I wouldn’t have thought it possible for the jungle to get any thicker, but as we move east that is exactly what it does. Bantish brought us a few miles along until he found a particular creek. He told us to follow it, and then disappeared back the way we had come.

A few minutes of cursing his existence passed between my companions before we moved on. One can only delay so long before courage must win out or fail completely.


Our movements are slow, cumbersome. It is painfully pronounced to me now that I have seen the grace that someone like Bantish can exude gliding through these same obstacles. Vines, roots, none of it impedes his movement or slows him down.

When he was leading us he spent as much time waiting for us as he did moving forward.

All he gave us were two sets of flint stones and bamboo, carved with intricate runes he swore would protect us. He said we would know when we were drawing close – that he had once ventured east until the waters ran black and the trees grew sick. He said that once we are in such territory, the power of the flint and bamboo will decrease dramatically.

He said that in that territory the dark magic was too powerful for his own. This brings me no comfort. Bantish exudes veiled power.

But what is one suicidal mission traded for another? And if we should die, we might as well do it while accomplishing something. This is far better than wandering aimlessly through the trees, hoping to find some new clue. I am itching for a fight, as are my companions. And now that we have one to focus on, there is no more bickering among us.

We have found our next step. Now all that remains is to take it.

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