[P] A bird with luminous wings and head of light
The Borderlands, Late August

The four remaining souls must take their chances with the subject in the land of the dead.

Backdated to Late August, several days after [M] this thread.

The rhythm of the world felt strange and familiar all at once.

Lotan had imagined that on some level, though she did not truly mean to do so, his sister had forced the lot of them to do what they had. Her life had always been unrelenting and severe. Even on those days when they had nothing but sunshine, starlight, and laughter, an odd sort of melancholy remained with Tiamat.

It might have had to do with how far across the world they had gone. By now, the sea had been crossed thrice over – nightmarish months of endless water and occasional bad weather, stink and bile and never-ending damp. This was the only place where he ever longed for the desert.

Above all else, the desert had been what changed them.

Consumed by the supernatural, led by deeper callings like justice and duty, what had happened in the most ancient places of the world was nothing short of a reckoning. There, among endless bloodshed and blinding heat, they had come to this first understanding of who they truly were. Perhaps, like so many others, they had fallen back then, and only their souls moved on.

No – there was so much blood.

They washed as much of it as they could away, but the wounds were slow to heal.

Hiding their trail was all that they could do. It was hard when they were injured, and when the horses were weighed down. They had traveled in fewer number and while under pursuit before. What remained was a great unknown, and an entire pack whose reputation seemed only all the more terrible with each passing day and new realization. During the day, they watched the skies for hawks. At night, it was harder to look for watchful eyes. When the weather was fair, they traveled on these nights. The days were cooling, but by sun-high the heat could become thick and humid.

When they could afford to hunt, they did. A single deer could stretch them many days. Smaller game could be spread out by means of stews. Bone marrow was always available in those bigger prizes, but they had learned to adapt and include foraged food and fish when able. The open land made it harder to hide, but easier to see what was around them.

The most dangerous part of their journey would not pass for many miles. Salsola's eyes were everywhere, and Lotan knew for a fact Portland was not a safe place to return to for long. Could they outrun a messenger? No, not with the route they had taken. Who would be looking for them, and what orders had they been given?

Going back would mean risking her children, and everyone they had ever known.

If there had been a demon inside his sister, it had come to punish everyone around her as well. How long had it lived inside of her and festered, hollowing out her heart and enabling her to make these wicked decisions? They were bound to this danger now and undoubtedly marked.

He had made his choice and chosen Rahab. When the road was safe, they would move on.

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