We came across a KoraKora totem today. It stands twenty feet tall, a skull carved from the living wood of a massive tree of the Nanten. A snake was made to crawl through its eyes. Its gaping teeth were blackened with soot while the paint they used to color the rest was fading.
We have gone forty-five days without sight of the KoraKora. Forty-five happy days whose bliss went unnoticed by us in our ignorance. Now I look back upon them with a longing that they do not fully deserve. The KoraKora. I would take any of hell’s agents over these cannibals.
I didn’t need Inifra to tell me what it was. I knew.
She said we were entering the eastern reach of their territory. Many of them had left this place to join their chief in his hunt of us, but it would not be devoid of their presence. They could be anywhere.
Gods, these are words that – quietly – I had hoped were no longer necessary, let alone ones I could combine.
Of all the fates that could befall a man, being eaten by another human being seems among the worst. Being eaten alive, as we saw the KoraKora do when we first encountered them, that may very well be the worst.
What could drive men to such barbarism? Surely we all separate ourselves from those we kill. We dehumanize them. It is a vital part of the training of any warrior. But not to the level that one could eat another. Yet while that seems beyond capacity, it is obviously possible. What do they do to get to that point? How desperate could they have once been to resort to it?
Even Kantoo’s stories of how the KoraKora treated his tribe like cattle were difficult to believe, yet so cold and calloused that they could be nothing if they were not true. We have roughly a month to march through the territory of my most feared enemy, and there is no way around it.
I would be lying if I said I was not scared. I wish we were anywhere but back in the territory of the KoraKora. We will do our best to avoid them, and kill any we cannot.