Who’s supposed to be preying on Jacind? The people he left behind in Oros?
Folks in Tieke City can’t be doing that yet, though surely some of them would if given the chance. The youngsters with him aren’t; healthy young people traveling with an ailing older adult are probably sacrificing other chances to stay with him.
We know from earlier that the Tieke have been building colonies to collect plants from deep in the Western Forests and the Crater in response to their recent troubles with their plague, and what she’s hinting at is that the Tieke are coming into the desert and gathering Tarsin workers to help them, especially those who are running on tough times or who are sick or have a sick family member, and who are therefore easy to convince. Aleassa’s probably seen many, many instances of Tarsin suffering from ailments who would be expecting that working in the forests, surrounded by an operation that’s intended to gather medical supplies, would lead to quick access to cures and treatments. Or, alternatively, she would have seen groups of friends and family bringing an ill family member to the Tieke in the hopes of getting treatment that only the wealth of the forests can offer, whether they have to work for it or beg for it and just keep that family member nearby. Chasing hope.
But what she’s also suggesting when she says the Tieke are preying on Tarsin travellers is that the Tieke are far, far more interested in looking after their own first, and that any Tarsin pursuing that hope would be second-class citizens at best, with promises never delivered upon.
How accurate her perception is remains to be seen, but she would see a lot, living at the waystation.
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