By the Gods, what horror has transpired the last 3 days. Please forgive me, readers of this journal. I am not the magnanimous lord of this keep. Nay, I am but Sathos Maxinian’s lowly apprentice, now tasked with the terrible burden of protecting those left in his manor. But I get ahead of mine own self.
It was but two days ago when a raging mob appeared before the gates of our home. Demanding entrance, food, medicine, anything that they felt we had and believed they deserved. Having been alerted to their coming by Karl, one of our farmers, Sathos Maxinian ordered everyone to retreat into the keep. He called me to his side and told me that he would deal with the threat. I was to watch from one of the windows in the keep. If, perchance, he were to prove unable to mollify the villagers, I was to gather the hold and retreat into the caves below.
I watched my master with the greatest trepidation as he stood before the gate to the keep, staring out into the courtyard. The mob, some 20 people strong soon came into view. His voice, already powerful, was augmented by his magic as he ordered the group to hold. One of their number stepped forward and a quick conversation ensure. My master told them, firmly but with great sympathy, that we could not help them; our stores were meager enough for the few that lived within the hold, and that no cure was held within our walls. He reminded the villagers that he too had lost friends to the horrific plague, and that if he possessed such a cure, he would surely have used it to save his friends.
The mob, driven by fear and desperation, would not be mollified by my master’s logic. As they took a step forward, my master barked a single syllable. Blue fire surged from his hand and struck the ground in front of the mob. Terrible they were in their anger, but my master calmly warned them that, if they were to dare to trespass further on his land, their transgression would be met with deadly force. At first they appeared ready to disperse, but then their desperation took over and, as one, they charged. I watched, horrified, as the blue fire in my master’s hands swiftly turned to orange and a ball of flame formed in front of him. I knew from watching him practice our craft that an awful death awaited those struck by the burning sphere.
My horror grew, as did the sphere. I could not see my master’s face but I can only imagine the concern that crossed it as he struggled to maintain the power sweeping through him. I know not what miscalculation he made, but it was obvious to all who bore witness that something had gone wrong. Seconds passed, each feeling like an eternity, then, with a great inrush of air, the sphere exploded outward. I am not too proud to say that I screamed in anguish, knowing that my mentor had perished in the hideous flames. Without thinking further, I turned and rushed to the caves to join the rest of our manor.
We retreated into the chilly depths of the caverns. I stopped only long enough to enable the mage lock. Our stores should last us at least two weeks, by which time I am sure that it will be safe for us to return to the manor.
I know not who will read these pages. Nor do I know when rescue shall come. I only know that it will be too late. My name is Palmer, and I am, or used to be, the seneschal of the manor. Only a few days after our descent into these dank caverns a freak accident took the life of Jarl, Lord Maxinian’s apprentice and sealed our fates, for Jarl was the only one amongst us who had the knowledge and power to unseal the mage locked door blocking our only exit. As I sit here, holding the simple gem that acts as a key to the door, I wonder how long we can survive.
It has been a fortnight since we descended the steps into the caverns. We have explored each of the tunnels leading from the main artery of these caverns to no avail. Crude tools have been fashioned to allow us to begin digging in an attempt to escape our doom. Strict rations have been ordered and we have supplemented our our supplies with the strange flora growing on the walls of the caverns. Fortune smiled upon us as we discovered a large underground lake that was filled with cave fish.
I no longer know the day. My thoughts are befuddled. Our stores exhausted, we have begun eating the spiders and giant insects that live within these caves. I do not know if it is something within them, something in the moss, or even something within the fish, but many of us have fallen ill within the last few days. Delirium has begun to affect many of us. I do not know how much longer we can survive.
So hungry. The ground speaks to me. Whispers in my dreams.