We’ve been pushed back to the traps, but Nianatara refuses to cross behind them until desperation requires it. All humor has drained from her, replaced by the stern solidarity required from someone in command during a crisis. Her people look to her and draw strength; her decisions are quick and her confidence tireless. I wish she would have given herself willingly to this cause for I can see now just how valuable she is in a fight.

Dionus came to visit me briefly today and give me news. The ground troops are being kept for cleanup, is how he put it. They follow the treeborn into each fight, coming upon the Daedra as they break and then forcing them back. Timber has done us proud, he said. She’s a beast with a blade. That made me smile.

For his part, he divides his time between helping the two main factions of our own force and sprinting off to contain points of overflow. He’s tired but exhilarated. There is a lot of tension draining from him with each encounter. Somehow seeing his mood improve only makes me worry all the more for him. As yet there have been no expressionists sighted, but he’s keeping his senses up. Inifra, he said, is leading her own guard into the fray as a single unit. They’re small in number, but fierce enough to make up for it twice over.

Thankfully the Daedra have tired as well, but their numbers leave them with a regular supply of fresh troops to throw forward. It’s part of the reason we’re going to lose, Dionus said in a moment of sobriety. They’re going to overwhelm the Batsu opposition at some point and break through.

As long as we have our resupply, we can hope that doesn’t happen. Keep the arrows raining down. But Starlark, he said, is proving to be an even bigger problem. He’s certain it’s our old friend now, too, that haunts us. I can see it in his eyes, though he won’t say it to me: Dionus is going to track Starlark down first.

I can’t bring myself to call for his death; would I be able to strike him down? I should hope I don’t have to. I hope I never have to make a decision like that.


The battle continues in its clashes and pauses. The silences grow longer, but only because the Daedra are trying harder to deceive. I should get back to the maps and see if there’s any insight I can offer in lieu of my sword.

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