It should come as no surprise to me that Salisir would lie, but I feel like a fool for buying it. He had already asked Fodafa for permission to leave a few days ago, slipping into the city while we were busy speaking with Wudan’s grandmother. He left us surreptitiously last night to get our pass, and was back before we were up to move.
We truly are untrustworthy children.
What’s worse is that Hembila has chosen to be our escort from Fodafa’s territory. He made it clear that he wasn’t just there to protect us, he was there to keep our “corruption” from ruining their land. Again we do not know his full strength, though by the end of the day we guessed there were perhaps thirty men traveling with us. They treat us with a hostility that was not present in our trip to Motasta. They all watch Dionus.
My friend has withdrawn into himself, keeping his eyes lowered and his lips sealed. His rage remains kindled by these men that surround us. I can sense the Atmosphere respond to his anger, something I continue to try and bring to his attention. Balthandar and I spent the day walking on either side of him. Guard up.
Salisir says that Hembila’s men will leave us within the month. If they don’t alter their posturing, they may not live so long.
Along with Inifra and Timber, Wudan has come with us. He did not want to stay in Banditown, and though his mother and grandmother protested at first, I think they were proud to see him off with us. They believe Wudan will be a great man, and the only way to become great is to do great things. Let us hope the great things we lead him to are not terror and sudden death in the depths of the Nanten.
To keep his mind off our escort, I started asking Dionus questions about Wudan. The potential applications of his ability to suppress or amplify the Atmosphere around him are a fascinating thing upon which to ponder. We cannot sense him use them at all until they are in full force. It makes sense, then, that the Daedra wouldn’t have found him before.
After thinking upon it, Dionus’ prevailing theory is that the Daedra were coming for us. Perhaps they had followed us into the city from the jungle, but in any case we are not so good at hiding our trail as we should like. Wudan knew we were there, and though he seems especially attuned to the Atmosphere we can only assume that there are others who can sense us as well. His kidnappers clearly sensed us coming before they would have seen us in the street.
Dionus thinks that they only diverted to Wudan because they could feel him reaching out to find us and realized what he was. Not only would he be easier prey, I imagine he would be more useful to them than we would. What concerns me most, then, is how certain I am that there were others we never saw. It means the Daedra are fully aware of Wudan’s existence now. They will try to take him again.
Timber doesn’t fully appreciate having Wudan along yet, but I think it will be good for her to have another child around. She’s made it clear that she expects her lessons with her blade to continue as we travel. It’s becoming one of my favorite parts of the day.
Salisir has said that he needs to mobilize Yatusu in the northeast, a feat that sounds impossible to hear him describe it. Yatusu and the Sondu aren’t natural enemies so to speak, but they are complete opposites in how they lead their people and what they hope for the future. The Sondu are obviously a strict monarchy, and hold to the claim their lineage places upon the Oaken Throne. The people of Yatusu, however, believe in a form of meritocracy. Their leader, Oroun, leads because his people deem him the most worthy to do so.
The Sondu and, by extension, the people of Motasta believe in noble hierarchy. The people of Yatusu do not. Neither nation much respects the other’s way of life.
The danger I see in the Sondu is that they are rigid. Though I can see differences in them, Fodafa and Hembila share this pride. As I watch Hembila struggle with this duty he has chosen for himself, to escort us from his home, I fear that if he cannot learn to bend, he will break.