Today is a sad day. The benefit of many armies traveling this path in the past is the wide trail left behind. However, that does not mean it is without peril. The descent is steep at times, and the rocks worn smooth from the thousands of soldiers that passed this way over the centuries.
While making our way down a particularly precipitous part of the path, Pelmarco and Feliko could not carry Beral, so he had to come down slowly by himself, trying to keep his weight off his broken ankle. Unfortunately, he lost his balance and fell. Everyone tried, but no one managed to catch him. By the time he reached the bottom, his neck was broken. Elendra’Tel was the first to reach him. She gave him something to dull any pain he might still feel, but we could do nothing else for him. Beral died early this afternoon, and is buried at the bottom of that treacherous slope.
This was the fourth soldier we lost on this expedition, although only the third to die. Sidrat is still in Perduva Coho awaiting the return voyage. If things continue at this rate, only half the soldiers will ever return to Atalan unscathed. For an expedition that doesn’t intend on battle, is this an acceptable rate of attrition?
We did continue a little further today, but after the loss of a soldier, we set up camp earlier than usual. Losing people is nothing new since we’ve been through it before. However, watching Beral fall helplessly to his demise had a worse effect on us than seeing other comrades fall bravely in battle against the darkened Awa in the Bay of Ivil. There is little talking tonight, and Pelmarco walked off by himself. I expect he feels bad about not providing more assistance down the steep incline. As for me, I am making my bed tonight away from the camp.