“May the Maker accept you.” Tamarel whispered as she knelt beside the man before her. She didn’t know the man’s name nor cared to. Although it was a piece of mercy she performed she went about her business with a sense of urgency. She placed the tip of her knife on the soft spot just below the chin and smoothly yet sternly guided the blade to the base of the skull. He gave a whimper and a feeble attempt to struggle against her hold; he was in no condition to resist – his strength taken by the darkspawn plague.
Thick viscous blood drained into the bucket she set below his cot, its color unnaturally dark. She held her hand over his mouth partly to muffle his cries, but mostly to deny any protests or pleas for aid. He was beyond that even if he didn’t know it. Still, it was best not to alarm the other patients. She had everyone that displayed signs of the taint ordered into quarantin in the town’s stables. It was one of the larger structures with a wide open room that made setting up an infirmary easy enough. Of more benefit was the abundance of dry hay which would make excellent fuel for the fire. She was glad for the little blessings, like the fact the townsfolk raised no question when she did not seek volunteer nurse maids to help care for so many. Everyone seemed so worried about their own fate that those of the afflicted mattered little to others right now. Family members and town officials were quickly dispatched to other duties, keeping them both busy and away. By the time questions would arise, the Falcon’s Hollow would be little more than embers and memory.
Keeping Deldrin busy arranging transport for the hundreds of mill workers, families and other townsfolk was easy enough as well. He clearly had no head for crises and seemed glad to have the burden of stewardship lifted from him. Vamros, Thuldrin and Payden seemed more concerned with the transition of their own holdings to worry about anything else. Overall, it seemed the town would turn a blind eye to its own demise. It was unfortunate, but necessary.
Hopefully the other wardens would return soon with the ingredients the herbalist requested. It could prove useful and a few souls may yet survive this for their efforts. Personally, Tamarel would see a swift and more definite end. Was there much of a difference if fate called now rather than three score years down the road? It was not for her to judge either way. All that remained would be to take what they needed from the town stores and set the kindling.
Tamarel lifted her hand as she felt the last bit of strength leave the man’s body. She wondered if the man really did meet the Maker, if such a thing existed. In her lifetime she has seen the rise and fall of many a hope disguised as the divine. Her ultimate conclusion was it was little more than a distraction from the inevitable. Still, it did her no harm to plant a small seed of hope if she could. She wiped her dagger on the man’s tunic, got up and retrieved another bucket from the stable’s shelf. She quietly set it under another cot and kneeled before its occupant, a young female – no more than twenty by the looks of it. The girl’s eyes flittered open as her mouth coaxed a weak smile at the sight of the fair elf. “Sorry to wake you,” Tamarel whispered. She paused a moment and then continued “May the Maker accept you.”