From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Marday, Twenty-First Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Fifty-Ninth Day in the Trees
We are making good distance. Torne seems determined to prove that he is not unfit due to his broken arm. Sometimes, I almost admire him, strange as it is. He does not like to show any weakness. He reminds me of my cousin, who once tried to carry as large a burden as my first-father, not realizing that it took many years of hard work to build such strength.
Torne is showing concern for me, in fact. He is convinced I am ailing under a malady. Well, so am I, of course, but I did not wish him to know it. Especially not once he had broken his arm. He has quite enough to worry about with that, surely!
But he has noticed my shortness of temper, as well as pointing out my fading stripes. They are fading. They are barely even blue anymore, just a slightly paler green. I told him it was perfectly normal, just a phase. I suppose he is not the only one who wishes to conceal weaknesses.
It does make me feel sad, though. I was very proud of my stripes. There were several females in our tribe who admired them. I was considered a very handsome male. Had things turned out differently, I would have had little trouble finding a wife. If I had completed a task well, I could have even been a first-husband. Well, it is no matter. I am not likely to reach the Baro again, and there are no females here to admire my stripes. My vanity is nothing to worry over.
Souja is still with us, but she is becoming more independant. She rarely rides on my shoulder or in my pack anymore. Indeed, she is almost too large to fit in my pack, or on my shoulders. She sleeps apart from me, most of the night. She is friendly enough, but she often seems distracted. I doubt she will be with us much longer. Still, she is strong. She will survive. No, she will thrive. I am sure of it. I do not know why I am so certain, but I do not doubt she will do well even without us.