Today we’re back in Maldon to interview Annetta Benedict. Annetta is a relatively new resident of the town. In fact, she only arrived here with the last convoy visit a few weeks ago. Annetta’s a herbalist. As you can imagine, herbalists are highly respected in the countryside, given the risk of accidents and lack of more advanced medical care.
IC: Annetta, thanks for speaking with us today.
AB: You’re welcome. What can I do for you?
IC: I understand you’ve only arrived in Maldon recently.
AB: That’s right. I moved here from Keighley just a few weeks ago. That’s a small village west of here.
IC: Even smaller than Maldon?
AB: Oh yes, just a few dozen residents. Maldon’s pretty big.
IC: Right. I can see how you might find a couple of thousand people numerous. Have you settled in well?
AB: I have, thankfully. Giselle—the town logistician—allocated me the previous herbalist’s workshop, which had fallen vacant. A real stroke of luck. And everyone’s very friendly. Well, nearly everyone.
IC: That’s good to hear. Just the other day, Mayor Sutcliff was telling me how he’s promoting growth of the town and encouraging new residents.
AB (pursing lips): Was he, now?
IC: What does your work as a herbalist entail here?
AB: I identify and cultivate plants that may have medicinal applications. I’m trained at making infusions, salves and pills. When needed, I can set bones and deliver babies although I’d, um, prefer not to.
IC: That sounds pretty skilled. When did you start?
AB: Well, the first baby I delivered was Samuel. He’s from Keighley too—Oh, you mean the herbalism? I dabbled a bit as a teenager, then the old village herbalist took me on as an apprentice. By the time she went to Settlers’ Rest I had been working with her for maybe six years. I’ve been working independently for ten years since that.
IC: Six years sounds like a long time to train.
AB (nose wrinkling): Well, not that long, really. Because Keighley was so small, there weren’t that many illnesses to deal with. I’m sure if I’d trained here in Maldon I’d have gained experience much more quickly.
IC: Ah. So maybe if you’d come to Maldon sooner you’d have benefited?
IC: I suppose it’s good to move around. Maybe you came here in search of romance.
AB (fanning her red face): Why, no! Um, would you like to hear about my research? I’ve been systematically assessing herbal compounds, trying to find the best proportions of…
I admit, I somewhat lost track of what Annetta was talking about. But she did show me some of the notes she’d made, on which herbs are useful or worth further research. I copied one of the pages here.