“What if I were some kind of sacrifice to some unknown creature or deity?”
Each step felt as if it were bringing me one step closer to death. The unusual metal was smooth and slick beneath my feet. A frosty bite radiated up from its thick surface into my legs—which made each progressing step greatly labored. And while I felt an awful chill from the metal, my upper body perspired from the whipping hot winds of the barren plains on either side of me.
I tried with all my might to get to the distant tent as fast as possible. But it was like the land itself was pushing me back. I can’t explain what it was like other than the ground felt as if it was shifting backwards as I walked. Like I was walking on a conveyor belt and would go backwards if I didn’t go quickly enough.
The hot winds were also strange in the ways they blew against me. There was no steady direction—instead they came at me from all directions. The right side would hit harder than the left, behind would push up while the winds from the front would push down. It was like being in the midst of a fiery cyclone.
The final obstacle the horrid world threw at me was the hills themselves. I don’t know if it was caused by the whining wind or the smoldering debris, but the further away from the bazaar I got, the more aware I became of a constant rumbling which caused the whole ground to shake. It was as if I were walking up the side of an active volcano that was set to erupt any second. But it wasn’t just the vibrations of the ground that disturbed me so—it was the screaming which echoed from beneath the trail. Like countless voices from suffering souls screaming in anguish. It was a terrifying sound that still rings clearly in my ears.
I traversed the desolate trail for hours before I grew too tired to continue. I had crossed many smoking hilltops, but the tent appeared to be the same distance away as when I started. I was far enough out that the bazaar was no longer visible, but for some reason I couldn’t close in on the tent on what looked like a nearby hill. I couldn’t figure out what was going on—not like anything else in that realm made any sense, either—but I should have made considerable strides in reaching that blasted tent.
As I sat on the icy surface of the metal trail—the hot wind whipping smoke and ash at my face—it dawned on me that maybe I’d been tricked by Seif. He told me he couldn’t accompany me to the tent, but that I would find my salvation there. What if I was never meant to reach the tent? What if I were some kind of sacrifice to some unknown creature or deity? What if Yelzamouth was real and the trail was meant to wear me down so it could rush down from its tent and take me? What if this was the plan for bringing me to this hellish realm all along?