1868-01-31: To the Brink and Back
To The Brink and Back
Summary: The Journal of Aidric Carling during his bout of the plague and subsequent recovery.
Date: 1868-01-31
Related: A New Castellan and a New Knight
Players:
Aidric  Kieran  

Novembre 25th, 1867
Bloody black abyss. The plague has gotten in. When the illness began I closed off the manse to keep it out, but now Gysella the housekeeper tells me one of the kitchen boys is ill. The damn fool was touching my food. Anyhow, he's been laid up in one of the sheds to keep him away from the rest, but how long until the damned thing spreads.

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Novembre 27th
Two days after the boys shown ill. Two more are sick. I plan to quit the manse for somewhere safer.

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Novembre 28th, 1867
Damn it all to the Abyss. Kieran, Goat, Scarecrow and I tried to make our exit from Sunsreach by the gate. The damned thing was a swarm with people of a similar mind. We'd almost waited our turn when some wretch clutched at my leg and begged to take him with us. I kicked him away, but not before he hacked and coughed on Kieran and I. We damn near kicked him to death, but the damage was done. We're banned from the gate until it's clear we're not sick. I have already sent to Tiadora for the loan of a Normont carriage. If we can't escape by civilized means we'll escape by the roads.

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Decembre 1st, 1867
Three days gone from Sunsreach by road and Kieran is showing signs of the illness. Damn my luck. We stopped at an inn, but they'd not let us in, not even when I threatened to burn it down around them if they didn't. In the end they threw some food to us and showed us the business end of a crossbow. We turned back to the city but by the One if Kieran dies I will come back and burn the place. One help us all.

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Decembre 3rd, 1867
We've returned to the manse. Half the staff is ill. Gysella is still on her feet. I've sent for healers for Kieran and have sequestered myself in my chambers burning my way through my supply of Breeze to keep my nerves from getting the best of me.

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Decembre 4th, 1867
Kieran is not well. I've beaten one healer and sent for another. I will not have another of Paul's blood on my conscience. I am so very tired.

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Decembre 8th, 1867
I am ill. The new healer saw it first. I was ready to lash him but then the coughing began and it did not stop until I was on my knees. I swear on the One's I thought I’d never stop. They've put me to bed and I do not know how much longer I will be able to write but I shall try to keep on.

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Decembre 22nd, 1867

Word has reached me my daughter is ill. I cannot summon the strength to write more than a few words to her, and these here to mark the occasion. Nothing I can do but hope that she lives.

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Janvier 1st, 1868
Theses words written in the hand of Godfrey Smithson do represent the last will and testament of Lord Sir Aidric Carling on this the 1st of Janvier in the year 1868.

I leave all to my natural daughter Casella Bayde to be in the charge of her guardians Donnal and Dinah Cassomir until she reaches her majority. If she should die before me then I leave all my writings to my sister, my wines and my alchemical amusements to Prince Tristan Tracano and Duke Symon Gerrell, my arms and horses to my squire Kieran. My wealth it to be split six ways, a fifth share to each of those named before with the final portion given to my good friend Thaddeus Greyson.

My bones should be brought back to Southmark and buried in the family shrine.

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Janvier 8th, 1868
I live.

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Janvier 10th, 1868
One above. If the fever didn’t kill me my self-pity just might. Having poor Scarecrow scribing my will and ‘I live’, Bah. Nonsense. But damn if I did not think I was going to die. I’ve felt that before, on the eve of battle, but this time the feeling, and the danger, lasted weeks not hours and was coupled with burning fever, chills, dreams that dance on the edge of madness and of course this thrice-damned rash. It gave me much time to think, chiefly on my sins. No, not the venal sort that the church would have be confess but the serious ones, people I’ve failed, oaths I’ve broken, chances I did not take take and slights I did not avenge. When I am better I will take the time to see them addressed.

