The journey felt easier now that Thæon was travelling with Morak. Gryka made traversing Tangek’a simpler where she could take to the skies, slipping in and out of the Shadow Realm to scout their path ahead, saving them pushing their way down one path between towering plateaus only to find the way ahead impassable, forced to walk all the way back to find another route. They found the days in the jungle passed quicker; the rain’s consistency beginning to thin the more they pushed north and close to the boundaries where magic was stretched thin across the region. And in places, it was non-existent.
The morning when they awoke on the shore of Tsaulpayora, Thæon was startled by the presence of the fifth member of their party: Sagen, Morak’s horse, and second Shadow Soul, pawing lazily at the ground while Morak was stood at his side, adjusting the straps on his saddle.
“And where in the nine realms were you hiding him?”
Morak shot Thæon a smug grin. “The second, actually,” he says, cocky and teasing, but his tone sobers to contend with the early morning and to soothe his mount as he goes about storing his travelling supplies to hurry their departure. “It was safer for Sagen to wander the Shadow Realm than it was for him to carry me through Tangek’a. There were too many predators and not a decent path for him to walk, so he roamed the Grynn plains while I searched the caves.”
Thæon nodded, as if he understood. He was impressed by the simple show of magic in an area that fluctuated with little predictability, and felt a spark of excitement for how his own might blossom as he grew stronger, chasing the years until he was far more in tune with his source.