Hollow Eve Festival 399
The Priestess kneels next to the cot of an old woman, chanting a simple, mournful prayer in a clear, high voice. Other cots, occupied and unoccupied, are situated at intervals throughout the hospice hall. The Priestess's pale hand gently clasps the woman's gnarled one, her free hand caressing the woman's face as gently as a lover.
The woman's eyes are open, but sightless, her mouth slightly agape. Drool glistens at the corner of the old woman's mouth, but the priestess carefully daubs it away before it can long mar the old woman's dignity.
Finally, the Priestess stops chanting, a hush descending over the area. The woman's eyes focus on the priestess for the first time, a tiny smile illuminating her weathered face. Then the old woman closes her eyes, and the stillness is absolute. The old woman's grip tightens on the Priestess's hand briefly before the old woman relaxes in death.
It was then that the Priestess had a vision, a gift from the Gods.
Armies of undead, their provenance unknown, descend upon and ravage the lands. The hospice where the Priestess plies her trade overflows with the dying, and there is little she can do to give them the peace of Eylhaar, as disease and pain and untold suffering wrack all the people of the Five Provinces. Vultures literal and figurative descend upon the lands, preying on the fear and chaos.
But the gods provide the means to avert disaster along with the terrible vision. Eylhaar's blessing will protect the people from the worst of the horror, allowing those who cannot fight to escape, and fighters a better chance to combat the menace.
The Priestess must put aside her work and bestow the blessing of Eylhaar upon as many people as she can, or all is lost. She must make them listen, and understand, before it is too late.
Updated Description: Shadow's Fall
The Priestess of Huldah kneels next to the cot of the old woman, chanting a simple, mournful prayer in a clear, high voice. The poison is effective, but it is taking its time, and the Priestess is in a hurry. The Priestess has worked in this hospice alongside the old woman, a devotee of Eylhaar, for over a year. But now the time is ripe, and the old woman would only get in the way and nullify all of her careful plans.
Still, one must keep up appearances. The Priestess clasps the old woman's hand, feeling her pulse weaken, willing the old crone to die already.
The woman's eyes are open, but sightless, her mouth slightly agape. Drool glistens at the corner of the old woman's mouth, but the priestess carefully daubs it away before its pale violet hue can betray the unnatural nature of this death.
Finally, the last threads of the old crone's life begin to unravel. The woman's grip tightens painfully, as if she could pull the Priestess of Huldah down into death with her, then relaxes for good. The Priestess stops her meaningless chant, the need for pretense now being passed. The end of the chant allows a reverent hush to descend over the hospice, as every fool in the room stares at her in wonderment. It has begun.
Now the Priestess of Huldah is free to act upon her vision, her gift to the world from her God.
Long have the people of the five provinces ignored and spurned Huldah, opting instead to revere weak, soft-hearted aspects. Worst of all, the people do not even respect Huldah, something the Priestess has long vowed to change.
When she stumbled upon the shadow cache, the Priestess knew what she must do. She would use the disease she discovered latent there to siphon off vast quantities of spirit from the complacent dupes of the five provinces. Using that same energy, she would fuel the shadow creatures, prompting more and more of the fools to seek out the protection of the disease. Once infected, their spirit would be hers to do with as she wills. And her work has always been to do Huldah's bidding.
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