Enderal:Account of an Unknown Traveler, Volume 2
During yesterday’s excavations a young woman was bitten by a snake. The savages wanted to deliver her from her pain and kill her as she lay fevering. This might be the usual cause of action for people with such wounds. I had seen a painting of the snake in nearby caves and had to assume that the Skaragg feared it immensely.
The bite had caused a red, pocky rash on her skin. I had only limited medical knowledge, but since the beginning of our expedition, I carried an old Endralaean cure for many kinds of poison with me. I kept the Skaragg from killing her — almost losing my life in the process — but despite their curses and mutterings, I didn’t let them stop me and instilled the lotion against their resistance. A moment before they could kill me for my deed, her rash was eased and her breath became more constant.
After the work was done, they brought me before the chieftain. She deliberated with other Skaragg, likely on what should be my fate. She brought me to a hut with the young woman I had rescued earlier — I believe they wanted me to care for her. Most of my time is spent there, and her condition improves each day. I had to accept that their medical knowledge is inferior. Until now, I have not found herbs suitable for brewing lotions and tinctures. This, and their behavior when faced with the bite, makes me believe that death is their only option when plagued by pain.
The Skaragg observe every one of my actions. I have begun to give them simple commands by using sign language. It works — somewhat at least. Good enough to make them bring me a wet cloth to place on her forehead. There seem to be personal relationships between the savages, not unlike to us humans. A woman and a man come each day to look after the girl. I suspect that these are her parents. I also learned that the Skaragg are able to count in a limited manner by using their fingers. In this regard, there is not much difference between them and the average peasant from Enderal. Maybe they are not so uncivilized after all.
A week ago, she awoke for the first time and spoke to me. I used sign language to tell her what happened and told her my name. She told me hers — when I understood correctly, it meant something like “Kkraka”. I catch myelf observing her while she is sleeping. Her face is very beautiful, much more refined than one would expect from savages and barbarians as they are described in the books. Her body is more wiry and muscular than is common for women. Everything waiting for me at home — my wife and home — seems more distant with each passing day. I need to control my thoughts, and myself. At times I give in to absurd thoughts of love with Kkraka, which I have to consider disturbing.
We often talk using our hands. Since she still is too weak to leave the tent, we have to spend the whole day together. She is a clever young woman and understands me surprisingly well. I cannot understand every one of her gestures, but a few of them are the same as mine. She made clear to me that I can under no circumstance raise my hand to greet — the way it is common in Enderal and, as far as I know, most parts of Vyn. Such a gesture would amount to an insult among the Skaragg. I thought her a few words in Inal, and, while she recovered from the bite, an odd fusion of our cultures happened. I would have never expected to find a woman like her at such a place. A place every god had turned his back to a long time ago.
I lose my sense of time. I can still determine days and months, but the hours pass without counting. The sun doesn’t appear often anymore. Since about a week now, I am back with my companions. With a heavy heart, I had to leave Kkraka’s side. Only two men remain from our group. They brought the rest to the cave. The Skarrag are more open with me now. They get me whenever one of them is sick or wounded. I care for their wounds and seem to have become this tribe’s healer. Kkraka visits me from time to time and brings me additional food, which I share with the group. When us prisoners are left alone, we mostly speak about the cave. No one knows what happened there, or whether our companions might still be alive. The only way to find out is to be eventually brought there. This is unsettling for us.
I feel deep love for Kkraka. At first, I did not want to admit it, but now I think she feels the same way. She constantly seeks me out and though painting our bodies red, or cutting bones together are weird customs, I can see more behind it. Our hearts beat in the same rhythm.
They permitted us to walk in the village freely. No one of us wished to provoke the Skaragg’s wrath or abuse their trust in order to flee. We wouldn’t have any chance of leaving the island anyway. Three of us can’t sail a ship, especially considering only one member of the crew is still alive. We decided to be peaceful and to try and live in harmony with them. Since then, no one has been brought to the cave. Maybe this is points to a good future. Time inevitably passes and blurs our traces on this dusty ground.
