Today I am on a boat. The living soldiers don’t particularly want me below deck, and the crew don’t particularly want me on deck, so I volunteered to sit up in the crow’s nest on watch. They would have refused this as well, I think, if I had not pointed out that I need very little sleep. So little that I can feasibly stay awake for the duration of the trip, and avoid polluting their deck altogether.

That appeased them, so now I am up at the top of what is essentially a very tall pole, which pitches a lot when the water fusses, and takes the brunt of the wind at all times. I don’t mean that as a complaint. Those things are now my primary defence from the rowdiness below. No-one will come up here to pester me, so I can write as freely as I want.

I cut off the other day because Awende interrupted. She came down from behind me, calling Nyxrinne! Walking dead girl! Then she cut off because I had turned to look, and she had seen my robes.

I had put on my apothecary garb between witnessing the orc guard at the inn and sitting down in the Cleft of Shadow to write because it is comforting to be in uniform, even when the uniform is tied to a cause I don’t support in full. There are Forsaken in Orgrimmar who have gone over completely to the Horde, and cut ties to the Forsaken and thus really humankind in the process. I was repulsed by the idea of being mistaken for one of them.

I admit, writing this now, that it was not a particularly logical decision at all. It was more a sign of how nervous I had become.

Nevermind. I waited to see what Awende would do. For a moment, that was nothing more than stare. Then she scoffed.

‘The way you were talking, I shoulda known. That’s some dark company you’re in with there, Nyxin.’

‘I’m looking for a cure,’ I said.

‘Whatever it takes, yes? I think you’ll be wasting your time. What Bwonsamdi has taken, he won’t be giving back.’

This is roughly in line with what I have heard for as long as I have been Forsaken, from all different sources. It did not surprise me to hear it, but I was already under the weight of whatever complicated thinking was going on in the back of my head, so her words did bring me lower.

‘We’ll see,’ I said.

She came and sat next to me. ‘So then, did you come here to sit right in the chest of this Horde?’

‘I don’t know what that means,’ I said. I was sullen.

‘Right next to its beating heart.’ She thumped her chest like a pulse with one hand, and pointed with the other to a nearby tent.

It was a warlock hut. I could see in through the sides, it was that poorly maintained, and there was an orc working on his runes inside, drawing them out on the floor in green fire. Two more were watching, too far from us for me to hear their comments.

‘They’re the ones enjoying Garrosh’s loving care,’ said Awende. ‘They led the march on Theramore, the Horde made strong with demon might. Your people call that history repeating, I think.’

‘Don’t,’ I said.

‘What’s the matter, walking dead, tired of truth already?’

‘Yes,’ I said. I drew my velvet sleeves taut around my knuckles. ‘It’s this place.’

Where her tone had held bitter vitriol, now there was some gentleness. ‘Tired of the sight of us all slipping under, like your people slipped.’

‘Just tired.’

‘Come with me,’ she said. ‘There’s warships setting out for a whole new world. I don’t say a lot of this won’t come with us, but I do say a lot more will stay behind. Come. Let’s see if Bwonsamdi’s grip stays as strong past the mists.’

Two things are probably very clear already: that she did not think the loa’s grip would lessen at all, and that I agreed to go. What I do not think anyone would anticipate, because we did not, was that Awende’s presence on the boat was protested even more than mine. So much that she was not allowed on at all. She is for now my lone companion in the crow’s nest, as a frog I am keeping wrapped up in my cloak for the warmth I cannot provide. It is a strange turn of events that one of the Forsaken is trusted over one of the Darkspear. I will have to work out why.

We are due to reach land in two days, where we will set up a base of operations. I am not sure what Awende means to do then, as a stowaway whose race will not have changed and probably not become welcome simply because we have arrived. What I do know is that we bring almost as many cannons as people. The Horde is bringing war to this new land of Pandaria.

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