Yesterday’s post was basically a bit of world-building. I’ve been wanting to talk about the healers a bit more, and a pair of majestic pillars seemed like a good time to do it. I’ve known for a while that all the healing branches take names which start with particular vowel sounds. There’s no great secret as to why each vowel was assigned to a particular branch, they were simply assigned based on how “common” each branch was. Ama, being from the restorative branch of healer, is actually the most common type of healer found in the valleys. The number of healers in every subsequent branch becomes less as you progress through the vowels. This does not mean Ama is any less prestigious than other healers, the guild is not hierarchical and they are interdependent both for teaching and creating the tools each branch uses.
I love the idea that the people we’d call “engineers” are considered healers in the world of The Valleys. For a people who have forgotten their own history, losing the thought of losing connection with one another is truly alarming. Um-healers, then are very much doctors of the community. They strive to maintain the health of any human construct, this includes political structures. We’ll probably meet our first Um healers at The Ravine. We might even get to see some of their Devices, we’ll have to see.
I’ve not worked out what touches each of the other branches of healing possess. Each will center around their particular calling as healers, and there may be some variation even between healers in the same branch.
Despite Ama’s notion that a healer’s old identity doesn’t matter once they accept their calling, healers are not monastics. They may belong to the valleys, but they are allowed property and some are even married. Ama, however, is very serious about her calling and has given up much in order to follow it. Her old name is truly in the past. The seriousness with which she embraces her calling made her decision to accompany Jeremy very difficult. It wasn’t an easy thing to leave Ami in Water Gap. And, yes, Walter did know Ama before she accepted her new name.
Who made the Pillars of the Valleys? Was it the Healers or the Pathfinders? Despite her diplomatic answer 1, Ama is certain the Healers were behind their creation. Walter is equally as convinced the Pathfinders were behind their construction. Both are wrong, but that’s all we’ll say about that for now.
Next week we’ll head into the tunnel, where some interesting things are going to happen.
- The Um healers did try to recruit Ama, in case you were wondering. ↩