The monsters of the Broken Circle are unlike anything I have ever seen. Spiders grown larger than horses, with armored plating and long forelegs like iron scythes. We could see them roam the surface of the circle during the day. They are quick, lythe. Somehow that makes them all the more disturbing. They roam on the hunt, returning to hide in the cracks and crevasses that crisscross the land.

Inifra says the caves under the Circle are vast and convoluted. I can only imagine the most hellish of images: unknown beasts fighting for dominance in the darkness and rising to the light only to feed. They hide in the low trees that grow atop the broken hills. I know this because when the rains come, they drop immediately and scurry into the nearest crevasse.

They also drop from the trees when any unfortunate animal happens to wander too close. I saw a deer with straight antlers come to such an end. Those sharp forearms killed the poor beast instantly. If they hadn’t, the weight of the monster on top of it would have crushed it in any case.


Having seen all of this from the safety of our island, I was reluctant to cross the water. But Inifra knew the timing of the rains, which was what made our passage possible at all. Minutes before they came she helped me swim to land. There were rapids just below the lake, so taking the river out of the Broken Circle was not possible for me. We had to make land and move on foot.

More than once Inifra struck out at something in the water to keep it at bay. I never saw it myself, and I did not want to know what it was. Finally the rains came. From where we floated in the water we could see three of the giant spiders drop from trees and scramble for cover. I would never have seen them otherwise. They were terrifying.

We made our way along the shores of the lake and then the river. At every point where the crevasses opened nearby those things attacked us. The reward of food outweighed their distaste for the rains. Inifra could use the falling water against them, splintering ice in their eyes – of which there were plenty to attack – and pressing them back underground by sheer force. Only when the rains stopped did we have troubles.

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I was unable to fight. It took all I had to keep moving forward. Inifra had to start drawing water from the river to force the monsters back, but they no longer retreated underground. Instead they began to follow and harass us. At one point there were three of the monsters, though they began to jostle for position then.

Their mouths were small, but lined with hideous teeth. Inifra began to grow weary keeping them back, and then by accident knocked one in the river. It sank. Immediately she knocked a second in the river. It sank as well. The others backed off then, though they never fully left us alone.

We made it beneath the familiar towers of green and away from the Broken Circle after a few hours of steady progress. For all we could tell, the spiders did not follow. Regardless, we moved another mile into the jungle to build some space. We will stay by the river and wait for the others to join us. I need the rest, and it makes for a better landmark than anything south.

I hope they have had less difficulty than we did in their crossing.

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