Other Florals wih bark for skin greeted them. They had even lesser accommodations than the others, there was a salty note in the air of their quarters. In few words he explained that mostly those starting to show signs of the bark went out to scout. “Beecha. You brought the strangers here?” another man in bark approached them slowly, dragging a limb. “Chessa, old friend, they are harmless.”

Fathala stole a glance to Lilly. I’m harmless, for sure, but this one?

“We ought to be going.” Lilly whispered to the Naga. “Well,” Chessa began, turning to the guests. “we cant offer you much. Cave fungi, Lichen, thats it. And a few drops of water if we can spare them.”

“Allow me to kindly refuse your hospitality, we followed Beecha because he said that the pole was deformed.” it was Fathala who took the initiative.

Laying his stiffened forehead in wrinkles Chessa turned to Beecha, then back to the two women. “It’s true,” he.pointed with an entirely stiff hand at a woman sitting at a table staring at the two. “Daydi saw it with her own eyes.” Weird names. But these are weird people in a weird place. The woman got up, approached them, surprisingly light footed. “Aye. It crumbled to gravel, and then reformed to a shining pillar of black obsidian, and a huge gaping circle in it’s center.” A portal! “That was several weeks ago.”

Again stealing a glance at Lilly, Fathala saw that she maintained her expression perfectly, giving her reason to doubt once more. “The land of Dorei is fertile, it came here trading place with Dorei of this world.”

Stunned silence was the collective reply to Lilly’s surprising news. “Aside of water and healthy soil, they can provide food.” trying to help Fathala looked desperate.

“That is ill news.” was Beecha’s reply, releasing the two from their suspense. “Quickly, recall all and any scouts from the south-west. Tell all others to search for cover too, return here if possible.”

Not understanding why the florals reacted with fear to the news of fertile grounds Fathala watched the quicker ones of the bark inflicted disperse in great haste. “We thank you for this vital information.” Chessa indicated a bow. “But we must ask you to leave us now.” he nodded to Beecha who returned the nod and began wrapping himself up once again, in order to bring the two women back to the surface.

 

“Your enclave’s grounds are quite extensive.” Lilly had explained to her Naga companion that the Florals feared the Sphinxes returning with a vengeance, once they discovered the lifeless Dorei where a fertile one should be. Rightly so. I hadn’t thought of that before, but I merely need them to send me back.

“Yes. They are.”

“Could you bring us closer to Dorei?” Beecha stopped abruptly following Lilly’s request. Bearing an expression that was the non verbal question as to why they wanted that. A short nod in Fathala’s direction was Lilly’s reply.

Raising his eyebrows as good as the bark stricken man could he nodded, turning into a cave tunnel they hadn’t used on their way in.

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