Entry 356 – Day 486

Entry 356 – Day 486

We only made it a few miles east when we heard the bridge explode. The Daedra have used my trick against the Nantese – they waited until Oroun’s forces were encamped in the town sprawling north of the bridge and then they detonated hidden explosives laced throughout. The Yatusu have been devastated.

We returned to find carnage where we had left an army reveling in its first victory. Out of 10,000 warriors, perhaps half can still fight. The rest died or were maimed by the blasts. The Daedra didn’t evacuate the town, in fact the presence of the populace that received the Yatusu and Batsu force made for a comforting assurance that we had truly taken it.

They were yet another sacrifice to the Daedric war effort. Thankfully the outer reaches of the town were spared the worst of the violence, as were the various scouting parties and reserves. Still, losing over half to casualties in an instant delivered the final blow to their morale.

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With the bridge broken and practically impassable, what’s left of the Yatusu army is cut off from the war. They will have to find a place to cross the river and join the Sondu, but by then this may be over. We were drawn into the trap and it closed around us. I fear the Sondu are being drawn to a similar fate. Was this true cunning or opportunism? Would the Daedra really throw away 20,000 followers just to draw our survivors into that trap?

I need to get the treeborn south of the city tomorrow. We have to warn Fodafa.

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Entry 357 – Day 487

Entry 357 – Day 487

Our canoes were where we left them, one small consolation after a steady string of disasters. The crossing was quick, though as stressful as the last. The current is strong for a river that flows in on itself. Traversing it was hard work. We didn’t have time to rest.

The Sondu have made camp south of Matasten, near the same hill from where we watched the Prince enact his ritual over the river. Thankfully Fodafa doesn’t trust the village sprawling against the river at the mouth of that bridge. We reached him as the light began to fail and gave him news of the slaughter in the north.

The bastard couldn’t help the slightest curl of a smile. I’d wager he counts it as a decrease in competitors for the throne over the loss of necessary allies.

The Sondu will send scouts into the village to sweep for traps before they move to the river. The need to take that bridge is obvious, but we cannot afford for the losses suffered by the Yatusu to be replicated here. I’m exhausted from the sprint to get here in time to deliver our warning. Fodafa hadn’t forgotten his distaste for Dionus. We’re sleeping in the trees tonight as a result.

I wouldn’t want to share his camp in any case. Once this is his kingdom, I’ll be happy to leave the whole place behind.

Entry-357-Quote-Fodafa's-camp and Kingdom

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Entry 358 – Day 488

Entry 358 – Day 488

Skirmishes in the village at the river crossing have revealed a few nasty surprises, but nothing to the scale of the traps from the other day. The villagers here were far from innocent bystanders. They were warriors in wait, with weapons stashed in their homes and under loose garments. I’m not sure who exposed the first, but once it became clear the Sondu would conduct a thorough sweep, the ambush was sprung.

Thankfully there were few losses on our side of the fight. Fodafa will move his army into the village once it has been checked over again and cleared. He has refused to grant us further audience. So long as Dionus is with me, he will not permit me near. So long as he maintains his bigotry, I won’t bother with him either.

We will maintain a patrol around the island, sticking to this far shore from Matasten as we ensure the Daedra do not make successful crossings. I don’t know what to expect from here, but Dionus and I are agreed that the odds of raids are high. It’s what we would do in their position.

What we really need is to find a way to draw the Daedric forces out into a pitched battle.

Wudan has been dying to practice with the Atmosphere, which comes as no surprise. I know how difficult it can be to quell one’s curiosities, to be forced into hiding just when the world seems to be opening for the first time. He’ll have too great of an opportunity to explore his power soon enough.

Dionus has the same itch, though his is more in the form of an addiction. He has become reliant on his touch to see the world around him, to quest out and keep his finger on the very pulse of the winds. It’s making him twitchy to run and swing among the treetops and know he cannot yet soar like that as he would wish.

We all of us must lay in wait for the right moment. The opportunity to strike will come; patience is our truest friend now.

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Entry 359 – Day 489

Entry 359 – Day 489

We caught a small squadron of Daedra crossing the river this morning before dawn. Four canoes. They had a lot of ropes and little in the way of other supplies. We killed them all before they made the bank, though they got close. Thankfully I’d roused the treeborn for an early foray, wanting to push my skills in the darkness as much as anything. I will say that tossing the ropes of my harness out into trees I can barely see makes for an even more frightening form of transportation than during the day.

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Who knows how many others have made it across the river in the days that passed since our arrival? It’s impossible to know. We’ll continue to sweep, though we are limited to crossing in the east.  We were unable to find enough canoes to cross the western stretch of the Nanten River.

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I’d like to get back to Salisir in the north. It seems the best course of action there would be to finish destroying the bridge and then move around Matasten to join the Sondu. I only wonder if having Fodafa, Nianatara, and Oroun in the same camp will cause enough trouble to undo the good of unifying their forces.

