Temperance’s challenge – part three

After nearly a month since her last trial, Temperance has spent many sore weeks in the saddle learn more of horsemanship.  All that she has learnt has done her well since the ice and frost has began to set in and the threat of snow to come.  She has spent another long day in the saddle, but she can manage the weariness of it now.  There is a small town near an out crop of rock, and she has been told of someone who has become ill there.  She has been taught many things of recognising bites and scratches.

The long windy road to the town leads in to the dark of the night, only to be illuminated by the flashes of lightning as it cracks across the sky.  She soon comes across a single solitary house, and begins to hear like whispering in the air, whispering of desolation and voices of despair.  Someone’s illness is so bad that it is feeding demons, allowing them to enter a quiet town.

As Temperance opens the door to the house she can hear more whispering.  The house is dark, and vomit is spread on the floor from the man laying there his mouth open, with spittle and bile trickling down the corners of his mouth and off his chin.  The man has pale skin and moans as he hears someone enter the house.  The light from the moon outside illuminates the man and he flinches away from the light that pains his eyes.  There are pusses all move his exposed skin, some with pus exuding.  The few candles that are about are all but stumps, and quickly burn bright as she enters before going dark with a trail of smoke rising to the ceiling.  Temperance can hear a mocking laugh as she looks down at this poor fellow before her.

Temperance remembers how Brother Jesse used to never rush in to difficult situation, but would take his time and take in the whole scene, making sure there was nothing unseen to the rushed glance.  She kneels down beside the man and looks over his pale skin, looking for any evidence of something missed by her first observation.  Looking for any other different scarring and markings, rashes and swelling.  As she studies the man the laughing still mocking her, the door behind slams shut now leaving the house in darkness, the candles all spent and the moonlight denied.  The temperature within begins to rise along with the mocking and taunting growing louder.  Temperance closes her mind to the demons and stands, moving over to the door and opening it once more allowing the light in once more, placing a chair as a wedge in the opening.  She then swings the shutters on the window wide allowing even more light within the house.  She then walks back over to the man, pulling out a jar of consecrated earth.  As she stands over the man she pinches some of the earth and sprinkles it over the man’s infections, chanting a pray to the King of Life as she does so.  The man begins to thrash about as the dirt hits his exposed skin, spittle flying from his mouth as he speaks in tongues.  He clasps his thin weak hand around her ankle, looking up at her and gibbering.  Temperance increases her chants, focusing on the demons and passages from the Book of Life referring to such things, placing her hand on his forehead.  The man’s head is very hot to her touch.  However he slowly calms and lies to rest his mouth exhaling and inhaling air only.

Temperance spends the next few days with the man, helping his fever to break and gain some strength.  Due to the close proximity to the ill man and being hit by his infected spit, Temperance herself becomes infected with a mild illness once she arrives back at Bridle Falls.

Meanwhile at the same time, Brother Jesse discovers his Jar of Consecrated Earth has developed a strange growth within, infecting the whole contents which mean he has to burn the jar and contents, burying the ashes and losing another holy item.


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