Bolton spends much of his time walking with Kantoo, asking him every question about the Nantese he can think of. Most questions I have overheard have been humorously naïve, like whether the Nantese have any tolls on their roads, but some have been rather thoughtful.

For example, Bolton brought out the fact that Kantoo was unaware that there are two moons. In fact, Kantoo believed the sun and the moon to be one unified heavenly body. A god, even. He said that the fiery sun was the face of the god, passing over to cast judgment down on the land. The moon was its back, calm and ignorant of what transpired on earth.

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It made me realize that the Festival of Stars will be happening soon. The season of light should be upon us in the next few weeks, although I cannot see the sky to be sure. I hadn’t even thought about it until today. To see both moons in full would lighten my heart in the midst of the eternal gloom of the Nanten. To celebrate on the streets of the capital would make me weep for joy. Home…

Starlark keeps as far from Bolton and Kantoo as he can. He’s angry with me as well for letting Kantoo come with us. I tried to reason with him, but wherever Bolton is involved reason flees my friend. It makes our journey to the Akari Grasslands feel even more daunting with Starlark in such a dour mood.

Dionus tried to ask Starlark a few questions while they were near to each other in line. I heard him ask Starlark why he wears the long-tailed star on his shoulder as the Crestward’s emblem is a storm cloud. Starlark responded that even storms can’t hide the beauty of the stars forever. He’d rather align himself with the eternal. Needless to say, Dionus’ questions didn’t exactly lighten Starlark’s mood.

Kantoo has already led us to a number of new roots and other edibles, including a plant that has a fantastically sharp flavor. It will make for good seasoning. Another wonderful find was a fruit that looked much like a knot growing on the side of the smaller tree. Once opened it revealed dozens of smaller red fruits within that were bittersweet and juicy. The gas that fills the rest of the space, Kantoo said, clears and sets a light head to right.

In spite of his helpful levity, his missing leg is a constant reminder of the KoraKora, and though he is a welcome distraction the gravity of our situation is never far from mind. There is a Bangara nearby that I can only assume is still tracking us, and who knows if there are more of those massive snakes around?

When we told Kantoo of the snake that nearly ate Starlark – as much to try and excuse Starlark’s behavior as share the story – Kantoo was left aghast. I wasn’t sure which he found more shocking, that Starlark was almost eaten by the snake or that we killed it.

Then he said we should not have killed the snake. They are incredibly old, he told us, and not many remain. It is up to us to keep them from trying to eat us. He said he would teach us a few tricks to make ourselves unappealing targets and seemed genuinely sad that we had killed it.

Sad that we killed a man-eating snake… we are never want for surprises with the Nantese around.

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