As if things weren’t tense enough, Hembila found a Bangara bed not far from our camp this morning. I let out a long string of curses under my breath when he told us. If there’s one, we have learned that there are often many. The giant reptiles are quick, lethal, and terrifyingly silent in their movement.

In fact, aside from the skulls donned by Fodafa’s guard as helms, I have yet to see one dead. We learned to run them off with fire, but that is as close to a defense as we have come. And now one stalks us. Yet again.

Part of me had hoped that they were only to be found in the outer reaches of the Nanten, and not within the Great Recess. That hope has been crushed.

Salisir seems unfazed. At least he took the news in stride, much as one might react to being told that rain was likely when it had previously been assumed merely possible. What horrors has he seen in this place to react so? After twenty years, I can only assume he has seen deeper into the depths of hell here than I can imagine.

A life spent dealing and dodging death will leave one numb – not from emptiness, but from oversensitivity. The brokenness that gradually shatters the nerves and leaves them raw forces one to withdraw over time. Better to dull all sensation then than risk feeling the burn of every passing ghost.

The longer we spend in his presence, the more I realize that I do not truly know him.

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Balthandar has a look about him that tells me he’d like another stab at one of those monsters. He was the one that figured out fire was the key to frightening them. I doubt the search for a way to kill them has been far from his mind. Balthandar doesn’t like vulnerabilities he can’t patch – I take it as a remnant of his days as a bodyguard.

I would feel safer being at the center of a larger group like this, except that I’ve seen the Bangara crash heedlessly into KoraKora amassed by the thousand.

I doubt I need to put it in writing, but we’ve stoked our fire to blaze through the night. Now to see if we can sleep in the additional heat.

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