The ruins of Eldabor stretched out in front of Petra as she gazed skyward. Tales of these ruins had been spread through her childhood, so it was only natural that she seek them herself. She glanced behind her to see if Setra was able to keep up. Her twin brother had insisted on coming along - something about a big brother complex - though Petra had always insisted he was only older by three minutes.
She paused, standing akimbo, her mouth agape in wonder.
“Are you just going to stand there with your jaws open?” Setra teased, finally reaching her.
“Took you long enough,” she said with a frown.
“You walk too fast,” he insisted.
A flock of longtails flew overhead calling out to each other. If her translation was correct, they were discussing whether to stop for dinner or continue until night fall.
“Maybe we should take their first suggestion,” Setra commented, plopping down on a large rock next to the main wall of the ruins. Petra looked at him, debating the topic. Though all people in the region could understand the animals here, as well as the opposite, it wasn’t always best to follow their advice.
“If you want to stop, we’d better find a place to set up camp,” she said.
“Well, I don’t feel like spelunking today. Is there a house or something around here?” he grumbled.
“Let’s go take a look.”
The pair traveled into the ruins, the rain of last nights storm still flowing like small rivers off the tops of the structures. There wasn’t a whole lot here except what looked like alters the ancients used for prayer.
“There has to be some kind of shelter here,” Petra stated, looking about from atop a fallen pillar, now broken into four pieces across the main gathering space. “Maybe a temple?”
“What about that?” said Setra, pointing to a small, cracked building with a darkened entrace. It was covered in ivy of a dark green, but it appeared benign. “We can collect some of those port ivy leaves to spice our stew.”
“Is that what that is?” she asked, picking a leave. She crumbled it between her fingers, and the strong scent began to waft out. “Yup,” she coughed. “That’s what it is.” Setra couldn’t help but smile.
The girl caustiously stepped into the temple, looking around for any sign of life.
“Hello?” she called, but her voice just echoed off the walls. “Seems empty,” she said, turning back to her brother.
“Let me see if I can light a torch for you,” Setra said, withdrawing a cloth-wrapped stick from his bag. “Is there a salamander around here?” He made a growling call, a greeting to any of the named creatures in the area, and one crawled out from under a boulder. It was about the size of a house cat, but bright red and scaley.
“Will you light this for us, friend?”
The beast nodded and let loose a small jet of flame. Within seconds, the torch was lit.
“Aramano, maglama,” the twins said in unison, bowing to the salamander. “Thank you, friend.”
“Aratano, maglama,” the salamander replied. “It is a pleasure, friend.” And with that, it retreated back to its boulder.
The sun was already setting as they stepped inside. The chamber was small and slightly damp, but a long hallways stretched out toward the back of the room.
“I don’t know about this, Petra,” Setra said, nervously.
“Oh, come now, brother. It will be fun!”
As they stepped inside, a sliding door closed the entrance behind them, leaving them in the darkness, save for the lit torch.
“Well, maybe it won’t be so fun,” Petra said, regretting her decision.
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