The Fractured Desert was a place of desolation in the high heat of summer. An ancient riverbed, left to turn to dust by the weather Gods when they had turned their attention northwards to the lush plains of the Raitren Lands. Some even called it the home of souls, where the souls of the dead drifted to descend into the afterlife through the deep cracks in the earth.
Trauken knew different. He knew this land like the back of his hand, and he knew the souls did not descend into the afterlife but flowed through the land to their final resting place in the Eastern Seas. The Fractured Desert was a place in between, a place of transition for the souls of the dead and a place of transition for the living who dared walk through it.
Speak to me, Trauken whispered with his thougths. He could feel the souls flowing past his feet, deep within the ravine below.
I need to know the identity of the Evermind, he thought.
The souls quivered. They knew that name, and they feared it. The person behind the killings in the West, the person who threatened to topped the Ratrien Kingdoms into chaos and ruin.
Please, Trauken said.
A ghostly green hand appeared above the crack in front of Trauken. It slammed down onto the sand, sending sand flying into Trauken’s face.
A head and body followed. Until a soul met its final resting place, it would wear the marks of its death. This soul had a clean cut down it’s face and neck, mangled arms, and a torso with it’s guts spilling out.
A victim of the Evermind.
I know of who you speak, the soul said, crawling towards Trauken, Trauken, speaker of the Dead.
Trauken swallowed. The souls had named him now? He had come here too often-
Give me your hand, Trauken, the soul said. It’s hand stretched out, quivering with the effort.
Trauken brought his palm up to touch the soul’s-
An image appeared in his mind. A person, wearing the green mask of the Evermind. They stood over Trauken, laughing at him-
Then they took off the mask.
Trauken pulled his hand back, scrambling back from the edge of the ravine.
You know the Evermind now, the soul said, sliding back into the ravine, you know her face.
The soul slipped back into the ravine, leaving Trauken with his thoughts.
I know her, Trauken thought. He would recognise that face anywhere.
The Evermind was his sister.
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