If the Nanten was hell, then the Akari Grasslands are where hell’s rejects are sent to die. Balthandar and I are alone tonight, and I cannot guarantee that we will survive another day of this.
When we fled the jungle we were running as hard as we could. There were KoraKora everywhere. The undergrowth was overflowing with the savages. They were hooting and hollering and closing in around us. We had to fight our way through them at least twice but we couldn’t slow. We just broke their lines and ran. I don’t know which injuries we suffered at their hands because what came next dealt its fair share.
The grasslands, we could see them through the trees. Somehow the Deadwood brought us to them a week faster than originally planned. It was the sunlight that drew us, the brilliant sunlight that shattered the gloom as the trees began to thin out. We picked up our pace, putting everything we had into those last few hundred feet. The KoraKora sensed it. They matched our pace, but as soon as we were out in the open they stopped.
Dionus, Balthandar, and I kept running until we were out of range of their arrows, and then we turned to look back. They had stopped among the trees and they refused to come any further. The sun was beginning to set behind them and they did not continue their chase.
The grass… the grass is waist-high here and quite dry. It’s a stark contrast to the green of the jungle. It’s also what keeps you from seeing them coming.
Dionus sensed them first, then the ground shook. Giant tentacles shot out of the ground around us and tried to slam us down. We began to dodge, fighting with the long brown tendrils, cutting at them as we tried not to get hit. And then the full bodies followed.
They’re… they’re like giant worms, except their mouths are full of teeth. They could eat a man whole with no trouble. Around their mouths are eight long tentacles that they use to capture their food and pull it in.
This is why Kantoo told us about the stone road. They are utterly and suicidally vicious. We killed one that didn’t stop trying to eat us up to the point that it died. And there were more.
Dionus saw one of the great stones that was supposed to be an anchor to Kantoo’s path. With more of the worms converging on us he didn’t bother asking, he just sucked Balthandar and I up into the air then shot us towards the stone. We would have been crushed if he hadn’t also cushioned our landing.
And then he was gone. Dionus didn’t follow, he just flew off.
Thankfully the sun had set by this point, and the stone was already cold. The big stones are like massive chunks of obsidian, relatively flat and large enough for ten men to sit upon. But as soon as the sun hits them their temperature spikes. We found this out yesterday morning and will not make the same mistake again.
But now it’s just Balthandar and I. Within the span of a few days we have lost every other member of our party. All I can think about now is Starlark, for his predicament is more dangerous than any of ours if he was left alone in the Deadwood. Then Kantoo and Bolton, lost to us in the span of seconds. And Dionus… I can’t believe he left us.
Balthandar and I will continue on this path, for there is no safety in remaining here. It appears to curve south, and I can only hope it will bring us to Senida as Kantoo promised. The stones vary in size and spacing, but most are only a few feet apart and don’t capture the sunlight’s heat. Whenever we have set foot on the ground between them, however, we bring those filthy worms upon ourselves without fail. The only way to escape them is to run farther along the path. Apparently they are deaf to our footsteps so long as they fall on stone.
I can only hope that this does not go on forever. I’m not sure which I prefer, evading these giant worms or the KoraKora. Failure for both results in the same horrific fate.