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Ten days’ ride into the desert, Amahl begins to see the shimmer: onion spires and the hint of winter, muffled silhouettes, light from half a world away. He fixes his eyes and dismounts to scoop sand into the first pouch.

Back in the city, he sells the pouch to Alik for three golden knots.

“It’s just sand,” says Alik dubiously.

“It’s your city,” Amahl replies. “Put your hand in the bag and close your eyes.”

“Fine, but if this doesn’t wo–” says Alik, and vanishes.

Amahl watches the ground where he stood for a while, then packs his stall for home.