As to the maudlin pages I’d have ripped the pages from this tome but parchment is costly and the will may yet be of use. I am still tired but the new healer says I am like to live. Kieran too by the by. I’ve had his bed moved to my chambers for the company, because while fever and self-pity have failed to take my life boredom lurks just behind them for it’s turn.

Too tired to continue, more tomorrow.

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Janvier 13th, 1868
I slept too long. I did not dream, which was a blessing, because it is the waking world that is the nightmare. The nails I haven’t lost have become black unwholesome things. My hair has come out in places, and while the healer says it is likely to grow back in time, for now my hair is a mess unfit to be seen. Kieran says I should shave it. I say he should shove his razor up his arse, but the more I look at my hair the more I think he might have the right of it. I wonder what I will look like bald. I hold my hair back in the mirror and look from time to time but what I see does not cheer me.

Though I suppose the looks are the least of the nightmare. Half my people at the manse have died and I am told by those that survive that is a common enough thing. They say half the world is dead, more in Pacitta, and among those the plague took includes the High Priest and Symon’s unborn child. There has been little other word of late because travel through the gates have slowed to a crawl and news is scarce. I’ve heard nothing from Ironhold and my daughter and nothing from home or the rest of Normont. No doubt the people there blame the gates for the sickness, and given my own experience of traveling by road I can see why that way of sending word is little used.

As for the city the Queen is said to have walked among the people until she grew ill herself and Jaren stepped up to run the realm while she recovered. Their child Arturo lived, which is a blessing, as much as our Queen vexes me I hope her line continues. I’ve had enough of war. Anyhow, I do not know how most of my friends fare, except for those of them in he city such as Tiadora and Tristan. I hear Seaguard was badly hit, and there has been no word from my friends in Pacitta. I want to get out of bed and try to learn more but when I try my legs turn to jelly. So naught to do but rest and school my squire at chess.

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Janvier 20th, 1868
I’ve been out of bed and there has been a messenger from Ironhold. My daughter lives. I find myself glad of it, I’ve sent her a letter and when I am well again I shall send a gift to follow it.

The word from the rest of the world is mixed. The good is that it seems Symon and Dora have both lived, as has Thaddeus, the bad news is that so has Rhea, Tomas Greyson and my father. I suppose I shouldn’t look for more than that, but I did hope the plague would solve one of these problems. Elsewise, they say no new High Priest has been elected and that those Councillors who survived the plague in Pacitta are preparing to war with each other over the city. I still haven’t heard from my friends there but I will make further inquiries, if things are grim as they seem I may need to make use of a certain letter sooner rather than later.

Other news escapes me at the moment, I am still very tired. Oh, and by the by Kieran won. I have shaved my head. How do I look bald? In a word: horrible. I will need a hat.

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Janvier 24th, 1868
Wigs. It turns out I need wigs. Kieran and I ventured from the manse and visited court today. Apparently only the commons are wearing hats. I had to turn around and send Kieran on who seems entirely un-bothered by the fact that he is bald as an egg. He brought back the odd bit of gossip but given his flushed cheeks and cheery demeanor upon his return he spent most of his time with squire friends getting drunk or hitting each other with sticks.

So now I wait for the wig-maker to finish his work so I can go out in public again.

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Janvier 31st, 1868
My wig has been made and I’ve been to court. It is much as I expected. Everyone is trying to find the lay of the land and decide in which way they can turn the tragedy of the plague to their own advantage. I a little macabre but practical. In my own assessment, with my rivals still alive I am exactly where I was when I fell ill, close to the circles of power but not amoung those that matter. It’s tiresome. I’ve renewed some old acquaintances though and I shall keep playing the game and see what comes of it. Especially as one of the Queen’s ladies made a point of ensuring I would be at court tomorrow. She was coy as to her reasons. Though if it’s a dalliance she’s after, I may need to forego it at least until my hair and nails return and I’m presentable, but I will go and see what can be seen. Now, it is off to the market to see if I can find a present for my daughter.

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