Still stuck at 500 words/day, and I’ve just decided not to pad this current story into 8,000 words. If it really wants to be 6,000 words that badly, fine. Maybe I’ll need the wordcount for the other ones.
We smelled the corruption before we saw any of it, which relieved my mind some. Bittersap bezoars are truly not alive the way that either Man or Those Who Talk understand it — I keep saying this because truly foolish people make absurd claims otherwise — but they do seem to have strategies. Some are reckless in spreading their corruption, trying to infect as much as possible before they are destroyed; others are more craven, fortifying themselves away in the vain hope that this time, the bittersap can survive long enough in the outside world to dominate all.
Bittersap cannot do that, mind you. It is never has been able to withstand the perils of the surface world. But it never stops trying; and every time it makes another assault, innocents die. That is reason enough to fight it as hard, and as quickly as you can.
Although so is bittersap’s inherent malice. When we finally came up to the grove itself, the two of us took advantage of a low hill to scout out the coming place where we would fight. The dryad turned out to have binoculars from Yonder — “I like watching birds,” she explained with a shrug when I asked — and I had my own spyglass as well. This gave us both a clear view of the grove, alas.