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A priestess of life and death
The young man moaned, breath gurgling through lungs that were doing their best to give up. His eyes wandered randomly, unaware of the worried old couple that hovered over him. Velastra put a cool hand on his forehead, feeling the heat from the fever that was killing him. Yes, the Silver Lady would call him to Her side soon. 

She turned to the couple, a small frown on her face. "I'm afraid there is nothing more a healer can do for your son. I am sorry."

The father sunk to his knees, staring blankly for a moment. "There must be something... more medicine, better food..." he whispered.

Velastra put her hand on his shoulder. "His death song has already been sung. The Lady - " She cut off as the mother grabbed her sleeve and clutched it in a white-knuckled fist. Velastra fought the urge to shake her hand off, and remained still.

"Please! We will do anything," the mother pleaded. "You can't let him die!"

Velastra eyed the couple for a moment, assessing their desperation.

Slowly, with gravity in her voice: "Then choose."

"Choose?" Confused looks.

"The Lady has called for death. If it is not to be your son's, then choose another."

Both of them stared at her. And stared. The silence stretched. "Another... to die in his place?" the father said weakly. Velastra continued to gaze at them, impassive, and said nothing.

"We can't..." the father said, at the same time as the mother said, "Would that work?"

"You said you would do anything. That is the price. So, choose another."

The couple burst into argument, voices starting to raise. Velastra continued to watch silently, cool hand on the feverish young man, trying to hold him to the world until his parents reached a decision. Now that the burden of action is on YOU, it's not so easy, is it? she thought. She squeezed the boy's sweaty hand with her own. Ah, I am getting jaded. Sorry, young man. I do not think they will choose to save you.

Like everyone she had given this choice to in this new world, they didn't. 

But he did. The father tracked her down a few hours later as she made her rounds around the small temple, blowing out the candles for the night. After a brief murmured conversation, Velastra reached out and rested her hand on his cheek, caressing it. "Go home, my dear, and try to get some sleep. Let your wife watch over him tonight, and come back tomorrow." She laid a light kiss on his cheek, whispered a blessing in his ear, and steered him toward the door. 

He did not come back tomorrow, nor would he ever. But his wife's excited cries could be heard throughout the temple near mid-morning as their son opened his eyes and sat up, lucid for the first time in days. 
A time long past, a different world, different circumstances, same words.

"The Lady has called for death. If it is not to be your son's, then choose another."

The man in front of her sneered. "You know I don't believe in your drivel. Get out."

Velastra spread her hands. "You sent for me, my lord."

"I sent for someone who could DO something!"

"Just so. I am telling you what can be done."

The man glared at her, disgust twisting his face. He was Duke Faisnal, a Councilor to the King, and they were in his manse. That was the Duke's heir laying on the couch in front of them, pale and wasted to skin and bones, a cloth spotted with blood held to his lips.

The duke opened his mouth to snarl at her again, but was interrupted by his son's coughing fit. He was too weak to even hold the cloth to his mouth anymore, and blood spattered the couch as he wheezed. His eyes grew dull and his head lolled back on the pillow.

She watched the duke watch his son. She watched as something broke in him, as his face softened from anger to uncertainty. Gently, she said, "My lord, it matters not whether you believe me. If it does not work, things will be no different. But if there's even a chance..." She let the words hang a moment. "Wouldn't you try anything to save him?"

She watched as that final barrier fell. "What must I do?"

"Choose someone. Someone whose death will mean something to you. If the Lady judges your offering favorably, the trade will be made. His life for your son's."

The duke licked his lips, throat dry. "My... my manservant." He hung his head a moment before straightening again. "Though it will do no good."

"As my lord wishes." She bowed to him, using the motion to mask a hand signal to her guard. The guard slipped out of the room. They would see to it that the manservant met with a plausible accident.

Velastra grabbed a fresh cloth from the supplies she had brought. "Let me tend to him, please." At a reluctant nod from the duke, she approached his son and began to gently sponge his face clean.

With that done, she retrieved a cup of water and brought it over to the dying man. While no one was looking, she poured into it the antidote, which would counteract the poison the heir had been given months ago.

If the duke had recently been trying to remove the Lady's temple from the city, and denouncing Her worshippers in Council, well. No longer. Not after a miracle.

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