The Batsu are my choice; they sound like the most appealing alliance we can forge. Guerilla warriors can’t stand on a battlefield against regular troops, but what battlefields exist in the Nanten? Salisir claimed that their leader, Nienatara, would be the most difficult to draw into his plans, which tells me she trusts him the least. That lack of trust in Salisir makes for common ground between us.
I am no leader of armies in any case. My work is the bloody business of brawls and back-alley assassinations. My job is to keep the war from forming. If the war has started, give me the light troops and perhaps I can make a difference.
The challenge will be in circumventing Matasten without dropping so far south that we waste time, or run into the Sondu in Motasta. The way Salisir spoke of them, they sound most closely aligned to his vision for this jungle. We need to make further south though; after Gront’s warning I fear drawing too close to Matasten.
There are many things to fear here. Balthandar killed a firesnake in camp this morning. They aren’t terribly aggressive, but they are lethal. Bolton lost his arm to one within minutes and would have lost his life shortly thereafter had Kantoo not been there to cut the appendage off at the shoulder. I doubt any of us could do so with such skill, and if Balthandar is the one bitten, neither Dionus nor I have the knowledge to properly suture him up.
We’ve made good progress east over the last ten days; I would guess we are only another ten from Matasten. It’s hard to know how accurate Salisir’s map truly was, but for the amount of effort he’s put into this plan of his I would wager it isn’t far off. Beyond their obvious tactical appeal, I feel some other pull towards the Batsu that is more difficult to define. Perhaps it is the inherent distrust for the established authority that they display. For a man like me who has dedicated most of his life to supporting the standing order, perhaps that sounds strange. I simply feel they are my key.
If I can’t trust my intuition, there is little left that I can.