He sees her huddled near the side of the road, the hood of her tattered brown cloak pulled tightly around her wrinkled face.
She rises to her feet as he nears on horseback, her tiny frame hunched over, a crooked wooden cane clutched in her weathered hand.
"Won't you buy a rose, my lord?" She asks, her voice a low cackle that crawls over his skin.
He glares down into her white eyes, the eyes of a blind woman, and the stench of sickness reaches his nose. Her hood falls back from her face, revealing her blistered lips and her ashen skin, marred with the spots of disease.
"Get away from me, peasant." He shouts, disgusted.
She bends one crooked arm and reaches into her basket, pulling out a long stemmed rose, the bud shriveled and black, the petals dry and brittle.
"Please, my lord," she begs, her eyes brimming with tears. "I am but a poor and hungry old woman, with no home or family to speak of."
She lifts the rose towards him, ambling closer, when suddenly she trips and stumbles into t