I found Inifra on the banks of the river in the crossing. Sunlight brilliant on the water in its freedom from a canopy that cannot stretch over the river. Just one slash of light and we could see her for a hundred yards. It made me ache, the time it took to reach her filled with conflicting thoughts.
She welcomed us and said that she was awaiting the Yatusu force. They were busy building rafts another half-mile in from the river. Her bearing was as regal as always, but somehow softer. The smile she gave me was small, but it gave a thrill. I did my best to maintain a sense of formality in the interaction, but knowing what I know now… it makes it so difficult.
On the other side was the desire to run. My presence is somehow a threat to her very life, and all for these small sensations that any two people might feel involuntarily. They truly are involuntary, which makes them all the more potent.
Oroun has gathered his army to himself and brought them around to cross the river. He left a contingent at the broken bridge to watch and defend the small path that remains across it, perhaps 500 warriors. The rest number around 10,000, and those are who he intends to cross. Even with our efforts to clear these banks and the surrounding areas, he doesn’t trust this action to the light of day. His intention is to send his force across under cover of nightfall and trust Inifra to keep them safe.
Salisir has taken a quiet back seat to the direction of the Yatusu leader. He pulled me aside to say that the time was near, to keep my eyes open. I asked him if we weren’t in danger of being knocked off course by the events at the bridge and he shook his head. “We’re right on schedule.” He asked me for the key I wear around my neck, the one he says fits the Mentalist box. I no longer saw a reason to withhold it from him. It does me little good, and I’m happy to be rid of the hated symbol.
We made a sweep of their side of the river, finding only one small scouting party in the process, and have already made our way back across to the southern bank. It was sad to see Inifra go, she gave us a little push from the water to speed our passage, but it will be good to keep some distance. I feel an increase in my anxieties when she is near, a fear that danger draws close with me.
I’ll keep my Batsu treeborn on this side of the river until the Yatusu have secured their foothold, then we will make west and put some distance between Inifra and I. It’s not what I want, but it’s certainly needed right now.