Entry 320 – Day 450

Entry 320 – Day 450

The Daedra fought to the death; to a man, they all fought until they died. There will be no surrender in Matasten, only chaos and slaughter. I hope Salisir has accounted for this or there will be no one left in the Nanten to enjoy the peace.

I am simply glad to be liberated of the Daedra.

All of us were immediately overwhelmed by a flood of healers who began inspecting our wounds and shoving food in our faces. It made me think of Balthandar. Who will take such good care of me now that he’s gone? Such a constant friend, selfless. The world has lost a better man in Balthandar than it ever will in me.

Salisir graciously spoke with Nianatara and reunited her with a pair of her generals. She bristled at the proceeding, that Salisir should be the one to release her from captivity, but she held her tongue. It was a good thing she did, because as soon as the Batsu had left us Salisir went on a tirade that lasted for minutes about her foolishness.

I couldn’t agree more.

“You can thank your magic asses that the Daedra value fresh expressionist blood over any other commodity, or you would have all been killed already. If that damnable woman had mobilized her main force…”

I asked if she wasn’t an expressionist herself.

“Not that one, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the end to find out she’d been hiding it all this time. No, it would seem the dark bastards have the common sense to capture and hold leadership for leverage. This is going to be a real fight.”

He launched into another tirade at that point. The elite force of the Batsu largely destroyed, their overall force decimated if not worse, and Nianatara would still likely try to disengage from the war. I asked if she would succeed at that and he said no, he’d seen to that. “She’ll hate me for it, but she can go to hell.”

I reminded him that he had said it was what the Batsu knew that made them important to him, and he said knowing how to attack from above was as valuable as their spies. The question led him to another brief rant before he straightened himself and said ‘Enough.’

We’ll meet Oroun tomorrow and have a chance to discuss the overarching strategy to the war now that things have changed so dramatically. The Batsu have lost more than just a tenth of their number, by the sound of it they’ve lost almost half. Salisir’s fury seems to be over the loss of the treeborn units over everything else. They were what he hoped to deploy behind enemy lines, to keep the Daedra off balance and demoralized.

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I told him how little I would count on affecting Daedric morale after what we saw; he grunted in response. I also expressed my uncertainty over the wisdom of attempting an incursion into Matasten. Whoever it is they’ve trained to sense magic, they’re incredibly sensitive. He responded that we just needed to draw their forces out and opportunities would present themselves. He wants Dionus and me in there. When I mentioned the strength we perceived in the Daedric Prince, he mentioned Wudan and said we will have the strength we need.

We’re to move off tomorrow. If things have gone at all to plan in Motasta, then the Sondu should be on the march north. Oroun has already sent forces west to secure the tunnels between us and the capitol. Once they’re sure no Daedric forces will be able to pop up behind us, we will advance on Matasten. It’s time to get some sleep and prepare ourselves for the real event.

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Entry 319 – Day 449

Entry 319 – Day 449

Brin Salisir has added another monster to the list of things he’s killed. I saw a flash of purple this morning and then it dropped from the trees to the north of us. Thank the gods it’s gone.

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Oroun must have come in force, for the Daedra are surrounded. Fighting has erupted on all sides today, fierce as any I have ever heard even without the cacophony of steel on steel. We’ve set up our own perimeter. If that priest approaches us, he’ll find his blade in a vein he’d rather not see opened.

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Entry 318 – Day 448

Entry 318 – Day 448

The Daedra have stopped moving altogether. In fact I think we have been pushed south today, though I cannot say how far. That monster caught our scent this morning and went berserk on its chains. I think they must have lost a few of their own keeping it from us – how can it know of our touch when the Atmosphere is nowhere near us?

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Wauloo collapsed yesterday and has been carried by a Daedric follower ever since. He keeps his distance from the rest of us, but then does his best not to draw too close to the perimeter either. The Daedra really don’t trust themselves to handle us properly. Further proof that we are in serious trouble should that priest decide that now is the time to finish us off and hope for the best.

The rest of us are improving across the board thankfully. In spite of the constant marching, we’re freshening up. Perhaps it’s only in comparison to the increased sluggishness of the Daedra around us, but we aren’t struggling as hard as I would expect.

One Daedric follower came over to inspect us earlier, sniffing around as if he were going to find something new about us. Someone called for him to return, it was easy to get the impression that he was on his own. Dionus and I put him in an early grave for his arrogance and none of them dared approach us.

Daedra are miserable creatures. Their beliefs put them so far from one another even in the midst of unifying them. Perhaps he thought he could advance his own personal ascension by being near us. Maybe he was drunk. In any case, someone should have stopped him.

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Killing never feels good, not really, unless it’s Daedra that you’re killing. There’s something satisfying about it, like swatting a mosquito or taking a shit. Let’s hope a few more of them get curious and follow suit.

We’ve begun huddling closer together at night to keep from being separated when chaos finally catches us up. I want my sword back so badly. I could wield it, pain or no. Just put the hilt in my hand.

