I pulled myself out of the risewell and found purchase on the rock wall behind the access hole. The sky was black with no moon or Ikshe shining above. The rains had ceased, but the cloud cover remained. I climbed hand over hand, stealth settings engaged. Joaxma would not leave her ship in the dark, but one could never be too careful.

I reached the lip of the cliff and peered above at the glade. All was quiet. I saw a defile of bones. Large bones. The bones of the rokhura.

I gasped. What had happened while I scrabbled through the caves like a mud-rat?

I clambered up the ledge and stood at the lightning barrier Joaxma created. Even at this distance, with the little ship to my left twenty paces and the bones a half-veltik from me, I could see the bones were clean. Picked and devoured by rokhural and Pazathel-naxl alike. She hadn’t been caught unawares, had she?

Photo by Joel Felipe on Unsplash