Bolton was bitten by a firesnake. The venom burns on contact, and I can only imagine what it did to the inside of his arm. He was bitten on the wrist as he reached down to pull up a root for Kantoo. His arm turned blue almost instantaneously, and then slowly began to turn black from the bite up. He thrashed around in horrible pain, screaming until suddenly he passed out.

By the time we got to them Kantoo had already killed the snake and used the strap from his water skin to form a tourniquet at Bolton’s armpit. Still, the black continued to creep upwards. Kantoo looked to me. No words were necessary, Bolton was going to die unless we did something dramatic. Immediately. I simply nodded.

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Kantoo didn’t hesitate. He pulled the knife from his belt and immediately began to cut away at the arm with surgical precision. He has seen it done so many times to others… gods, the poor boy. To know at his age how to do what he did to Bolton.

When it was over, a bloody stump remained where Bolton’s left arm had once been. We stitched the flap over it as best we could with Balthandar’s field kit, but in the end…

I don’t know if he can survive this. It’s not as though it was done properly.

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We will stay put to give him a day of rest and watch to be sure the rot did not move into his shoulder, but a day’s rest cannot possibly be enough. It is, unfortunately, all the time we can afford. Balthandar has already fed him Martingue broth, and Kantoo has put a salve over the wound that he says is what the KoraKora use. Bolton remains in a feverish haze.

I cannot imagine what he is going to do when he awakes to find he has lost an arm to a firesnake. For all I know he may reverse course and swear to kill me again. I wouldn’t blame him in the slightest if he did.

The Nanten… what the jungle wants from us it will take, whether by cannibal or snake. What the Nanten demands, the Nanten will have.

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