One night, Kkraka came to our hut and woke me. She led me out of the village to a cliff from where we observed the moon and stars. Then we slept together. Kkraka was sensitive and caring, completely different from what I expected of her people. All the same, she had a wild, impulsive side which she revealed during our lovemaking. She was a true warrior. Not imperious or strict, but decisive — completely incomparable to the women in Enderal. Not even to my wife. I betrayed her that night, but I was certain I would never return. Under the stars, I told Kkraka from my home, and the more I spoke, the more it slipped away from me. It slipped over the wide, harsh plains of this island, over the sea and beyond. We completely fell for each other. Since then, several nights with her followed.
I have been a captive for about half a year, and I still live. No matter which end Malphas envisioned for my life, I have the feeling that it won’t be the Skaragg doing it. I consider myself and my companions to be their honored guests. Hopefully, I am not wrong with this.
It is horrible. I thought it had stopped, but another one of us was dragged to the cave today. It may sound despicable, but I am glad it was not me. Though I know that death takes us all at some point, I still fear it like a frightened child. Especially since my shattered life had just gained new worth with Kkraka. As for her, I am no longer certain. I love her, no doubt about it. But the other night I saw her embracing another man intimately. The following moon, she returned to me, and a night of love followed, more intense than any before. Then I observed her with another man again. I asked myself whether she was trying to make me jealous or whether she simply took joy in making me suffer. I became angrier over her behavior and talked to her about it. She reacted surprised and left me. Only then did I understand that I am in a world completely different to my own. My ideas of the relationship between man and woman are connected to the values I learned at home, to the way we live there and does not have to apply to the Skaragg. There might not be an institution like our companionship here. It is hard for me to accept, but besides my fellow shipwrecked, she is the only source of support, and I don’t want to lose her. I asked her to meet with her lovers at places where I would not see her. She reacted both amused and shocked when hearing that one was supposed to promise oneself to one person only and swear off other urges. But after explaining it to her, she took my request seriously.
I am certain now: The Skaragg are at war. These last days, more and more bloody battles occurred. Warriors of both sexes return wounded. These are long and hard days for me. Too many wounded arrive for just one pair of eyes and hands. I try to give them clear instructions on what to do, which sometimes works. I have rescued several lives that way.
The last one of our group, excluding me, has been brought to the cave. I then dared to ask Kkraka for the first time, whether she knew what happened in the cave. I wanted clarity, even if my question might offend her. She did not tell me. Instead she made it very clear that I should under no circumstance speak of this again. She was very serious when saying that. Of course I won’t give up so easily. I will find out what secret the cave holds, sooner or later. Nut I don’t think they will want to lose me at this point. As a healer, I am too important to them, and during the war I am needed.
The day arrived when Kkraka also had to go to battle. I saw her return with many wounds, though victorious. A gulf has opened between us and gets larger every day. I can say with certainty that it comes from me. It is hard to accept that I am not the only man in her life. Much time will pass until I will be able to. I also have the feeling that the tribe faces a decisive battle. Small groups of foreign savages come to our village and unite under the command of the bone woman. It cannot take long before this dispute will be decided.
This morning, the tribe and all allies have rallied in the village center. The bone woman announced with thundering voice that the fight will begin now. I understood a few words of her speech. What she said makes me think that a decision is inevitable. Every member of the tribe able to fight is encouraged to become part of the army. Body painting is distributed and spears are given away.
I will join the fight myself. Not because I wish to kill enemies with my own hand. This will most likely be impossible to avoid, but I hope to work as a healer directly at the sight of battle. I take the risk mostly out of fear what would happen if Kkraka doesn’t return. She is my only hope in this land. If I lose her, I lose myself. I got myself a spear and packed a bag of the remaining herbs and lotions. Should I survive, additional entries in this book will follow. May the merciful Malphas guard my fate and lead me safely through battle. My body is shaking. The tension hurts. I have never before felt so much fear as in these moments, as we are preparing to march on the battlefield.