A sudden cuss fled her lips. Venia looked from Ferlon to the bee, and back. “Time?”Shaking her head the guard retreated back into.the crowd, disappeared in the other crowd that had gathered. Needing time to think she wandered on foot to the.pyramid. Soon her princess should return from the top of the pyramid, and she had to inform her about the stranger at shore. Still in thought she immersed in the crowd around the pyramid.”Apparently only a very few people know of the ancient times, and the pact the westward king had made with the mortal races.” Ferlon inched towards her. “I’m here to collect the children.” a glint in his eyes frightened Venia for a moment. The way he had elaborated his reasons was even more disturbing than the reasons themselves.”Let me guess the Sphinxes?” she did not show her feelings for him. “Yes.” The elders of the Naga’na tribe had convened, the leaders of the Albin were with them, as well as the human leaders. Although he was interested, he ambassador to he fungal republic was glad here had been no room for him, so he sat with Nicodia at the campfire with Venia.Silence had grabbed a hold of the campfire site, almost tangible he three feared it could strangle them and douse the flames, leaving them in a cold darkness to lie rotting for all eternity. A few houra before moods had been high, even Venia’s. Bereft of a home, and the woman she.loved more than life itself, she had felt lost, but drew strength from new missions in life. Fight the impending invasion of the.Sphinxes, no matter the.cost, as it already had cost her, her heart. But a child collecting stranger, seeing more with his blind eyes than she ever could, was tearing down her mood. “It has been agreed!” An elder Naga appeared out of the hut they had met in. “Bring them.” she turned to a younger Naga who bowed before her. Moments later she returned with five Naga, who carried sleeping children in their arms. It was apparent that they had been selected and informed beforehand. “Five children from the sweetwater Naga.” the elder croaked. In her Eyes Venia clearly saw she was not happy about the outcome, but not all too heartbroken either. They slowly slithered away into the woods, following the ancient road to the shore. “I sense you have not completed your journey, nor are you at the beginning of it.” Ferlons sudden appearance next to her startled Venia. “I also sensed your eyes were the first to see me.” his eerie smile made her skin crawl. “Are you offering me to accompany you?” she raised her eyebrows, wrinkling her forehead.”I am, and unlike these Naga,” he pointed down the ancient road, “you will be wide awake and can get off at any time!” while making his invitation, Ferlon felt taken back again.”Why do you return to me year after year?” Ferlon was turning to his nameless Naga friend. “I have sailed the western rim north and south, yet come that time of year, you fi.d me wherever I may be.” “You know what pleases me. You know what pleases yourself.” she smirked dirtyly. “I don’t need to worry about more brood, my sisters are quite fruitful.” slowly she moved back on top of him underneath the starry sky on deck of his ship. “Now, where were we?” Watching with a certain emotional distance to what she saw Venia stood by in the bowl of the ship as Ferlon raised a clear crystal around the Naga with their daughters.