The Endless Desert
#11
Nobyl had a noticeable distance between himself and the woman, but he had an uneasy feeling. They just brutalized monsters on their pathway, yet, she’s walking about without a care in the world. At least, that was his thought of the matter.

“She didn’t even notice our presence, but perhaps that’s for the best.” Nobly thought to himself. He was curious about the blue gem—it seems to protect her from the sun’s scorching heat, but such a radiating color, is truly enough to attract a group of monsters. 

Although Slyvanas walked back to the direction she enter, the pathway seems to change dramatically—it won’t be an easy task by going backwards. The illusion of the deserts kicks up to confused travelers. 

“The storm is kicking up… I need to be a bit closer, so I don’t lose track of her. If she dies, I can at least take her stuff.”

====


Inside the castle, it was a gigantic amount of spaces, which can easily fit multiple high tier mansions. There were too many stairs to count, with countless rooms across the entire castle. The first floor, Jacen walked through, there were coffins on the side of the walls, each with their own tales and description of their deaths embedded on the tombs—this represents many travelers that able to break through the barrier and enter, but face death at the end. One traveler was a man from a distant land, who seek this castle to bring about bringing life of those who died. He survived the onslaught of the desert and enter the castle, brimming with confidence. However, he was struck down as he guard lowered, by a rock shogun from behind. 

Another one was a man who was a hero, seeking a dragon companion to ride the world of evil. He thought he could sway the Dragon’s ideology that human is worth something to save and prosper—but before the Hero can even make it to the Dragon’s room, he was struck down by a falling debris on the many flights of stairs. 

Above, there were flickering lights, supposedly useful for those who travel in this dark castle, but be warn, they will disappear when the enemy strikes at moment notice. They are fickle at the expense of travelers’ safety. 

In the distance, a Dragon’s roar can be heard, echoing throughout the castle—he is aware that a traveler had appeared in his domain and acknowledge his presence.
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"Is that all you got?"

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#12
Sylvanas went from distracted to on guard, seeing the pathway change. Putting the gem inside her pocket she drew her bow and an arrow. Walking forward more cautiously, she realized that without Jacen there she had nothing to handle the illusions of the desert. With extreme caution she moved forward, trying to avoid the sinkholes. For the moment, she didn't have any particular plan to deal with this situation.

- - - - -

Jacen paused, entire body shuttering at hearing a dragon's roar. Black eyes filled with fear, tension growing through the hairs on his body. His grip on his Blackflame Katana grew tighter, preparing for battle.

Father! How did he find me here!? This is - Jacen's thoughts were stopped by the realization that his father wasn't the only one capable of producing a dragon's roar. After all, real dragons existed. He took a breath and exhaled, focusing, closing his eyes.

"It would be rude to not respond in kind to another dragon, Jacen." Malefor's voice rang in Jacen's memory. The floating gems around Jacen began to glow with black-blue power, when he opened his eyes the center of them were filled with blue light. Opening his mouth, he let loose a true dragon's roar. Not an imitation through magic and sound, but the real deal created through magic. A simple greeting. Not a challenge, not a threat, and most definitely not a whimper. A simple greeting, I am here.

With the roar returned, Jacen paused for a moment, keeping his hand on his weapon. He sensed the weak nature of the flicking lights, but necromancy had benefits. One particular benefit was innate darksight, or the ability to see in pitch black. He was ready for the lights to go out. He looked to the coffins and realized there were far too many to comb through for anything useful if he intended to get through this castle in any sort of timely manner. Disregarding any potential benefits from that avenue, he focused his senses, seeking out something through sight and smell. The life signature of the Dragon Guardian. Pressing forward, he hoped that the dragon had enough life left in it to be a radiant beacon in this massive castle.
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#13
The further Slyvanas entered the desert, the distortions became more apparent. She was walking through one direction, only to be shifted to another. Suddenly a pond appeared before the young woman. Nobyl eventually lost track of her because of the illusion but ended up on the other side of the lake, seeing Slyvanas from afar. “What the… this damn desert…” He looked around. “Wait… isn’t this the—” 

==

The flickering lights continue to shine the area as Jacen presses on forward. Each step the man took, it is though that one flickering light vanished. Each tomb he passed, the detail deaths on their coffins became more graphic. Eventually, when he walked far away, the lights vanished—putting the man in total darkness.

In the pit of the dark, the sounds became more apparent. Water drips, the waving winds in the vegetations, and the sounds of rocks falling on the ground echoes the castle. Then, after passing more tombs, some of which describes their death by the hands of a rock-warrior, heavy footsteps lurked behind Jacen. It was slow-moving but made an impactful step were noticeable—perhaps it was intended to trick the traveler to turn around? It continues to stalk Jacen as he goes forward.
[Image: yMP37k3.png]

"Is that all you got?"

