Jasilkal's sod house was a rather decent one by Occ standards. A room or two smaller than Master Makumu’s, of course, and more sparsely equipped, but the laboratory in the main room (which also served as the kitchen, dining room, and sometimes bedroom), the inside part of her garden in a side room (for the more delicate of herbs which required bi-weekly enhancements by Makumu to grow in these parts), and the study-cum-storeroom (also a napping location) were serviceable enough. The outside porch and garden (for the local foliage) were where she usually conducted her business, i.e. listened to requests and handed out the requested concoctions. The hill where she and Makumu resided being almost two miles out of their home village (Asen) meant that she occasionally ferried bulk orders there and back – and, yes, it did make it seem as if she’d never graduated from the fetch-girl duty, but this setup had its advantages as well.
Part of her day routine involved waking up before dawn, collecting several vials of morning dew to store for later use (in purification-potions and experiments on inducing youthfulness), gathering any of the common plants and animal-parts she needed to replenish her stock, meditating at dawn to greet the coming-of-a-new day, tending to her gardens, finishing off certain yesterday’s potions and putting to simmer the bases of others she’d complete later today. The rays of sunrise were an ingredient of sorts she could expose certain potions to (those for encouraging bone health, chasing off nightmares, and boosting energy, for example), and though she enjoyed the early morning, she knew the heat would later on would be likely near unbearable.
For now, however, it was pleasant, and the pre-dawn chores completed, she shouldered, saddled, and otherwise tied the various crates and satchels of supplies onto herself, adjusted her clothing by buttoning it to the side, tucked her legs alongside her tail, and slithered the two whole miles to Asen. It was convenient at such times to be an Occ; they could both walk straight on their legs or snake their way on their bellies and tails akin to the way their serpentine ancestors did. It was a shame they could not run on all fours as their Gegherun cousins could, but having a pair of dextrous hands with their opposable thumbs capable of the most delicate and meticulous of works more than made up for it. Jasilkal took the collection of vials, jars, flasks, tins, pots, and all the rest to the inn her mother was in charge of. Kaarmuken’s inn was a convenient location, not only because it was where she usually had her breakfast and lunch, but also because it was simpler for her to conduct her business in a single stable location within the village than going house-to-house. The inn, after all, was a sizable and well-known location, and any Occ who had a need of her services or wares knew where to find her.
Indeed, Kaarmuken’s inn was where a distressed Piyaskal, an amber-eyed yellow-brownish scaled Occ male and one of the many hunter-scouts of Asen, came running not half-an-hour after Jasilkal had her breakfast, babbling about Aldabukil having been bitten by a bronan that morning when her team was out on its usual patrol. Jasilkal thought it was odd such a reclusive and lethally venomous snake had been close-by at all, never mind the likelihood of it attacking, but kept her thoughts regarding the possible reasons to herself for the time being.
“Slow down. Where is she?” Jasilkal interrupted the male Occ’s panic – ascertaining the patient’s state was the priority.
“Oh-h, we, we’ve taken her to Elder Lerdinan already,” he reported in a slight stammer, regaining his breath in deep gasps, though he was visibly attempting to calm down.
“Good. But then what is the issue? The Elder is the best physician in the village,” Jasilkal asserted confidently, though she would eagerly offer her services if they were needed.
“Ah, well, only that- the ritual, um, it would help for it if there was a practiced Alchemist attending.”
Jasilkal clicked her tongue, slightly annoyed at the flattery, but also aware of a good opportunity when she saw one. “Certainly. Let me grab my things – you will help me carry them to Lerdinan’s.”
She took the kaolinite and zeolite to stop the female’s bleeding, the valerian and willow leaves for pain relief, and… “Mother! Quickly mix me some beef, beans, kale, yolk, and nuts!” she hollered across the rowdy inn (there had been a momentary pause at the news, but people were already loudly speaking over each other), and Kaarmuken answered just as loudly.
“Already on it, Jal!”
Ahh, of course she was. Her mother was ever the capable woman, Jasilkal acknowledged wryly. She hung her satchel over her shoulder and handed the excess healing supplies over to Piyaskal for him to carry. The unappetizing slushy mixture of high-in-iron-content foods arrived moments later, delivered by the familiar form of soot-scaled Kaarmuken in a wooden bowl.
