The rain is thundering down, the air is crackling, the sky flashing. It feels as if the Nocol river has been removed from its bed and dropped from above, then collected and dropped once more. I've found shelter beneath an overhang, but I won't be able to linger. It will surely collapse before too long. But I don't wish to step back into the storm until I must; every drop feels like small stones hammering upon your skull.
It isn't natural.
Tída has unleashed her fury upon the region. It is true that I crossed the bridge out of water tribe territory yesterday - which was an ordeal in itself, as the old stones came crashing down without warning and I had to scramble to get across before I was dragged into the rushing water below - but I didn't realise it would be so dangerous beyond her protection.
But even so, this doesn't strike me as the norm. Something has angered her, of that I am certain, but just what, I cannot say.
I admit that I'm afraid - or, more so than usual. I'm crossing into an area that neither I nor anyone I know has ever been. But I admit that I've put myself into this situation voluntarily. The old man wouldn't help me, but Tarui assured me the one I sought - my family's murderer - wouldn't be far, and I might have some luck if I tried Dumas, the neutral market town nearby. People from tribes and 'civilised' places meet to trade, albeit uneasily, and he suggested that someone may know something there. Perhaps someone overheard something, saw someone, or perhaps the thief even tried to pawn off the necklace there.
The thought frightens me, but with every passing day I wade deeper into this murky situation, and every forward step makes it harder to turn around.
I do not want to turn around.
Unless it was to go back to Tarui and bring him with me. Somehow I feel safe in his company, comfortable. I can fend for myself, but outside of familiar terrain, away from familiar threats, familiar beasts and familiar waters, I find myself suddenly dependent, as if I've become a child once again who needs a mother to hold my hand because I've passed the edge of the garden. I cannot read his mind, but he exudes confidence, even despite the doubts he carries. He seems real, like I can trust his decisions, that they were carefully weighed.
Which is why I'm out here right now in the middle of this storm. Tída help me, I'm so far out of my depth.
The overhang is beginning to crumble. I must move. How I wish I was a priestess like my great grandmother, I might be able to save myself. But now all I can do is pray that Tída will notice me down here amongst the trees and not shrug me off as an acceptable loss against whatever has so angered her.
I will search for a cave. Hopefully I can wait it out. But how long it will last, I don't know. The lightning is close and only growing more furious, the air is shattering beneath the flashes and I can feel it cracking within my ribs.