Continued from Part 2.
She felt a bright wave of cold and then the humid air of the jungle. She had never seen a jungle, no more than the scrawny trees that struggled to grow at the edge of the city's polluted river, but her heart recognized it nonetheless.
"Let me see your hand," the boy commanded gently. She offered him her upturned palm. "No, not like that," he scolded. "Fairytale nonsense, palm reading." He flipped her hand over, and traced his fingers across the faint shadows of veins. "The trees, they echo their lives here. Their power sings here, in your hands. We will teach you to learn it."
He nodded, and led her past a curtain of vines. Two other teenage boys crouched around a small fire, and a girl her own age, not yet into her teens, stood behind them. The fire was unlike any she had seen, leaping up from the ground without leaving scorched black behind. The flames danced playfully in front of the boys' hands.
"Shamaan," her guide said, in greeting to the others. "I bring you Ulethe."
"Ulethe?" she asked. "But that's not-"
"Your name? Yes, it is. Perhaps you didn't know it, but it rises from your skin like your scent. This is one of the things you will learn."
The boys stood to greet her, and the girl behind them inclined her head in a small bow.
"I am Serij," her guide explained. "These are Ret, Veleu," he pointed at the boys. "And Kiuxo." The girl nodded again.
"Ulethe," she repeated to herself. "That's me?"
"Absolutely. You will learn to recognize this as the truth, but for now I hope you will trust me. Come, have some water." Serij offered her a hollowed gourd, with crystal water. She drank deeply.