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Cross posted from Madrona Project

Title: The Tale of the Green Physician Apprentice
Author: kira
Word Count: 1638
World: The castle grounds of Queen Medici, Repubblica Fiorentina
Main Characters: Tenaldi, Master Garfalo, Master Strada, mention of Queen Medici
Borrow: No
Summary: Tenaldi spends his time, gathering knowledge as an apprentice Green Physician…
Author’s Note: This was written as a writing exercise at Chuck Wendig’s writing blog, where last week people were asked to create a character, while this week people were asked to take someone’s character and create a story about them. I found all this in COM’s (aka Jana Denardo) journal, and asked if I could write something about her character, Tenaldi, who is an apprentice Green Physician. I felt he would work in the world of Madrona. So Tendaldi and the Green Physicians are COM’s; the rest is mine. Please note, I also incorporated little bits and pieces of her character study, like the setting into this fic.

For Jana…

Tenaldi, a young apprentice Green Physician, tossed his long dark braid over his left shoulder as he walked quietly behind his Master. They were on their way to the Queen’s Poison Garden for a review on the various plants and their uses. Normally, Tenaldi assisted one of the young Masters who tended the garden, doing the grunt work, along with his fellow apprentices, of digging and weeding in the vast garden that used to be a quarry until the castle was finished being built and the stone gave out. His brown eyes shone with delight at the thought of an afternoon spent in the company of the Head Physician of their Order.

Master Garfalo, Tenaldi’s mentor and teacher, was old and mottled; his skin dark and leathery from time spent in the sun. His long white hair hung in thick braid to his waist and his eyes were as sharp as his wit, though now he tended to ramble when he spoke, dredging up stories of his past, which Tenaldi eagerly listened to. The old man’s eyes were blue like the cornflowers that grew in the pleasure gardens, a gift from the ambassador of Germania. The old man droned on, his voice as soft as the humming of the big fat bees that flitted from flower to flower. The other apprentices always complained of never understanding his ramblings, or even hearing them, for that matter, but Tenaldi had the patience of a saint and his love of learning made him want to pay close attention to Master Garfalo’s teachings. He had quickly learned to find the gems of wisdom in the old man’s ramblings. For those times when he could not make sense of what the old man was saying, Tenaldi would seek out one of the other Masters for an explanation.

Arriving at their destination, Master Garfalo paused at the top of the old quarry steps. Raising a boney hand, he pointed to the Suicide tree. “It looks like we’ll have a good crop this year, no?” Looking over his shoulder at his protégé, he smiled; his face a maze of wrinkles and his eyes sparkling with humor. It was well known that the fruit of that particular tree often topped many a person’s last meal. The Green Physician’s also knew that the Queen was growing tired of listening to the Madronan ambassador’s prattling about this treaty and that, but what had really irritated her was his going on and on about some stupid holiday in the Capital called “Vine Fest” and how nice it would be if the Queen attended. Everyone in the kingdom knew she only cared about things that were important to her and the doings of others generally wasn’t.

“Yes,” Tenaldi agreed. He sent a silent prayer clearer heads would prevail and the ambassador would cease his carrying on about a simple harvest festival as if it were a matter of state importance. He had no desire to be conscripted into the Queen’s army, should they come to war over so trivial a matter as her steadfast refusal to attend it.

“And what can you tell me about this?” Master Garfalo said as they paused in front of a tall shrub with pretty purple and green flowers.

“Belladonna, which is a deadly poison, but also has some medicinal purposes,” Tenaldi replied.

“Good. And this?”

“Foxglove and that…” Tenaldi pointed to a pretty plant with lacy white flowers, “is water hemlock. Flowers are safe as an ornamental, roots are deadly poisonous and are often confused with a similar looking edible root.”

“Very good, Tenaldi!” Master Garfalo beamed at his student. He walked through the deadly garden, asking questions, which Tenaldi dutifully answered. Occasionally one of the young Masters, who tended the garden, would ask him a question or shared their knowledge. Tenaldi soaked it up like a sponge.

They made it halfway through the garden, when Master Garfalo paused. He called to his favorite student, who had bent to admire a patch of milkweed. “Come, Tenaldi. My bones are tired and though the day is warm, I wish to sit by the fire and drink my tea and rest a bit. Perhaps you’ll be kind enough to lend me your eyes and read to me?”

Before Tenaldi could answer, Master Strada, Master Garfalo’s former student, teased, “You just want to sit by the fire and sleep, old man.” He stood and wiped the dirt from his hands on his apron as he came over to them.

Tenaldi was shocked by the seeming disrespect and he blushed profusely. “M-Master,” he sputtered as he gazed from one to the other.

Master Garfalo laughed.”You know me too well!” He shook a boney finger at his former student.

Master Strada laughed along with him. “I should. I read the Pharmica to you so many times I can still recite it from memory!” He looked over at Tenaldi and winked, his green eyes twinkling with mirth. Tall and fair, his skin was burned a deep pink, despite the large straw hat he wore on his head.

“Good! As well you should! And when you are as old as me, Strada, you’ll have your students doing the same as my Master did before me.”

“But of course! And young Master Tenaldi, here, will no doubt call me out about it in front of my favorite student when I become as old as you.” Master Strada grinned. Growing more serious, he said to Tenaldi, “Learn that book well and all your lessons so that one day you too will become a Green Physician. Now if you’ll excuse me, Master Garfalo, I have a garden to tend to. One never knows when Her Majesty will have a use for something in it,” he said wryly.

