"We got the kingdom, we got the key
We got the empire, now as then
We don't doubt, we don't take direction
Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me"
Leviathan: Verse VII.
Not all who are drawn to the service of the gods are blessed with the ability to cast spells. For some, all they have is their devotion when it comes to making a difference. None more so than the Sisters of Mercy.
The Sisters are a sect of cloistered healers dotted around the realm in some of the most extreme locations imaginable. The order is old, hierarchical, and completely unrecognised by the larger churches who merely pretend to do good work among the poor and the impoverished. The Sisters work tirelessly in the frontier towns and borderlands healing the sick without spells, scrolls, phylacteries, or potions. Instead, they practice the unsanctioned art of medicine.
At the head of the Order of The Sisters of Mercy is the, Lucretia. A title awarded to only the most devout, the Lucretia oversees the day to day operations of the Sisters, traveling from province to province visiting the temples, and assisting where she can. She is accompanied by her second-in-command, the Mortal Penitent.
The Sisters specialise in mostly mundane medical procedures like fixing broken bones or curing colds and humours, but some procedures require a more modern approach.
Cataract Removal. Initially, before the Sisters of Mercy perfected this treatment, a large needle was stuck through the cornea removing the lens from the eye pushing it all the way to the bottom of the socket. One misstep, and the sufferer was apt to be blinded instead of cured. However, a Sister who had returned from the Burning Lands used a different approach. A large hypodermic needle was inserted into the eyeball and the cataract was sucked out, instead of just being moved. This proved to be almost effective every time it was done. The cataracts would then be placed in a dish of warm milk, seasoned with cat urine, and sold onto magic users for spell components.
Haemorrhoids (also colloquially known as ’the goblin who lives in my anus’). There are many treatments for this affliction, one is as simple as paying a halfling to pull them off, but what has become even more effective, is the hot poker. The subject must disrobe, bend over, pull their cheeks apart and try not to move (or scream) as a large, hot poker, is inserted into the afflicted area. Cauterisation begins immediately. They say you haven’t lived until you have had this treatment. I’ve spoken to someone who’s taken an axe to the head as well as the poker treatment. He said he’d gladly take the axe, every time.
Bloodletting. If you’ve been bitten by a giant rat, or spider, or anything that causes disease, then bloodletting is generally the only cure. A more sedate way of combating any blood borne malady is by using leeches, or tiny flail-snails. The critters are placed on the afflicted area and left to suck the blood from the patient. A quicker, more sure-fire way is of course, venesection. A vein is opened up and the blood is drained into a bowl. After 18 bowls have been drained, the patient will become faint, and collapse to the floor in good health. Bed rest and light duty is required for the rest of the month. No combat.
Arrow removal. Who hasn’t been hit by an arrow? Every adventurer worth his salt has a few scars to show. But what actually happens to the arrow heads once the party cleric has cast ‘Cure Wounds’? Are they still stuck inside? Most arrows are attached to the shaft by warm bees wax. When the wax has set, the arrow can be handled as normal, but when it is inside someone, and they pull on the shaft to try and remove it, the head comes off. Again, another invention from the Burning Lands has the answers: the arrow spoon. The spoon is inserted into the wound and covers the arrowhead completely, thus allowing it to be pulled out without doing further damage.
Constipation. A common ailment among deep delvers and dungeoneers is constipation. Surviving on iron rations for weeks at a time will do that to you. A Clyster is the answer. A Clyster is a long metal tube with a cup on the end to hold the appropriate liquid medication. The thin end of the tube is inserted where the sun doesn’t shine, and several cups of tepid boar’s bile, is poured into the cup. If this doesn’t do the trick, nothing will.
Flesh wounds. Axes, swords, daggers, they all leave their mark. Urine and vinegar is applied directly to the wound to clean out any bits of skin or amour before the wound is closed. If it is shallow enough, the wound can be sewn back together with catgut. If deeper however, then cauterisation is your only answer. And yes, it’s the same poker they use for combating haemorrhoids.
Head wounds. If the skull is damaged, it inevitably leads to brain swelling, and death. In order to alleviate the pressure, a hole is drilled into the skull. This was invented by sister Trepanus, hence the procedure is known as Trepanning. It is also effective in banishing demons and ending Charm spells. A tight fitting cloth cap must be worn at all times to stop birds from using the hole as a nest.
Anesthetic. A healthy dose of hemlock, mixed with arsenic and goats vomit is prescribed to kill the pain. If none of these are available, then consume an inordinate amount of ale, wine, or spirits.