Trouble has come this way before and it is coming on us again. First, trade across the continent would begin to wane, and then the crops in the fields and orchards would begin to dry up and lose fruit a few months later. The people would seem dark, nervous and irritable, and in fact only scared for the good of their family and loved ones. No one could know whether he or she would be able to provide enough food for his family from his fields and his work. No one was spared, neither the peasant nor the landowner who reaped the fruits of the peasants' labor. Everything seemed gloomy and everyone knew, even without seeing the soldier, that a war was going on somewhere. Suffering is happening in some part of the vast and incomprehensible space that we call the Kingdom of Ophelin. It is mostly a war, a confrontation between warriors and their commanders. Now the situation was completely different. Illness. Unknown, scary and relentless.
The old people say that there were diseases that took dozens of lives, but that these troubles were always solved by the Imperial Mages. Now they were gone, at least that's what they say about them. They are extinct until the last one, thirty years ago in some strange Imperial entanglement about taking over the throne. I don't know anything for sure, but that's the story.
I shifted from the story I was telling to look around a bit and take some ale. My throat was drying..hmm..it's weird, it's never happened to me before - even though I've been telling it like this for decades. I am getting old. I think that tonight I will finish my story earlier than usual, and that I will slightly increase the dose of that medicinal solution that I bought for gout. The people around me, as everywhere before, stared and waited for the sequel. I have to give it to them, although I’m not sure why it surprises them so much when this story is actually about them. If they looked at each other in a little more detail, they would realize that they are also part of that suffering or that they will be very soon. It's sad, going from place to place, from village to village, city to city and seeing those people, almost like each other, unprepared for the future. And knowing, somehow prophetically, that they too will die, not all of course, but many with the same death that took millions across the continent.
Here, I continue, there is no need for noise, my good people. I came here just to tell you everything and pass on the news, and then I move on. There are many more places I have to visit, advised as I am, then get acquainted with the details of this plague.
So, yes ... The most important thing is to ask you if anyone was a medic during military service?
Funny question, I knew that before I asked it, but protocol dictated so. And I always followed orders. None of them was able to cure anything more than a simple headache by chewing the bark of a white willow, but I needed to ask.
Nobody, huh? Well, I'll help you as much as I can ... It is unlikely that the disease will reach you for months, because you are still quite isolated from the main road, but occasionally you also have visitors or go to the city to the market. The symptoms of this disease are insidious, our medics say. First, you can feel a strong headache, the kind you get after mowing the grass all day on a summer. It can last for days without anything else bothering you, but it can also cause a rash on the body the day after the headache occurs. When a rash appears, drink a lot of yellow cherry tea, I know you have it in abundance. I saw your orchards. You should strictly avoid contact with cattle, because surprisingly cattle die as soon as this disease strikes them.
That is it people, and now I would go to bed. Tomorrow morning you can still ask me something if you want but I have to rest now. I have a long way to go tomorrow. Remember that you are an important community, take care of each other.
My legs ached as I climbed into the room. A murmur followed me as concern spread like wildfire through the assembled crowd.
Suddenly, as if strength had sprung from my body, I didn't even have the strength to take off my suit. My hand itched. And then, I knew I wouldn't see another dawn. And the despair of knowing that I had brought death to these people brought me even more suffering.