Stories

The Wrath of Nature

The plague doctor

“Even though their capacities and tools that differ them from other species on earth and makes them the rulers of this planet; humans have always been unable to get a wholesome explanation of what is happening around them” this was the answer that the philosopher Athimir always gives to his curious students whenever they ask their open question of how can we survive in a world which is subjected to the greater powers of nature without even understanding its purposes or how it works?

Zenho was one of Athimir’s brightest students, he has always been able to observe deeply and get to some valuable conclusions which drove him to get to greater questions. Zenho was the elder son of the holy priest in their beloved village of the seas; the bright student has always been different from his brother who has endorsed the teachings of his father. The village was situated in a strategic area as it was near the coastal surface of the ocean and surrounded by huge mountains. The village was known as a universal station of trading and treasure hunting ships. The sailors with their crew members always found refuge in the open bars and sophisticated brothels. Whenever a ship arrives at the dock, the men opened their eyes to the astonishing beautiful girls that were waiting for the boatmen to set their legs on land. The women received them with seducing laughs, tropical fruits, and some wines, and then the arriving guests were guided to their awaiting rooms. The priest has always preached his followers about what God wanted his worshippers to do in order to be good pious creatures and not to experience the creator’s wrath on his earth. He, who knew God, suggested that instead of guiding the visitors to bars and brothels for few coins, the youth would practice different crafting jobs as carpentry, farming, or mining in order to live a decent religious life.

Several months ago, life has become more difficult for the residents of the village, for not even one single ship visited them. Many of the village people immigrated to the South. They were seeking new chances in order to lead a different life, but few stayed because they didn’t see themselves somewhere else. Zenho was one of the few who tried to convince people to stay, and try to find other ways to survive. He came with an idea of fixing the old left abandoned ships in order to use them as fishing vessels. The old people weren’t convinced, for they believed that the waters are cursed and full of the rage of the dead legion forces; in addition, their story claimed that the fish was poisoned. Athimir, the beloved mentor of Zenho, was severely ill in his room; his bright student was visiting him on a daily basis. As the days went on, Zenho observed that his mentor was getting weaker. He was suffering from severe migraines, fever, and the gradual appearances of black spots in all over his body. Athimir was a father of three girls; all of the three worked in the village bars, and were taking a good care of their father. Zenho thought maybe the unexplained death of his girls may have affected the mentor emotionally, but he was curious about the symptoms that he observed as it differed from all what he knew. Zenho decided to travel to other villages, for he knew that there are men who are against superstition, smart, literate, and knew more than anyone about the human body. He took with him what he needed for his adventure and started walking towards what he called knowledge.

It took Zenho more than three months to arrive to the closest village. This was the first time he has left his own home to somewhere else. He was amazed by what he saw, and felt the wide differences in every aspect of life compared to what he knew. While he was mesmerized by the robust men riding grey horses, he heard a sharp shouting directed to him in order to stop. He was so scared, but when they arrived, they introduced themselves to him. “We are the knights of the great emperor, who are you and what brought you here?” They asked. “I am Zenho, I came from the village of the seas, and the purpose of my visit is that I am looking for someone who can help me with my ill mentor.” He replied. “You mean the doctor! He is so busy these days! Go along the siege, and turn to your left when you see the bar.” One of the knights said. Zenho walked into the village, and he found that people looked at him in a suspicious way. He thought maybe it is due to his appearance, but when he looked back at them he saw that most of them had the same black spots he saw on his mentor’s body. When Zenho arrived to the bar, he asked the bartender who was closing the doors of the bar in a rush to show him which house was the doctor’s. He was hesitating to help him, but eventually he showed him the house and left. Zenho knocked on the door for several times, but there was no one inside. He sat on the floor, rested at the doorstep, and felt asleep for a while.

