Inifra says that she has sent for help. I’m unsure how she did so, but she seems to have called for aid through the river itself. The tasks before us call for greater preparedness, she said. When she speaks, I find that I hear only flat words from a distant place. Presumptuous. She seems to have taken the mantle she wears too seriously without having received the necessary humility.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. I couldn’t help but think like this today as we packed up and left the fishing village on the banks of the lower Nanten River. We left instructions with the people in case my companions arrive after we have gone. They are ingratiated to Inifra after she discovered the root of the illness that befell them.

The gourds they used to carry water had begun to rot, though in a way none of them had ever seen before. The rot was subtle but, introduced through their drinking water, it was causing the children and elderly to fall severely ill. A few days of clean drinking seemed to clear up most issues.

How does she do that? Everywhere she goes, Inifra unearths something to fix. She reaches out and lives are saved. Even mine. She saved me from the KoraKora months ago when they would have overcome us at the height of my own fever. She saved me again from the depths of the Nanten River. She is something altogether separate from the rest of us in ways both good and bad. How much of her humanity is left to her? Though that is all I see on the surface, beneath I know there lives a Dread God for which I should have a base fear.

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The stiffness has yet to leave my bones from the impact, both the explosion and the final contact with the water below. My shoulder has mostly healed from the wound inflicted by the Chief of the KoraKora’s blade. My armor and Kinesthetic training proved ample to keep me alive, and Inifra’s ministrations did the rest. Still, I feel sluggish. Sore. I can’t remember the moment that the bridge exploded. Not really.

Salisir wanted to leave first thing in the morning but I couldn’t handle that. Whether I needed the extra rest, or simply wanted to spite the old man, I don’t know. Realizing that my friends might not have much time was what finally moved me to action, to agree that we should leave the river’s edge, but I took my time in packing. Still, even as we marched mere feet apart, I managed to speak less than a complete sentence to him all day. I simply don’t know what to say and am too angry to risk it. The bastard has the gall to treat me with a similar level of disinterest.

How can I arrive here, deep in the heart of the Nanten, and he doesn’t ask me even the most basic of questions? I would find it difficult to answer in any case, but his lack of curiosity infuriates me even more. Am I so inconsequential? Are the lives of my friends only worth what he thinks they offer as cogs in his wheel?

Gods, how have I become so petty?

Inifra has stopped trying to convince me to join him. Perhaps I truly am unnecessary here. How could I have been such a fool to have cast my heart so heedlessly at the feet of this woman? I look back on the past seven months and see everything streaked with grief. The open pit within me craved filling. I killed Lystra, my greatest passion. Then I discovered that Naline, the only woman who ever deserved my love, died just before my exile.

No wonder I have been so reckless. The realization slackens the sails of my soul yet further.

We successfully found our way back to the Broken Circle with little difficulty today. What I found most disturbing was how quickly we came to the trailhead at its edge. It was not far, nor was the path difficult. My companions should have found us by now.

We arrived at nightfall, so will have to investigate further tomorrow. Still, the distance couldn’t have been greater than twelve miles. Where are they?


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