Sitting not far from the monumental entrance to the city of Yrkanis, a refugee distractedly rolled a spherical object between his fingers. The last few hours had been physically and mentally challenging and he felt the need to review today's events.
All in all everything had begun quietly, on Silan, where he had answered Chiang the Strong's call. The first shock, however, was that he had never seen so many people gathered at the foot of the Silan commander's tower.
There, an old ranger named Wuaoi... something... told them an astonishing story about a fellow named Oflovak Rydon, who was at the origin of the Path of Exodus linking the Old and New Lands. But he had only half listened. He was impatient: what interested him was to step on the soil of the New Lands and see with his own eyes the two great cities, Pyr and Yrkanis.
As soon as the Kami guide had appeared, he had made his way through the crowd to reach him and suddenly found himself at the gates of Pyr, blinded by the bright sun and choking in the stifling heat. Then he had looked at the city of Pyr and had been astonished by the size of it.
He soon had been joined by other homins and eventually they departed: his first great adventure in the New Lands had begun!
Like a homin tide, they had swept across the desert, their protectors leaving behind a trail of dead goaris, gingos and other predators who had tried to take their toll on the young refugees, until finally they came to a vortex leading to the matis lands. What a strange thing !
Once through the strange portal, another desert area had awaited them, although slightly less dry.
After a few hundred paces south, they had reached a place so beautiful that he had remained silent for long minutes. Their protectors had called this place "Virginia Falls". What a marvel!
But these moments of pure contemplation had been ephemeral: strong vibrations had shaken the bark, and their protectors had suddenly seemed very worried, looking for the cause of this bark movement.
The refugee trembled at the memory of what he had witnessed then, a remnant of terror lurking deep inside him resurfacing.
A huge mound had erupted from the bark. From the mound pale and monstrous kitins swarmed, attacking everything on sight, be it homin, cuttlers or even other kitins.
The fighting had been fierce even for the veteran fighters who accompanied them. But they had finally overcome the kitin threat and were able to resume their journey to Yrkanis.
After such a surge of sap, the rest of the journey had seemed almost quiet to him. A few more stops, and they had - finally! - arrived in sight of Yrkanis, the end of their journey.
The wise old Ranger, Wuaoi, had welcomed them to the small square next to the stable. He had been surprised by their late arrival in Yrkanis, and he had shown even more surprise – and worry - when he was told the reason for the "delay". Before taking his leave, Wuaoi had asked if the present veterans could provide further assistance in the upcoming days, to help the refugees reach the other capitals of the New Lands.
Back to the present -- the refugee thought that he had had enough thrills for today. Taking the pearl between his thumb and forefinger, the refugee raised it slightly and inspected it thoroughly. What a beautiful thing! With a hint of regret, he held it in the palm of his hand and, closing his eyes, broke it.
The chirping of the birds, the fresh and slightly humid air carrying such a particular scent: he didn't need to open his eyes to know that he was treading Silan's soil again.