Knot, 24 Frost

Earned 0 / Spent 8

Savings 16,993

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Knot comes again.  Five days of running, one day of rest.  The weekend is always too short.  Another early morning.  The Frost sun streams in on Capital Hill, I woke up knowing that it’s today I have my second appointment with the alchemist.

I refused to run.  I walked down the hill, along the Kernel side-streets, in the cold and with flecks of rain falling almost sedately from somewhere in the heavens.  You never know where the raindrops started falling.  The wind blows them so far, they could come from a cloud right above Gamut, or the Jade Reefs, or anywhere in Terrene.  And the cloud could have drawn that water from any river or lake or desert oasis under the Disc.

So it was that I walked to the alchemist and sat in front the ex-apothecary, who asked how everything is and whether things have improved.  They have not improved.  My situation is the same, I explained.  Or worse.  And I put my heel on her desk, spilling the papers and box of tissues, my toes tickling her potted plant.

‘Your leg.  Is the other one the same?’

I removed my foot and pulled the leg of my trousers down over the writhing drakeroot tendrils.  The skin is hard and cracked, and living roots extrude like threads from my shins and ankles.  When the deformity was covered, the alchemist steeled herself for the difficult questions.  I answered every question she had about the root.  How deep it runs.  How far it goes. How it affects me, and how I run. 

‘You’ve had drakeroot infestation before,’ she said.

Six, maybe seven years ago.  I explained the nebulous causes.  Root for running.  Root for training.  Root for concentration.  Root for dealing with women.  The infestation was long and bad.  In truth, I’ve only just rid myself of it.  Then the Displacement.  Then the running and the root, root, root.

She said, ‘It’s the same as before.  Better or worse?’

‘I don’t want to be as bad as that ever again,’ I said, and she nods at the three blue-and-blue totems she gave me the last time.  I’ve been wearing them as prescribed.  Rubbing the little fetishes three times a day like a kind of prayer, Make me better

‘They don’t work,’ I tell her.

‘The last time you had an infestation, what did you try?’

‘Depetrifier,’ I said. ‘The “gold needle”.’

‘That’ll work,’ she said, and wrote me a prescription.