“Thank you,” Jasilkal nodded curtly, accepting the puree-filled bowl and spoon, then hurried to Lerdinan’s sod hut as fast as she could while carrying something spill-able, followed by Piyaskal who carried the rest of her gear.
Nonetheless, they made it to Elder Lerdinan’s place minutes later, finding Aldabukil already abed and bandaged – the leeches had apparently made their work already. She hurried over, setting the food on the floor next to the female, and plucked the necessary plants and vials out of her satchel. “Chew this and this, drink this, you’ll get fed that slop by Piyaskal while we’re making the anti-venin. Try not to move too much, and Piyaskal? Notify me immediately if she starts to run a fever or needs the opium-pellet.” She then turned to eye Elder Lerdinan expectantly.
“Ah, Jasilkal. Good. Help me set up the transmutation circle for extracting the venom from the critters here,” she pointed to a glass-full of leeches. “I will be the one providing the magical forces, of course, but my eyes weren’t what they used to be…”
The younger Occ nodded, ignoring the chatter as she made the necessary preparations. Sometime during the work, her younger brother Karjuuvos (ochre-mint in his scale-tone) popped in at one point to check in on his hunting pals, but Jasilkal waved him off with a “Later.”
Later was when she had another hearty meal just outside her mother’s inn, listening to her friend Uruzik’s story time to unwind. Her brother re-joined her as she was finishing her early lunch to discuss the stray bronan. “We could be the ones to relocate it,” he enthused.
“Hm. I wouldn’t mind getting some of their venom, if they were willing to co-operate,” she answered in a more sedate manner, though the glimmer of interest in her eye belied her aloof attitude.
“You and your research,” he teased mildly. “But I’ll go find father to convince we’re a decent team for the mission. Will you stay here for a while?”
Jasilkal shook her head in the negative. “No. I’m mostly done with the trade for today. I’ll haul the rest back, notify Makumu, and prepare a sedative for the snake. Capture me some mice, will you? We’ll meet at mine.”
“So confident we’ll be the ones who get to go?” he grinned, bouncing off the chair to leave.
“Of course. You have looked after me since you were eight, as you say-”
“Since I was seven! Don’t forget that whole ‘I’ll dive to the bottom of the lake’ scheme of yours!” he exclaimed in mock outrage.
“In any case,” she stressed, “Jardaskul knows you can be relied upon. You are now a man, finally,” she teased in return.
Karjuuvos huffed good-natured. “And you can officially patch up any scrapes and heal any injuries now, right?”
“Don’t forget the poisons. Any stray Stodman tries anything, I stab them with a laced knife, they get the seizures, the hallucinations, the frothing…” she trailed off in a smirk, which was returned by a fond shake of her brother’s head.
“Alright, alright. We’re the brilliant-sibling combo, and everyone knows it. See you in a bit with the mice and all,” he waved to her and Uruzik both, then weaved his way through the streets of Asen.
Uruzik was too preoccupied by the children enthralled by her retelling of Rralsmanul to say anything, but she did give her a pointed look. Jasilkal nodded once, earnestly. Yes, she would take care. She was old enough to take the necessary precautions and ensure both her and her brother’s safety – and with his expertise to help, they should be alright. Besides, if they didn’t discover any clues of the bronan snake today, they would most likely return to Asen.
After all was said and done, Jasilkal met up with Karjuuvos at her sod hut at the hill-side, her usual satchel across her shoulder, her knives and trowel tied belted to her hip alongside some vials and cloth pouches.
“Hey, are these fine?” the younger Occ greeted her, two mice held by the tail and squeaking incessantly.
“More than. I’ll feed them enough of the drug to calm them down but not incapacitate, and coat them in the liquid I measure out for the bronan if we happen to find it.”
Her brother nodded, tossed her the mice, and adjusted the bow and quiver slung over his back; he'd also brought his hunting knife. Jasilkal dosed the mice in a minute amount of sedative, and stored the now quietly chattering duo into one of her cloth pouches. The Occ duo then straightened in tandem, their strides matching each other’s as they made their way southwards, intending to investigate and possibly find the stray venomous snake and relocate it farther from their settlement, or else return to Asen by nightfall.