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#14
Sylvanas paused and prepared her bow. The only source of water in the Endless Desert was a place surrounded by monsters. Even if by all means she was a zombie, she didn't implicitly trust other monsters solely on factor of undeath. Keeping her bow ready, she cautiously approached the pool. Even though she had completely lost the trail, at the very least she was at the only visible landmark in the desert.

The only visible landmark and probably completely surrounded.

- - - - -

"Hmph. Heh." Jacen replied as the lights went out, his dark sight taking over and allowing him to see without generating light. As he continued to walk forward, he had a bit more caution, and unsheathed his katana.

"To be honest, I don't really mind the dark. After all, my flames are that of the Dark Fire. Darkness and flame infused together into one, overwhelming magic. Yes, that's my magic." He stated to whatever was around him. He held his katana outwards, preparing to cast a spell. "I'll be honest. I don't want a fight. I don't come here in challenge. But if you want to try and stop me from going any further, I'll let you have the first punch." He offered without turning around, while channeling magic into his katana, preparing to generate a fireball to distract whatever creature of the dark came after him, reasoning they should be attracted to light.
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#15
As she approached this large pool of water—to the common eye, it looks like ordinary water, but considering her state. There were many cactuses at the edge of the pond—practically about to fall into the water.

Nobyl, noticing that Slyvanas haven’t caught a glimpse of him yet, so he decided to go around the pond as slowly as possible. If they are aware of her, things could get ugly and he’ll be able to savage whatever parts on her persons. 

==

The rock warrior paused in his moments, seeing that Jacen called them out in the open and taunting him to strike first. Jacen continued in his moments, while the rock warriors were stumped in what to do now. Should they attack? Is this a bluff? 

The Rock Warrior finally decided to make a move, regardless if Jacen can see the dark or not, it was vital to stop him from seeing the dragon. He raises it arm in the air, as specks of rubbles fell from its hand, with a long, sturdy blade. It strike down at Jacen’s backside to cut him in half.
[Image: yMP37k3.png]

"Is that all you got?"

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#16
"Cacti don't grow this close to water. It wouldn't rain over this central pond, as the water would evaporate from it and move elsewhere in the desert." She mused, having a not entirely correct understanding of how weather and climate interact. She moved away from the pond, keeping her bow ready. Still uncertain of how to get herself out of this situation, she didn't want to let her guard down.

- - - -

Jacen chuckled darkly as the gems around him generated a shield of dark fire, blocking the rock shogun's attack.

"A backstab? A low blow but one expected from someone without honor. Exactly what I would've done." He replied before turning around, a fireball burning on his katana. Swinging the weapon, the dark flames left the sword and traveled in a sphere, aimed right for the shogun's face as the shield around Jacen's back dispersed. For a brief moment in the darkness, blue flame was visible inside his eyes.
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"To the Ends of the Earth."
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#17
Few of the cactus moved slowly around, one of them trailing behind Slyvanas and ready their pins on their bodies. It shot out one pin, seemingly as a testament to reveal her skill level. 

====

The Rock Shogun staggered when his blade hit on the dark shield. Taking a few steps backwards after the deflect, it head was blown right off, blasting it into pieces as its body collapsed onto the floor. The blistering fire managed to light up the entire room for a split second, revealing all the enemies around Jacen that witnessed such attack. 

As darkness returned, more statues seems to move with caution. Some moved much, much slower. Some didn’t seem to bother at all.
 
At the end of the path that Jacen walked, a flicker of light appeared, indicating the doorway of the upper room.

---

“Man, I can’t get a read in this place…” Chern said. He took advantage of the situation of slipping in once Jacen got in, but this was something far beyond what he expected. He couldn’t see anything and moving forward prove too much of a risk. “I think I should head back out before I get killed…” He pondered. After seeing the fire destroyed one of the statue-men, revealing that the entire room was filled with them to the brim, he made his decision. “Yeah, I’m out of here.”
[Image: yMP37k3.png]

"Is that all you got?"

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#18
Sylvanas turned around in time just quickly enough to block the pin with the guards on her bow, anxiety rising. She took a few steps backwards, wearily watching everything around her, knowing something was keen on attacking her.

- - - - -

Jacen looked around himself in that brief moment, using normal sight to notice an entire room full of more statue men. For a moment he tilted his head and frowned, considering his options. Fight through an army of shoguns, or just move onwards. He chose the latter option, and continued to walk forward. Though his dark sight allowed him to see in these conditions, violence wasn't something he was looking to commit here. As he walked forwards towards the flickering light, he raised up one hand and clenched it into a fist. A good distance behind him, a pillar of black and blue flames shot into the air narrow enough to avoid hitting anything but bright enough to hopefully attract attention.

And act as a diversion.
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