Tim: Okay, here’s what Tammy told me when I asked her about it this morning (she’s still recouperating from her tour and trying to finish TRICKSTER’S CHOICE, so she’s only popping on for a bit each day). She said that, since the Royal Healer is a royal appointment and not a heriditary position, it’s unlikely Neal will be Royal Healer. He’d learned some healing back before going for his shield and while being Alanna’s squire, true – but it’s not his primary interest anymore. And let’s face it, the last thing Jonathan or Thayet want is an indifferent Royal Healer…. <g>
What Neal WILL become, since he’s the oldest surviving son, is Duke of Queenscove b/c that’s heriditary.
Tammy: That’s why he went for his knighthood in the first place–both of them, both knights, were killed in the Immortals War while Neal was studying full-time to be a healer mage at the university. He quit and went for his knighthood because there has always been a Queenscove knight in royal combat service (in other words, because Neal had one of his wonderful, goofy, quixotic flashes and decided to sacrifice himself for his family name–and aren’t we glad he did?!)
Royal Healer is like Surgeon General. You can’t just practice everyday, splinter-and-wound medicine, or specialize in battlefield surgery, or work mostly in medicines. You have to know by reading and by working about plagues, common diseases, health hazards, disinfection, surgery, inherited diseases, trauma, mental health, and magic. You’d have to be a full-time healer and administrator. It’s not unusual for the chief healer to delegate one of his staff to see to the health of the royal family–Duke Baird just likes doing fieldwork himself if he thinks he’s up to it.
He was one of the youngest chief healers ever, by the way, getting the post at 28 or so. He is to medical magic what Numair is to power magic.