I finally arrived at the Clarke estate today. It would be a lie to say that I arrived via wagon. To tell the truth, the wagon stopped several hundred wheels from the estate, refusing to get any closer. The roads, if you can call them such, are in ill repair if they exist at all, and I was forced to navigate the treacherous cobblestone the rest of the way. I have not seen such proof that the peasantry lack civilization since I last followed the plague, attempting to heal the destruction left in its wake.
I had taken care not to get my hopes up about what I would find, though what appeared before me would have been below my lowest expectations. The castle sat in ruin, seemingly shroud in shadow, perched up on a hill that offered a view of the surrounding countryside. A squat hamlet sat at the base of the hill, a few dingy huts that surrounded a small tavern and leaky church that served as the center of what passed as life in this miserable hole. The tavern was surprisingly full with a number of other travelers, all of whom were chasing the same rumor I was: That Master Clarke was willing to pay anyone who could help him reclaim his festered lands
I ordered supper from the tavern owner and found myself eating surprisingly delicious stew, though my ravenous hunger may have helped in making it more palatable. I had taken a seat next to a soldier, though he denied being as much. I asked him what the news was, and he told me what I already knew. The young Master Clarke was due to return to his ancestral homelands any day now, he claimed, and was willing to pay good gold for anyone would join him on his quest. I pushed to see if he had any information that was valuable, but he either didn’t have any or was keeping it to himself. He was able to direct me towards the local apothecary to refill my depleted stock of medical supplies, which I thanked him for. After dinner I was quick to secure a private room from the tavern owner and retired early, wanting to remove myself from the rabble downstairs.
I shall set out early tomorrow to restock my medical supplies and make an assessment of the situation to determine what opportunities may be gleaned. I can only hope that this will not prove to be a waste of time, and that the young Master Clarke will be good to his word.