“Naga died, not by the hand of the sphinx, but what she had done to the oceans. In your world the Sphinxes have set a killer in the seas, so they won’t do the same to your world.” Lilly’s voice was muffled again by the cloth in front of her face, she had given Fathala a hooded cloak and facecloth too. Together they moved westward, what seemed to Fathala as the direction east was in in her home. “Where are we going?”

“Dorei.” was Lilly’s answer, meeting the eyes of her Naga comapnion Lilly understood that she did not know Dorei. “It lies south west of the pole, in your world it’d be north east. It was destroyed by the sphinx, but the people of Dorei in your world are resourceful.” she smirked behind her cloth, only visible at her eyes. “Most people who come here from your world come here by accident. Not the Dorei, they have switched the devastated land of this world with their own from yours. They are here with all their people and all they need to live.”

Fathala stopped dead.in her tracks, Lilly turned around, her ataff whirling, gave her smack on the bottom, and before Fathala realized, both of them were.moving again. “Don’t stop. At all!” she pointed back, the ground they just had left had become slightly darker. “Some nasty salt sludge lies buried beneath the surface. It can swallow you whole.” recalling she spoke with a Naga Likly eased her tone slightly. “Maybe you could escape, but better not test your luck.”

Before them the flat salt pans went on to the horizon, making Fathala long for a change. The salty ground made her raw, more than rocks did.

“How did the Sphinx miss out on the people of Dorei coming here?”

“That bloke Leif was pulling her over into your world, she was almost completely gone from me when they arrived.” How did you know of their arrival? Though feeling curious she couldn’t afford losing Lilly as an ally.

 

Grotesquely shaped dry branches reached from a massive tree skywards as if to beg the heavens for help. Roots, thicker than the two women combined had dug into the soil ages ago, in order to find some source of water. “I’ve met a floral girl once on Naga’na. She was a brave young woman. And she would’ve loved to see this.” Nicodia. Where ever you might have gone, I hope you’re far from the Sphinxes.

 

“Hello.” startled the two women turned to the source of the greeting. Just like themselves the shape that had emerged from the cracked, and washed rocks was wrapped in hood, cloak and face cloth. The voice was smoky, like Fathala had heard from humans and Albin who had a long history with the pipe. “Greetings.” Lilly finally replied, shoving herself between Fathala and the stranger.

“May I ask what brings you to the floral enclave isle?” the man asked, revealing himself as a Floral when he removed the hood. “We’re bound for Dorei.” curious how the florals survived in the salty desert Lilly lowered her staff. “Ah, water business.” his voice indicated a smile beneath the cloth. “We come from the sweetwater sea.”

As far as they could see the eyes of the floral man squinted. “The Chimera lives there.”

“Lived. She was pulled through to my world.” emerging behind Lilly, Fathala removed her own face cloth. “If she’s truly gone, why didn’t you stay?”

“She knows the passage through, if she and her brethren decide to come through, where do you think that’ll be?” Lilly gave up on shielding the Naga. Where am I to pass back? Dorei in my world will be a desert. Discouraged by her own thoughts Fathala noticeably shrank.

Again the vision of Naga Eric appeared, smiling benevolent, trying to encourage her, but this time he uad little success.

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