Remembering Rodcet Nife

I first saw the great healer as a young girl. I had the fortune of being there, that day, when he first came to us. I had bent down to pick up a bluebell that had grown alongside the walkway in North Qeynos, carefully extracting it as gently as I could so as not to destroy it. As I finally stood back up, I noticed not only that my mother had gone on without me, but that something peculiar was happening. Around me, people were frozen, gazes fixed on the sky. I craned my head upward, searching for what it was that they were all looking at. It was only later that I would realize I had dropped the bluebell I’d spent so long trying to preserve; when my eyes fixed on the focus of their curiosity, I had dropped it, forgetting it had even existed.

Just above me, a perfectly circular object descended from the sky, spinning on its axis. Blue light streamed down from its bottom in a shaft, searching the course of its descent. It was capped in an iridescent dome and made sounds unlike any creature I’d ever seen. At first, that’s what my child’s mind thought it might be: a mockery of a flying beast, terrible in its extreme mutation. It came to rest some twenty feet above the ground, directly above my head, and when people appeared suddenly in that shaft of light below it, I thought maybe they were jumping out of its mouth. It was only later when I went inside that I realized it was some kind of craft, like a coach, but one that could fly.
When the blue shaft vanished and the people came to full view, I found them to be neither human, nor elf, nor goblin, nor ogre, nor anything else I could name. One stood at the front of the group, nearest to me, and his eyes were deep green, pupil-less orbs, his skin a pale green, and hairless. He stepped forward, and the crowd inhaled sharply. He was only a hairsbreadth from me now and he leaned down so that he could peer in my eyes. I even remember that he smelled different, like nothing I could name, but it wasn’t unpleasant — no, I remember thinking it was a very fresh smell, like clean blankets. When he spoke, I couldn’t understand what he said, and I merely stared up at him with a mixture of curiosity and terror. He seemed to wiggle something near his ear, and then when he spoke, I heard clearly:
“Is there disease here? Has the Xulous force reached this world?”
It was as if speaking broke the spell. Some people panicked, running from the sight, while others drew swords and nocked their arrows. Still others yelled that we should talk because he had come to save us, for as it happened disease had swept through a neighboring region and claimed lives with the unbiased carnage of a great fire. By then though, my mother found me and swept me up into her arms, holding me to her chest tightly and backing away. I watched the man as she went, and he watched me, the bottomless depth of his eyes unmoved. I lifted a hand and waved to him, and he smiled and waved back. Turning to the crowd, he said, “Please don’t be afraid! I’ve brought medicine! I’m here to help you, not hurt you!” As my mother drew me further and further away, his words were drowned in the roar of the crowd, but I still remember his face, so many years later. A face I would later come to know as that of a god.

And help he did. It took time but eventually they routed this force he was pursuing, the “Xulous”, and healed those who were still alive. Those who were there say he performed great miracles, that he was able to bring people back from the very edge of death so that they walked and talked as healthy individuals once again. My mother would later boast about how we had been there, forgetting of course, that it was she who drew us away, and about how I was the first person he ever spoke to. In doing so, she maintained, he had bestowed on me his blessing of perfect health. This seemed plausible enough until a few years later I fell into a deep sickness, not the plague that had ravished us but an equally dangerous malady. It seemed I was done, but the great healer was to visit me for the second and final time.

The plague had been overcome, and the god had been occupying himself spreading his wisdom to our people. He had already earned himself scores of followers, and they were building a temple in Qeynos where he had touched down. We had learned his name was Rodcet Nife, and people had begun to worship that name. As it happened, he returned to Qeynos just as it seemed I was going to finally lose my fight for life. When he came into my room, my vision was so blurry I could barely make out his face, but the smell was unmistakable. He leaned over and tipped a crystal vial into my mouth. I remembered that clearly — the vial — because later people would attest it had all been holy magic, but as I understand it, magic is an ethereal thing and this was very much tangible. I felt it roll down my throat; it was thick and unpleasant tasting, but instantly I began to grow better. It would be weeks before I had fully recovered, but that was the moment in which I stopped feeling myself slip away, and started feeling myself return.
Stowing the vial back into a pouch at his side, a pouch that had become as legendary as its owner with its ability to produce whatever was needed for a given patient, he smoothed back my hair and said, “You should feel better soon,” before leaving for the door. My mother followed him in tears, praising him and begging him to let her give him something in return. He only waved her away, and that made her cry all the harder.

As I understand it, it was later that very day that Rodcet and his companions had vanished. In the newly anointed Temple of Life, his followers awaited his return and taught the world of the wisdom he had left them.
I am a very old woman now, and have only ever heard rumors that Rodcet might have once again appeared on Norrath. Were it that I were a long-living elf and might actually live to see him again, but I am a human and my years are done now. I can only count as many as I have because of him, though, and I remember that every week’s end with a small donation to the Temple of Life. He will return, I am sure of it, and when he does, Norrath will be a world free of the suffering of disease and decay.

– Alora Nimens, resident of Qeynos


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