The Latala struck us in the night. Apparently they, too, are searching for Wudan. Honestly it felt more like an accident that they came upon us, but the result was much the same.

Perhaps they misjudged the size of our party, or perhaps they simply grew too bold. Ten of them were found within our camp, their cloaked figures barely visible in the dying light of our fires. I’m not sure who on the watch spotted them, but the fact that they were able to infiltrate us so completely before being seen was shocking. Unsettling.

The fight that ensued was quick but bloody. They killed nearly twenty of Hembila’s men. We killed eight of theirs. The other two managed to escape in the chaos.

I saw Salisir approach their leader, bleeding and propped up against a tree. He reached out as Salisir approached, putting his hand up as if to protect himself. I heard him say Salisir’s name.

Salisir picked up a spear from the underbrush and twirled it into position, then slammed it through the man’s throat and into the tree. “Save your pleas, you fools,” he said. Then he walked back to investigate the damage.

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The sheer force of Salisir’s strike was incredible, unexpected for a man of his age. Even more impressive was the fact that the Latala captain knew him by name; he feared Salisir. My old teacher’s reputation precedes him to every corner of this jungle. Perhaps I should not so quickly dismiss him, even if I cannot fully trust him.

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One strange note for which there is no ready explanation: the Latala did not inflict any of our casualties before we were awake. One would expect to find throats slit, men dead in their sleep with holes over their hearts. Instead every single death was incurred in the struggle that ensued after we awoke.

Were they attempting to steal Wudan from us without our ever knowing?

There is something more to the boy than we yet understand. We need to keep a closer watch on him and hope that the mystery unravels before it undoes us all.

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