bTitle: The Chronicles of Alice Dossick Characters: Alice, Cassandra, Gabriella, Kaisa Setting: 1800's Sanitarium, Starfall City of Rivany/b

My Monday morning began as it always did since I had moved to Sanitarium a year ago. I arose before the sun and went out to the bathhouse in the dark to light a fire. It grew quickly in the morning stillness, gently heating my bath water until I could peel off my nightgown and slip into the great metal basin. The night before, I'd spent four hours in the garden plucking all the fresh herbs I could, and I could still smell the sweat on skin as the water slipped over my head. But today, I knew I would enjoy the fruits of my labors. In fact, the fresh mint leaves I'd dropped in the bath water soon began to soothe my still-tired bones. Underwater I let the oxygen out of my lungs, happily watching the bubbles rise and break the surface. I'd discovered seven years ago, when I was nine, that witches could spend extended time exposed to the elements and suffer no consequences. I could stand in a roaring blaze for minutes before the heat began to make me sweat and my skin itch. The bitterly cold winters of Sanitarium bothered me only in the sense that I was unable to tend to my garden until the spring.
I washed my long, wheat-colored hair and dried my shivering body by the crackling fire in the furnace below the huge metal basin. I'd built this bathhouse with my own two hands only eight months ago; bought a big metal furnace and built a sod frame around it; constructed stairs from the sod and lifted the tub upon the whole structure. The steam was trapped sweetly inside the room, and because of my wonderful herbs I only had to empty and clean the bath water twice a month. I made my way back inside, hair still slightly damp and barely dressed, just as the sun started to peek over the horizon. A simple purple dress and a white apron awaited my arrival upon my bed, crisp and clean. I dressed quickly and hurried to the cellar to collect the herbs I'd gathered the day before. I took a quick look around the shelves I'd constructed just a few months before and assessed what I'd need for the day. I gathered several jars of herbs, oils, incense, and bottled spells, placed them in a basket, and hurried back up to the main room of my little house.
Sanitarium's streets closely resembled a spider web from a bird's-eye view, as the main streets jutted outward from the central square to the docks, and the in-between streets curved inwardly between the main streets. My property was situated on the southern coast of the island, with a high fence around the backyard and a second story looking out over the ocean. An altogether lovely home for a sixteen-year old Witch, if I do say so myself.
When I left home at fifteen, which all Witches do at age fifteen -we are grown and therefore independent- I had first intended to live in Asia. Perhaps I should start from the beginning.
I decided to leave home without telling my parents, because that was the way it was done. I took only two bags full of my most important belongings (spell books, herb dictionaries, my first and only wand, five plain dresses, one elegant gown, all of my herbs and potions, and the large sum of money I'd saved up for this trip). I left while my parents slept on the night before my birthday and climbed the tallest redwood tree in the nearby woods. I took a single limb about twice as thick as my wrist and as long as my right leg from the tree, strapped the branch to my back, patched the wound I'd made in the tree, and climbed down. Sitting by the river as the sun rose, I cut away all the leafy branches sticking off of the limb on all the bottom one foot of it. I rubbed every centimeter of it in strong levitation oil and whispered a few words over my new broom. It dried quickly in the morning sun and I made my way along the breeze and up drafts, south.
I had originally intend to take up residence in Asia, as I mentioned before, but there was something about the little island town of Sanitarium that caught my eye. The docks creaked with the ancient ebb and flow of the ocean, and the cobblestone streets were teeming with human life. This was the kind of place a Witch could thrive in, away from persecution and oppression. The residents of Sanitarium took little stock in the words of far-off rulers, and only interacted with the main lands for trade.
My little shop had been a topic of much fuss and gossip for the first few months, but once I had shown the residents that I possessed only good will towards them, they had no trouble accepting me. True, I had told everyone that I was nineteen and widowed, but age was of little importance to me. Therefore, the lie bothered not my conscience.