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Entry 317 – Day 447

Entry 317 – Day 447

They unleashed that beast on the treeborn this morning. It was huge, walking on all fours but with larger arms than legs. They moved it closer to us, but I think they’ve been trying to hold it back this whole time which makes me fear that it’s magic-seeking. As soon as another ambush was let loose on the Daedra the monster was set upon the treeborn.

It’s huge, black, like some misshapen ape with the facial features of a bat. It leapt twenty feet up the trunk of the nearest tree and climbed so fast that the treeborn barely had time to shoot at it before it was among them. It threw at least a dozen to the ground before they were able to retreat. I think it took the Daedra an hour or more to coax it back down.

The fight was quick, and the sight of those poor souls tumbling hundreds of feet to their death was sickening. We need to figure out a way to kill it if we can, or at the very least keep it distracted. Balthandar would have loved the challenge. Damn Starlark. And Inifra for letting him go. Would that she had tried to save him, this would have all gone so differently. And if Nianatara had only listened… it does no good dwelling on all of the mistakes that led us here.

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We still don’t know how to make any real impact on Daedric movements. At this point we are only able to watch and wait for an opportunity to present itself.

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Entry 316 – Day 446

Entry 316 – Day 446

We’ve swung to the southwest again, progress slowing as the fighting intensifies to the north and east. Who the hell is it?

Nianatara’s treeborn have begun harassing our captors and are relentless at it. Arrows fall from above at regular intervals, small ambushes that dissipate as soon as the Daedra try to mobilize a response. They can’t shoot high enough, and every attempt to climb the trees is cut short by an arrow to the neck of the climber.

It’s a good sign. It means that the treeborn warriors have reconnected with their supply line, which means that at the very least it is the Batsu who are chewing away at the eastern flank. I wouldn’t be surprised if Salisir brought Oroun to our aid as well. He did say to give it a month, and it’s been well over that.

We might make it out of here yet. If only they don’t murder us for our blood in desperation.

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Entry 315 – Day 445

Entry 315 – Day 445

We’ve swung up to the western flank of the army. The remainder rests between us and whatever force presses in. Something huge is out among them, walking among the trees. Is that the weight Dionus felt before the Atmosphere was banished from us? They didn’t unleash it on us, whatever it was. Will they use it against this new foe? I wish I knew who was engaging the Daedra.

They’re fresh, whoever they are; their advance is compressing the Daedra into us. We would be bouncing off them if they weren’t dead set on keeping their distance.

Dionus and I began testing that resolve today. We stopped, folded our arms, and stared the bastards down as they advanced towards us. I hadn’t gotten that good of a look at them in days. It took every ounce of resolve I had not to throw myself at them and tear their eyes out with my bare fingers. Those eyes are hidden behind slits in helmets unlike any I’ve seen.

Covered in black leathers and random patches of mail, they look inhuman. Revolting.

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Those nearest us slowed, pressed from behind by comrades who couldn’t see, and a small panic rippled across their surface. Then one of the bastards carrying a suppression relic approached us from the side. He grunted something and gestured back violently. Dionus punched him in the throat in response. I picked up the suppression relic and shoved it in his gaping mouth and Dionus gave it a solid stomp that ended his thrashing.

That was enough to get some real attention. All weapons were discarded before fifty men encircled us. We were able to take down a few, though Dionus did most of the work in my weakened state. Still, I raged and kicked and bit until we were subdued by the sheer weight of their bodies. To their credit, I don’t think either of us suffered any new harm.

We were carried for a few hours after that. Eventually they put us down, gave us a pointed shove to the west, and then left us on our own. We might have to try that again, but my shoulder hurts worse for the effort, and I get the feeling we bought ourselves only a few seconds against the march. Not worth the risk, but satisfying to resist nonetheless.

We’re going to find a way to slow these bastards down. My vengeance will be swift when that time comes. Gods but I’m going to shred this jungle once I can touch the Atmosphere again.

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Entry 314 – Day 444

Entry 314 – Day 444

Someone has attacked the Daedra on our northeastern flank. The shockwave of it was visceral, like the army was a single biological unit. They rippled and then moved into action, reforming around us to put their strength between us and whoever is pressing south.

Things are going to get desperate quickly if they feel threatened. Will they sacrifice us on the spot rather than lose us, or will they break away and force us to run? We could force them to carry us, but I fear what methods they will have to encourage acquiescence.

Our course has taken a westerly turn, abandoning the attempt to move any farther north. I wish I knew who was attacking. The ring of Daedra has closed in around us notably, but not enough to negate the sense that they are giving us an absurd amount of space. Could they fear us?

If only there was a significant break in their line. I can see through my left eye again, and Inifra’s ministrations have finally gotten me to a place where I feel I could run if I had to. Not long, but enough to break away. If only we had more potent healers among us. If only Balthandar was here.

My blood boils to write such things. Balthandar should be here and Starlark should be caught in the embrace of the Makonga. This will end, but not with my death. It ends when this nation falls and is reborn. I am the watch ringing the camp of humanity. I am the beacon on the mountain side. I am the blade in the hands of the gods.

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Come what may, I won’t die until this Daedric society is ground to dust.

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