The transition from normal reality to the Madlands looked subtle, but any who had crossed it knew it was felt more than seen. The feeling was impossible to describe, but unmistakable… a sense of the sudden shift in the laws of reality, perhaps? By now, all three friends knew the feeling.
Almonihah looked around warily. “Better keep ‘n eye out for Javni’Tolkhrah,” he commented.
“Indeed,” Garkhen replied, his voice subdued.
They flew on in silence for some time, looking at the terrain below them and the air around them. This close to the borders of the Madlands there was no visible difference, but it seemed to flicker slightly in the corner of the eye, like something was twisting and changing when not watched. But for now, that was all—no monstrosities flew up at them, no mad cultists fired at them.
They made good time stopping only to eat. Slowly the land below them started to change, becoming more obviously distorted, more warped and twisted. Vegetation grew in sharp, unnatural shapes, or drooped in writhing masses that shuddered in nonexistent winds. Soil and stone were stained with sickening colors—violent purples and yellows, or slowly mingling oranges and greens. The land itself slowly moved and shifted, mountains sinking or rising, sand becoming fertile earth only to crumble back to sand again. Where they landed to eat, the land seemed to hold stable for a moment, but it continued flowing and changing at the edge of sight.
“How can we sleep here?” Garkhen asked as night fell. He glanced up at the sunset and shuddered—for a moment it he had felt as if the sun were rising instead of setting.
Almonihah shrugged. “Didn’t have any trouble with that before. ‘course, I wasn’t lugging around th’ Amulet.”
The Warder nodded. “I shall ward our campsite as best I can,” he stated. “If the land itself does not strive to kill us as we sleep, we shall be safe enough, at least warned should danger come.”
Almonihah nodded. Zakhin’Dakh, hearing the discussion, screeched, “Does that mean I can land now?” The exhaustion in his voice was plain, at least to the Ranger, who snorted softly and reached down to pat the griffon on the side.
“Yeah, you can land, Zakhin’Dakh. You need th’ rest worse than th’ rest of us.”
Gratefully the giant griffon spiraled down to a landing in a spot that looked at least halfway safe, his friends dismounting after he landed. Garkhen busied himself with preparing wards around them while Almonihah fed his big friend some preserved meat from their enchanted bags. As soon as he was full, Zakhin’Dakh settled down and closed his eyes, exhausted enough that the soreness from the day’s labors couldn’t keep him from drifting off to sleep.
The two half-dragons ate in silence, wary of every sound and sight around them. Even as they finished eating and retired to their tent they said nothing. There was nothing to say.
Apologies for missing last week, I just got distracted.
The Madlands are not a good place. I don’t think I did a good job at establishing that during the earlier forays into it.