The squat, distended body of an elderly dwarf woman dangles from a thin, crooked bough that sags at the tug of her noose. The bloated purple flesh of her neck, worn away in patches like moth-eaten linen, bulges over the rope that suspends her, and her lifeless head lolls forward rigidly from one side to the other when the breeze shifts.
This poor woman was once Caldara de Berranzi, an alumnus of the Vailian Royal Academy of Animantic Sciences, always there, where her help was needed. She made the fatal mistake of offering her services to Lord Raedric, who asked her to examine his wife. After months of study Caldara could only see a beautiful soul in a perfectly healthy woman, despite assurances that she was curing her of imbalances. When the birth of Raedric's son neared, the lord grew impatient with her lack of progress - and so she wound up swinging from a rope in Gilded Vale.
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