Today we passed the point of no return. We no longer have enough water to
back out of the desert. The only way open to us is forward: through the
desert, to the Burning King. To victory, or to death.
The strain of this journey is taking its toll on Nina. No wonder — this is
her first desert crossing. I was born in the desert, but Nina was born in a
city, in some land unimaginably far away. She never held a sword before I
summoned her to this world. She never rode a horse. She never slept under
the open sky. The latter, she still doesn't do. Every evening, she vanishes
before my eyes, and every morning she reappears, guided by the ancient magic
that I have released. And every night I spend in fear, alone, worried that
she won't come back.
Because I can't do this alone. I know how to use a sword, but I am no
warrior. No hero. Not like Nina. I have seen Nina fight, and I know that I
cannot match her, despite my greater experience. She has the instincts of an
adventurer. Where I like to retreat into by books, she goes out to face the
world. When I look at her, I see the face of the hero destined to defeat the
The heat is not just draining our bodies, but our spirits. I feel hot and
tired and irritable. I can only imagine how much worse this is for Nina, who
is not used to the desert. I can only imagine, because we rarely talk anymore.
The heat makes speaking painful. I wish I could tell Nina how much she means
to me, how much I appreciate her taking this journey with me, but nothing comes
out when I open my mouth.
Soon we will reach the great oasis of Daklath. There we will replenish our
waterskins, and hopefully our spirits. The way through the desert is long,
but we have already made it this far. We will just have to keep going. To
victory, or to death.