We have made our return to the jungles of the Nanten.

Inifra began our day by warning us against our feelings. She said that the power of the Makonga lay not in revealing the truth, but in overwhelming the soul with whatever tools lay near the surface. It revealed our guilt, yes, but it also built upon it to make something new.

She explained that she bore the memories of over a dozen of her predecessors, and every fault of theirs was being presented to her as if it were her own. She asked us not to listen to the Makonga. If we did that we were surely dead.

Balthandar said that there was a beast like this in the mythology of the Summer Isles. He said that it was a disembodied sailor, one that floated the waters between the isles looking for mutineers. When it found such a ship, it would torment the traitors until they could stand their guilt no longer. Once driven to madness they would burn their very ship they sailed until it sank.

He said it was a story that was told to keep men from turning on their captains, but one that no land-dweller ever believed.

At least no land dweller until himself. And unfortunately for us, there were no hints as to how to stop it except to give it the lives of the mutineers at hand.

Inifra said there was little threat that we would ever harm each other. The desire that manifests more clearly is to harm one’s self, to end the oppression of the Makonga by letting it end one’s life.

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The Seventh Death. Suicide. There is no worse way in which to die, and I will not take that way out. But is there any other way to save my companions? If I am the murderer in our midst, if this is all my fault, then how can I hold on to my life at the risk of all the others?

They would not be here at all if it were not for me. They would not face this danger now if not, again, for me. Do I truly bring death to all I love? It seems so cliché for that to be my worry, for that to be the depression that rises up to stifle me. But isn’t it proven by my life so far?

And those who do not die reject me completely. My brothers, even my father and mother. The Tetrarch, the Old Empire… everyone.

Perhaps leaving this world behind is the only kindness I have left to pay it.

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