I opened shop at 6am sharp, just as the church bells began to chime. By the time they had finished their bi-daily tune of 6 O'Clock, I had a customer. I recognized the boy as young Jack Sharper, the son of a farmer and only three years younger than me. Of course, he didn't have any clue of our closeness in age. If he had been from my town, we would've played together as children.
"Miss Witch," He began, then stopped himself. I let a smirk crawl across my lips; this was what all the children called me. I didn't mind it much, but it was funny that they thought I did. "I mean, Miss Alice, I need your help. My brother broke his leg, and the doctor and his son are away for a whole month. My Pa said we should ask you for help instead of trying to take care of it ourselves, and I was sure you coudld do it."
His confidence in me made me beam with pride; he truly believed that I was just as good as any medical doctor. I thought hard for a long moment, considering the risks of this endeavor. My house was composed of only three rooms; the big, main room where my shop was set up, that took up the entire first floor; my bedroom; and the kitchen.
"Well, diseases are a little tricky, but a broken leg..." I paused, watching the boy squirm, "With constant care and treatment, I could have it healed in a matter of weeks. To be quite honest, I haven't got much room here, but I can't be going back and forth between the farms and town every day. Here's what you need to do."
I began to pace about the shop, finding a jar of a bluish pain-killing ointment. I turned back to Jack and handed him the jar, asking, "Do you know how to make a splint?" He nodded gravely, "I already have. I even put the bone back in place. It made an awful noise, ma'am." I watched his large, still-childlike eyes grow wider.
"Good. Now, I've got a very special mission for you. I have to stay here and keep shop, but your brother is probably in a lot of pain right now. Take this ointment and spread it thickly and evenly, all over your brother's leg. And I mean all over; from thigh to ankle, do you understand?" He nodded, and I handed him the jar. "Very good. Then, strap up your fastest horse to your smallest wagon, and bring your brother straight to me. Go now."
He dashed out of the shop, leaving the doorbell ringing in his wake.
I leaned against the central counter for a moment, contemplating what I'd just accepted to doing. Playing doctor, Alice? Really? I continued to mentally scold myself as I built a fire in the wood stove and made up a bed on the floor of my kitchen for Jack's older brother, Eli. I'd seen Eli around town only once or twice, and every time he had given me a smile as sweet as honey.
I listened intently for the doorbell as I skimmed a few spell books, leaving pages with healing spells open on the long dining table. I mostly used my kitchen as a library, as my collection of spell books had grown significantly since I'd moved to Sanitarium. It was a spacious and often cold room, so I'd have to remind myself to keep a fire going in the stove to keep Eli from catching cold on the chilly summer nights. He dashed out of the shop, leaving the doorbell ringing in his wake.
I leaned against the central counter for a moment, contemplating what I'd just accepted to doing. iPlaying doctor, Alice? Really?/i I continued to mentally scold myself as I built a fire in the wood stove and made up a bed on the floor of my kitchen for Jack's older brother, Eli. I'd seen Eli around town only once or twice, and every time he had given me a smile as sweet as honey.
I listened intently for the doorbell as I skimmed a few spell books, leaving pages with healing spells open on the long dining table. I mostly used my kitchen as a library, as my collection of spell books had grown significantly since I'd moved to Sanitarium. It was a spacious and often cold room, so I'd have to remind myself to keep a fire going in the stove to keep Eli from catching cold on the chilly summer nights. When Jack returned with Eli, I had him carry his brother inside and to the makeshift bed on my kitchen floor. Jack scurried out, saying something about chores. I focused all of my attention on Eli, half-awake wimpering on the floor. Jack had neglected my specific instructions to cover Eli's entire leg, so I had to strip him of his trousers and douse his leg in the numbing cream myself. Eli was a good patient, quiet and compliant. I made sure the bone in his leg was properly aligned, and then I set to work stitching the wound shut. I spoke rhymes of soothing magic as I stitched together the layers of skin and muscle, weaving words along with the thread to heal and clense his wound. I fetched a homemade salve and spread it over the stitched gash, whispering another spell of good will.

bOkay so there's that. I know it's kinda slow right now, but I ipromise/i the storyline will speed up a little. Thanks for reading.
- Mello Heart -/b