The settlement was warm in the sun, but the thick sod walls and low-slug roofs spoke of harsh winters to come. Every home was one with its barn, the animals occupying the lower levels so that when the snows came there would not be far to go for meat, eggs, or milk.

Farciya returned from speaking with some of the dreamlanders. “This is as far as the road will take us,” she said. “I have hired some porters and canoes, which we can use to travel up the rivers and lakes to the north.

“Good,” Tiris said. “You’ve done well.”

“Now perhaps you can tell me where we are going,” said Farciya.

“I have already said. We make for Harbiyyah.”

“Harbiyyah is a vast region, not a city,” said Farciya, exasperated. “That is like saying you are going to the sea. Can you be more specific?”

“Not right now,” said Tiris, airily. “But it will, I think, become clear with time. If more payment will help smooth things over…?”

“It will indeed,” Farciya said. “I have traveled the northern wastes extensively, but going nowhere in particular…well, that is particularly expensive.”

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