Inifra has laid out more of Salisir’s plan for me than I have heard from the man himself. I still struggle to hold conversations of any length with him. I know I ought to; I know that I cannot afford to maintain this strained distance from my old teacher, but I cannot overcome my loathing of him. It’s a lower form of hatred now, a smoldering burn that is kept alive more by pride than any active reason. I will grow out of it eventually.

Salisir already laid out the overarching differences between the people of Yatusu, Batsu, and the Sondu, the ruling tribe in Motasta. Inifra has painted a more colorful picture of the barriers that hold between them – those that more actively prevent unification. They all revolve around the fact that neither Oroun nor Fodafa want the other to rule in Matasten.

Oroun does not wish to return to totalitarian rule, and neither do the people he leads in Yatusu. The way that Inifra talks about them, they sound highly educated for a people living within a failed state. Their survival has hinged upon raising competent citizens to positions of responsibility, and by the sound of it they have done quite well for themselves.

The Sondu believe such competence is nascent at best in the low classes, something the upper classes are simply born with. Something the common man naturally lacks. Inifra says that Fodafa sees Oroun as an upstart and a fool risen above his rightful standing.

I asked her what she thinks. She spread her arms as if to hold herself as an example. “What was I when Infiri chose me? Poor. Frail. Certainly common. If we could not rise above our station, I would still be all of those things. The Sondu are proud. They carry old traditions and would do what they believe is right by the people of the Nanten, but not all traditions lead to what is best.”


I asked her how Salisir was going to bring them together against the Daedra if each was afraid of the other ruling. She said Salisir encouraged compromise. Ultimately, she said, the only way the Sondu would accept peace would be under the leadership of their own. The people of Yatusu could be persuaded to follow if the Sondu were shown to be capable, and as long as the Sondu agreed to promote Yatusu leadership within their government.

Sensible, but I gather that such a resolution would not be so easily reached.

In any case, the rising power of the Daedra is an obvious enough threat on its own that all can agree something needs to happen. A common enemy is a powerful motivator, and she says Salisir has been playing that up more and more. The time to strike is nigh. Motasta has mobilized an impressive number of troops, like the ones Balthandar and I saw on parade; they only wait for Oroun to concede his claim on the throne. She really wants to meet Oroun; she said she has heard of their way of living for some time and wants to see it for herself.

I asked about Nienatara, the leader of the Batsu. Inifra said Salisir is less concerned about Nienatara. All she wants is a guarantee that her people will be able to establish and rule themselves. She will pay tribute to whichever king takes the Oaken Throne, for it is not a seat she craves to sit, but she does not wish to be enveloped into their government.

Motivating the Batsu will require peace between the Sondu and the citizens of Yatusu. She also said that Salisir is hopeful that our presence will alter Nienatara’s mood. Apparently Nienatara doesn’t much like Salisir, but for some reason he believes she will like us. Why this is the case, Inifra doesn’t know. But she does know that Nienatara needs to feel confident in her allies before she will move from their jungle strongholds.


So we are already playing into Salisir’s plan. If I had a better view of the board, I would feel more secure. As it stands, the pieces are already in motion and I have no choice for the moment but to play the pawn.

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