The bells chime off in the distance. A home now left behind. Filled once not so long ago with smiles, laughter and joy.
Beset on all sides with grief and strife all at once it came. As though the fates conspired with death and decay to live little left but memories and embers.
It came at first with fever, a cold sweat that left such little strength within the body and soul, where sleep became as paramount and simple meals were not desired.
So it began in every case, and so it would end in death. A death among uncontrolled shivers as though the warmth was drained from life, where even a fire would not make warm what the sickness would make cold.
We set about making higher the walls which surrounded our village, and even more about the hall in which the sick were made to stay. But so it seemed the illness spread until strife surrounded us.
Raiders, thieves, marauders, the worst of all kinds of men. They came to us as our folk lay dying to steal all that we had. The walls would keep them out, but walls exist to protect precious things.
And so the raiders demanded we open our gates to them, to give them all which we had else all would perish by spear and sword.
The brave and noble among the sick demanded the healthy leave come dark, to escape through the woods to live another day whilst all others would meet their end.
And so before we left, we lay straw and wood inside the walls, we poured oil everywhere with paths both to and fro. And come the dark we left the damned and the place which we called home.
The sick would die with smiles as they would open up the gates, and deep inside the woods we would hear that ringing of the bell. For the raiders were welcomed inside, the gates then locked and barricaded behind them, enough for the sick to do themselves and fire to finish the task.
Our village lay in flames, with raiders ringed by savage fire, and welcomed to shelter within the great hall which too would be set alight, but not before those raiders were embraced by those afflicted by this plague.
For one way or another, they would die for daring to take that which is ours.
And deep in the wood the dawn would come as the bell no longer chimed. The prettiest of purple flowers greeting us between the greening spring time trees.
A prompt response.