“Aye…” Master Garfalo said softly. “Good day, Strada.” Taking Tenaldi’s arm, he leaned heavily on him as the two strolled through the garden. Garfalo felt suddenly old at the thought of the Queen poisoning a guest in the castle. He longed for days when her mother ruled and the garden was more of a curiosity and learning tool of the Green Physicians than an instrument of terror.

Tenaldi wondered at his Master’s change in demeanor. To be a Green Physician was an honor as they not only treated the Queen and the royal family, but they were the keepers of the ancient knowledge. The founders of their Order had taken their name from the scared vestments the ancients had worn that tended to be green in color while they practiced their healing arts. Still, everyone knew the Queen used poison to deal with her enemies, choosing war as a last resort. So it became important to know how to make those poisons and which ones would cause the most suffering as well as which ones worked so slowly suspicion that would fall on the Queen, would fall elsewhere. Plus the Green Physicians also knew which poisons had a remedy and how to make it. Sighing softly as they walked along, Tenaldi chose to ignore the troublesome thoughts in his head. Instead, he engaged his Master in conversation. “So what kind of a student was Master Strada when he was younger?”

Master Garfalo laughed as the memories came flooding in. “He was a bit of a scamp, that one. Then again, he was just a child when he parents left him on our doorstep. I’m afraid we rather spoiled him…” he said, before launching in a humorous account of Master Strada’s naughtiest escapade.

It was not long before they arrived at the castle, their footsteps barely making a sound on the worn stone floor. They took their time, making their way to the great hall. Once there, they crossed it, nodding greetings to the Masters they passed.

As Tenaldi helped his Master sit by the small fire that chased away the chill in the great hall, he wondered if Master Strada would enlighten him after dinner about his Master’s disquietude. For now, he would content himself with opening the heavy tome, and reading the names and uses of the drugs the ancients had in the hope that one day one of his Order would rediscover them. Some were well known to his Order like penicillin, others only guessed at and there was not an apprentice there, who did not dream of finding an old drug hidden in the flowers of the meadow that surrounded the castle.

“Naproxen,” Tenaldi began where he had left off the previous day. He listed the names it was also known by, before moving on to its uses. Looking up, he saw Master Garfalo nod at him and he continued, listing the side effects and doses. Tenaldi read, committing everything to memory while pausing to ask the occasional question. When Master Garfalo finally nodded off and sat there, snoring loudly, Master Abate came and relieved him of his duty to his Master. Free to go where he wanted, Tenaldi hurried to the castle’s library. The Queen’s late father had been a scholar who had amassed a large library of rare books. It was said that the Queen as a little Princess spent hours there, playing among the tomes, and when she became old enough, she learned to read them. Tenaldi, admiring her learning, emulated her scholarly ways. Whereas the Queen used this knowledge to sow fear into the hearts of her subjects, both great and small, Tenaldi wanted to use his knowledge to help them. He longed for the day when his apprenticeship would be over and he could take the oath of the Green Physicians and promise to do no harm. When that happened, he would leave the Order and go on his Great Walkabout, visiting foreign lands, exchanging knowledge, before coming home to teach and work in the gardens that he loved.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 30th, 2015 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh this came out very well. Thank you so much for using Tenaldi. I love it.
Aug. 30th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC)
Thanks! I had a lot of fun playing with him & again, thank you for letting me write something about him! :D You're welcoem! I'm sooo glad that you like it! :D
Aug. 30th, 2015 03:34 am (UTC)
I'm thrilled you wanted to write him.
Aug. 30th, 2015 03:53 am (UTC)
Awe... He just sounded so cool, I had to play with him! I hope to see something from you about him too! :D Also if anyone else writes about him over at Chuck's, can you post the link? I'd love to see what they did with him. :D
Aug. 30th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC)
I would love to use him, probably as non-Jana stuff to be honest but who knows.

Yes I most definitely will link it if someone does.
Aug. 30th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC)
Sweet! Okay, I only know of Jana, so that's why I said that. I can definitely see him in a fantasy setting, which is why he works so well with Madrona. It has a fantasy vibe to it. :D

Aug. 30th, 2015 04:39 am (UTC)
yeah that's because I have yet to interest anyone in my non-erotica stuff. sigh

but yes he does have a fantasy vibe
Aug. 30th, 2015 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah? Maybe he'll be the one to get peeps interested. :D

He really does, & out of all the character snippets (I went back & looked at all of them), I liked him the best & Bob, cuz Bob reminded me of your Vegas Vamps. (He had a supernatural feel to him once he "woke up.") The others not so much.
Aug. 30th, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
he might. What I need to do is edit thru my YA novel and send it out. Now with my writing creds it might be easier to get an agent.

that's cool. I liked some of the female ones and the priest who looks like he was using the confessional box as a method of selecting his victims.
Aug. 30th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
*nods* Sounds like a plan! :D

*nods* The deaf Vamp hunter was pretty cool too. I must have missed that one, cuz I don't remember reading about the priest. XD
Aug. 30th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
and I missed the deaf vampire hunter!
Aug. 30th, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah? XD
Oct. 28th, 2015 11:42 pm (UTC)
I really liked Tenaldi and his thirst for knowledge. His commitment to the old books may lead him to some great discoveries. Most books like their Pharmica have the chemical composition of the drug listed. It's a shame they've lost the Chemistry knowledge to make use of that.
Oct. 29th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah. :D Yeah? I didn't know that. I imagine as they rediscover the lost knowledge, they'll be able to recreate the old medicines. :D
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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