“We must be very silent through here,” Farciya said, pointing at a pair of obsidian pillars, the bones of dead volcanoes, that rose on either side of the river flowing north.

“Why is that?” Tiris asked, looking down at the riverbank. The porters he had hired were busily packing up their camp and preparing the canoes to take them further into the trackless Harbiyyah.

“For the next hundred leagues, the riverbanks are infested with ganeni, the sound-gaunts, the seekers of shrieks,” said Farciya.

“I take it from their names that they do not react well to intruders.”

“They cannot be seen in any but the strongest light, they move fast, swim fast, and home in on any loud noises like a pack of wolves. They will rip us from our boats and devour us until the river runs red, for the rare travelers and beasts that stray through here are their only sustenance, and it may be aeons before their next meal.”

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