There’s a reason the locals called them Thunder Reeds; the dry crackling pop of seedpod on seedpod echoes in their wake, explosions of powder-fine seeds clinging to skin and clothing alike. They’d only been in the canyon a few minutes and the small band of messengers already looked as if they’d been rolled in flour, or ash. Yula was immeasurably glad for the breathing masks Rikk had insisted they wear.
The scary thing was the reeds were a natural defense. Magic had tweaked their genetics long ago, coaxing them from seasonal to year-round seeding, but there was no whiff of it left in the plants themselves. Unlike most wizards’ retreats, the catdragon had chosen to surround itself with protections that alerted rather than dissuaded.
Which boiled down to the fact the group had no easy way to thwart Shell’s defenses. Rikk’s ability to null magic was useless and the quilldog found the whole experience rather annoying. Annoyed quilldogs were more of a threat than catdragons, at least as far as the canyons current inhabitants were concerned.
Yula had a feeling this was going to be one of those quests…