Once upon a time (because that's the way all good stories start...and because I'm not all that clever), there was this beautiful, sprawling village. The people who lived there had mostly traveled from other places, not nearly as sprawling or as beautiful; and they were so excited and full of hope, it was almost embarrassing. They just couldn't wait to embrace their new home and make their lives better and their children's lives even better than that; and they decided that theirs would be the best and the most powerful village in all the land. And because these settlers were so ambitious and determined, it seemed an altogether reasonable expectation.
So, they set about working very hard for their families and for their new home. Soon, the other villages started to take notice and even more ambitious and determined people decided to move to this beautiful and sprawling place so that they too could live out the promise of a better life for themselves and for their children.
Unfortunately, around this time there also lived a nasty and spiteful witch known as 'Black Magic Betty.' I mean, she was a rotten old broad; just terrible. She had several strong powers which she routinely abused, one being the power to make people very, very sick and she did! For no reason, whatsoever. Can you believe the nerve of this woman?
There was no rhyme or reason to her choice of victims, she struck down the old, the young, the rich and the poor. Just for laughs. The real kicker was that these nasty illnesses spread easily from person to person and it was very difficult to contain them once Black Magic Betty sent them out into the world.
The promising young village was now growing fast and it soon found it wasn't immune to Betty's black magic. In fact, Betty seemed to have a special loathing for this particular group of people. Maybe it was their ambition and determination, but whatever it was, she was gunning for them, ready to totally derail their lovely growing village. Loads of people would get very sick with each outbreak of her vicious illnesses and many would die or be forever changed.
Luckily, there was a group of the brightest and most selfless villagers who were called 'The Healers.' They fought Betty's diseases as best they could. The Healers struggled to find cures for her diseases, but soon found that there was a way to prevent the spread of her devastating illnesses by providing the villagers with a special protective armor to wear.
The armor was found to be so effective against Betty's attacks that the leaders of the village decided they would find a way to issue one to M. every single inhabitant in order to keep everyone healthy, happy, and safe.
Unfortunately, they soon learned that certain villagers were too weak to carry the weight of the armor, including those who were very young or those who were too sick with other diseases. Luckily, they found that once all the *other* villagers were protected individually, Betty's attacks would stop short of causing the massive outbreaks they had caused in the past.
The Healers were thrilled. The villagers were suddenly safe from nearly all of Betty's maliciousness. Score one for the good guys, they thought happily. Nearby villages began to issue armor to their people as well, and soon all but the poorest, least developed villages in the land were routinely passing out protective armor to their inhabitants. In fact, there were a number of Healers who made it their mission to help provide armor to all villages, even the poor and under-developed. See? I told you those Healers were selfless.
As for Betty? She found herself nearly stripped completely of her harmful powers. But she was a witch, and she took her role as the Villain very seriously. And she still had some tricks up her silky black sleeves. So (spoiler alert) this was not the last we'd see of her.
A few generations passed and the Healers continued to issue the armor, but now turned their attention to non-Betty related illnesses. The villagers had grown so used to receiving the armor, it was hardly even noticed anymore. Many couldn't even imagine a world were Betty and her dark magic had any power at all.
Then one day, a Healer from a village near to the sprawling and beautiful (and growing!), village was working on solving another illness and he made a very interesting claim. He decided that the cause of this other illness was in fact the armor that his patients had received to protect them from Betty and he began telling everyone. How he came to this conclusion was not clear. It may have been because he just wasn't a great Healer or because he was gullible and believed what others had told him. Or it may have been because he was being urged to make this claim by people who stood to make money from it (by way of a lawsuit against the armor makers...those letigious bastards).
Whatever the reason, because he was a Healer, everyone believed him. Suddenly, there was pandemonium. News reached the now big, fancy village rather quickly and some of the villagers went completely bananas; particularly the parents of those with this other illness. They were furious that the Healers had issued their children armor and determined to prevent this tragedy from befalling other families. They went on a crusade to end the existence of the shields altogether, and their plight was spearheaded by a notoriously fame-hungry woman who happened to also have a child afflicted by the other illness.
Not long after the Healer had announced his findings, other Healers became suspicious and looked closer into his 'evidence,' only to find that it was shoddy at best and fraudulent at worst. He was stripped of his title of Healer.
But it was too late. The damage had been done. Left and right, villagers began to refuse the armor that was being provided for their children. They were misinformed. They were afraid. And most of all, they were determined. This, as it turns out, is a dangerous combination.
They accused the Healers of trying to make money from the shields and questioned their motives. They also questioned the materials in the shield, claiming they were harmful and dangerous (despite all evidence to the contrary). They announced their suspicions to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen. They made the other parents feel ashamed for allowing their children to wear the armor and accused them of blindly accepting it's safety and (ironically) of being ignorant and misinformed.
Now the villagers were living under a cloud of suspicion and paranoia...and Black Magic Betty was simply elated. Her plan had worked perfectly (told you she'd be back!).
Now, she thought, now is the time to strike.
And strike she did. She sent the illnesses that were still putzing around in the poorer villages across the land to those villagers now living without the armor. The Healers were caught completely off guard by these practically defunct diseases. Worse yet, now that they'd resurfaced, they were having a chance to mutate, making the armor less effective for those who still chose to wear it. And don't even get me started on those poor villagers who were too weak for the armor in the first place!
People began to once again suffer and even die.
The Healers did everything they could to combat the chaos, fear and ignorance with reason and truth. For they knew that the only way Black Magic Betty could be effectively conquered was if everyone agreed to wear the shields.
But chaos, fear, and ignorance are powerful and Betty knew this well, for she had birthed these things herself. You know, because she was a villain and all; and a damn good one at that.
The sprawling and beautiful village had indeed achieved it's status as the best and most powerful village in the land. However, the villagers in all their determination and ambition had ultimately turned on each other. And without unity, their village would fall.
Black Magic Betty sat back and claimed victory.
Cue the evil cackle.