16.2 \ 198

YOU MUST BE NIMBLE. WE WILL NOT ACTUALLY BE TRYING TO HURT YOU, BUT YOU MUST KEEP YOURSELF UNHURT. THERE IS NO PLACE FOR YOU THAT IS GUARANTEED FROM HARM, EXCEPT WHATEVER PLACE YOU CAN FIND, WHICH WILL CHANGE BY THE MOMENT.

THE TEMPERING IS FOR AURENY, AND YOU ARE SHAPED DIFFERENTLY. WE HAVE ALLOWED SOME OTHERS TO BE PRESENT, INCLUDING ROSY GLOW. MOST HAD TO BE NIMBLE, IF NOT INSUBSTANTIAL, TO APPRECIATE THIS.

THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH AN OCCASION UPON YOUR ARRIVAL IS TOO GOOD A SERENDIPITY TO PROTECT YOU FROM IT.

As Soleil followed Mystvall at her tiny-legged human pace, she marveled at the encrustations of varicolored sparkling crystals thickening on every surface, more profuse in this area than elsewhere. These caves rolled and slanted, with many branchings of varying inclination.

IF YOU RETREAT TO THESE PORTIONS, BE AWARE THAT WE GO BARRELING THROUGH, COLLIDING WITH THE WALLS AND WITH EACH OTHER. THE GEMSTONE GROWTHS WILL NOT PROTECT YOU.

An echo of thunderous steps approached them from around a corner, and another Aureny appeared. Like Mystvall, they were decked out in full finery, metals and stones gleaming against their hide and in the rough fur at the joints. The two Aureny butted headplates and reared their heads to either side, ticking some crystals off the walls to the ground.

Soleil guessed that the proceedings may be similar, though amplified. She picked up a fallen crystal, and let it go again as she refrained from the desire to keep it. There could be quite a harvest. Having seen this, Soleil now noticed the areas of old abrasion, already sporting new crystal growth. How long had it been since the previous Tempering in this cave?

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