I arrived in Puddleby at a time I thought of as the middle of November, 2000. I still haven't gotten used to the local calendar, but I think that was toward the end of the year 539. (I have found that even the names of the months are a Mystical Secret here.)
Soon after arriving in town, I decided that the best profession for me would be healer. While becoming a healer I also had to become familiar with several parts of town. I still remember the thrill of holding my healing stone for the first time. I couldn't wait to go try it out.
Since then my stone has seen much use, on myself and on many others. Occasionally I even learn something while using it to revive a fallen exile. I am not sure what makes a particular healing experience educational. It may be that I learn something after a certain number of healings, but the learning is so infrequent it is hard to keep track of.
Soon after embarking on my career as a healer, I was approached by Bokonon who, after we spent some time hunting together, offered me a short sword left as a legacy by NuttyBuddy, co-founder with FlufferNutter of the Peanutbutter Cult. This sword served me well, though as a healer I was not an expert with swords.
Meanwhile I learned the ways of the Peanutbutter Cult:
Later I was given a dagger by Tara, a generous exile who no
longer needed it. I found it easier to hit creatures with the
dagger and I could swing it more times than the sword before
losing my balance, but when I could easily hit with the sword it
did more damage.
In year 542, on about day 55, just after a chaos storm, I met Gaia. I was suddenly inspired to stop hunting and skinning creatures. I still carry my legacy short sword, but I have given away my dagger and never even wielded a weapon since then. My life has been completely different as a result. If I become trapped by creatures, I sometimes get lucky and escape, or if the creatures are not very able to hit me (such as mere vermine) I can use my pendant to get away, but often becoming trapped leads to me falling and needing a rescue. As a result I have gotten pretty good at avoiding getting trapped even when there are many creatures chasing me.
(A few exceptions to my non-violence have happened over the years: I unwrapped a candy club at Bawkmas, but I never used it as a weapon. I attacked undine in purgatory when I first was able to use my pendant. Once in a dream I met an evil wizard and slew him to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. During a particularly disturbing time in Puddleby the fallen could become posessed undine and I was unable to stop my body from attacking my friends.)
Despite frequent visits to Gaia's temple and garden and occasional quiet prayers over the six years since I met her, I have not yet seen her again and her temple attendants are still awaiting a sign from her about me. I have faith that some day I will find a way to please her enough to become her follower. It is my fondest wish that she might somehow arrange a truce between me and the simple beasts of the lands. I have not been hunting them for years now; is it too much to ask that they not hunt me? (I would not necessarily expect such a truce to extend to the more intelligent species such as Orga and Darshak.) Perhaps I could even learn to heal animals some day. I have wanted to heal a spirit animal more than once.
It is difficult having dreams like this while the Puddleby economy is almost completely driven by coins from furs. Even experience is almost completely gained through killing or buying library time with fur-related coins. I know that in order to buy the tools I need to become as good a healer I can, ultimately many animal furs must have been taken, even if I accept gifts from others or otherwise avoid direct participation in hunting by sewing or trading. (My attempts at gaining wealth through gambling have been utter failures.) Even in my proudest moments when I heal fallen exiles I know that I am helping them continue hunting. I find only limited comfort in the knowlege that the population of animals does not seem to be decreasing. If you are interested in these ideas you may also wish to read the scrolls of Nohurt, another non-violent healer.
Once, long ago, I slaughtered a butterfly. I was very sad, but then I was happy to see that the flock continued to flourish and bring joy to many exiles despite my little accident. Since then I have met many butterflies and warned those newly exiled that butterflies are delicate creatures.
Most of my training by far is from Eva, the holistic teacher of healing arts. I have trained a little bit with others, but I don't want to become unbalanced and her training seems quite efficient. More recently I have been taking these lessons from Thuja, a very talented healer.
I took a little time to learn Thoom and had some training with Marsh Hermit, but Eva's lessons have been so valuable it has been hard to decide to train with others.
When I met her, I also took some time to study with Sylpha, so I can use my Sylphstone ring, a gift from Madcat who decided he would rather be a fighter than a healer. It is always difficult to start studying with Horus. His teaching is different from the others. Until I try to raise an exile I cannot tell whether I will be able to or not. If I am able, more Horus would not have helped, but more of most other trainers would help. If I am unable to raise a fallen exile, it is hard to tell how much Horus training would have been necessary. Usually it is not hard to find another healer to help in such cases. I have found that Thuja and Eva are slipping in a few Horus lessons as we go, so perhaps I will not have to concentrate too much on Horus.
I was very happy to pass my third circle healer test. At last I
could use a Caduceus to heal the wounded
from a distance. I had been wanting to be able to do this for a
long time. I worked with Proximus for a little while, then with
Rieger to get better at using this tool. After about 50 lessons I
can heal across one creature or exile without too much effort. I
was hoping these lessons would be a little more effective, but I
am certainly happy to be able to heal even from such a short
Just after taking the picture above of healer trainers, I finally passed the fourth circle test. I have a few snapshots and comments on passing that most difficult test.
The thing that strikes me most about Puddleby is that the inhabitants are so willing to help each other. Often an experienced group will allow less experienced exiles to join a hunting party, fully expecting to gain fewer coins as a result. My most exciting journeys have been with others who were more experienced taking me places I cauld not have safely visited alone. It almost goes without saying that healers are always willing to assist those in need, even to the point of risking their own health. As a healer I have fallen more than once in an attempt to rescue another. (Of course I know a fallen healer is suddenly a burden rather than a source of help, so for everyone's benefit I do try not to fall.)
Only once have I seen an exile apparently do an evil deed. Someone was protecting their spirit animal near the main square when an exile came and killed the spirit animal. It all happened so quickly. I believe I gave my first bad karma to the right exile. I have thought hard about what we could do to discipline wrongdoers or prevent such an act, but as far as I can tell we are largely powerless against such acts of violence. Ignoring and giving bad karma are not effective weapons against a determined spirit animal hunter.
I am happy to be a member of ThoomCare, a clan dedicated to providing medical services to Puddleby citizens.
Here are the macros I like to use, including cave healing. Looping macros such as napping or healing while afk do not seem to work for more than a few minutes at a time.
Some other snapshots: