The disfiguration produced by the Ague was extreme, compared by those who had seen it to severe burns with the addition of inky black pustules. No one ever established a definitive cause, nor a method of transmission, nor why the disease seemed to prefer women to men in a ratio of 3:1 or more.

Most mysterious of all was the Ague’s sudden disappearance, leaving in its wake hundreds if not thousands of disfigured people, mostly young women.

Moved by their suffering, and under more than a little pressure from the local lords, the Sepulcher of the Creator created the Cloister of the Veil for them. Sufferers of the Ague were given a castle, abandoned during the Late Period, which they were able to renovate into a convent of sorts. Given land to till and animals to care for, the many women and few men were all sworn to the Sepulcher’s rules for convents, celibacy foremost among them.

They were also provided with clear linen uniforms that draped in such a way as to shield their ravaged bodies from view. The few males were ordained priests of the Sepulcher and tended to wear metal or wooden masks as a sign of their rank.

But even as the Cloister of the Veil was hailed as a success, it was full of people from all walks of life. The Ague had claimed plenty who desired nothing like a monastic life, and rumors soon began of broken vows and promiscuous behavior among the sufferers there.

And that is why an Inspector of the Sepulcher was dispatched: the rumor and fear that one of the sisters had become pregnant, and the possibility of what an Ague-borne child might bring unto the world.

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