Continuing to lead my carefully disguised team down the main road towards the nearest town and then the capital of Hool, we encountered two young children by the wayside looking distressed. Hailing them in my friendliest terms, for children are especially protected by Helim, wherever they maybe, I discovered that they were looking for someone to help their village, where almost everyone was struck down by a terrible illness. Obviously this was a task set before me by Helim himself, to prove his light in this land of darkness, but means of signs and miracles.
We followed the children and soon reached their village – a cluster of dilapidated huts around a small well. They led us to their home, where both their parents were bed-bound and severely ill. The druidess confirmed with her leeching skill that they were suffering from some kind of enteric illness, possibly caused by fouled water. I laid hands upon the two of them and invoked the glory of Helim, and his radiant light purged them of their impurity. Soon they were both able to walk and I urged them to visit the rest of the village and determine how many were ill and find me the most severely affected or closest to death so that I could treat them first.
Meanwhile, I sent the scout, or rather the miscreant who was posing as our scout, down the well, as that seemed to be the obvious source of the illness. A call, followed by some retching, indicated that a partially decomposed goat was fouling the water. We threw down some burlap, which he wrapped the corpse in and I then had it winched out of the well, followed by a similarly befouled scout. I then descended myself and purified the water in the well, removing the contamination from both the goat and the scout’s stomach.
Returning to the surface, I was guided to those most desperately ill, and was able to return three more of them to health with Helim’s divine light. At this point a youth from the village appeared with an aged and obviously insane hermit. He was obviously known to those here and inspected them before brewing some tincture from herbs, which he fed those still ill. I explained that we had identified and removed the source of the contagion.
The hermit gave us a shrewd look and engaged me with questions. I demurred initially, but he obviously knew the truth and I am not one to hide the light of Helim behind the clouds of untruth, so revealed the in Helim’s name I had indeed performed healing miracles here in the village. He cautioned me that we should not reveal our affiliations so readily here in the land of Hool; but I said that my vows did not permit me to ride past when the poor and innocent were suffering. He thanked me for what I had done here, and we talked further of the nature of the land we were now in.
He joined us for an evening repast and we lay down to sleep by our fire, but in the morning he had disappeared without trace. Possibly he was a servant of the Master in disguise, but the infusion he had given the villagers seemed to have worked, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
We bade farewell to the grateful villagers, and paid them for some fresh food for our rations, before returning to the main road. After many hours, as the afternoon was drawing towards evening, we reached a wood that the road ran through. Entering the wood, we saw that there was a large group within it. Assuming the worst, our scout slipped from his camel and attempted to hide in the undergrowth, but was easily spotted, and returned, shamed, to his mount. I engaged them in conversation, for they did not seem threatening. They claimed to be a band of outlaws who had been trailing us since we crossed the great pass and entered the land. Now that we were safe from prying eyes in this wood, they wanted to talk to me, for otherwise the eyes of the Master were everywhere. They told me that there was an inn further down the road where we could rest in safety, and they could tell me more of their stand against the Master.