Shyan accepts on behalf of the group. Cang and Fassn moan audibly. She shushes them. “It’s the right thing to do. Be quiet.”
They spend three days tracking Grumalla. They learn the tunnels and secret caves, they taste whitemoss, sour djeck, oxspo. They sleep by the ever-burning fire in the Jiko village.
On the morning of the fourth day, each exhausted and frost-bitten, Cang hears a noise, like talons scraped against ice. He creeps towards it, throwing hand signals back to the group as he goes.
There stands Grumalla, enormous, shaggy, with the glint of bestial intelligence behind its warped and compound eyes. It cuts its claws on an icy stalagmite, sharpening them to a keen and painful point.