We arrived to their village, the sun had already been sleeping several hours. For the first time in my life I saw an Anshari child, similar in stature to a human child but with facial features betraying a quick maturation.
We were taken to the dwelling built on the branches of the forest canopy where in normal times the village’s chieftain Oksawil gathered the village elders.. The Anshari leader lay grievous on a bed of spruce branches, his skin had changed from the typical golden of the Anshari to a bluish gray and his veins rose up above the surface of the skin as though ready to snap. His body jerked occasionally, in what seemed to be painful convulsions. He did not scream, he did not make a sound. Since being returned to the village Oksawil had not said a word. The Anshari herbalist had been administering the nectar of rhubarb, evonis leaf and pine. Ingested, this syrup is said weaken the intruder by poisoning it until the weak enough to be suppressed by the victim’s immune system. This unfortunately also has the effect of poisoning the host and weakening his ability to ward off the effects of the intruder. In essence the Anshari’s technique for warding off this disease has further weakened their already near death chieftain.
I enquired about the chieftain’s condition and Bardus was able to interpret their story:
“We were scouting past the southern border of our domain. A tribe, the Ma’ta!, they are our enemy since a decade when they betrayed us and captured our Raiyaki, future leader of our people, in a hunting trap. We were to ambush their village that night and take hostage their rulers eldest daughter but when we arrived to the village we found it empty, abandoned about a week prior we estimate. We searched through their homes but found nobody. That is when we heard the screams of our outer patrol. We gathered in the centre of our enemies village. By now the sun had fallen and although we could still see a great deal of detail was lost to our eyes. Before we were able to properly gather we were set upon by the dheimuesar “blood leechers”. They came at us with fury from beyond the grave. Our attackers still wore the clothing of our enemy the Ma’tal! and In that moment we understood what had happened to the village. They had met an unfortunate and gruesome fate, drained of their blood and tainted by the tiny worm that transfers itself through the sanguine flow. During this fateful combat our chieftain was taken from behind and though he pinned down and staked his attacker he was assaulted no later by two more and bitten deep in the neck. It was too long before our brothers were able to fend off the dheimuesar. By then our chieftain had been tainted and lay unconscious, we retreated, dragging our leader back to the village”.