Plaguenarok Through Malina’s Eyes
Pestilence is my most detested enemy as a mortal. I’ve seen fatal infection take many souls far too early so it was not unreasonable that worry gripped my heart when the first of my friends fell ill with an unknown malady during our pilgrimage to the sacred ritual lands.
Belisama holds the title for being the most beautiful Ceasg I have ever seen. True, Belle is the only Ceasg I have ever seen but I am positive that no others are as beautiful as she. It was very unnatural to see her so sick, Belisama was punctually tidy and always had handy little tricks to keep herself presentable despite the company of brutish vikings. I suspect more precautions must be taken in lue of her scales. Her laughter sounded musical, like water trickling down a stream. Seeing her so pale and emotionless was heartbreaking. Belle was raised by druids for a time, it was abnormal for her not to be well or at least know what to do in case of sickness. I talked to her favored sailor boy Thatch— I knew nothing of Ceasg nature perhaps Belisama needed the ocean? Thatch, concerned as he was, insisted that she would be fine. He was right, naturally, though he shouldered the same unknown illness soon after as if he took it from her so his love would not suffer.
The next to fall ill was not a magical creature so naturally I felt uneasy when I realized this sickness could infect anyone. Dracon Adun, our own Jarl, fell deathly ill very quickly. Luckily he recovered as well but at the time of the outbreak it was not so certain he would survive. I always knew Dracon as being fearless in the face of danger, strong for the defense of his people and jovial in the absence of laughter but he was not any of these things as he sat in his chair motionless with a pained expression affix on his face. I remember watching him apprehensively as Dracon assured me that “Echo” was taking care of him. I of course have never seen Echo the willow nymph but I am not going to disregard the possibility of other magical creatures considering that I am, in a sense, one. Echo must have been at least a little bit real since I returned to camp one day after scavenging in the forest I found most of the Berserkers aiding in packing Dracon’s belongings per Echo’s instruction. His removal from the camp probably saved his life.
Perhaps the worst case of the unknown sickness fell onto Onion. No one really knows where he came from or why he was called Onion, his story gets longer every time he tells it but one thing was certain; this plague that swept across us did not care what kind of background you had. I found a new sense of admiration for the lad that week; even when the poor kid couldn’t bring himself to eat or talk he still put on a happy face as to not worry us, his family. Such a sweet boy, I am glad he survived. Cold and clammy he suffered through the ups and downs as I brought him cup after cup of purified water. I wished the whole time that I could fight the unknown demons that ate at his body like I fought the demons who tried to claim souls on the Eternal Battleground. Onion proved himself a worthy warrior anyway and for that, I was sure to properly congratulate him on his recovery when he was released from the quarantine tent.
Onion might have had it the worst but panic gripped the whole camp in it’s icy clutches when Tava fell to the plague. Tava was tough, smart and stubborn. Nothing could touch her, she always kept a considerable distance between her and her foes and picked them off expertly one by one with carefully aimed arrows. Unfortunately you cannot fight the plague with arrows. I’d scrambled over a snoring Lead when I heard my tent neighbor retching with such violence. Fear ran it’s way up and down my spine like I’ve never felt before as I’d struggled to put something on and open my tent flaps. Xain, ever vigilant, was already tending to his beloved. There is no wonder that man is an archer, his speed to assess dangerous situations is astonishing. Like lightning he bolted from their abode and across the large field to where the communal storage tents housing our medicinal herbs and equipment were located. Before I had even properly processed what was going on he had returned with a wool blanket, scooped Tava up in it and carried her swiftly but without jostling her back to the medical tent. Xain would have made a good Valkyrie if Valkyrie’s were not strictly female.
At first we thought the plague was spreading through improperly prepared meals but our most accomplished cook Tusk quickly disproved that theory. He would not allow such things to happen; he took his craft far too seriously. Even when he too came down with the sickness he refused to allow the food to be cared for improperly. He did not touch anything of course, he kept a safe distance away but yelled instructions across the common like an old man defending his property. I think the sickness got to his brain before the rest of him because far before he dissolved into angry old man yellings he was gaily waddling around camp cradling his friend’s heads in his hands while planting a wet kiss in the middle of their forehead. He was even speaking in tongues. “Pope-ah kees” was what he said. I still do not know what it means. Some people think it was some kind of crazy counter-hex to the sickness. I think it was the plague taking over his brain in order to spread to more people.
A large chunk of the down time in between tending the sick was spent trying to combat the sickness itself. Shamrock was my hero during this time. Shamrock was the one that saved my Lead from starvation when Lead’s village had been sacked so he already had my gratitude. As a child, Shamrock was sold as a slave to some sort of merchant and he’d picked up much in the ways of wisdom from his former master. I was thoroughly impressed with how he kept a cool head through all of this. Shamrock assisted me to lead our people in our Jarl’s absence. I often wonder if Shamrock ever had a family of his own before he joined up with the Berserkers. He has a lot of fatherly tendencies that are quite endearing. Not only that but his thick beard and tall stature certainly portray ‘essence of dad’ if you will. He cared for the females of our camp like wives and the males like sons. He was exactly what the camp needed at any given moment.
Eleven Berserkers fell, but thankfully recovered, to this unknown plague while we were suppose to be celebrating our annual pilgrimage. The list of the victims included humans, dwarves, and elves as well as three unsuspecting patrons that had visited our tavern tent, one of which was the demon Algol. I would not have been too upset if the inexplicable sickness decided to take the demon’s life somehow. I haven’t quite figured out of Algol is a good demon or a band one. Regardless, I was happy our camp as well as it’s guests survived the attempted purge. Maybe we had earned favor with a god of some sort. Whatever the reason, I am glad everyone was safe for now.