Day Four – Late yesterday, just as the sun set, one of our party grew ill and we were forced to halt and physick him. I was much worried as he seemed to be suffering a response to medication given by a doctor before our party set out, so despite the hour and despite the work left undone, we rode hell for leather to the physician’s office where it was learned that indeed, he cannot take whatever quackery they’d pressed on him. It was our good fortune we did so, because further use of this substance could have compromised him entirely. He is in good condition and good spirits now, stretching the truth to squeeze his lady’s heart. Our small company is subdued, but grateful nothing worse happened. These are such singular times. We found a goodly number of words at the midnight hour, as many as we required to satisfy demand for the day. I gathered them gratefully, but even if none had been forthcoming, I was grateful. I am still on task, having gathered in three days more than six thousand words. Some I fear will need to be thrown back; they are too small, or too blasphemous. Some reek odiously, as though I’ve pulled them from the very backside of hell, but all will be well.
The morning’s post brought a tide of previously gathered words, which gushed forth in stripes of red and bright green over the black ink, all in need of repair. How this will inhibit the day’s gathering of new words I do not know. Alas, none of the bearers can be given the work, even though they can most admirably be trusted with more menial tasks.
Coffee is plentiful here. The curse candy of All Hallow’s Eve appears to be entirely gone. It’s interesting to note that the poisoned treats seem to have left dissatisfaction behind among the party. There are those whose clothes fit differently, and those who, now accustomed to its vile effects, crave more. This is a provocative topic for discussion, but after yesterday’s brush with illness, one I choose not to enter into lightly.
For now I tread warily. In gathering food, I remain determined to skirt the edges of the marketplace, shopping only from those stalls with whole, naturally occurring fruits and vegetables, meats whose origins I can be assured of, and whole grains and legumes I can prepare myself. I’m leaving the dark interior stalls with their seductive cans and bottles and prepared and frozen boxes of god-only-knows-what to those with the desire for more adventure than I feel up to right now. Members of the party still bring in contraband daily.
The weather continues fine.