Toria: A Letter to Dylan

Bonus XP offering:


Now that the first semester and the final exams (the tests they give us to make sure we’ve learned what we should have) are done at Healer Hall, I’m getting a chance to write some letters to people back home. It’s been so busy and stressful I barely had time to sleep some weeks! I’m learning so much though, not even just about healing. The seven other girls in the dorm where I live are from all over Pern, so I’m getting to learn about where they’re from, which is quite interesting!

It’s so different out here at Fort Hold. For one thing, it’s starting to get cold now that it’s Autumn. They say soon enough it will snow! There are also more people here than I’ve ever seen in my whole life! One of the dragonriders that brought me here said there was about eight thousand in the Hold and Halls together. Being around this many people is hard at times, but it certainly makes things interesting. I like to sit in the courtyard sometimes and just watch the people bustle around.

I’ve really missed you these past few months.  I hope you’ve been having fun up in the Drum Heights and doing at least some chores for Miss Ranella!  I miss Katz Field, I miss Miss Ranella and Master Valora. I even miss Shaggie and his puppies! Hopefully they’re still doing okay. By the Egg Dylan, no matter how I tried to imagine what it would be like here, I couldn’t have imagined this. I was rather homesick for the first few weeks at Healer Hall. I even wanted to come back sometimes, but I knew if I did I would disappoint a lot of people and myself, too. I’m glad I stayed.

I only had two days after arriving (by dragonback!) before classes started for me on Firstday. There was a lot to get used to, supplies and new clothing for Junior Apprentices to get. They were using words like ‘study breaks’, ‘curfew’, and ‘quiet hours’ that I didn’t understand (yes knowall, I understand the words themselves, but I wasn’t familiar with what they meant in the way they were using them). I’m just so holdbound… I’ve been teased by more than one person for not knowing something. Why, just a few weeks ago, I learned there were Gathers held at major Holds every Spring and Autumn, where people come from all over and sell goods, hear the latest Harper songs and feast! I can hardly wait to see it for myself!

This semester was a lot to adjust to… in so many ways. They say the next semester will be harder as far as what we’re learning. At least then I won’t be also trying to get used to living in a different place along with all that entails, and learning more about healing than I ever thought possible. They say there are Clinical Exams that we’re to take in the Spring and if you fall enough behind, they can send you home! I will study so much I’ll have nothing but klah running through my veins.

I didn’t even tell you about the dragon ride yet! It was amazing! The blue dragon I rode on was as big as a barn and the brown one was even bigger. I was so flaming scared, make no mistake! Nearly shook the skin off my bones. The dragon told his rider to tell me I shouldn’t be scared and he wouldn’t let me fall. I didn’t know dragons could hear anybody’s thoughts! Or maybe he could just tell I was scared, it wasn’t hard really. Once I was in the air… Oh Dylan, you should have seen it. Everything was so small from up high, it was the most exciting thing I think I’ve ever done. Going between was quite unsettling, that’s for sure! You can’t feel anything. Not the dragon you’re sitting on, or anything around you. The boy I rode to Ford Hold with had ridden before and told me to hold my breath, which did help for some reason. I hope one day I can ride a dragon again.

So what have you been up to since I left? Have you found any firelizards yet? There’s a fair of them at Harper Hall. I saw them when I was coming in. It was quite the sight! Have you heard anything exciting or interesting on the Drum Heights? You know I still rely on you to give me any interesting news you come across. Even if it is… slightly old by the time you get to tell me. What’s been happening in Katz Field since I left?

Please pet Shaggie and the pups for me, Tawny too if she’s still hanging around. It’s so busy during the semester and sending letters and packages back home isn’t something I can do often, but I’ll write when I can. Take care of yourself!

Your friend,


P.S. If I could ask a favor, could you deliver this next page to Master Valora? Healer Hall paid for one letter to be sent and I have so many things to tell her! I’m going to send a postcard to my parents back at the farm, but since I don’t have much in the way of marks just yet, it will be taking the slow way there.

OOC: I figured Toria would send a slow traveling postcard, which costs 1/32 to 1/16, to her folks as a one time expense. She just wants to let them know she’s at Healer Hall and she hopes she can make them proud and to give her brothers her love, and that she’ll write when she can.

A second page is found behind the first one, this one addressed to Master Valora.

Master Valora,

Healer Hall paid for me to send out one letter, so I asked Dylan to give you this letter inside the one I sent him, since I don’t yet have much money. I just wanted to let you know how my first semester here was going, and to thank you for recommending me to Healer Hall. The longer I’ve been here, the more I have realized what an opportunity this is and I’m very grateful to you.

It’s been hard to adjust to the rules and schedule of classes. I wasn’t as prepared for that as I had thought. The lectures were at least somewhat familiar to me, based on my studies with you back home, but the hours of classes and amount of facts I had to memorize were overwhelming. Once the introductory lecture classes were finished, the classes on basic aspects of Healing started. I found Anatomy fairly interesting (and not as hard for me compared to some of my classmates, some of whom got ill when seeing blood and organs!) and I’m really enjoying the Diseases class. I’m hoping one day I can look into whatever ails my brother Fairron, maybe even find a way to make him better!

The class I found the most difficult was Ethics. I hadn’t much considered that healing someone isn’t always the best course of action. That was very hard to wrap my head around, honestly. For instance, making the decision to not give an elderly person the medicine that could likely save their life because you only have a certain amount and you can’t get more until the harsh winter is over. How do you handle that, how do you best judge when to make the hard call, and do you have any advice for me?

I’m told next semester will have a lighter workload but we will also be taking the OSCE’s and I’m already fretting about that a little. It sounds like these exams are a very big deal and if you don’t do well, they could send you home. I do not intend to fail, so I will spend much of the break between semesters studying and practicing what I can. If it’s possible to read ahead, I might even try that. It’s a good thing I like the taste of klah, for I fear I shall be drinking it often next semester!

I’m very much looking forward to the Autumn Gather at Fort Hold. It sounds so fun! I don’t have much money to spend there, but I am hoping to be able to make a bit selling herbs that are easier to find locally than elsewhere to travelers coming in for the Gather. Practicing my skills and possibly earning a few pieces for it at the same time seems like a good idea.

I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to write again, but I wanted to let you know I’m doing well and hope you and everyone else at Katz Field are too!


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