iv) Grumalla shows them withered stalks


Grumalla shows them withered stalks. “All this used to be fine eatin’ for lil Grumalla. Then them Jiko come and ravage the place, jus’ tear it all up. Now look at me.”

Grumalla held its arms aloft. Sure enough, slack skin draped off a large but fragile frame. Grumalla’s hair was thin and matted.

“What’s more’s they make this place so damn cold.”

“Jiko do this?” Abia asks, then breathes heavily to create a vaporous cloud. “They make cold?”

Grumalla sadly nods. “Gives me the shivers, it does.”

The group takes a beat, suddenly feeling very small in this vast, icy place.

“Oh but where’re my manners. You all must be hungry. Stew’s a bit thin but y’all are welcome to a bowl.”

“Eh, no, thank you,” Shyan says.

Fassn stops his prayers a moment, to interject. “Aw, come on, Shyan.”

“In fact,” Shyan continues, “we’ve been sent by the Jiko to kill you.”

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