I can barely remember life before The Great Plague broke out in Brusthonin. I think I must have been happy. I remember flowers growing around our house and lying in the damp grass on an early morning. I liked playing with the neighbors children, took care or the kitters on the farm and helped my parents tend the farm as best as I could. We had cattle and sheep, grew vegetables and fruits and farmed our land with great pride. We had not much to live, but it was enough, and we were content with what we could harvest for ourselves and the gentle people of Baltasar Village.
My father was a really kind and gentle man. He always gave what we could provide to people who had come to us, starving and sick. He didn’t stop inviting them into our home, even when the plague had already started spreading on the nearby Havenjark Farm. I guess that might be the reason he is dead now. Or, the reason he died the first time, at least. The second time I had to kill him, when he started scaring me and my mother. She was already sick, as my father had been before he changed. He started biting the Porgus we had living in our home and ate it alive; I still remember it screeching from pain. I had to ram a pitchfork through his head. I was 14.
After that my mother stopped speaking, no matter how much I begged her to forgive me. She grew sicker with each passing day, and I although I felt scared and helpless, I had to protect her. Some animals around our fields got sick, and grew more and more aggressive and strange. Some had grown horns all over their backs that I had never seen on an animal before, and ran around rampaging on the field and damaged our house. They sometimes tried to claw their way through the doors at night. I barricaded us. I was scared, and my mother didn’t even seem to recognize me anymore.
When my mother changed, I couldn’t bear to kill her. All I did was keeping the door to her bedroom shut and barred and tried not to make her want to eat me, by quietly crying my days away in a corner of our kitchen. I felt helpless, weak from crying and wondered why I hadn’t suffered the same fate as my parents. Why did I have to be the only one staying alive? I wished I had died same as them. So I might flee from this horrible place.
When I had already lost all hope, Hort, a mercenary priest, came to the farm with some of the Reaper Squad, slashing down the mutated animals and commanding them to open up all barricaded houses to look for survivors. They found me without food or water. I had waited for death to wrap his cold bony fingers around me, but Hort wouldn’t let me. She healed my self-inflicted wounds, where I had tried to cut my veins open with a dull kitchen knife, and carried me to the refugee camp in Baltasar Hill Village.
I was healed, and nurtured back to something you could call life. After I recovered I started helping where I could. After a few months, most of the survivors had been gathered up in Baltasar and a stable supply route with clean water and uninfected food had been established. When the worst time was over, I spent more time with Hort, my savior. She saw me help the refugees and took an interest in my well-being. She offered to take me in, and as I accepted, I felt as if Aion had shown mercy and granted me a second chance. I was eternally grateful Hort had saved me, even though I also hated her for refusing to let me die when I wanted to. She showed me how to heal smaller wounds of the refugees, and I eagerly soaked in all information of how I could make a difference between life and death. Suddenly being alive had a purpose yet again. I might protect others from suffering the same fate my parents did. I might protect other children from suffering the loss of their parents, like I did. Driven by that hope, I read every book there was to find about herbs, and healing. I read of warfare and strategy, of heroes and guardians.
When no word came from a Reaper Squad that had been sent out to the Virgrid Plains a fortnight ago, I begged Hort to let me help more, that I was ready, and that she should let me head out to look for the Reaper Squad and more survivors on the Vigrid Plains. She had to agree eventually, because I had learned everything she could teach me, and surpassed her healing skills by far. I was foolish and arrogant, and thought I could heal any wound. Hort had one condition though. I could only go, when I took her with me. I was ready to show her what I was made of. She organized a group of Reaper Squaddies and we went to scout the area around the Vigrid Plains. When we got close, we could already see the smoke rising from burned out fires, where the remaining Reapers had burned their fallen Comrades. The rest of them lay scattered in the fields, their arms being torn off by magic, their heads carved in by sharp polearms.
Suddenly reminded of old fears, I started shaking and looked at my saviors’ grim face in terror. They had already drawn their weapons, but my shivering hands could not grasp the mace that I was provided with tightly enough, and it almost slipped from my hand. That was the moment the two Elyos ambushed us, and mayhem broke lose. The Elyos charged at Hort first, seeing as she was the priest of highest rank and thick armor. The Reapers bravely parried their delicate looking swords of bright white steel and were able to avert most of the attacks, until a third Elyos, an assassin, appeared from behind, wrapped her arms around Hort, a dagger in hand, and slashed open the arteries of her neck. The assassin smiled - I remember her white teeth shining through the squirts of red life pouring out of Horts neck - right before vanishing into thin air.
All this happened while I was just standing there, paralyzed, crippled, and I fell to the ground together with my savior, my idol, my new mother. I had failed her, like I had failed my parents. I don’t remember what happened around us. The Reapers must have fought the Elyos off, barely, because they didn’t try to kill me, as I lay next to Hort, keeping my hand on her open neck, dully trying to keep the life from pouring out of her. The remaining Reapers around me died slowly from the wounds they had suffered. I was a child again, even though I hadn’t been for a decade.
Suddenly, a great force stirred in me, soaked me with soothing shadows and gave me the strength to see clearly again. The weakness I had felt, that had paralyzed me, was gone. My tears vanished, and my fear was swept away. A calm blue light radiated from me, poured out of my skin, and into the neck I held protectively in my hands. It felt like a warm breaking dawn when my light shone brighter and soon engulfed us whole, all Reapers that had still been alive suddenly gasping for air again. I could not believe my eyes as the light had vanished and I was given yet another chance, when Hort coughed and breathed once again, healed and whole. I fell down crying and wrapped my arms around her, begging her to forgive my folly, and promising myself I would never underestimate death ever again. I had yet to realize that wings had emerged from my back, and shook with my cries of joy and relief.
Shortly after that, when I had healed all injured refugees and had done all I could for the people of Brusthonin, Hort sent me to Pandemonium, to introduce myself to The Marchutans Priory. From then on I was humble, and kind, and tried my best to help anyone throughout Asmodae that needed help. After a few years of my service to the Marchutan Priory, I was sought out by the Convent of Marchutan to join the sworn healers of The Circle. As I had shown a great dedication to the wellbeing of all people of Asmodae, I was to travel the great cities and offer my help wherever it was needed, and whoever needed it. I was provided with an artfully crafted mace and shield with gracefully forged laurels, that radiated with curative Aether, and sent to Beluslan to support troops that held the trolls at bay, later to Morheim to heal soldiers that came from war with the Elyos, then Gelkmaros to lead the support of the defending troops that saved us from the landing Dredgion warship…
160 years had passed since The Plague broke out in Brusthonin. When I got word of Horts growing exhaustion, I had come home from the battlefield. My mother, my savior, was dying. I held her in my arms as she lay on her death bed. Before she passed away, she whispered she had never had a doubt that she would live, that day with me on the Vigrid Plains. She died smiling, and even after centuries, I still felt like I was a child again, the child that had lost her mother.