“We found this.” Krajani handed the glassy object to Qualam after she and Bakir had been welcomed and given a warm Albin herbal tea. Whlana was rather surprised that Krajani used the plural, she had thought to hear that only the Albin woman had found the artifact. “But neither of us could tell whether it is a root or lighting strike.” with a still surprised and satisfied expression over the tea Bakir also had to add sone words. The three of them had been escorted by Qualam to another Basin, just like in the second Basin that Whlana had visited the surface of the Basins ground was mostly ankle deep under water. They sat on a few benches on a small island in the center, the humid air was supposed to help them recover from the dehydration suffered during the sandstorm. Studying the object up close Qualam inhaled to say something, but was interrupted by a croaking Phoenix. The ethereal bird sat a few meters away in the water and looked interested to the group. It took the elderly man a few moments of staring at the animal until he realized it was not one of the birds that dwelled in Babd-ael-Drakh, nor one of the migrated ones. Slowly but playfully it hopped closer, revealing a message tied to its leg, it went straight for Whlana.

“They write that this Phoenix got restless and wanted to come here.” she reported what she read, her eyebrows formed a single dark line above her eyes. “But also that there were inscriptions in the jungle pyramid, we are to stay together, and to stay cautious.”

Whlana looked at Krajani, in her gaze was a mix of despair and confusion. “I suspect the Phoenix will know whether it is a root, or lightning strike,” Krajani took the readily handed object and held it to the Phoenix, but the bird recoiled from her, making Krajani also inch back. Only at that moment did she realize the awkward gaze in Whlanas eyes. “What troubles you?”

Silently Whlana handed over the message the Phoenix had delivered, quickly Krajani read through the writing as she had heard the message before. Her eyes stopped after a certain point.

Reading over the sentence again much more slowly. “Are they serious?” she looked to Whlana, her hands trembling, quickly the Phoenix grabbed the glassy object as it slipped from Krajanis hand.

Immediately it lit up, for a moment a flash shaped like a tree appeared for a moment. “I guess you have your answer, it is the root.” Bakir got up from his seat walking out into the water, bending over and washing his face. “You should leave now.” he glanced over his shoulder, Krajani stared at him with a mix of loathing and fear. After a sudden sigh she got up. “We will.” she crumbled up the message and put it in her pouch. “Immediately.” she stormed off, heading for the basin the other Albin were waiting at. With an equally distressed expression Whlana bowed before Qualam before following Krajani. The alter stared at where the two had been standing for a moment. “Your xenophobia drives off guests who are trying to save us.” Qualam turned to his pupil who in turn stared at the cave where Krajani had disappeared from his sight. “I am afraid it’s not that.” Bakir mumbled distraught, turning to his elder. “I believe I have done something terrible.” he sighed.

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