Hezarus is rising on our port side. And likewise Nol-Oman is fading behind the Southern Cross. The inky depths are quiet. In fact they are silent. Nothing on the plains of Belarol could have prepared a person for the darkness and the silence here. Even aboard the ship there, are often sounds. After all, I am not alone here, but in the laboratory only I go, and my equipment is not very loud.
How I wish that it would make some noise. A crash, a whirl, a buzz – anything. But I am at a loss. They all look to me, and what am I to tell them? That I come here and spend hour upon hour merely praying for a solution, praying for a miracle? I've been runing tests since long before we left. My lab in Belarol was enormous, and my fellow Warlocks were skilled – but even they could not devine the solutions to our collective problem. Now Belarol is gone. It has been reduced to a murky ruble and the flora and fauna that thrived there only a few years ago, are all completely extinct. Except for us. We few lucky ones. Sometimes I wonder if we really are lucky.
We've found a way to slow the sickness. The sickbay is kept at a constant temperature of -65° Zelylis by Alir, the Cryomage. Nobody much cares for Alir, but he is the only one who can slow the virus, and he mostly keeps to himself down there. They look like corpses. Oh, but they are conscious – they walk around and speak, just very slowly. It takes one an hour just to say “Hello”. My daughter and her friends make up stories and rumours about what Alir does down there. Just childish blather, but still, I discourage such talk. She's been through so much – I should let her find joy wherever I can.
I alone know our collective fate. We are floating toward certain death. Each and every one of us. We won't make it off of this vessel. I should be spending time with Cyla, but if I didn't pretend to work in here, then they'd all know the truth. I can't let that happen. I must keep up appearances for as long as possible. When they find out, what will they do? I know. We all remember how people reacted to the information back on Belarol. It was, in complete seriousness, tragic. The irrationality, the bloodshed, the senseless violence, and the animal brutality that emerged in each of us – these were too much to bear.
All I can do now is sleep, and dream of a happier time. . .
Log, today is an important day. In my slumber, I unwittingly stumbled upon an interesting idea. There is a test that has not been attempted, and I have high hopes for it. From the root of the Uschahia Virrinmorth, there is an extract I have in my collection. It has been known to have medicinal value – and not just the Collwort kind either.
Well Log, after running several tests, my hopes have been raised. After viewing the interaction of the Virrinmorth root's individual cells when in contact with the Nephrolithic antigens, I must admit my optimism. Though the reaction doesn't end with the destruction of the Nephrolithic cells, but they become completely covered, masked as it were, by the Virrinmorth cells. The end result is a faint layer of the brown Nephroliths, covered by the pale Virrinmorth.
Of course, more tests must be run, but I have high hopes for the Virrinmorth.
Log, the tests have not yet been completed, but I fear that I must cut them short. The evening, if that even means anything anymore, past human interaction of the worst kind occurred. Alir was caught. . . defiling one of the infected persons. In her sleep it would have taken her an hour or more to awaken. I suppose some of the stories my daughter and her friends gossiped of were not completely untrue. The other passengers were outraged. I tried to plea with them, but to no avail. He was evacuated from the atmospheric chamber. Now we only have a few hours before the ice melts, and the sickness rears its ugly head. I'm going to try the Virrinmorth treatment, and I'll use it as a protective agent against the Nephrolithis.
Log, I'm sorry to have been absent for a few days, but I have the most majestic of news. Each and every passenger aboard the ship is free from the clutches of the Sickness. I haven't felt such pleasure since before they took Polya away from me. Anyone who is reading this, please, remember this lesson: Never lose hope, and never doom the people you love. I shan't be returning for some time, Log. I have nothing left in this laboratory.
Log II, you are a replacement. I fear I will never see my original Log again. But, I must record the events of the past few days, lest I forget them. I woke up several days ago. And the ship was strangely silent. As quiet as it had been in my lab. I was concerned. Had something happened? I couldn't imagine the gravity of what had occurred.
I walked out into the dining chamber. It was in disarray. Now, I was filled with fear. I ran into the ship's common area. There they were. Sitting about and trembling. Some of them injured. I couldn't believe what I saw. Their eyes. Their noses. Their mouths. Every facial feature: Gone. It was terrifying to witness. I cried out in horror. And at the sound of my voice, they arose. I could sense a change in them. They began to follow the sounds I made. Crawling and stumbling toward me. Were they angry? Did they blame me? Then I realized – the Virrinmorth. What had I done?
As I realized the terrible thing that I had done, they found me. They began to attack me. Scratching and clawing at my person. But the physical pain was nothing in comparison to the mental anguish. They knocked me to the ground, and began to kick at me. I looked up through my tears, and I saw the blank slate where my daughter's face once was.
The next thing I knew I was here. This town. This festival. These people – cheerful and rejoicing. They had no knowledge of what was occurring on my ship. I didn't know what had happened, but I knew that I was sent here for a reason. I looked at their smiling faces, and I knew what I had to do. I raised my hands and the pouch of Virrinmorth that hung around my neck began to glow. A slight sizzling of the air occurred. The crowd grew quiet and eyes began to draw themselves to me. Then they were gone. The eyes I mean. The mouths. The beards and eyebrows and philtrums. Everything. I silently smiled. And as they wordlessly writhed in their new existence I picked up an empty journal from one of the selling booths. And found a quill and ink at another one.
And now I write here, and I will put down my plans. I will use my new powers to punish those who do not mourn for those lost aboard me Belarollian escape vessel. If my people must suffer, so must the entire world. Each of them.