• Memory • The Fever

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Max
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Posts: 670
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:53 am
Race: Mixed Race
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The Fever

Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:22 am

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45 Zi'da 710

The cold, whipping winds of the season had roared into Etzos. A wintry blast wasn't the only thing it had brought with it. Children were dropping like flies in the orphanage shortly after Zi'da's arrival. The fever came virtually overnight. Sweat-beaded foreheads burned with the first signs of the illness that swept through the city. Small, skinny bodies shook with an absent chill in their soaked beds. Fatigue put them out, some of them for trials, when delirium didn't plague their wakeful breaks.

It was a horror to watch and a true misery for those unlucky enough to experience it. Within weeks three orphans who had fallen ill perished within trials of contracting the disease. Fear of being next haunted the minds of child and caretaker alike, and yet they each were helpless in the shadow of fate.

The disease altered the ways in which trials in the orphanage passed. Food was served in smaller groups. Mingling during free breaks was discouraged in favor of more forced chores that kept children apart from one another. Caretakers were reluctant to touch and stick around, but that didn't make the punishments less frequent. If anything patience had only further thinned and pain came with more swiftness.

Curfews were enforced with an iron hand and the ill were completely segregated from the rest of the building. None but healers were allowed in or out of the sick room per the caretakers' decree. On these new rules there was no room for negotiation. Confusion filled the small ranks of children when one was plucked from a play room, but when the very first sheet-covered body was ferried out the door, most were happy to oblige. Somehow most bits were still riddled with the naive bliss of childhood. But the death continued to darkened the doorway.

"Max?"

Maxine shifted beneath the scratchy covered of her small bed with a groggy sigh. Reality slowly began to seep into her dreams as she was roused back toward the waking world. The first rays of sunlight were brightening the room, casting a golden glow upon the walls. She rubbed at her eyes, blinking sleep away. The first thing her gaze settled on was the bed adjacent to her own. Her brow furrowed as she spied the wide-eyed stare of her best friend.

"I'm scared," the little girl whispered. Fear completely dominated Mina's expression. Max turned over, checking quickly behind her own back to make sure it wasn't something in the dark there that merited fright. When she found nothing she rolled back. It took her a couple trills. Then the color drained from Max's face.

The straw-colored locks of Mina's hair were plastered to the edges of her pale face. She had the covers drawn tight to her frame. Max slowly peeled herself up to sit, brow knit as she gazed upon her friend. Her jaw fell slack but her tongue was tied, mind searching for the words to say when a caretaker happened through a door. Both orphans looked to the caretaker just as the plump woman spied the afflicted Mina with a gasp.

"There's another!" the plump woman cried, tactfulness lost in the face of panic. "Another ill! She's got it! Over here!" A child in a bed elsewhere screamed as the flurry of masked caretakers rushed in. Mina was swarmed before Max had so much of a chance as to swing her legs over the side of her bed.

"No!" Mina yowled, panicked. "No, please!" They lifted her up, dragging her even as she kicked. "Maxine!" Her frightened stare found Max, who sat there dumbfounded through the whole event. The sick room's door burst open and slammed shut a moment later, muffling Mina's weak protests. Max stared at the closed door.
"She'll be dead by nightfall," an unkind voice cackled, satisfied. Mary-Ann smirked from behind her own sheets.
"Shut. Up," Max growled, unwilling to give the bully so much as the reward of a glance.
"Nightfall. Mark my words. Hey? Want to bet on it?"
"Speak again and you'll be the next body they carry out of here."

The promise rendered Mary-Ann back to silence. Maxine rolled over in her bed and tugged the scratchy blanket up under her chin. She shut her eyes against the sunrise. Somehow, despite the disturbance, she was determined to will herself back to sleep.


"This Is Speech Text"
word count: 764
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