The cautionary tale of a popori mystic who crossed a bridge to dance with demons with an amani warrior on his tail…
You wish to follow me. Fine. But do not pretend to understand what I do. My task is clear—today I hunt demons. They do not belong in this place, where the beauty of nature should rule, not this darkness. Whatever black power spoils our air will be cleansed by my might. Arun and Shara speak through me, and you should listen.
Follow. These creatures walking unmolested offend me. We attack, but first I summon a spirit of protection to draw the creatures' attention. Stay close—my ability to renew my power is dependent on your ability to stand bravely against their charge. While you fight, I will prepare the tears of Arun to bolster our efforts. You should probably duck to avoid that. . . .
Ah, you are awake. I told you to stay close. Now you will listen more closely. Standing near me is your only hope. My power saps the strength of the foe, and returns energy to your tired arms. Through me your wounds are healed, through me you move rapidly across the battlefield. I summon you from the brink of death to my side.
Now we fight. Here are more demons for us to face. You can tell they are coming closer by that whirring sound, and the mad cackles. I will summon a spirit to heal us, but first stand fast while I collect this root. Won’t take but a moment. . . .
Really, you must listen when I prepare you for combat. The next time you wander away, my spirits may not be present to protect you. I can see that I must do most of the work myself, if this place would be free of demons. My power now guides your weapon to bite deeper and hit harder. You will need this to fight that demon behind you. . . .
You do know how to use that axe, yes? No matter. I am nearly done with you. While you slept away the day in bandages, I have completed the hunt. Now there is another task, one perhaps more suited to your delicate amani sensibilities. We must collect tokens from the bodies of people not so fortunate as yourself. With me by your side, you are invincible—an unstoppable, implacable foe. All we must do is walk from place to place. I’ll just move ahead to the first body while you deal with . . .
You have a fascinating knack for discovering the enemy’s weak points. I had no idea they would be drawn in like that by your blood! Luckily the curse I used sapped their energies before something truly bad happened. You may want to drink this potion. I find them very useful in times like these. And that spirit does not look at all happy to see you. . . .
I see you are awake. I commend your strategy of lying flat on the ground after the beast pounced. Your clever ruse of lifelessness kept the creature from removing your arms. This time. Come back tomorrow, we will hunt again. I enjoy our little talks.