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Entry 360 – Day 490

Entry 360 – Day 490

We caught a scouting party east of the Sondu and left them in a perforated stillness. There was another group at the docks on the eastern river loading supplies onto a barge. We burned it from above.

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I absolutely love these Batsu treeborn. Deadly little demons in the canopy. We laugh a lot together now when we’re in camp, though the language barriers continue to prevent discussions at great length. It doesn’t matter. We’ve lost friends together, fought together, and we’ve quickly learned to trust each other.

We’ll make for the Yatusu camp in the morning. We haven’t seen them yet, but my hope is that they’ll have already decided to circumvent Matasten and join with the Sondu. I get the feeling that if they don’t do so soon, Fodafa is likely to lead his army into the city and the disaster that awaits, all by himself. Perhaps that is exactly what we need to get the Daedra into a fight, but I’d rather we had some Nantese left to inhabit this place when the war is over.

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Entry 361 – Day 491

Entry 361 – Day 491

I found Inifra on the banks of the river in the crossing. Sunlight brilliant on the water in its freedom from a canopy that cannot stretch over the river. Just one slash of light and we could see her for a hundred yards. It made me ache, the time it took to reach her filled with conflicting thoughts.

She welcomed us and said that she was awaiting the Yatusu force. They were busy building rafts another half-mile in from the river. Her bearing was as regal as always, but somehow softer. The smile she gave me was small, but it gave a thrill. I did my best to maintain a sense of formality in the interaction, but knowing what I know now… it makes it so difficult.

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On the other side was the desire to run. My presence is somehow a threat to her very life, and all for these small sensations that any two people might feel involuntarily. They truly are involuntary, which makes them all the more potent.

Oroun has gathered his army to himself and brought them around to cross the river. He left a contingent at the broken bridge to watch and defend the small path that remains across it, perhaps 500 warriors. The rest number around 10,000, and those are who he intends to cross. Even with our efforts to clear these banks and the surrounding areas, he doesn’t trust this action to the light of day. His intention is to send his force across under cover of nightfall and trust Inifra to keep them safe.

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Salisir has taken a quiet back seat to the direction of the Yatusu leader. He pulled me aside to say that the time was near, to keep my eyes open. I asked him if we weren’t in danger of being knocked off course by the events at the bridge and he shook his head. “We’re right on schedule.” He asked me for the key I wear around my neck, the one he says fits the Mentalist box. I no longer saw a reason to withhold it from him. It does me little good, and I’m happy to be rid of the hated symbol.

We made a sweep of their side of the river, finding only one small scouting party in the process, and have already made our way back across to the southern bank. It was sad to see Inifra go, she gave us a little push from the water to speed our passage, but it will be good to keep some distance. I feel an increase in my anxieties when she is near, a fear that danger draws close with me.

I’ll keep my Batsu treeborn on this side of the river until the Yatusu have secured their foothold, then we will make west and put some distance between Inifra and I. It’s not what I want, but it’s certainly needed right now.

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Entry 362 – Day 492

Entry 362 – Day 492

The Sondu suffered the strangest blow in our absence. Yesterday their western flank came into contact with a massive contingent of Daedra. We only found out about it this evening.

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We helped the Yatusu secure the southern bank in the early hours of the morning, only meeting scattered resistance as they shifted their numbers across the water, then took off through the trees for the Sondu army. Fodafa captured the village at the bridge a few days ago. His engineers have begun building rafts of their own to cross on either side when they make their assault.

Their position is secure, and they were able to keep from suffering any large number of casualties in the process of taking the town. What surprised them was a large party that came up from the west and crossed the river yesterday morning. Their patrols were only able to give them a small window of warning before their western flank collided with a thousand Daedric troops.

They were explosive, pressing north with no regard for Fodafa’s soldiers until they hit the water and crossed on low barges that had been sunk in the muddy southern bank. They had something with them unlike anything Fodafa’s men had ever seen. A monster, they claimed, though many said it was held in captivity. It wasn’t the same disjointed black madness we have already encountered, though their descriptions made it difficult to know for sure. Gray or dark blue, some said it looked like a walking tree, others like a giant lizard.

I wish I’d seen it myself. In any case, the Daedra were able to get it across the river, even with the casualties they suffered. It’s the biggest activity we’ve seen among them yet. The banks of the river remain relatively calm, their scouts subdued. The far bank is quiet, eerily so. It gives a sense that Matasten is abandoned. I’ve already heard Fodafa’s generals discussing an assault – it feels like a trap.

Needless to say, they’ve set their scouts to dredging the shores of the river for any more hidden barges. They’ve found three which they intend to repurpose for their own crossing. Dionus and I went down to investigate and sniff around a bit, just to ensure there aren’t any enchantments or other traps in wait. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Daedra lead Fodafa to their barges only to leave them rigged and ready to sink in the crossing.

We’ll scour the western reaches tomorrow and see if we can’t come up with anything else for them.

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