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Fighting the sickness PDF Print
Sunday, 30 November 2014
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Fighting the sickness
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The abbess stared at him for quite some time, apparently lost for words. Then she pulled the rug from under his feet. ‘Ignoring that I have met many lords in my life and I can truthfully say you have already proven yourself worthy, what on earth makes you think that there is some villain behind the Blazing Pox?'


Galadum opened and shut his mouth a few times, unsure of how to respond. ‘There has to be a villain. I mean, I guess it could be a daemon or other malignant spirit rather than a witch, a mutant sorceror or other mortal, but there has to be someone or something behind it all. Isn't it a principal tenet of the clergy that plagues are sent to us because of divine displeasure or daemonic design?'

She looked at him almost pityingly. ‘Lad, there's a huge gulf in between what we say and what we believe. To say nothing of what is actually true, of what is based on reality. I have spent almost thirty years treating countless victims of diseases you've never even heard of, and I can assure you that many did not deserve their fate, whatever which way you want to look at it.'

‘But there are villains in the world, champions of the Dark Powers who cultivate pestilence and contagion as if they were flowers!', he vehemently argued. ‘There are many stories about them in the pages of history books and the mouths of minstrels. Lady's sake, just two years ago the duke himself hunted down that cabal of necromancers that was behind the spread of the Blight of Mistrust! Are you telling me that in all your life, you have never encountered one of these vile enemies of mankind or their concoctions?'

‘Oh I have, lad', she said, her expression darkening at if she briefly recalled a nightmare. ‘But even those bastards do not cause suffering solely to cause suffering. They do so to kill great lords and ladies, to steal or destroy wealth and precious artifacts, or to turn others to their cause. Givry is nowhere near important enough for any of that to happen here.'


Galadum gave out an incredulous guffaw. ‘You hear that Odo? Our village is not important enough to be attacked. I'm sure the people will be happy to hear that they aren't really ill!'

‘Attacked by who, Galadum?, she asked sharply. ‘No beastmen, greenskins, mutants or anything else but other humans have been seen. Neither has there been any rumours of sorcery, or possession, or cultist gatherings. Who or what where you going to hunt down, exactly?'

‘I...I don't know yet', he admitted. ‘But I have made a solemn vow that I will find whoever is responsible for this plague.'

The abbess pressed onward without mercy. ‘Damn all good that will do you if you don't know where you're going or who you want dead.'

‘Odo has a lead', the young lord insisted. ‘A sheepherder's wife said that her brother was behaving strangely in the forest. Isn't that right, Odo?'

Galadum looked at his trusted servant expectantly, who looked unhappy at being dragged into the discussion. ‘She said that she thought her brother was acting strangely, m'lord. ‘Cause of a girl he loved, she said. I don't think there's anything behind it.'

‘Oh, don't give me any of that! It's the best lead we've got!'

‘By the sounds of it is the only lead you've got', the mother superior riposted.


Galadum knew he was losing his temper, but he couldn't stop himself. How could they be so blind to the suffering of his subjects, those who trusted him to protect them from danger? It was inconceivable to do nothing, to let this travesty to go unpunished. He held his tongue with what he considered a heroic force of will, and walked back to the tower that was now his and his alone. He angrily waved away Odo as he tried to follow his liege. Perhaps they would come to see the light if he left them to their own devices for a while.


The two peasants could only look on as the young count walked away from them, and from accepting the possibility that his friends and family died from a simple illness. 

 The abbess sighed with despair. ‘Another victim.'

‘Where?' Odo asked with worry. ‘Not m'lord I hope?'

‘Yes, but not of the Blazing Pox. He is gripped by the glamour of chivalry, that malady of the mind which makes his life an epic, where everyone is either a shining hero or a hideous monster, a chaste damsel or a vile schemer. Bravery and justice are rewarded, while villainy and cowardice are punished. The Blazing Pox must be some evil scheme directed at him and his family. Otherwise what would that say about him, if his entire life could end up in shambles without the world noticing or caring?'

The former farmhand pondered that for a while, before finally replying. ‘You have thought about that a'lot, haven't you mother Agnes?'

She professed the truth with a slight smile. ‘Galadum is not the first victim of chivalry I've seen, and I doubt he will be the last. And most likely it will get the young fool killed for his trouble.'


Odo couldn't think of what he could say to that, so as was his wont he said nothing. After a while he left the abbess to her own devices, and went to search for his lord. As for Agnes, she stayed there for quite some time, creatively cursing the goddess Shallya that she only taught her followers how to heal the body, not the mind.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 January 2015 )
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