Zenho felt some gentle pokes on his back. He woke up to see a tall man wearing a unique costume. He thought maybe he was dreaming or hallucinating due to his long journey’s fatigue. “Who are you Sir? Do you know anything about the doctor of this village?” he asked. “I am…” the mysterious man answered. Zenho didn’t listen to what the doctor was trying to tell him, for he was overwhelmed with his costume. The doctor was wearing an eagle-like beak mask on his face, dark long coat, black gloves, and brown leather boots. He took off his wide-brimmed hat, and came closer to open the door of his house. “I would like to ask you for your assistance. Please dear Sir! My mentor is extremely ill; he lives in the village of the seas. Would you help me please?” Zenho cried. “All the villages, even the whole world is ill my son! Do you know anything about the Black Death?” The doctor answered. “I…I have never heard about it. What…How… the whole world is ill? “Zenho begged. “Let’s get into the house! I will gather my toolbox, and I will explain this to you on our way to a severely ill patient, don’t worry!” The doctor replied.

The doctor explained his statements to Zenho, and asked him to be open-minded in order to absorb the facts. Zenho was as curious as he has always been and eager to learn about the plague, how it was transmitted, and how to cure it. He couldn’t sleep that night, for he knew what he ignored when he was in his village. He understood that all of the possible ways for the plague to be widespread in his village were available; he even understood that his mentor’s daughters died because of it. He was aching because he knew that the end of his tutor’s life is only a matter of time if he wasn’t dead already. The doctor admired Zenho’s ability to learn and analyze, so he suggested to him that he would be a great apprentice of his. Zenho thanked his new mentor and promised him to work hard and learn as fast as he could. The plague doctor and his companion traveled to many villages, and helped a large number of infected people. Zenho has strengthened his knowledge of medieval medicine and developed new ways to cure Black Death.

Zenho and his new friend visited as much villages as they could; they spent months travelling and helping the weak, cursed, and ill men. Rumors kept dancing within the tongues of the wandering people and servants of the great emperor; they claimed that there were two half-humans half-birds wearing bizarre outfits and travelling from village to village in order to help all the sick in their way using heaven-made potions and mysterious rites. As a result, many tribe chiefs knew about the good deeds of these two, even the closest men to the emperor, but they were suspicious about how were they able to perform such miracles. In addition, they were even scared of the influence Zenho and the plague doctor might have on the people, and how they have owned people’s respect, love, and fear. “I want you to find these two; you must bring them to my central castle! One of them must die, and the other left alive.”  The emperor ordered furiously his great commanders. No one questioned his orders, and the forces started spreading his words around the empire.

On their way to the village of the wise, the two plague doctors came across a whining, sleeping, wounded man, they came closer and woke him up to ask about his condition. “You are not from here! What brought you to this deserted land?” the man shouted sharply. Zenho noticed some scars on his forehead and some wounds in his body. “Who did this to you? Just tell us what happened, we may be of a help to you Sir!” Zenho suggested softly. “I am the tribal chief Agoth, and I am an alchemist. I came from the land of justice; I have been trying to tell the people in this neighbor tribe that I have developed a cure against the black curse. To my surprise, I was accused of being a dark wizard and then I was assaulted by a large number of people.” Agoth replied in tears mixed up with agony. “A cure? The black curse? You have developed a cure? How many people have tried your invention? Can you show it to us?” The plague doctor begged while being shocked. “All of my bottles were shattered, and all of my scripts were burned. All what I have left is some time, and then I’ll be gone forever into oblivion! AAGH!” Agoth spoke hardly while breathing slowly and swallowing his words. Zenho sadly knew that Agoth’s life has ended when he saw that the dirt beneath his shattered body is becoming more and more reddish. Then, he thought about what the dead man said for a while, and told the doctor to help him bury that man. Zenho’s deception was intolerable. He seized speaking for a long time, for he couldn’t swallow the idea that the man who claimed to have a solution to all of this has died in vain without sharing his fruitful work with the people who needed it.

