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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
The dunes stretched endlessly, an ocean of hot, red sand. The dry air leeched away moisture, licking it from the skin and leaving only crusty salt behind. This was the desert, the true desert, the bleacher of bones, the subtle destroyer of ancient civilizations, the forever reaching red sands. Jik slapped his lips together, parched. He had stopped trying to talk a long while ago. There seemed to be no point to it. The sands rasped over each other, burying their tracks behind them as if erasing them from existence altogether. The hiskr had become so warm that he had wrapped his cloak about his head and shoulders as a makeshift turban once again. It did nothing for his tail which seemed to be flaking skin chunks even underneath the dirty colored fur. Jik was feeling most unpleasant to say the least.

Ryvala had seen to it that all of their camels were watered and attended to, making sure every waterskin was filled. They would need all the moisture they could get just to arrive and potentially make a quick break if they had to find other means inside. She had purchased new clothes; a white blouse with long sleeves and a stiff, high collar in the back to keep her wavy auburn hair off of her neck, a set of leather bracers, a pair of trousers and some sturdy boots. She kept her old, stolen cloak however and had pulled it up around her in order to keep the sun from beating directly down on her head and shoulders. Kayra had gotten her shawl wrapped about her head as well in order to help keep cooler. She had sweat all over her forehead, her blond hair stuck to her skin. With every step, she was more and more eager to find a place to rest or get out of the sun.

Like a mirage on the horizon, a set of block-like shapes began to shimmer. They danced in the heat that seemed like water vapor. Jik already wanted to dance in it and was sipping warm water from a waterskin, its leathery taste leaving something to be desired. Jik see... water... buildings... His mumble came out softly, sounding much like a drunken man's speech.

Ryvala stretched out her hand towards it, a triumphant smile on her face. Right there is where we are going. As they neared the site, the block shapes took on the form of a ruined city. The sand coated the tumbled down bricks. Half arches stood like rickety canes stuck in the earth. Whole rooms, buildings, created passages that were dappled in both hot sunlight and muted shadows.

Kayra squinted against the glare, raising a hand over her eyes for shade. But, Ryvala, there's no one here. It looks old and abandoned.

That's the point, dear. No raider in their right mind would make a sign saying, "Raiders right here!" That defeats the purpose. We just need to get past the lookout. A man could be lurking around anywhere in the warren of dilapidated buildings. It was impossible to see from their current vantage point. They would have to get off their camels and search for whomever was guarding the lair of the raiders. And Jik was not pleased. His feet were already too hot as it was and the prospect of having to tread through more sand was unappealing. Very unappealing.
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The Hole · Kastalin Sands

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