By W.T. tuqMairtin, an excerpt from the novel “Povs In Kyrum”
As Kældurn and I were winding down with our stretching a trainer came up and introduced herself to me as Lo’o’toag. She knelt down by Kældurn as he bent my feet back and held my knees. “Is it ok if I touch you? I’d like to check out your muscle and tendon tension.”
“Sure.” I replied. She had a very calm presence about her. Her head was large and broad, her forehead especially. Her hair was dreaded, but short. A headband pushed the short dreads up, but it wasn’t the yellow and black headband. It was white with outlines of blue flowers and yellow stars in their center. She smelled like fresh cedar.
Lo’o’toag pressed behind my right knee with two fingers. She motioned to Kældurn to continue stretching me. “You’ve had this knee replaced, haven’t you?”
“Wow,” I thought to myself. I’m sure the wonder showed in my eyes. She knew the answer.
“I wish they wouldn’t do such unnecessary surgeries in your parts. With needles, salts, and microbionics we can work with the body to heal itself.”
“Microbionics?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re electrical, but they’ll dissolve. They’re chained cells of calcium, sodium, and potassium that the network guild can access and give instructions to. We’re able to wirelessly monitor and distribute the compounds over a couple weeks. Ascorbic acid in the salts is critical to spur collagen uptake. You can have a completely torn ACL healed in two months, be back playing in four months. You could possibly still benefit from the treatment.”
She stood up. Knocked grass off her taught training pants. She wore football boots. “And you’re a little dehydrated. Your muscle twitches indicate ethanol consumption. I’d not drink again any night before you come train with the Club. You could have had a seizure on the run. I’ll have Aer’loy’ee test the salt levels in the blood.”
Lo’o’toag moved on to some other players. I watched her walk away with my jaw dropped. Her presence was so casual, calm, yet full of conviction. She touched me with two fingers for a few seconds behind each knee and ran her fingers down the front of my legs from the top of my thighs over my shins. That’s it. She had assessed all that from just feeling the structure and tension in my body.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Isn’t that how they say it in this tongue?” Kældurn spoke to me in Povraiian.
I answered him back in Kyeurmic, “You don’t understand Tomawsh. I’ve never experienced anything or anyone like that. Lo’o’toag seems like she’s from another realm.”
“Another realm? Hah!” He laughed, “No, she’s definitely here with us. Been with the Club for some years. Joined a few years before I played first team.”
He yelled out at Lo’o’toag, now tending to Yooluhs Oadvee, the team captain, stretching his arms and shoulders. “Eo, Toag’ihlla, Myeurnawn thinks you’re from another realm. You been faking us out?”
The players and trainers close to us looked up and looked at us. Lo’o’toag grinned and waved Kældurn off, sort of hushing him off. She then spoke to him in the signs. I’m not sure what she said. He grinned it off, stretched me just a little bit more then stood up.
“You my friend are almost good to go, but that’s Aer’loy’ee. She’ll confirm your vitals and salts.” He pointed to a woman who reminded me of Tahkmeeluh. Skinny, lanky, boney, with modest breasts. Tall for a Kyeurmic person, a little over 6 foot. She had a sharp nose and angular face like Tahkmeeluh. Her hair was long. She had it pulled back in an orderly design of four to six braids. It was quite artful. She had a mix of orange and red poppies braided into the hair.
On the backside of the earthen club house was a patio that looked over the fields and the river valley. Tables and chairs were sat out. The patio had what looked like canvas awnings that had been drawn down to the side of columns, so the whole area sat open in the rich sunlight and parade of clouds. Behind the patio, coming off the far backside of the slope of the house was a garden, partially tiered. It had tall lumber walls and woven trellising all around it. I assume to keep critters out. 100 feet above the garden was a raised promontory with a grove of squatty and wired oak trees. You could see the grove on the sloping mountain from the approach on the road up.
Kældurn made his way over to the tables. A number of players and staff were already finished with their stretching and assessments and had begun gathering for light food and drink. I walked over to Aer’loy’ee.
“Greetings from a mountain high.” I attempted a random Kyeurmic style greeting. I needed some work on this.
She answered back, “Yae, where the birds and sun fly two but turn to one all in night. What avian spirit shouldered you on the journey?” I didn’t know how to answer. Not sure if she wanted me to stay literal or metaphorical. She sensed my confusion. “How are you feeling? How’d the run do you? Your eyes look taught. But your legs look nicely set, toned but relaxed.”
I sensed her assessment. “The run was tough. It kicked my…” I was uncertain of the Kyeurmic word for ass in this context. Aer’loy’ee helped me finish my expression with tail. I continued, “But this paired stretching you all do is really brilliant. Revived me quite a bit.”
She nodded slowly, her sharp angled face, her smooth dark skin showing even smoother in the midday sunlight. “Well, are you up for football then?” She asked how a parent might playfully prod a kid.
My face lit up with a smile, “Oh absolutely! What an incredible place to play.” I responded with joy and energy.
She reached towards my left hand. “And what do we call you here?”
