Beneath The Crag

The Journal of Deldrin Baleson
Mirtul 15, 1502 DR

It has been two days since Tarn fell ill. I have known the old man for almost all of my life, it pains me to see him in such a state. Sadly, I have no time for grievances. It seems as though whatever ailment Tarn came down with has spread across the entire north side of town. Dozens of people are falling ill, and who knows how more are sick and don’t know it yet? If only we’d figured it out sooner, maybe things wouldn’t seem so grim. I have quarantined the entire north end of the town, those who are ill are no longer permitted to leave their houses for fear of spreading the sickness. It doesn’t seem to be airborne, but I’m not taking any chances. There may be enough death as it is. According to Laurel, the plague came from the well at the north end of town. Some kind of black mold or something. I had my men seal the well, and they are standing guard now. I have to ask myself how something that can infect so many people just sprung up out of nowhere. Perhaps it’s those Blackblood creeps that have been lurking around town. I hope Chaz isn’t involved with them, but I haven’t talked to him since the accident. Who knows. Who knows anything anymore? I spoke with Laurel about Tarn. He may only have a day or two left. He’s been out cold since he first fell ill. If only that worthless “priest” of the Burning Sun was actually able to do anything. The man is pathetic. A Holy Man helpless in the outbreak of a plague. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Laurel says that she’s working to find a cure, and Urlstaz ghost knows she’s been selling “cures” to those who have come by seeking them, but she tells me not to get my hopes up. All she as right now is something to lengthen the time the infected have left, at best. Tarn will likely pass tomorrow, and I’ve come to accept that. But if we can’t stop this, it won’t just be Tarn who dies. Whatever gods or faiths or forest spirits might be reading this… we here in Falcon’s Hollow sure could use a miracle.

Tarn, rest well old friend. I will miss you.
-Deldrin Baleson, Captain of the Guard

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When Death Comes to Town
Mirtul 13, 1502 DR

“Granpa…. Granpa… wake up! Wake up sleepy head! Mum’s cooking breakfast, you’re going to go hungry if you don’t get up Granpa!”

Oh my, how time does fly. It seemed like only yesterday when Tarn was a young man, slaving away in the Darkwood forest without pay, and could only dream of a day when he and his sweetheart could be free of the Dragon. And then, the very next day it seemed, it had all come to pass, and then just as quickly, it had passed on by. Tarn Smitty was an old man by anyone’s standards, even if he had been in a prosperous town like Alamas. The fact that he had lived to be in his 70’s and was still capable of swallowing hard food, much less living in a town like Falcon’s Hollow was a feat of strength in and of it’s own. Whenever anyone asked Tarn how he managed, he would always tell them it was because he wanted to see his daughter grow up. And grown up she had. Esmeralda Smitty wasn’t the most beautiful of women, but what she lacked in looks, she made up for by keeping a warm home. These skills had served her well in Falcon’s Hollow, she managed to woo a young lumberjack by the name of Jacob several years ago, and the two of them had born a grandson for Tarn, a grandson that bore his father’s name. Sadly, Jacob was lost to Esmeralda and their son when kobolds attacked the logging camp, but thankfully Tarn had enough pull with the Consortium to make sure they took care of her. He was one of the oldest living members after all. Even though Tarn was old, he still clung to life, enjoying the time with his grandson, a privilege few people in this town had. And it was that privilege that gave strength to his old and stiff bones, and got Tarn out of bed this morning.

Cough Cough Alright, alright, I’m getting up. You should let your old man get some beauty sleep from time to time Jake. Cough Cough If you keep waking me up this early, I may wind up looking like the Darkwood Witch!”

Tarn could feel his age catching up with him. It seems as though in the past few days, he felt more tired than he had in his whole life, but such was the human condition he presumed. Tarn was normally a healthy man, but he had come down with an illness last winter. Though it was now summer, and he had thought himself to be fully recovered, in the past week, his cough had returned. Just another pain from growing old he thought.

“Granpa, you sound sick? Are you okay?”

Tarn cleared his throat. “Ahem Yes Jake, Granpa’s alright. Lets go eat, shall w-“ And at that, Tarn began coughing again. Apparently the simple exercise of rising from his bed was far more taxing than expected. Cough Cough “Jake, go on Cough down Cough I’ll be down in a Cough ” Mayhaps… Maybe he should… lie back… down.

What is this on his mouth? Had he been drooling in his sleep? Tarn went to wipe his mouth.

“Granpa! MOOOOOM, Granpas’ bleeding!”

Blood? His blood? He can’t… stand…

“GRANPA! GRANPA, WAKE UP!”

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