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In the Marsh we pay little heed to the passing of the days. We leave such things to the Jekka-Wats. But, here in Mazzatun, we count the days and nights obsessively. We cannot help it. By last count, I have been trapped here for three months. When my tribe arrived, the Xit-Xaht pressed an iron pick into my hands and pointed at a pile of stones. No words, just a hunter's tongue-rattle and a gestured command.

The Xit-Xaht do not talk much, but they never stop moving, and pointing, and whipping. It is like they are all sap-sick or addled on bad daril. After three months in captivity, I have begun to feel it too. The madness. The sap here is poison. The dirt is poison. Sithis is nothing but a memory here. All the order, and stacked-stones, and clean angles … they try to turn back the river by making us work. But this city is a prison for the Xit-Xaht as well. If not for Na-Kesh I think they would turn feral and wander off into the ruins to die. She is everywhere and nowhere. They say she is the mouth of the Hist—that she speaks for the Hist. If this is true, then this Hist is like none I've seen before. It is sick, and we all pay the price in blood.

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