In between the individual hills shear winds rattled the vegetation strong enough to rip out some of the old growth. In plumes of dust and leaves the dying and dead plants were hurled across the distance and landed a few hundred meters farther north of the hills. “It looks almost as if something terrible and evil is melting those hills.” Venia turned to the young Naga witch that had slithered up between her and the scout. “Dahony?” the young Naga kept staring at the spectacle in the distance despite her name being called. “My people have left far away seas in search of a new home.” she smiled, tears formed in her eyes. “We were the only tribe of Naga to have names amongst ourselves, when the darkness swept from the bottom of the dark ocean where no Naga would dare to traverse. Jathaina the wise led her sister away from the terrors that came from beneath the darkness of the sea.” eagerly she breathed in the cold air of the wind that blew towards them. “Through prairies and oceans filled with Naga without names, across the smoking field, and through the hungry forests to where we dwell now.” she turned to Venia. “Watch it sister,” she put her hand on Venias shoulder. “the old stories speak of melting hills as the evil brands against the shore, we are on historic ground.” the glorious, almost hallowed, smile felt contagious. Venia could not help but smile as well. Other Naga in the group also stared at the sight in distance, with an equally peaceful smile on their lips. “Please forgive me for interrupting this glorious moment,” also peacefully smiling Elenora sighed. “But we have to go before that weather hits us. Don’t forget that, with hostile Owls all around us, we are fighting against time.” Saddened by the sudden loss of the peace of the situation the Naga nodded agreeingly and broke up, moving on with Elenora and Venia at the head of the baggage. As they continued their march in the ever increasing winds from the south Elenora felt bad for interrupting the almost sacred moment of the Naga, but once their goal had been achieved they could bask in the beauty of the weather and the landscape as much as they wanted, but not before. With her left hand she felt up the stone in her clothes. As much as she loved having it, and feeling the ethereal flow through her all the time, she hated being dependent on a gem. Magic should flow freely through the world and permeate with all that was, resonate with every thing living and not living. Instead it was omitted, and only nectar or gems like the one she carried or the one Jeethina had found buried in the ruins, would allow to penetrate the veil of darkness. It was while pondering over these matters that she noticed Venias disturbed and surprised expression. “What troubles your mind?” she freed her hand from grasping the gem. “We are being followed, if I’m not mistaken it is the blind owl, shadowing us ever since she left us standing there.” with her eyes she indicated the direction in which Elenora should look. Indeed, somewhat in the distance the tall grass wiggled, it had been disturbed on a trajectory parallel to their own. “I believe I know her intentions.” Elenora sighed remembering the feeling of the stone in her hand. “We’ll ignore her for now, she posed no threat before, why should she start to pose one now?” grumbling Venia shook off the nagging feeling the knowledge of the old crone following them gave her. “I believe it will take us one more day to reach the first foothills of that mountain range.” the blonde fair skinned man behind them glanced at the mountains. His eastern Albin origin had originally made people belittle his abilities as scout, but in the time since their arrival he had proven himself as a good scout.