iii) Abianarin rests a hand on Fassn’s shoulder to silence his prayers

Abianarin rests a hand on Fassn’s shoulder to silence his prayers. It doesn’t work, though — the reassuring touch seems only to encourage him, and he speaks louder, more feverishly.

“Old Ajralan, eh?” Grumalla says. “Never heard of ‘im. Who’s that callin’ ‘is name?” It shuffles its grand bulk in Fassn’s direction.

Shyan steps forward, back straight. “Halt, demon. We’ve come to put an end to your devilry, and protect the Jiko.”

Grumalla snorts. “Protect ’em? They’re an invasive species. Y’all oughta to be protectin’ my crops and plants and ’em, ‘stead of those little tadpole folk.”

Cang blinks. “Invasive species?”

“Sure. Don’t no tadpole folk live under the ice all natural.”

Shayn raises her voice. “What do you mean?”

“I mean some dumb adventurers brought a few ‘long with ’em, few years back. Pets or somethin’. Course the ‘venturers died and left the Jiko who just went on proliferatin’.” Grumalla gestured at the torn-up ice and rock around them. “Used to be this was a fine yield o’ crop and now, nothin.”

Fassn, having heard nothing of this, continues his prayers.

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