During the course of my research into the causes of The War, I came across an interesting record. Glaucus only had a digital copy, preserved by their historians, the original document having fallen to pieces long ago. It is a first person account of the 2014 Corpus Christi Invasion, and potentially the earliest known record of the Plague of Fire. While I cannot fully account for the veracity of the events as stated by the author, it does certainly provide many interesting pieces of information, and confirm a few of my own theories. I’ve re-translated the entire text of this, the Birkenhain Journal, from the original German, and share it here, along with a few of my own annotations throughout.
I saw a family settling down for the night in the bed of a pickup truck. Seven or eight of them, with one kid who couldn’t have been more than two lying right in the middle of them all. They had a heavy tarp stretched over the top, keeping the rain out. Lucky for them it wasn’t snow again. Last night couldn’t have been good to them. The father’s foot was frostbitten.
It shouldn’t surprise me anymore, I guess. With the crisis, vehicles have become more useful for shelter than travel. Not enough gas to go around for families like theirs or like mine. There wasn’t even enough fuel for me to learn how to drive.
New Year’s was three weeks ago, but I’ve finally decided on a resolution. When the crisis is over, I’ll learn to drive and visit my uncle out east in Dresden. He was around back when the Autobahn wasn’t a mess of gravel. I bet he can teach me to go fast.
The man’s an amputee now. A self-made amputee. The only doctor around doesn’t have time for the likes of him. I nearly got sick looking at him and all his wife did was glare at me like it was my fault somehow. What am I supposed to do? I’m not the one who set off nukes. I’m not the one responsible for the riots or the shortage. Did I make it snow on them that night? Am I supposed to single-handedly resolve the crisis?
Of course not. Solving a crisis takes an army.
I think Emilie is on to me. She keeps looking at me with sad eyes, like I’m already gone. Like she already misses me. I heard her crying in her room the other night and when Mother came to check for fever or bad dreams, she just wouldn’t say a word. That’s not like her. It crosses my mind that I ought to tell her, but I can’t bear it. She’s too young, but she seems to figure out these things faster than any adult. It isn’t fair.
Maybe I should reconsider.
Markus is a real life-saver. He pulled together some supplies for me and stored them at his place so my parents wouldn’t find out. They’d never let me go if I was up-front with them, not after that letter they got about the Strauss’ eldest. Well anyway, it’s basic stuff, a couple days’ worth of food and water, some money, a heavy coat, some good walking boots, and a map. That should get me as far as Leipzig. Even with the crisis, the central station still makes its rounds and Markus says a one-way ticket to Rostock is half-price these days. There’s only one reason anyone goes to Rostock these days, and the recruiters know it. I guess reducing the ticket price was their little way of sealing the deal. Clever of them, isn’t it?
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