Challenge #01309-C214: I am Immortal, You're Not

Oh my god wonder of wonders an ancient semi-immortal race understands that time is valuable. -- RecklessPrudence

Immortals have some odd habits. One that stands out is spending hundreds of years on perfecting Apple Pie. Right down to breeding the perfect apple, the right kind of bees, and just the right kind of grain.

Currently, Duroc the Everlasting was analysing the maple sap for the correct kind of sweetness.

Heaven help the world when she finally decided to work on the ice cream.

"Excuse me?"

Duroc looked. A mortal! How long had it been since a mortal had entered her realm? Duroc put down her work in a state in which it was all stable and stood. "Hello, young one."

"Are you Duroc the immortal?"

"People used to call me Everlasting, but yes. I am Duroc." Hm. The place had become overgrown since the last time she'd left her desk. She'd have to set alarms again. "You have a reason for seeking me."

"Oh yes. It's urgent. There's a plague ravaging the countryside and its rumoured that you might have a cure."

As Duroc left her workdesk, her hair tangled in the furniture. Drat it. Again? She sighed and found the nearest scissors and sheared herself free. Her hair was now at the nape of her neck and much lighter for the loss.

"Oh! Your beautiful hair..."

"It will grow back," dismissed Duroc. "It has a singular knack for growing back." Now. Where did she put her stuff? "Plague, is it? What kind?"

"They're calling it the red death," said the mortal. "They say it's the Wanderers who bring it. Or poison the wells..."

Duroc sighed. "Ah, racism. My old frienemy... I'm guessing the Wanderers seem to be immune?"

"Er. They never catch it," offered the mortal. "We've never seen one with it."

"Huh. And I doubt you've ever seen a microbe, either..." Ah-ha! There was all the medical science stuff. Judging by the accusations of poison wells, things had backslid again. She'd have to bring along the Books.

"What's a--"

"You and your people have a lot to learn. And you don't have much time."

Now their voice was a squeak. "...i don't?"

"Forty, fifty years more at the current state of things. If I do good work in your realm, I might be able to push you past ninety." Once she had all the medical stuff together, it made a pile too large for anyone to be expected to carry. "How good are the roads?"

"Um. There's cart trails?"

And the stuff about transportation and road maintenance. And a small, covered cart to carry them all in. Rebuilding society was such a pain in the neck.

"Wait. Forty years is a really long time." The mortal. "I'd be in my early sixties. A grandmother. Um. If I could get anyone to... youknow..." A cough. "I'm a bit old."

Duroc bit her lip. "Young one," she sighed, "you have no idea..." There was so much to teach... and these mortals had so much to learn. Starting with the genuine cause of what they called the red plague.

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