Sacred 2:Book 1 - General
Most residents of Ancaria aren't able to distinguish more than four different kinds of herbs. They know that hermit leaves stink and are a good spice for their food, that Celandine can cause the milk of their goats to taste bitter, that shadow moss is good for sprains and that Mandragorum Officinarum (even though most can't pronounce the name) can perform miracles in relation to love. They tend to divide the herbs in three different categories: flavor enhancers for food, medicinal herbs and poisons. Knowledgeable herbalists also know that the herb that can heal is also able to kill, and that deadly herbs are sometimes useful for love - and not just to gel rid of an unwanted rival.
Herbalists can be found far away from the streets and villages, in places where no horseshoes trample the green and where the shadowy forest doesn't have to give way to fields. Their knowledge is passed on from generation to generation but only to those who have proven themselves worthy. Healers, poisoners and cooks seek out these herbalists when they start their training, and the best stay for many years. The herbalists generally don't care why their knowledge is sought, much as a blade isn't interested in whether it's chopping bread or heads. Some of them choose to enter certain guilds, and they offer their services as healers. They have a high position in most villages and towns, because many of the residents owe their lives and well-being to the herbalist's skill. They rarely work for free. Contrary to popular opinion most herbalists aren't spiritualistic forest goblins who live in mossy huts, they are clever business people who know quite well that some herbs are worth a hundred times their weight in gold.
If you're interested in this profession you'll need a lot of patience and good eyes. It's a time consuming business to gather herbs, and the difference between a simple weed and a medicinal herb can be tiny. Beginners in this field shouldn't worry if their first tries bring about nothing more than a tasty soup or - in the worst case - a potentially fatal concoction (they should plan their testing accordingly though). In the beginning it's advisable to concentrate on the sick who are at death's door already, because in these cases nobody will blame the healer when the attempt to heal them fails. Once you pass the first obstacles, there are many doors that will open for you. everybody needs herbs, from the hunter whose feet hurt in the evening to the prince who wants to get rid of a nasty wart. Over the centuries immoral herbalists with a love of experimentation have been able to increase their knowledge to such a degree that today there's a remedy for almost every illness and condition. Its possible to heal shaking plague, speckle fever, yellow blazes, sleeplessness, dream fever and tinnitus as well as unanswered love and bad breath. Of course even the best herbalist can't know all herbs, because some only grow in deserts, others on mountains or in swamps, and one of them - fire lance, the most valuable in all of Ancaria - only grows inside of volcanoes. So a sick person can count themselves lucky when they find an herbalist who knows what's needed to heal them as well as where to find it. You should turn away from herbalists who ponder for a while and then say: "I haven't tried this myself, but..." or "Let's see what happens, when..."
Let me add a word of warning: The life of an herbalist is quite dangerous, as the story of King Halmud the fool proves. A prophet told him that he would die from poison so he immediately ordered that all poisoners and herbalists would be hunted down and killed. Shortly after the last herbalist passed away he died from blood poisoning, because he cut his thumb while peeling an apple.
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