Book II - Chapter 4

 

Chapter 4

 

There’s nothing but dusty fields for miles.

Really, that’s if you can even call them fields. Looks to me as though most of these are on their way back to being barren soil. Just abandoned acres. They’re barely recognizable “paths” cutting between them on rare occasions.

Where in the heck are we?

Obviously, this isn’t the Great Forest. Doesn’t take much to realize that, but now there’s a lot more to it.

The sun is too high. The angle is different, I think. Almost directly overhead, instead of sort of… off to the side a bit. That’s a noticeable difference.

As is the heat.

Very hot.

I’ve been known to puke fire on occasion, so trust me when I say it’s getting warm. We must have gotten up in the earlier half of the day, because this has only gotten worse.

Almost… desert-like.

Not quite, but close.

“Well on the way” would probably be the best way to put it.

Still no trees.

Like, at all.

Far as I can tell, the only thing that breaks the terrain here up is the occasional farm house.

Some are just abandoned, or very poorly maintained. Roof caving in or just entirely gone, missing walls, supports... I’ve seen several of those so far. Some odd stone posts here and there probably serving to mark property lines.

It’s… weird.

There have been a few rare exceptions.

Every so often, we’ve passed what must be wealthier land owners, or something. They’ve got additional buildings, barns, hugged glass windows, and big wooden gates.

Weird choice of material, wood, considering how much they used stone for everything else, but maybe that’s a classier.

Keeping up with the Jones or whatever.

I don’t see any obvious source, considering the complete absence of trees. So… Imported, I guess?

Even these wealthier looking ones seem like they’ve seen better days. The best of them have a weathered look, paint discolored.

Don’t think they’re occupied.

Just a general feeling, but it’s something.

I can’t really imagine people making a life out here, but it must have been possible at some point.

Probably

I’m soaking in the sights as we pass them by.

Managed to climb my way to a better vantage point. Special technique [Scarf-Mode] has once again been activated, and I’m wound up around Imra’s neck.

Surprisingly difficult to accomplish.

She’s still running, there’s wind… at least I’m feeling less motion-sickness though.

I’d call it sprinting, but that would be by human standards.

For her, I think this might just be a jog or something.

I told her to stop a couple times, but she’s either not able to hear me or she’s just not listening.

And so, our trek continues.

Inhumanly fast, down the first… road…

Sss…

It’s as much a “road” as those last worn-away foundations were farmhouse, but yeah. I’ll just call it that.

The first road we managed to find.

On, and on…

Pretty sure Imra’s just hanging out on the verge of a massive panic attack and running in a random direction is the only thing that’s preventing this.

I mean, it’s hot as hell and we’re in a biome I’m starting to classify as a dustbowl, without a single source of water anywhere… but if it helps?

Don’t blame me if you shrivel up into an Elf-raisin.

Sss.

She won’t listen to a single thing I say, so I guess the best thing to do is wait.

Not much else I can do.

Every so often I use [Heal] on her.

Partly, to make sure the magic still working, but also to keep her feet from… well, tearing.

Brutal, right?

It’s gravelly, though, this road. There’s some sort of laid-stone under there, but the surface is mostly sand and a bunch of broken “stuff.”

Stuff? What kind of description is that?

Well, I don’t know what to tell you. Not really sure what half of it even is. Here and there, looks like ceramics or lost cargo. Random bits and pieces, glass maybe?

Not good for shoeless runners.

Really not.

Healing aside, the water issue is probably going to be a bigger problem. Still having no luck with that.

Not to say the magic is broken, because I’m pretty sure it’s not.

Managed to get a little bit of vapor to collect in an organized fashion, unlike Earth, which doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. The trouble is really that this place, where ever we are, is dry.

Holding onto it is super difficult. The water just evaporates. Wind, plus movement, and I’m sort of struggling with it.

Can’t pull water out of the air, if there isn’t any in the first place.

Sss… I should have practiced with this more when I had the chance, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would really make.

“Imra, you ever gonna take a break, or…?”

… guess not.

She’s gonna be sun-dried Elf jerky if she keeps this up.

The only living things I’ve seen are some dying crops, and a couple weird animals.

Fox-like beast things, couple of them. Those seem to run around in pairs. Way off in the distance, they don’t seem inclined to get near the road.

Some large looking lizards, bright red colors. Travelling in packs, look pretty big. Thankfully, not interested in us.

A couple boulders…

Suspicious boulders.

Various shapes and sizes, but I swear some seem to get up and move.

Not sure I like that concept.

Sort of worrisome.

As a whole: this place? Really not my cup of tea.

I’ve seen enough, and I don’t like it.

Haven’t hit an ocean, or a lake, or a pond… so, water is going to be tricky. Terrain means that shelter is going to have to be improvised, which is trouble.

Our chances out here, without earth magic, are probably not so good.

Harsh, specialized sort of area.

Honestly, it’s quite difficult to believe people lived out here at all. I don’t know how they did it- magic maybe?

Some sort of magical irrigation system I haven’t spotted?

Or, maybe the crops are were really hardy?

Not sure.

Imra’s been running for hours, and nothing’s changed.

Maybe deeper into it? Maybe out of it?

Absolutely uncertain.

Still, last few minutes, I’m pretty sure I can make out “something” in the distance.

Way ahead of us… might be a mirage, but it looks like a large…

Mountain?

Bit flat for that.

Long plateau?

I’m not quite sure, but there is some sort of shape on the horizon. Uniform… rising up a bit.

Don’t know.

Whatever that is in the distance, it’s still far off enough to be irrelevant, and our surroundings now are still just the same old.

Road… some rocks… sand… dust…

More dust…

More sand… the road-

Woah.

Scratch the road.

Imra’s banking a hard turn.

What the heck.

At least the road had to lead us somewhere, you know?

Like, people wouldn’t make a road for no reason. It had to go and end up somewhere.

If we follow that, eventually-

Ah.

I get it.

She found a tree.