Dionus took Salisir to the top of one of the spires here in Matasten. He did it this morning, before dawn. I know only because he told me this afternoon, about the temptation to throw the old man over the edge. To watch him fall, helpless to the mechanics of the world as his victims had been helpless to his own.
He couldn’t do it.
I asked him why, and he said that Salisir had convinced him not to. I don’t know what was said. Dionus knows how to keep his lips sealed when it’s prudent, but I’m insanely curious now. Whatever it was, it convinced Dionus that Salisir was more valuable alive. Something there is of greater worth to him than the fulfillment of vengeance. Dionus really has changed in the last year.
Later I asked Salisir how he liked the view of the city. “Don’t ever let that friend go,” he said. “He’s worth more than any I ever had. Tenfold.”
Odd to hear my old teacher recommend anyone’s friendship. The loner. The blight. I suppose it’s fitting that he should endorse the world’s premiere assassin.
Pyres are burning on the western shore of the island. The smoke is carried west on the wind, something Dionus is encouraging to spare us from choking. So many bodies to burn. Wudan asked us if we could burn his brother separately and so we made a small pyre in the parade ground for him. Fodafa and Nianatara are being prepared for their own. They will be burned last and, after having been seen privately mourn Wauloo, I think they’ll follow suit and use the parade grounds.
They already speak of him as a savior of the Nanten, a key that turned one final lock and opened the door to the victory we had here. Funny to hear the name “Wauloo” spoken on lips who never met him, who never saw the madness in him. The twitchy, writhing hatred of all things including himself. I suppose this is where legends are formed. We need our heroes, who cares from where we dredge them?
The smoke rises high to the west. It started this morning and will continue to billow into the sky through tomorrow, I’m sure. I’m just glad we’re spared the smell of it, even if we can hear the crackle and pop of fat on the flame. It sounds like a dull hiss over the walls and rooftops of Matasten, but we know what it is.
We know what it cost to take this place.
Will the Nantese ever know the true value of that cost?