Bolton is healthy enough to move on tomorrow, so we will strike camp and go. He refuses to speak of the illness that laid him out. In fact, he remains quite subdued.
Bantish has given us a great deal to work with, and even a destination: Graylag. He says it was the capital of this region, and a center of trade. It was where Salisir first made a name for himself, and if we are to find any clues of his whereabouts, it will be there.
Bantish seems certain that Salisir died of a fever in the jungle not far from Graylag. He told us to find a man by the name of Prestorn. They are old friends, and he should be inclined to help us. If anyone can point us to Salisir’s grave, Prestorn should be able to.
All that remains of the city, as with any in this failed state, are ruins. There are a few standing buildings, but to his knowledge they are all inhabited by the bandits that ravage the area. They will make our lives difficult, Bantish says, but they can be dealt with. They are quite partial to silver, he says.
I wonder if it would be wiser to make a statement early though. I suppose word of what we’ve done here may spread, but seeing how isolated individual groups are I doubt anyone will ever know. If we kill this group of bandits, however, perhaps we will earn a reputation that will keep others at bay in the future.
Bantish says they raid and pillage without warning, killing and taking what they want on a whim. The people under attack simply flee into the jungle and hide. The only reason they haven’t come this far lately has been the Mentalists’ roving beasts. In some horrible irony we have left these people exposed to older threats.
They will have to fend for themselves. At least they have Bantish to watch over them. I remain uncertain of what expressions he has mastered, but I have seen how magic flows through him.
He gave us a very old map, one that shows the road to Graylag where it once ran and the posts that dotted the way along it. I get the sense that “road” was a generous term back when this map was accurate. Today I’m sure we will be lucky to find a path to walk along.
These people are so backwards. They leave their food exposed to the elements when they prepare it, and cook with open fires where their children play. I have seen a number of the poor wretches with deforming scars and twisted limbs caused by falls into these fires. What foolishness.
The women have no modesty whatsoever in how they dress, save that they will not expose their elbows. Somehow elbows are the most sensual part of a woman’s body to these people. Even if they walk around completely topless, they will cover their elbows with strips of cloth and beads.
I won’t even pretend to understand the Nantese.
All that matters to me is that they have given us our direction and our next goal. We will strike out for Graylag tomorrow. Bantish says we can make it within two weeks if all goes well. But he says we must beware the KoraKora. They are some tribe that has dispersed throughout the region, rejected by the rest for their “unsavory practices.”
I don’t know what that means, but he urges us to avoid them at all cost. They are marked with yellow lines along their faces and over shaved heads. While many in the Nanten wear the bones of animals in their noses and ears, he says they wear the bones of humans.
We will certainly do our best to avoid them. I would rather not discover what unsavory practices would separate any group from the rest of these savages. It must be obscene in the extreme.