Fate was a domino effect.
It started with a fever. First it was just one, a scout who couldn't be roused come morning. Illness wasn't unusual in the harsh conditions of camp. There was little water and food, sanitation was questionable at best, and the looming risk of ambush was a constant reality. Fatigue and sniffles went with the territory. As the soldier's symptoms worsened, the healers grew fraught. The regular remedies were entirely ineffective. Uneasy at the notion of further experimentation, the healers initially believed it to be a severe virus. Two days after their diagnosis, the warrior's arms turned purple, starting at the tips of his fingers. He lost function and feeling.
Somewhere along his travels, the scout was poisoned. The etiology was unknown. Never before had they encountered symptoms so remarkable. A day after the plum shade crept past his elbows, one of the medics grew faint: a fever. Whatever contagion had plagued patient zero was spreading.
Panic did not gather slow and linear. A single glimmer of despair could evoke stampedes. Riots. Chaos. That very same fear had latched onto Zarina. Eavesdropping on the leaders' tent, she trembled as they confirmed her suspicions. There was no clear answer. They couldn't manage to track the scout's movements. The doctors couldn't say with any certainty whether he'd ingested the poison, touched it, or was purposefully infected. Hope was fading.
As if aligned with the mystical wheels of destiny, Zarina did know. She crossed paths with the scout on her way to the camp two weeks prior. He was examining tracks near the lake. Without thinking, the impetuous fairy packed a small satchel and began her long trek, stealing away from the camp under the cover of night. She had to try to find the source. It simply had to be somewhere around the lake. In the rapid firing of her synapses, she suspected she could concoct an antidote - if only she could uncover the poison source itself.
Peeking her auburn head around a bush, she caught the whiff of water on the breeze. Almost there. Suddenly the reality of her task weighed heavier than the onset of her adventure. What if she couldn't identify the source? What if it was too much for her small fairy body to carry? Why didn't she ask for help? Zarina bit her lip and sighed. "What am I going to do..." She whispered to herself.
Rustling leaves alerted her. Whirling around and suppressing a gasp, the dust keeper's eyes scanned the tiny bit of forest she could see. "H-hello?" Another whisper. Without pixie dust, she stood no chance against an enemy.