Zenho and the doctor knew that if they enter that village, their lives would be endangered. As a consequence, they decided to take a new path to the northern part of the empire. On their way, they have helped to cure some sick children, men, and women who have lost their loved ones because of the plague. A man saw the two of them with his sick child; he joined them, thanked them, and told them about what the emperor ordered his soldiers. “You must leave dear men! I have heard two soldiers asking people about if they knew or met two guys of your same exact description. Maybe you are in danger here!” the man argued firmly. “What? Why is that? We haven’t harmed anyone!” Zenho replied as he was gazing curiously at his friend. The plague doctor didn’t say a word, and told Zenho that they need to get a horse in order to reach the dock quickly. The man suggested that beyond the high hill in front of them, they may be able to find some wild horses to tame. They headed that way for days to find a heaven like oasis. While being amazed by the natural landscapes and the beautiful creatures that have thrived there, they sat around the waters to rest. They slept for hours, but the plague doctor woke suddenly as he heard continuous neighing and felt the heavy steps near him. Then he was extremely happy, for he saw an amazing view of a herd of multicolored wild horses. The doctor slightly poked Zenho’s back to wake him up and told him to be silent. Then, he headed towards them confidently because he knows from his father of how a wild horse could be tamed. At first, it wasn’t a success, but on his third trial a horse came along and was tamed successfully.

Zenho was thrilled as it was his first ride on a horse’s back. When they got ready, they started their journey towards the ships station. It took them several weeks to arrive there. To their surprise, they saw some ships colored in white and red. Zenho noticed that these ships were so different from the ones they had hosted in their village; he headed towards them. “You are not from here dear boatmen. May I ask what land have you came from? Or what land are you heading to?” Zenho asked. “I can see from your dressing that you are a plague doctor, we may be in need of you two, for our land is cursed and infected by the plague.” the ship captain argued. “Our crew number is so limited, and we cannot afford to lose men in our long trip back home, some of us might be already infected, we would appreciate your presence as experts to help us with any complications. In addition, many people in our hometown are in need of a plague doctor, even the DAA…” The captain added with hesitation. ”We are in! Let’s go Zenho!” the doctor said without any regrets. “We have waited in this station for weeks! Not even a single plague doctor came! Thank the heavens you’re here with us!” The crew members shouted in a joyful tone.

 Zenho suffered during his first days on the ship, but he got used to it as he spent weeks shipping and learning to enjoy the sea. The plague doctors did their best, but some of the ship crew died during the first two months of sailing. Many days were intolerably hard for the boatmen, for they have lost their close ones. “I want to confess to you my dear friends” the captain said to the doctors shamefully. “What is this about?” Zenho replied curiously. “our ship’s aim was a mission from our king to seek any plague doctor that would be able to help his sick daughter” the captain mumbled. The doctor’s got furious as he knew that they may have escaped danger to get into another. Several days ago, Different sea storms defied the ship, but the men in control were experienced enough to keep things under control.

The ship landed in a sophisticated dock, different tired soldiers were standing around and organizing the positioning and stationary of the arriving ships. Afterwards, Zenho and his friend took some food with them and stepped off the ship. They walked around the city; most of the people were amazed to see at last plague doctors in town, for their own were already dead due to their exposure to many sick people. Many people were extremely ill and needed medical care, but the ship’s mission was to get a plague doctor to cure the princess. They rushed towards the palace to find the wide doors open. When they got in, they were sent directly to her highness’s room. As they went inside, they saw her serious condition, and Zenho started preparing their tools and liquids. They did their best to help her for more than three days, but she died. The king was furious for his heavy loss and ordered his knights to hang them dead. His chancellor suggested sparing their lives because everyone was in need of their assistance. The king thought about it for a moment and ordered his guards to send them back to their land.

After their arrival to the empire, the doctor has caught the plague, but he didn’t show it to his coworker Zenho. The two continued their journey, and fought against the plague with all the necessary means. On their way to the village of the seas, the doctor went down and died. Zenho was expecting it, for he noticed he had the symptoms of Black Death months earlier. Zenho buried the doctor’s body, and tried to reach his destination as fast as he could. When he arrived, he saw a lot of dead bodies, their faces were bluish black, and the smell was intolerable. “Not even one sign of life! Athimir was right! THIS is beyond our understanding or power to interfere! Humans will always be vulnerable when it comes to the wrath of nature!” Zenho shouted to the skies.

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