As may be seen on picture here,
In Rome the doctors do appear,
When to their patients they are called,
In places by the plague appalled,
Their hats and cloaks, of fashion new,
Are made of oilcloth, dark of hue,
Their caps with glasses are designed,
Their bills with antidotes all lined,
That foulsome air may do no harm,
Nor cause the doctor man alarm,
The staff in hand must serve to show
Their noble trade where’er they go.
Once a fabled order of traveling doctors, the Bone Crows have become a terrifying political and military power unto themselves. Armed flocks of them roam civilized lands, particularly after dark, keeping a sharp lookout for signs of pestilence and disorder. They enforce the unwritten laws of hygiene, quarantine, and curfew.
A flock of Bone Crows is led by a confessor-barber. During the order’s founding period, a physiker trained in treating plague and other miasma-borne illness accompanied an armed group of citizens with the intention of forcing people to adhere to clean living conditions. By force of arms, they ensured that that plague-dead were burned, that the living avoided large communal areas, and that other steps necessary to combat the spread of disease were taken. In modern times, the need for medicinal training is eclipsed by religious furor. A confessor-barber is a lay priest who ensures the hygiene of both bodies and souls, often doing so at the hands of his armed brethren.
The modern Bone Crows bear little resemblance to the original order founded in Harja. Though they maintain organization and political influence, many of their flocks are essentially religious vigilantes that receive little or no direction from the order’s superiors.