“Elenora?” Venia was lying on her side gazing across the floor of the primitive hut the two lived in. “Do you sometimes miss your people? Not your family, other humans I mean.” she felt stupid for asking, but after spending some time with other Naga she was curious.
“Sometimes.” Elenora turned to her side to look at Venia. Gazing into the eyes of the Naga always brought back the memories if their first days together. How they had journeyed to the cove. “Mostly on those days that you aren’t here.”
A smile appeared on the lips of the Naga. “Sleep well.” she reached for Elenoras hand which she gladly gave to her. “You too.”

In the depth of night Elenora sat up as if woken by screams, but everything was calm around the hut. Still something had disturbed her sleep, as if to convince her that she was definitely woken by an outside source Venia also rose from the floor. “Do smell that?” she hissed half sleeping. “Humans are close to us.” she sniffed demonstrative. Thunderstruck by a mixture of nervousness and fear Elenora sprung to her feet. “Here?” the dim orange glow of the logs in their fireplace grew in intensity, once more fire sparked up. Surprised the two looked at the fireplace. Suddenly Elenora knew what had woken her, not the fine smells only Venia could pick up, but the sudden feeling of the ethereal.
“I smell three people,” Venia had slithered to the window, “they are only a stonethrow away.” a protective half-bubble formed at the window, just as a stone was thrown at it. “Circle?!” the male caller sounded agitated, in his voice swung the hope to hear a negating reply. “No.” Elenora yelled back. “You?” Venia added, she already readied herself to fight, all sleepiness had vanished.
“Desert Wraith. Albin?” the two women exchanged a glance, neither knew what an Albin was, or what it meant. “We don’t know.” the fire behind Elenora and Venia lit up again, throwing a dancing flash of their silhouettes out into the nightly forest.
“I guess not.” a torch was lit with ethereal flames outside the window. Three men in long wrsp like clothes stood in the forest, their apparel was ragged as it was made for the desert not the coastal jungle. Both Elenora and Venia knew of the desert that lay just beyond the mountainrange, in her early childhood Elenora had heard of the Desert Wraith. Up until that moment she had assumed that they were a legend.
“What drives you out of the desert?”
“Unfortunately, a looming threat.” the man with the torch replied, he removed the cloth from his face to reveal dark, sunburnt skin, he had a short beard around his mouth and on the chin. “Albin had informed us, as you probably know, our powers have waned.” he held a small pebble in his hand, it glistened metallic in the crosslight of torch and window. “This allows us to use it.” he stowed it in his clothes again. Telling the two women about the Sphinxes and their impending invasion on the world, and how their home in the desert was lined with a material that allowed them to access the ethereal.
Elenora felt a deep seated desire to obtain that material, but knew that the wraith most certainly wouldn’t be willing to trade for it. “You wouldn’t know of any unusual activity along the coast?” the man with the torch, who had introduced himself as Tamir, asked after a moment of silence. “Well,” Venia hissed a sigh, “there is a multitude of ships in a bay three days on land from here. I know better than to venture near ships, hence my knowledge about them is limited, but normally there is nothing in there.” surprised by her friends disclosure of information, Elenora looked at her from the corner if her eyes. Feeling the glance upon herself Venia reached for Elenoras hand below the windowsill. In that comforting squeeze was all the reassurance Elenora needed, to know rhat Venia had not told her about the ships as she didn’t want to upset her.

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