The Case of the Missing Mummy Chapter the Seventh

Chapter the Seventh or Dravan Carts the Ogre to Observation

It was a day of interruptions. Mr. Taurus knew better than to bother Dravan with frivolous things, so, Dravan was furious and yet extremely curious. To top it off, the lad, Cat, was useless as excited as he was.

Dravan was glad that Sarah was talking with Cat, but then it meant he didn’t have her comforting presence. Not that he was afraid, no. He was a practitioner of the arts and a lord in his own right. He didn’t have time to fear the open spaces of the world! He also made sure he didn’t have too much business out in the world. The carriage Cat had procured was so large his feet didn’t touch the floor and that, on top of everything else, made him rather cross.

The berlin carriage[1] stopped in a rather poor area of London. Dravan saw Mr. Taurus standing beside the largest ogre he had ever seen. The ogre was curled on his side with Mr. Taurus standing behind the ogre. Mr. Taurus’ head, and only his head, were above the ogre’s shoulder. The ogre was etiolated[2].

“Master Dravan, I have touched very little. I knew you would want to see for yourself.” Mr. Taurus said coming around to the other side of the ogre.

Dravan inspected the wound, the shirt, and the lizard. His movements were curiously gentle. The lizard was at first displeased to have Dravan poking about, but soon the lizard calmed and became resigned. He preformed a small casting on the ogre to gain some additional information. He considered using the ogre’s blood that had already been spilled, but the blood was old, stale and unusable. He flicked out a small blade and nicked his arm. The blood oozed out of his skin, but with each word of his incantation the blood boiled away until the casting was completed.

Finally, Dravan enhanced Mr. Taurus’ strength so that he could lift the ogre into the carriage. Even with the enhanced strength it took some doing. The ogre was quite large and not meant to be lifted while unconscious.

Though Dravan’s first instinct was to take the ogre to his boat house for experimenting, Sarah cut his thought off, “That is quite a lot of blood on the ground, should he be checked out by a doctor?”

Dravan hesitated, “The ogre appears to be no longer injured.” It frustrated him to have a weakness but, “I do not have sufficient medical knowledge to be certain. Sarah, what physician would you recommend we adjourn to?”

Sarah had been taking notes of every mumble and poke of Dravan’s. She rattled off a list of doctors before adding, “Doctor Tolstoy is visiting from Russia. He currently resides at the university as a guest lecturer. I understand he was invited by the Queen, in spite of the current conflict.” She was quiet for a moment while she considered some additional information, “Although he hasn’t used the services of any of the ladies, there is nothing but praise being spoken.”

“Praise?” Dravan looked up.

Sarah smiled, “Both two-edged and conventional.”

“Mmh.” He considered her suggestion for a moment, “Doctor Tolstoy’s residence.”

Mr. Taurus popped his head into the berlin, “My apologizes Master Dravan, but I must make my way back to Lady MacNeal.”

Dravan nodded. “Be on your way then.” The carriage pulled away from the alley leaving behind Cat – whom Sarah had given a shilling for his trouble – and Mr. Taurus who was rapidly leaving the alley behind himself.

From Dravan’s cursory looks a few things were clear. The ogre had been shot, from the blood on his clothes he had bled for quite a while. There had been blood in the alley as well, so the bleeding hadn’t stopped until after the ogre had reached it. Given the ogre’s size, he had most likely come under his own power, as opposed to being dumped.

Dravan’s casting informed him that the ogre’s healing had been done in a way that the Academy considered impossible. Someone or something had used Hedge magic on the ogre increasing his natural healing rate until he recovered. Given how healed the wound was, Dravan deduced the Hedge mage was incredibly powerful.

“The lizard hasn’t moved from his chest. I doubt anyone could have gotten close enough to heal him while he was dying.”

