Starlark found the bed of a Bangara near our camp this morning. Needless to say, it has left us all in a perpetual state of watchfulness bordering on paranoia. Whether or not we can hold the giant monster off should it attack us is secondary to the knowledge that it could kill one of us before we knew it was even here. We cannot afford to be caught off guard.
Unfortunately, this seems practically impossible. The beast is absolutely silent, and undetectable even to Dionus as it moves – which is as terrifying as it is impressive considering Dionus can pinpoint the location of small birds and lizards moving around us.
Balthandar seems particularly perturbed. I finally asked him why the Bangara does this to him and he said that in the Summer Isles there was a creature fabled to exist that fit the Bangara’s description perfectly. He said that it fell in line with a number of myths and legends he had never taken seriously, but now that he had seen the Bangara in person it left him wondering what other monsters would prove to be real. It made him question everything he thought he knew to be true.
We’ve all had a similar experience coming here, I have seen it in each of my companions. I believe Starlark is recognizing his mortality for the first time. Even when he was facing the noose on the day I saved his life he never thought he might actually die. Now, so far from home and everything we have ever known, I believe he is accepting the reality that he may never return to it. Or perhaps he is rejecting it actively. I don’t know how he will handle reality once it has settled within him.
Dionus continues to have brief moments staring off at the jungle’s canopy. I need to ask him about it, but I’m afraid of what the answer will be. I’m afraid the winds are calling him.
Bolton is undergoing the greatest change of all of us. Much of the conversation he engages in now revolves around trying to win us over to appreciating the Nantese. He has made a number of references to his past that lead me to believe he is actually struggling with guilt. Many of the questions he poses are quantitative, wondering rhetorically how many families he has destroyed. How many villages he crippled. Whatever ghosts haunt Slad Bolton are after him in force right now.
Neither am I immune to doubts and revelations. I cannot help but dwell upon those who sent me here. I put my faith in Silver Hall and the elders of the Tetrarch. I believed that they would always look out for me, that we were family. But no family would send their sons to die in this hell. They cast me out so quickly, it’s almost as though I never belonged in the first place.
How could they do this to me? I was set to rise through the ranks to the very top of our order.
Salisir must have felt similarly, even though he never did belong. There was a Daemon; that was why he joined our order. Daemons and Demons differ in their origins and their power, as you may be aware. Demons ascend from the spiritual realm into our own, beings that were created and set loose by the ancient Relequim. There are only nine of them, though they are far more powerful than any other evil imaginable. To date, seven of them have made the ascension.
Daemons, however, are men. Or at least they were once. They are the ultimate level of power to which all Daedra aspire. But for every thousand Daedric followers who set themselves on that path, only one at most will ever attain it, if that many. The vast majority succumb to the corruption of their souls, their very bodies deteriorating before the transformation ever has a chance to begin.
The Daemon that Salisir faced was going through just such a transformation.
Salisir was still among the Chaplains at this point in time, seeking out and killing Daedra with the same impunity he always had. But when he stumbled on the Daemon, incomplete as it was, he was no match. It beat him badly, and he never wanted to be found wanting again. Thus service to the Tetrarch seemed an appealing possibility. And this was the promise the Tetrarch made him when he joined the order: that they would train him to hold his own against such evil. They would give him what he needed to succeed in the only way he had ever failed.
And then, after all the training, after all the conflict, distrust, and hatred that grew between them, how betrayed must Salisir have felt to have failed again in exactly the place he was promised never to? In that one particular way, Salisir and I have something in common: The Tetrarch made us grand promises, and disposed of us both when we failed.