Skyir’s stomach ached. She had run out of food and drink two days earlier, but she still reached into her satchel instinctively. Three smooth stones rolled through her fingers. She hated them, what they stood for, but she needed them. “Now is not the time, girl. You have come too far to stop now,” she said to herself far more loudly than she had intended. Her Saradacathan follower turned its head to her slowly. Its face remained expressionless as always. Its black eyes communicating nothing of emotion or inquisition. It’s the face they used to serve with and now the face they will kill with. Skyir looked back at it. “You do know that you are forbidden from eating me, right? Because you are,” she said, believing the deceleration were binding… almost. The Saradacathan said nothing. It merely turned its head forward again as they continued to walk. By her best estimation, they would reach the Aspen Plains by next nightfall. They would have to. Another day in this wasteland, without water, would be too risky, even for her. Even for it.
The stones were warmer than she had ever felt them be before. They were not hot, not yet, but it was still making her uneasy. Her favored hand reflexively made its way to the hilt of her blade. The contrast of its frigid metal grip met strongly against the warmth of the stones. “Typical, Sky. Always clutching opposing extremes. Learn your lesson already,” she murmured to herself. The Saradacathan (or Tad, as she had been calling it) huffed. Was it laughing at her or just blowing another sand fly out of its undersized nostrils. She was certain she knew the answer… almost. Still, that didn’t stop her from gripping the blade and the stones more tightly. At least she still had them.