Dravan shook his head holding up two fingers, “First, the lizard let me examine the ogre, so it probably would have allowed someone to heal him.” He put one finger down, “Second, Hedge magic can be performed at a distance. It depends on the caster. If can be done through singing or potions or by the caster laying their hands on the intended. The method the caster accesses their power limits the uses. If you can’t touch something you cannot lay on hands, if they cannot hear you, singing has no merit.”

“What about the blood price?”

That was one of the great problems with Hedge magics. Its great consistency was how inconsistent it was. Some, alleged, Hedge mages had to spill blood to make their castings work and others didn’t. Every Academy mage had to spill blood. The question Academy mages always asked was, “If I didn’t see your blood flow, whose blood spilled?”

However, given what Sarah and Dravan were learning from the book young Edward sent there were other possibilities. The caster could know how to access the Divine blood. Or he could have used the ogre’s own blood. Now that Dravan knew about accessing Divine blood, Hedge mages made a deal more sense. Some people could access it and others couldn’t. Even among people who could access it, some didn’t always have access it.

“We won’t know who would want to heal him until he wakes up.”

The carriage jerked to a stop. The driver opened the door for them and then handed Sarah out. The university had given Doctor Tolstoy an apartment near the hospital wing. There was a small garden by the entrance surrounded by a ha-ha[3]. The garden seemed recent and useful. It had herbs in it that were no longer used in medicine, since it was understood that science had trumped their use.

Doctor Tolstoy was emerging from his apartments dressed in evening wear. His English hat sat awkwardly on his large ursine head. Fur covered hands straightened his tie. His fur looked dingy and grey surrounded by the soot of London.

“What is your need? I’m on my way to a soiree.”

“I need you to examine an ogre that was shot.”

The doctor hesitated for a brief second before he began rolling up his shirt sleeves. He gestured toward the hospital, “Bring the ogre here.”

Dravan enchanted the driver and two orderlies with additional strength so that they could carry the ogre into the hospital. Doctor Tolstoy’s paws were delicate as he used his claws to pull back George’s shirt. He looked at the wound for a few moments before speaking to one of the orderlies. He turned back to Dravan, who had waited in the examination room, “I will look after the ogre. You can expect my findings in the morning. At the moment he is stable and I have other matters to attend.”

Dravan thought to press the beastman, but Sarah put a calming hand on his shoulder. “Very well.” Dravan grumbled, “I expect your diagnosis first thing tomorrow.”

The doctor nodded his great furred head before leaving to climb into his own carriage. The carriage groaned under the doctor’s weight. Polar bears were not known for their thinness and neither were beastmen of the polar bear variety. Doctor Tolstoy’s gut and fluffy face would remind anyone of Saint Nicolas. However, Alexei Tolstoy was known for his insatiable desire to solve puzzles, not his charitable heart. That was his identical twin sister Nicole, who was coincidentally why he had fled Russia in disgrace. People were always confusing the two of them and her “good deeds” were almost always revolutionary in nature. A great sigh escaped him. He missed mother Russia terribly.

This country is too warm and the air too toxic for my liking. Alexei thought settling into his carriage.

He let out another sigh. He worried for his sister. She was crusading for something… he paused to remember it, ah yes! Woman’s rights. Silly really, women had plenty of rights in Russia, they were even wearing trousers instead of petticoats! Not here, he amended. Great Britain did seem to be behind the times.

The ogre’s healed wound not withstanding, the night promised to be riveting. He was intrigued by the prospect of seeing the dissection of a mummy. As a doctor he had access to living bodies to pull apart. While he was the tsarina’s personal doctor and now as a guest at the British university he had access to recently dead bodies, but who had the pleasure of seeing or performing an autopsy on a corpse that was thousands of years old? His great bear maw stretched into a smile, Tonight promises to be quite instructive.

[1] A type of covered four-wheeled traveling carriage with two interior seats.

[2] Pale and drawn

[3] A boundary to a park or garden, usually in the form of a fence sunk in a ditch. (Clearly some official thought that if a fence marks a border and a ditch marks a border then together it would be twice as official. In reality, the ditch hides the fence and the fence confuses the ditch.)