By EM Malachi

The path to the lazar house was long and overgrown, and the day was hot. Despite her pale skin, the traveller wore no coverings. It had been decades since the healer had felt the Sun, and she enjoyed the warmth. The ramshackled house was marked with symbols to warn of the pestilence inside. They had laughed at her dire words in the city, but if she could help these unfortunate souls, maybe they would start to believe her.

The old woman knocked at the door, and when there was no answer, she pushed it open. When the crumbling manor had been repurposed as a sanitorium, no repairs had been made. Dirt and debris filled the halls, and there was a constant buzzing from one room in the back.

She searched the rooms, looking for those who were still alive. Despite the heat, each was huddled in a tattered blanket, to cover the disease that ravaged their bodies. The healer approached the closest figure and pulled back the blanket.

The young woman pulled herself into a shadow, her pretty face scarred by pox. Her voice was only a rasping whisper, “Get back. You don’t want to catch the sickness.”

The pale stranger held up a silver talisman, a small shimmer of mana glowing across the surface. “I am here to heal you.”

The wretched woman gave a dismissive wave of a skeletal hand. “Magic won’t help us. The greatest mages in Britain turned us away in fear.”

“Their spell circles are children’s toys. I practice a magic far older and purer.” The healer moved the spell focus across the woman’s face, melting away sores and healing the skin. The ash pale face came alive with a rosy bloom.

The healer continued around the room, curing the rest of the outcasts. When she was finished, one who had been near death asked the question on everyone’s mind, “What happens now?”

The stranger removed a small glowing obelisk from her robe. “I have healed you, but there is a price. I need you to help me save this world.”