Shapers’ Veil is a fantasy novel full of adventure and majesty. It is also an experiential journey into healing. Several modes of healing are woven throughout the story. The most familiar to human readers is herbal medicine as practiced by the healer Gydana.
Born into the potter’s trade, Gydana was accepted among the nomadic Adeladans after showing kindness to a headman’s grandson. From the tribes she she learned healing arts, including midwifery and the uses of plants. Herbs that give comfort and support natural healing are always her first choice, but she knows well how to make a potion strong enough to poison an enemy or even to drug a recalcitrant immortal.
Kawi found Gydana on a bench outside the hut, tying herbs into bundles. A pile of plants lay at her feet on each side of her. No, on one side was a pile of plants, on the other was the shadow cat mimicking a pile of plants.
“What’s wrong with me?” he said. “What was that smell?”
“Dolcy herb. It helps you sleep. I didn’t want you to wake up and hurt yourself.”
“How long have I been lying there?”
“We’ve been here two days. Don’t you remember?”
“Two days!” He sat heavily on the bench beside her. Woman and cat and herbs swirled and spun in his eyes. He fought to remember past his grogginess. “I recall you threatened me with something.”
“Because you wouldn’t stay still. I told you you have to stay still. You have to let the wound knit.”
He leaned his head into his hands. “You have poisoned me.”
“I medicated you. It’s good for you. Relax, it’ll wear off in a couple of hours. I’ll get you something to eat and we’ll have a look at you.”
The shadow cat, created by the Rua as an aid in healing, uses subtle vibrations of sound and the energy of light and color to soothe pain and promote vigor.
Kawi led the cat into the cottage. Gydana lay as he had left her. Her eyes jumped beneath her eyelids as though trapped in a vicious dream. Her lips met and parted, murmuring soundless words. Raukh knelt beside the cot, holding her hand in his. His fair-skinned face, even the red scar, had paled and grayed.
“She will not die.” Kawi held his hand over Karrka’s head, but did not touch her. “Look. This is a shadow cat, created by the Rua to aid in healing. She will help her.”
Karrka arched her back, and waved her tail gracefully above her. She took three small steps and sat down quietly. Her color brightened. She leaned forward and rubbed the side of her face against Raukh’s wounded arm.
The hunter’s eyes widened. He let go of Gydana’s hand to touch the spot the cat had rubbed. “The pain has dimmed!”
Karrka leaned against him once more and sniffed Gydana’s face. She lowered her eyelids and bumped her head gently against the woman’s shoulder. She climbed up onto the cot, settled comfortably next to the woman and purred.
Gydana’s limbs lost their trembling. Her face relaxed.
Rua healers have the vocal ability to emit targeted high frequency sound waves to stimulate and accelerate the body’s healing. All Rua are bioelectric, but some are also able to project their consciousness into another’s body and direct the flow of electrons to areas needing most attention. A very few have the refined ability of consciousness to enter a body’s cells, and affect healing (or harm) on a cellular level.
“We can sing over your wounds,” said one of the Rua. “Speed your healing.”
Their words swam in Tirza’s head and confused her. She lifted her hands. Dust still grimed the silk wrappings. The fingers within throbbed. “Speed their healing?”
“Yes, all wounds, and gladly.” They gathered around her. One laid its palm under her right hand, with its other palm lightly over. Another did the same with her left. Their hunched postures straightened, and she heard the barest of high-pitched trills. But though her ears heard only faintly, her body filled with vibration, generating a wave of warmth within her that flowed to her hands and along her skin. Her fingers felt soft and floating, as though in a bath, and warmth sank into the bruises on her legs and body. She had never felt anything like it, except for the close, resonant presence of the Shenmir. But while Kawi inspired, these, somehow, unsettled.