We found Inifra today, alive but completely exhausted. She was being carried in a third canoe that met us as we continued north. There were three canoes with her carrying men and women dressed for war. Nantese warriors, a strange sight yet a familiar one at the same time. They hailed us through the rain and when we converged we discovered Inifra among them, unconscious.
Her trip north had been carried out at a furious pace, Nonda translated. She used the rains to move even faster, but had exhausted herself in the process. She was pulled from the river a few days before by a handful of fishermen to whom she uttered her last words before she fell into the coma:
“Get me to my friends south. Tell them he made for the falls.”
We can only assume she meant that Salisir had made for the falls. What drove her haste to the point that she would exhaust herself? The KoraKora may be close, but her followers have kept us steadily ahead. Why was she in such incredible haste? It sounds as though, had she not collapsed, she might have made it to us days early.
Balthandar does not appreciate the increase of the Nantese among us. He has taken personal responsibility for Inifra’s care nonetheless. I appreciate that we have added to our number. Perhaps the key to defeating the KoraKora lies not in ourselves, but in mobilizing their Nantese rivals against them.
Dionus asked Nonda if there are many warriors left among the Nantese along the river. Nonda said that all and none are warriors. The Nantese were brave once, but no more. Not in the face of the KoraKora.
Dionus laughed. “Perhaps we will have to change that.”