We found Dionus hanging from a tree. Thank gods he was alive. Timber was nearby, hiding with Balthandar under the exposed roots of one of the Nanten’s gigantic trees. They quickly came to the realization that it was Dionus that drew the monsters to them. Balthandar found that the Woads would ignore him and Timber if they distanced themselves enough.

Since the Woads could climb the trees, the only safe option for Dionus was to loop some long vines into a loose cradle and dangle from the canopy. The Woads hadn’t reappeared in two days, but Dionus didn’t want to risk drawing more to them. So he waited in utter silence for three days.

I am simply grateful they are alive.

Their initial progress down the face of the cliffs was treacherous, putting them a day behind from the start. The real problems began when they reached the Broken Circle. The massive, armored spiders there were even larger than those that attacked Inifra and me. And unlike those that attacked us, they didn’t stop their advance at the edge of the jungle. The carnage we saw at the trailhead was the result of their persistence. Dionus said their armor was so thick he could barely cut into them.

The only thing that caused the spiders to retreat had been the sudden appearance of the Woads. Balthandar said the Woads wouldn’t have been able to do much damage to the spiders, but they backed down anyways. The pecking order among monsters doesn’t always make sense.

My friends have been doing their best to hide for a week. They are shaken and weak, all of them. We immediately gave them what food we had.

The Woads have yet to make an appearance for us. Salisir claims that they rove the jungle in a broad, arcing pattern. They may already be too far away to sense the use of magic. He said there was a good chance we would not see them again for some time, yet I cannot lower my guard so quickly. It’s easy for someone like him to hide behind men like Dionus and me.

After they had eaten, Dionus asked Salisir a few questions. My friend may have been tired, but he retained his wits. He wanted to know how Salisir planned to unite the Nantese to overthrow the Daedra in Matasten. We all did.

Salisir explained his plan in simple terms. “The Great Recess has fractured into many groups, all of whom have fallen to fighting amongst themselves. Still, they recognize to varying degrees that the powers in Matasten pose the greater threat. They are withheld only by their fear of each other, and the deficit in power of their own. I have things they need, and when the time is right I believe I can unite them to overthrow the Prince sitting on the Oaken Throne.”

What Salisir has that the Nantese need, he will not say. He continues to imply that without his diplomatic intervention, the different factions will never find peace among themselves. The only interventions I could imagine him administering involved a bloodied club.

We will give my companions another day or two to rest. Then Salisir says he wants to continue south. The wave rises to crash against the shore. The time to act has come.

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I’m not so sure I want to be swept up into his schemes. But then, where would I even begin to approach the society I am now certain exists within the Nanten? Salisir does indeed have a plan, something he has been working on for years. He seems familiar with everything that surrounds us, and I know nothing of this place.

I will hold my own counsel with Dionus and Balthandar. We will decide this together.

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