Although his fingers performed their task, nimbly tightening straps on his pack, Ri'Shard's thoughts were still analyzing the conversation only recently ended.
'Something is going to occur.' Je'Makh had agreed. 'How much time remains yet to us, and the magnitude of the crisis is yet to be determined with any accuracy. But I, and a few of the others, feel that it has already begun; and that we are at the onset of So'Hala's doom.'
'You can only be referring to the recent destruction of the vats.' Ri'Shard said grimly. Je'Makh nodded.
'We know now, that the damage was not due to accident. Whilst investigating the damage, the Anari supervisor discovered a total of fourteen other packages; each one next to a vat. He removed them to a safe distance, once he had determined them to be explosive. We have been extremely fortunate.' He added.
'Explosive!' Ri'Shard's normally urbane features were a mask of sick shock. 'Are you certain?'
"We had one of the packages brought-carefully, I might add-to a secure room, where it was detonated. There is no doubt.'
"But..,' Ri'shard was at a loss. "Who could knowingly do such a thing?' He shook his head, unable to take in what he had heard. "It would mean the end of us; of the Pyr. No Milari, or even Anari would knowingly risk their own existence, no matter what their grievance.'
"Indeed.' Je'Makh assented. "Which leaves us with but one other answer.' He waited for Ri'Shard, but there was only incomprehension in his eyes. "The explosives must have been set in place by a Sapien.'
"Sapien?' Ri'shard looked blank. "There are no more Sapien.'
"How certain can we be of that?' Je'Makh gave Ri'Shard an even look. "How sure are we? Saying that Sapien do not exist, may not make it so.'
Ri'Shard shook his head. "The last of the Sapien perished several thousands of cycles since. They are little more than legend; an entry in the pages of the history books.'
"So we of the eight thought also. However, many cycles ago, maybe as many as a thousand, one of the Anari, came to us. He brought with him a Sapien.'
"A thousand cycles is still, a very long time ago.' Ri'Shard commented, and Je'Makh shrugged.
"Not as long as you would think.' He said cryptically. "But, to resume, the creature the Anari supervisor brought to us was barely recognizable as Sapien. It was a filthy thing, bereft of whatever reasoning processes it might have once had. But, it could talk, after a fashion. The Anari had captured it, as it had strayed onto the farms, presumably in search of food.' Je'Makh grimaced slightly.