There were no more trees, with only the occasional windswept tops of shrubs and branches peeking from amidst the snow to suggest that anything other than endless ice and howling winds had ever existed. The only shelter lay in hollows within the land, the wind-shadows of hills, the great boulders that dotted the landscape.

Before long, Tiris noticed something strange about the boulders he and Farciya encountered in their trek through the snowscape. As they sat in the lee of one such monolith, shivering in the wind, he saw that the stone was a perfect sphere, as if it had been roughly hewn and sanded by a great invisible hand.

“I have never heard of such a thing,” Farciya said, even as she agreed that the spherical shape was unmistakable. “I fear my experience, and even the rumors we sometimes heard from travelers, ended some days south of here.”

“Perhaps it is a representation of the sun, standing still, or the glittering orbs attending to it, that Ad Dakhla wrote of,” said Tiris.

“Or perhaps it is something made naturally by the same forces that sap the living heat from our bodies,” Farciya countered.

“It could be either, or both…or a warning,” Tiris mused.

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