Vertherack was born and raised in Ista Hold territory, to Healer parents who were fascinated, respectively, with illness and injury. Accordingly, he spent perhaps too much of his childhood playing on the beaches, rather than having one or the other of them actually watching over him and ensuring he stayed out of trouble — which he did, anyway, for the most part. Early education, on the other hand, was mostly skipped, right up until his parents realized, when he was nine, that he could barely read. As they were both highly educated, they were also now scandalized, and made convincing him of the value of his education a high enough priority that no one was exactly surprised when he decided, a few turns later, that he, too, was going to be a Healer, just like his parents.

Once they'd actually gotten him ensconced in the Hall, though, those plans diverged from the track they'd traced out, a generation before — studying illnesses was okay, and studying injuries was okay, but what Vertherack actually found fascinating was the way bodies were supposed to work — not the ways they'd been documented breaking down. And while organs were highly specialized and pretty cool, bones and muscles and joints and ligaments and the way they all fit together just so, except they also had variations and there were some muscles that weren't even there in every body and yet nobody ever really noticed, and if you had someone who performed this task all the time who didn't do that one their body would distort like so … and before he knew it, Vertherack had graduated Healer Hall with his journeyman rank as a physiatrist, with plans to help dragonriders, especially, but really anyone who'd undergone some sort of life-altering traumatic injury figure out how to be the healthiest they could be.

Somewhat to his surprised dismay, he didn't end up back at Ista. Rather more to his dismay, the Weyr most interested in taking him on — as a barely-graduated junior journeyman who was excitedly talking about something nobody there had ever heard of (or at least paid attention to) — was High Reaches, where his first patient ended up being himself as he had to figure out how not to constantly feel like he was freezing to death. Vertherack did, however, start settling in, making friends with riders and writing up notes about how certain injuries had occurred, and how dragons and their riders were mutually compensating in their movements, and generally he was perfectly happy if cold — and then a blue dragon spent an afternoon stalking him while he was going around the Weyrbowl talking to riders, and by that evening he was asked if he'd go join the Candidates for the handful of eggs currently on the hatching sands.

His laughing 'why not?' was not, actually, supposed to result in one of those eggs picking him. It certainly wasn't supposed to result in the smallest of the lot picking the biggest candidate available — but tiny, dainty Briadolyth was insistent from the moment her shell cracked, and immediately became the worst headache V'hera could ever adore. (Not helped by the frequency of her eventual flights, or the fact he did actually find women more sexually appealing, at least most of the time — the switch there did at least tend to give him a couple of days' warning before she'd rise.) By the time she was a few years old, though, he'd had more than enough of the cold — and they transferred to Ierne, where they could both soak up the sun, and where he could be his own patient again after the occasional surfing injury, rather than just because it was cold. (He'd had enough patients, and written up enough case studies to send back to the Hall, that he did actually get made a senior journeyman shortly after he turned 36 — which he celebrated mainly by framing his junior-journeyman knot and leaving it on the wall in his tiny cubbyhole of an office at the Weyr's infirmary.)


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