I am walking through the desert. The sun is hot on my head and I am fatigued, but I know that the bus is here. Somewhere. It has stopped, so I may reach it early, earlier than I had planned. Earlier than I had told Anele. But that doesn't matter.
There are three figures in the distance. Two are standing close with their arms around eachother; one is a little ways away. As I approach them I can see more clearly: A man and a woman, and the third is a cheetah. But the cheetah is on its hind legs so I know that it is only a shape-shifter.
The man steps away from the woman and comes toward me. He is a handsome man, and he seems surprised. I know why. He did not expect a traveler, a new traveler, so far into the journey. But I have come a long way.
Then I am surprised. I know this man; have known him since the day he was born. It is Basilic. And beside him...Pheobe. The cheetah is Raven, I know that before she shifts back into her human form. They are all here. Just like I saw in my crystals.
"Ghianan". Basilic says my name aloud. He says it in disbelief. I am surprised he remembers it; it's been such a long time.
Then Pheobe is close, her arms around my waist, her face lit with joy. "Ghianan," she bubbles, "You have come! I didn't think I'd ever see you--the bus is over here. Come inside. Then we can talk."
I push her away, gently. Pheobe hasn't changed. "I have come to join my friend, the spider Anele. Have you seen her?"
Pheobe's face changes from one of joy to confusion. "No, I haven't," she stammers. "But--"
Basilic looks from her to Raven, then to me. "We were in the middle of a discussion," he says. "Perhaps you can help us."
I look at these three. I have known each long before they knew eachother. "I have come to help you," I say.