“So you want to know why you told to stay away from me do you? I will tell you my tale, but it is not a happy one. I tell you that now, in the hope that you will say ‘Oh, please don’t then.’, for it does not get easier for me in the telling. But all want to the hear the tale of how Ziekte Diervriend became feared and despised throughout the realms as the Plaguebearer.
Many moons ago I was happy and content. I lived in the realm of Paradise of Grass, which was as lovely as it sounds. I tended to the animals there, helping them when they were injured or sick (Vision Card 34). I had a beautiful wife, Espoir (Vision Card 29), who was with child and she made my world a happy one.
Life for me and for all in Paradise of Grass came to an end suddenly, and with no warning. All around the village people and animals fell sick. The local healer was one of the first to die, so it was up to me to try and help as best I could. Espoir pleaded with me not to make contact with the sick, for her sake and the sake of our baby, but I did not listen, and tried to save who I could. It was futile… the disease ravaged all, and there seemed to be no way to stop it. The horror came when I returned home one day to find Espoir feverish. From then on I didn’t leave her bed, and watched as she bled from pustules all over her body. My only solace is that our baby died early on, and was spared much of the pain.
As the days wore on and more and more people died or became infected the cause of the illness became clear. A cockatrice (Vision Card 87) was found in the mountains, and it had been bathing and drinking from the river that provided water for our realm. None had the energy to go after it, and I like everyone else became sick (Vision Card 71).
I don’t know how long I lay in bed, waiting for the end, but it certainly didn’t come as quickly as expected. Indeed I must have lain for days before she arrived, Behandeling (Vision Card 52). She was a shaman from a nearby realm, and had travelled to see if she could lend assistance. Alas the travel had taken many days, and when she arrived it appeared I was the only one still alive. 5000 dead because that creature took a bath! And soon to be 5001. I wish I had died then, that Behandeling had arrived a day or two later, for so much pain would have been avoided, but instead she came, and decided that the way to cure me was to have me drink the blood of that accursed beast. It took her a day to track and kill it, another few hours to distil it’s blood to a drinkable potion. By this stage I had gained these wounds you see today, my blood ran thin and freely and my strength was all but gone. She poured the potion down my throat and it was like fire, she poured it on my sores and it was like burning in hell. What happened next I do not know, for I fell unconscious.
I awoke what seemed like weeks later, but doubtless was a few hours. I felt better, fine in fact, though I was still in pain from my wounds. Behandeling was asleep on me, so I gently moved her away and got out of bed. The start contrast to my memories of Paradise and it’s new reality was mind blowing. Even the grass and plants had succumbed to the poison, the entire realm was unrecognisable, and I was the only thing moving in it. Feeling alone I went back to wake Behandeling, but as I touched her I knew something was wrong, she too had welts and she had no breath in her.
In a desperate state I ran to the nearest Spheregate, unable to take what had happened. I had never tried to walk the Spheres, and did not know if I could, but it was preferable to living in this sticking diseased realm. I felt lucky when I passed through, I was finally away and cured. I do not recall what the realm I entered then was, nor the one after that but I was in the realm of Justice when I discovered my fate.
Two men found me in a bar shortly after I arrived. One from each of the two realms I had just travelled to. It was they that named me Plaguebearer, for in my passing people had become ill. None had died yet, nor was the disease spreading, but all the victims had the same symptoms and me in common. I escaped through others fear of me, but I was careful from then on. Somehow the blood potion had cured me, but I carried a lesser version of the plague myself. Experimentation on plants and animals showed me that I only passed it on through touch or sweat. I tried to remain solitary from then on, but the guards found me and now I’m here with you. I don’t know why they want me on this quest either, but I would ask for your sake that you keep your distance.”
Motive: Adversity Ziekte’s home and family are gone, and he will never find another or
Virtue: Nature – Life Energy Ziekte’s body is strong and virile
Fault: The Fish reversed – Shallowness Ziekte knows he should kill himself to spare others, but will not.
Fate: Fertility – Growth vs Decline Will Ziekte overcome the contagion or eventually succumb again himself.
Fire: 5 (Harvesting)
Earth: 5 (Resisting Illness)
Water: 4 (Diagnosing Illness)
Air: 3 (Herb Lore)
Animal Friend (0 Points)
Ziekte was known as a friend to animals, and they look upon him favourably. However they can in general smell the corruption upon him.
Immune to Disease (1 Point, Major)
The cockatrice’s blood and venom running through Ziekte make him immune to other types of sickness and poison.
Heal Animal (1 Point, Major)
Ziekte can use his skills to help heal injured animals, reducing their recovery time, stitching cuts, providing splints etc.
Plague (1 Point Frequent, Major – one point since it can’t be turned off)
Whenever Ziekte touches something alive, or his sweat lands on it, that thing will weaken quickly with a plague. This is never fatal unless the recipient is already very weak, but it takes time for the victim to recover, about a day at least. In combat assume that the touch reduces the victim’s Earth score by 1 for the initial affects of infection. After combat they will continue to weaken as already described.
Ziekte carries some food, a few beads, a drawing of his wife and a lock of her hair, and Behandeling’s staff with feathers on.