Balthandar expressed his disapproval of Inifra’s presence to me today. The Makonga is gone, he said. Why isn’t she? I have wondered the same thing, but didn’t mind that she stayed.

Balthandar has always had a dislike of the Nantese, but I never fully understood it. I asked him why. He said simply that they were undeserving of our company. They were a conquered people. They were unworthy to be in my presence.

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That opened it all up to me. Islanders believe in strict cultural hierarchies. Those that have conquered others, whether by war or trade, are considered superior. Those that have been conquered, then, inferior. It is a common enough sentiment across all human boundaries, however Islanders believe it openly.

Where many nations and cultures might show defiance to their betters, or simply attempt to avoid recognizing differences altogether, Islanders treat these hierarchies as if they were explicitly standardized. Thus they would show great deference to any Imperial peasant as if he himself were responsible for the Old Empire’s rise to power. The relationships between the Isles themselves are a spider web of confusion.

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An Islander’s distaste for someone like Inifra, powerful and elegant as she may be, would not be affected by anything save her heritage. Islanders see groups first, they don’t see individuals. The Nanten is a failed state, a Kingdom that imploded. I can’t believe I didn’t catch this sooner.

Unlike Starlark, Balthandar will remain civil so long as Inifra is in my good graces. Still, I don’t know how far I can push that. Balthandar is calm, reasonable, but heavily influenced by his rearing. Having any Nantese with us for long could be cause for insult.

Inifra remains distant. Why is she still here? It’s as though she’s deciding something. I certainly hope it is not whether or not she should turn on us. Dionus’ sudden elevation in power makes me feel safer on all fronts, but having Inifra decide against us would cause me grief for other reasons. I have enough to cause me grief as it is.

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