Tales of Midbar: Poisoned Well

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Murdering Babies - part 2

Narrated by Eleprin

We went to Matriculation and managed to get through that without incident. I guess we weren’t the first students to need bodyguards and an advisor. On the way, we’d stopped at a hotel. It seemed that in the second millennium after the Landing, University Valley had been legally carved up between The University, at the west end, University City at the East, University Hospital on the south side between them and University Airport to the north. The airport had never amounted to much. Areas of state land had been left between them, presumably to allow for any required changes in the plan. The tents where the hospital was processing new patients were on state land, and therefore the Mountain Rangers has jurisdiction.


They wanted to give the new healing students medical check ups. I went to the hospital for mine, along with Mum and a bodyguard while Printorac, Nivulan, Fenusara and their bodyguards went to talk to some High Family people.

On the way back to the Hospital, we didn’t go near the tents but we saw several people, including some rangers arguing outside.


“I’m a Winemaker and I do not want my baby murdered!” I said to the young, faharni nibey who was in the examination room I’d been sent into. “Yes I do know I’m pregnant! I didn’t sign the form that would have allowed you to murder my baby! I don’t want any treatment unless you explain it to me and I agree to it or I’m unconscious and unlikely to regain consciousness without treatment or I’m insane!”

Mum had been left outside but my bodyguard had come in with me.

“Her baby is the heir of a Trustee,” said my bodyguard, who was standing in a corner of the small room.

“Sorry but who’s she?” asked the healer.

“Her bodyguard,” said the Blue Badge holding her hand out and showing her badge.

“Doesn’t a Trustee’s heir need to be born to his wife?” asked the healer, pursing his lips and lowering his eyebrows.

“The wife only needs to be the nuclear mother,” I said, “but as our scripture is rather negative about using handmaids, I am the nuclear mother, the mitochondrial mother, the birth mother and the Trustee’s wife!”

“Which Trustee?” asked the healer.

“Printorac.”

He pursed his lips and his eyeballs moved from side to side. Then he opened the door and shouted, “Vreldri! Didn’t Printorac get married recently?”

“Oh yes,” said a female voice. “It was rather controversial! She’s some barmaid who kidnapped him and took him to Rendamar and forced him to fight Nuharas and monsters and liberate the temple and had his mother declared unfit and made herself his guardian and forced him to convert to Winemakerism so he had to marry a mage and then married him. They tried getting him to marry somebody else but he’d been too brainwashed! I’d like to wipe the smug off that little vagina’s face if I ever meet her!”

“I didn’t force him to do any of that!” I shouted. “And Winemaker magi aren’t forced to marry magi!”

“And you’re normal!” shouted Mum from outside.

“OK,” said the healer, looking at me through a magic detector. “I’ll just give you a standard medical scan and if I find anything unusual I’ll explain it to you before doing anything.”


In the afternoon, I was back at the Hospital for a meeting of new healing students. This time Mum hadn’t come but my bodyguard had. On the way, I saw that the tents had gone. The meeting was in a fairly small, rather featureless room. There were only about forty of us and I’m pretty sure I was the youngest. We sat in chairs in a semicircle with a desk and screen in the middle. We chatted to the others around us and I’m pretty sure the man sitting next to me was trying to chat me up. I caught a few mentions of “Printorac”, “avatars”, “Sixteen” and so on.

Then a man came in and stood at the desk at the front and said, “Can we begin now!”

Everybody went quiet.

He gave some introductory remarks and then said. “We had an incident when somebody objected to our abortion policy and provoked some women’s rights protesters to attack. This resulted in the administrators of the Western Mountains district realizing that they owned the land where we’ve been putting our tents to handle new students every year for millennia, causing a considerable administrative headache. As a result the tents have been taken down and the registration will now be done in a lecture theatre that’s definitely on University land. Can you try to avoid future issues like that!”

I put my hand up.

“What?” asked the man at the front.

“How much provocation justifies how much retaliation?” I asked.

“Sorry, I don’t understand.”

“If you’re going to claim that retaliation is justified by provocation,” I said, “you should have a formula to say what retaliation is justified by what provocation. What is that formula? What provocation would justify physically attacking a group including three pregnant women?”

There were a few grumbles.

“Just try to avoid trouble!” said the man. “Now to the standard issues!”

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