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Jeniah circled the widest perimeter of the diggings, knowing that Vaara was doing the same thing, moving in the opposite direction. They would stop, when they reached the cliffs, and double back, and the link between them was open and allowing them both to experience not only their own scouting, but also one another’s.




She was also aware that she could feel the echoes of Kaivelt more strongly since Vaara’s arrival. There was some meaning to that, but she did not try to divine it.




~~Sima garo provides.~~




The chorus of voices rose in her mind, more often each passing sunlength. The voices were still a blend, and she still made no effort to untangle them. No, it was enough that she could feel them, that she was beginning to be able to believe in it again.




She did not share her impressions of the Otherworlders and their doings with Vaara. Something she had learned while still a kitten was that one’s impressions, shared too soon, would poison their own way for seeing. So they had decided, before they set out, that they would share impressions and thoughts and sensings after they returned to the small cave lair, in time for Vaara’s next dosing.




And so they shared what they saw, without making any conclusions about it. They each stopped when they desired, studied what they chose, and moved on when they chose.




She noticed that the Otherworlders were less active today than they had been at her last visit, and there were fewer of them, and those wearing bulkier clothing. That would be good to share with Vaara, later, but, for now, she merely noted it.




~Perhaps they are adversely affected by cold.~




Just that one simple thought – but it was Kaivelt’s mind, beyond question. She could not mistake him.








But, for that, there was no answer given. He was there to share the thought, and then he was gone, again, almost as though he had never been there.




But she was sure it had been him. And that meant that there was still some chance that she would be able to connect with him again, and explain why she had done as she had.




~~You need not explain.~~




Again, he was there, and then not. There was nothing left of him that she could touch, or hold to, or form any type of bond with.




But sima garo provides, and she would be thankful with what was provided, and not seek out more than what was offered.




It was not in her nature to be patient, but, when the hunt demanded it, she would be patient as was needed, to take her prey.




And so she shifted her focus back to the diggings, to the small swarm of Otherworlders who spread out across the gaping wounds they had inflicted upon Aletris.




And so she was watching when the roof of one shelter, a huge building that made Osiiraan seem like a sapling by comparison to its size. She found a tree by which she could see down into the sunken vastness of the chamber.




What she saw was nothing that made sense to her, but there was a certain insistence within her that she look, and notice every possible detail, and then remain to watch.




In a sunlength, she could see Otherworlders moving about the devices kept within, but there was no door through which to move the machines. That was a mystery, too, so she would not leave off watching until the roof closed, she found understanding, or it was time to return to the lair for their dosings.




~Sima garo provides. You need only be open to it.~




So she waited, and, then, two sunlengths beyond, in the rising fog of the evening over the waters, she heard a new sound, one that she had never heard before, but that was somehow akin to thunder, Watersdeep, and the machines that dug into the planet’s skin.




With tremendous noise and a glow that cut through the fog as though it were not there, three of the machines lifted into the air, through the open roof, and then away, very quickly, out of sight in the skies above.




Jeniah could still feel the heat and scent the acrid stench of their leaving – like the digging machines, and yet not.




She watched again as the roof slid closed, hiding whatever was left within.




~ Sima garo provides.~




~It was I who first told you so, Kaivelt my fierce one.~




There was surprise, sharp and clear for a breath, and wonder, and joy. It faded quickly, and she resisted the urge to try to hold it, or him.




She waited until full dark, but, wherever the craft had gone, she did not see any sign that they were returning.




She felt the pull toward Vaara, now, and knew her twin had slipped off for a while, to allow her to be with what she was seeing and feeling. But now, Vaara was with her, urging her to return to the lair, where they could be as they were, together, and share what they had seen.




Vaara was already there, with a groundhen spitted at the fire, and two large fish cut into strips and drying – a welcome addition to their combined larder, because they could not Hunt in the Poisoned Lands. She had brewed tea, and made grain cereal rich in nuts and berries fattening in the bubbling water. There was also stew simmering.




“How long have you been here?” Jeniah asked, a little incredulously.




“Since dusk fell – I wished to leave off my looking before I grew so full of it that I could not hold more, or have space to think on what I have seen.”




“I saw something new, today, as well -”


“I know,” Vaara said. “But that is not what you most want to talk about, sister.”




Jeniah smiled. “You’re right. I’d forgotten how you don’t care for chatter. Something you share with my Chosen.”




“You have begun to feel him.”




“Yes. I dreamed of him, before you came. There was a decision he needed to make, and I dreamed it. Since then, I have felt him more and more -” Something in Vaara’s scent spoke to her, and she said, “You are not surprised by this.”




Vaara looked at her and said, “No, I am not. Shinjao and I supported him with the Huntthreads, so that he might resist your efforts to Sever him. When you succeeded, he sheltered the outer link with us. In some sense, he has been with me since.”




Jeniah was not certain, at first, what to think or say about this.




~ Sima garo provides, my own.~




And then he was flowing into her, as though he had never been gone, and Vaara was settling her in bed, bringing her food, and then ducking out of the lair, to begin a circling watch …all of which Jeniah was only vaguely aware of as they began to flow together, in a way that she had thought lost to her forever.




All became bliss and joining and Attunement and what lie beyond…there was no choice in the matter – the joining, after so much struggle, was involuntary…




She could feel that he had suffered trauma, that there had been a danger to his life, during the time that they had been apart, that he had tried to join, instead, with that entity, which had, as she had known it would, turned out to present grave danger to many worlds.




But now he was safe, and whole, and his being pulsed with new life and understanding as he traveled once more with his friends, roaming Everdeep…




And he was open, not caring, now, that she could offer no proof. But still, she knew that it could not last forever, and that she could not expect him to believe what she could not prove.




~Watch the stars, my own. If you, and Vaara, will watch them, and give to me what you see, it will be a path by which I might one day find you…~




Then there was more joining, and, in it, they shared what she had seen, and what it seemed to indicate, and, slowly, plans began to form…