i) The team breaks camp

The team breaks camp as red dawn creeps toward the horizon. The still, dewy air carries a bitter stink from the domed structure beyond. Fassn meditates while his companions pack their bags. They depart without him — he hurries to catch up when his communion is complete.

Cang wrinkles his nose against the growing stench. “We certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.” Turning to Fassn, he asks, “Have you any more of that powder?”

Fassn holds out a handful of crumbling pebbles. “Crushed to order,” he says.

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