"I am Forsaken…"

by Delar/Shengor
The sickening stench of death lay thick in the air as a fly buzzed by my ear landing on my plague festering face greedily feasting on my rotting flesh but the time of my caring has long since passed. "It's all wrong. How could things have come to this? With such pain, suffering and darkness in this life why even be born? I don't even want to know how this all ends. Because how could the end be happy?"

It was barely a month ago or was it a week? Time ceased having meaning along with everything else long ago. Fercel Talenberg, Garth's elder son, from up on Talen's Ridge farm staggered into town suffering from what we could only guess was pneumonia and some dreadful skin infection.

We rushed him over to Tessara's monastery the local Priest who was half way through marrying Jacob's son Edridge and the miller's daughter Sephris. I remembered while helping carry him how Fercel's skin burned with fever and the reddish purple streaks running up and down the veins lining his neck.

I should have been concerned about the risks but at that moment we were all wrapped up in the moment. Leaving him sprawled on the edge of town panting and crying out for help never cross my mind at the time but I've spent many hours since then thinking what could have been different…

At Tessara's bidding we rushed into the church's back room where we laid him on the table. At her request we all were sent out on different tasks for towels, water from the well and to old Brethra's herbalists shop. While everyone was sent out on his or her errands Teressa held me back and asked for details of our discovery of Fercel who had since fallen into a delirious ranting state.

I told her what few details I knew but that I certainly didn't have any insights on the situation beyond the obvious. I tried to remind her that I was a Mage and not a Priest so this was certainly not my area of expertise but Teressa quickly dismissed my hesitations.

Reluctantly at first I bent over Fercel's shaking and shivering body while Teressa using shears cut away his shirt. To my dismay I witnessed the same reddish purple streaks crisscrossing the veins of the ill-fated young man's chest. The feverish heat emanating from his wracked body was palpable even from this distance.

I pointed out these observations while Teressa nodded and pointed to numerous yellow-brown bruises slightly turning green running up and down his arms and legs. I distinctly smelled an odor that I could only describe as rancid milk emanating from his entire body. Fercel's spasming body doubled and we had to fight to hold him to the table.

By then a few of the others sent out returned accompanied by a gathering crowd. Teressa quickly moved to the door offering a brief summation of the situation and closed the door to the murmuring from the growing assembly of the curious.

I couldn't tell you how long the events of that day lasted but the horrors that his tortured body endured seemed to stretch into eternity. Fercel passed into the great clearing before the sun crested the morning's sky. A few of the town folk who went up to check on the Talenberg's farm returned with grim news of the entire family's demise.

By the end of the day we laid to rest the entire Talenberg family; grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, son, daughter… None were spared the horrors of this plague.

The tragedy of those two days left me exhausted both physically and emotionally. After wishing my friends all pleasant days and good health I began the long journey home. Finally being alone the tears I steadfastly held back flowed down my face.

The evening's chilling wind cleansed the troubles that filled my mind. I relished the gentle chirps of the crickets and gentle gray blue shadows that played over the forest. Memories and images of my family flooded my mind…

I felt a sting of regret remembering how earlier that week my youngest daughter Tabitha asked me to play her "ball game". The concept of this latest amusement was simple enough involving throwing a ball back and forth catching it before it hit the ground. I had numerous arcane studies preoccupying my mind and dominating my time but Tabitha would never settle for anything less than my undivided attention.

With a resigning sigh I agreed to play her game for as long as she not drop the ball when tossed to her. With a comic smirk I visualized her face screw up in concentration each and every time I tossed the ball to her determined not to drop it. There were many near misses but Tabitha always seemed to somehow catch each throw but in the end one flew threw her outstretch fingers and landed with a soft thud in the low cut grass.

Disappointment washed over Tabitha's face as she quickly scrambled over to pick up the ball to return the throw back to me. I steadfastly crossed my arms then shock my head and repeated the agreement of our game, which of course was replied with numerous pleas to continue until the next drop of the ball. I knew this pattern would of course result in the exact same plea told her that we could continue this game later and that I had numerous important experiments which needed my attention.

With a heavy heart I looked back to this dreadful day's events and wondered what arcane experiment could have been so vital that I could not have tossed the ball just one more time. With a pang of remorse my mind wandered to Garth, Fercel and the entire Talenberg family that would never have a second chance to do the things in life that make it worth living.

With a guilty conscience I vowed we would continue our ball game first thing tomorrow morning and would play till Tabitha got bored and wanted to do some fresh new adventure.

A new purpose strengthened my soul and carried me from the dark events of that day to the doorstep of my home and into the loving arms of my wife Syndey. I spent the next two wonderful days surrounded and enveloped in love, warmth and happiness. Those were the last days of any joy in my life…

The blight started innocently enough with the occasional cough or sneeze followed by a fever with fatigue. It took our youngest and oldest town folk first but soon no one was free of the signs from this scourge. Everyone quickly turned to the local Priests and herbalists of the community who seemed powerless against this disease.

Being a Mage I did not have the knowledge of healing yet I struggled in vain to save our youngest daughter Tabitha from the ravages of this sickness. After my eldest son Jaketh was also wracked with the affliction my desperation lead me to invoke numerous arcane spells I would never have dared under normal circumstances. Though all of my futile attempts proved useless to cure my plague stricken family I later came to know that I had somehow inadvertently mutated the disease that coursed through my body.

Within a day of putting my little girl to rest I had buried my entire family... Though my body was ravaged by the horrible affliction I refused to die without giving my family the peace in death I could not give them in life.

Delirious I staggered back to town to find the same tragedy had befallen my entire kin. The unnatural silence filled my soul with despair. With no more meaning left in life I let go and collapsed in the center of town. My tears had long ago been spent and grief gripped even tighter at my soul.

The sickening stench of death lay thick in the air as a fly buzzed by my ear landing on my plague festering face greedily feasting on my rotting flesh but the time of my caring has long since passed.

"It's all wrong. How could things have come to this? With such pain, suffering and darkness in this life why even be born? I don't even want to know how this all ends. Because how could the end be happy?"

With the last painful breath I would ever take in life I whispered…

"I am forsaken…"

Designed by Atomdesign