I was tempted to introduce myself with a fictitious Kyeurmic footballer name, but that would have been absurd. I clearly look Pov. “I’m Myeurnawn, Jhol Myeurnawn.”
She repeated Jhol slowly, happily tossing the o vowel in her mouth. “Ah yes, an old friend of Amelle. It is a delight to meet you.” She said that last part in Povraiian. She touched me on my fingers, turning my hand and gently directed me, “Now show me that beautiful wrist your mother gave you.” I twisted my arm up.
She took my hand and arm and moved it a little higher up in the sunlight, looking at the veins in my wrist intently. Her bottom jaw dropped and furled in thought, “Hmm. Looks like you might need what you all call manganese and folate. But let’s see. I’m just gonna swab this small bit of glycerin and enzymes on your wrist here.”
She reached into her trainer pocket, opened a little vial, swabbed it with her finger, then swabbed it on my wrist. I was complacent and curious. I watched her the same way I’d seen Pink or Blue watch me trustfully yet tentatively as a veterinarian inspected and annoyed them. I wasn’t annoyed though. It was just that same basic intuitive, animal — I’m trusting you — look. I don’t know why, but I expected it to hurt. It was sticky but it didn’t hurt.
She patted and smoothed the gel out. “There we go. Now let’s see what it tells us in a minute.”
“Is this sorcery?” I asked in Mehthurnic because I wasn’t aware of the Kyeurmic word.
She answered in the common tongue, “Saltery, Jhol. Saltery. At least a systemic dermatological technique of a certain kind of saltery. There’s also yeast and serotonin mixed in with that paste, as catalysts. But it’s from the Kro’ahv Morric Saltists Guild, so it’s formulated to account for mineral assessment at higher altitudes. And no, there’s no difference in your current baseline mineral levels at zero altitude compared to this altitude, but the altitude does affect the metabolic activity of what’s in that paste, so there you have it.” She spoke like a scientist, absent minded professor, and kindergarten teacher, all mixed together.
Amelle had told me about the saltist. She may have mentioned her name, but I didn’t honestly remember. I’m certain now Aer’loy’ee was the saltist she had mentioned. She would be about the same age, probably 55-60 years old and had the motherly, happy scientist-mentor sense about her that Amelle had described. Amelle had also said that the saltist monitors all sorts of data; nutrition, caloric, barometric pressure, air moisture, air particles, outside temperature, body temperatures, oxygen and mineral levels. She analyzed how all that affected individual and collective performance and could provide the coaching staff with an expected performance output for any given match.
Aer’loy’ee held my hand as she talked and we waited for the paste to do its magic. I shared a summary of my internal thoughts to her, “Yeah, Amelle told me a little about you and that you’re quite the studious saltist, studying all sorts of data and variables that contribute to the collective and individual performances.”
She grinned humbly, “Oh, I hope my work helps out the Club, though I’m more than just a saltist — I’m also on the ground crew for Muhr Gee, get to help trim the turf and cut the patterns into it.” She signed scissors cutting with her other hand.
“You folks cut that big pitch with scissors?”
She answered in Mehthurnic, “Yes, you smart ass.” Her eyes winced a smile with her reply. Returning back to Kroonic, “Arbah! Now let’s see what we’ve got with you Jhol.” She raised my wrist to her eyes. She took a ruby jeweled monocle out of her pocket.
Aer’loy’ee held and stared at my wrist for over a minute, her head tilted, breathing calmly through her nose, one eye closed, the other looking through the monocle. After that drawn out minute of silence and focus she laid my hand down by my side, “Ok, Jhol, make your way over to the kitchen. We’ll get you a bowl of curried potatoes, asparagus, basil, rosemary, and coriander leaves. And make sure you drink two larger beakers of water. Not goblets though, we don’t want the minerals completely to flush out.”
“Potatoes?” I retorted sardonically.
“Well, it’s more about what’s in those greens and herbs — folate, copper, and vitamin K. The copper, I suspect you’re lacking from your normal metal-infused industrial diet and environment. That looks very low. Not critical, but low. I can tell from this spectrum, you have a higher genetic requirement for copper than Kroons typically do. But yes, the pyridoxine in the potatoes will help your stomach metabolize all these nutrients in a unified, evenly distributed manner. I’ll chat with Mahshwehr about getting you the perfect bowl mixed up. And speaking of bowls, I recommend a toke of stolma. Your potassium is low, but its decay patten indicates that happened in the past two hours.” She looked at me directly in the eyes like a detective, “Inflammation. The stolma will get you ahead of the curve on that, but not too much, ya heathen.”
Aer’loy’ee rubbed and rolled the paste off my arm, then she put away the monocle, patted it in her pocket. She turned to the sky and said, “We can see because of the stars.” I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant, but it felt like a personal expression of thank you to the greater cosmos. She took me by the hand and gently walked me over to the patio where many of the players and staff ate and refueled.
“I never imagined a doc would recommend I smoke stolma, or smoke anything for that matter.” I mused while we walked.
“Well, I’m not a doctor, I’m simply a conduit between the continuum of your body and the continuum of the environment.” Her arm gestured across the moutainscape.
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