feeling of heaviness and magical exhaustion.
Spring water from spas to be bathed in or drank: against a wide variety of conditions including gout, bad digestion, liver pain stomach pain, diabetes and arthritis.
Cataplasm, fumigations, tisanes, or any other king of remedies applied in different ways and made from herbs so has to directly absorb the energy from specific plants: there are several recipes for every condition ever experienced. Whether they work or not is another story...
Leeches: against thrombosis and magical poisoning.
What is it? You're feeling pain? Not up to working on your corvée today? You want a little something to make you feel better? Don't worry, I have just the thing! The Medical Corps has just sent us their latest batch of leeches!
Previous attempts at finding a miracle cure
Everyone agrees that the miracle cure will come from human sacrifices. It is obvious. After all, all magics need energy to be sacrificed in some way to power them. Most of the time, people's own reserves are enough. If not, plants and animals are sacrificed, the power of their death and the magic left in their corpse powering rituals, potions and alchemy. Yet, this is never enough. No matter the quantity and quality of the flora and fauna, scholars have always hit a barrier that they cannot breach.
And believe me, some of them did try hard enough! Whole countries have gone into flame, all flora and fauna sacrifice in enormous rituals! And yet, nothing can reach the pure potential that can be found inside us...
Humans are just the best. Which is not unexpected, after all, we are obviously much superior to any of God's other creations. Anything from us—hair, nail, tear, blood, sexual fluid, urine, excrement—is highly potent and has been used to power magic since the dawn of humanity. Whether it is officially recognised as a kind of sacrificial magic is another question.
The Church has expressly forbidden the practise of human sacrifices and all European countries have followed suit despite their lack of enthusiasm. Yet, Europe is only a small part of the world, and Christianity a relatively recent religion. Knowing that human sacrifices are involved in making the magical cure is not enough. Whole civilisations have abundantly experimented and still not discovered it.
What is known is that human sacrifices power ritual magic in a non-linear manner. A multitude of factors influence the energy they bring, starting with how much magical power the individuals sacrifice had. However, the power of the persons conducting the ritual, their blood and emotional link with the victims, as well as the details of the rituals themselves are also highly influential.
The reason why all current methods fail is that rituals like that require a huge preparation, and what they can heal is limited, especially with injuries older than a few hours. A big drawback is also that the energy gathered during the ritual cannot be stored—in potions or crystals for example—contrary to what can be done with plants and animals.
It is commonly agreed that the first step in finding a cure is inventing a way to store that energy. That would be a proof that the energy from human sacrificed can be channelled and controlled adequately and would open the way for new types of experiments. That would also allow for the everyday application of the energy onto one person, and this regular healing would obviously keep the body young and healthy for as long as this would be done. Since checking on someone's immortality—understood as the absence of ageing—is rather impractical, having proof of a storage of the energy would be enough proof for most.
And do not believe that all that we ourselves have done during battles with the energy of the human sacrifices is innocently redirect them to heal our dying comrades! Look well around you! Nobody is innocent here...
Invention of the Miracle Balm
King Lucien Esselin is a highly pragmatic individual. And yet, even he could not resist the temptation of funding research into that treatment. As an ancient officer of the Engineering Corps, His Majesty even continues to dabble in experiments in his free time. Details are, of course, under close warp. Yet, rumours have started to spread that he himself was essential in helping Army Corps General Dominique Larrey come up with a solution!
The details of the manufacture of this balm are, of course, an extremely well-guarded secret. Rumours that the king has made this discovery are still recent and people are hesitant to believe them. Most, especially foreigners, only see this as an attention-grabbing scheme by a new and pathetically-insecure king. Only the king's entourage and some officers in the army have been the direct witnesses to the effect of the balm when the king was wounded in an assassination attempt. This has triggered a frenzy among the court to attempt to gain the king's favours so as to get the chance to benefit from the cure.
His Majesty is a skilled strategist and knows how to use the situation to his advantage...
All those imbeciles don't know what they are talking about! Doubting His Majesty's genius and underestimating his skills! But soon enough they will learn...
Witnesses of the event have reported that the miracle balm is a very smooth and fluid cream that has a light blue colour and is even slightly phosphorescent—undoubtedly because of the extremely high concentration of magic inside of it. Application of the balm on a deep magical injury resulted in the closure of the wound, the regeneration of destroyed tissues, the neutralisation of the raw magic that went inside the wound, and the destruction of all the small animals that would have caused an infection. Details or no details, this was enough for all the individuals present to understand what they were facing.
Whatever you are thinking of doing to gain His Majesty's attention, forget it! There are already hundreds of others like you and soon there will be thousands! You stand no chance no matter who maman and papa are. That balm is reserved for really special occasions and you and I will never be it! Don't come crying because you've received a scratch on your knee!
Miracle balm by AmélieIS with the Collections du Musée du Louvre
Entry for Worldbuilding Summer Camp 2021
Answering: "a new medical cure, treatment or breakthrough"