The sky was blue. A solid, severe blue, lighter toward the horizon but so, so dark above. The ground itself was so light it was nearly white. White, chalky stone, off white sand. It was generous to call it sand. Indeed, since the desert of Majala was a rock desert, the sand was closer to a fine, pernicious dust. The kind of dust that flew around, shimmering in the light, got into your eyes, clung on your clothes.
And, hanging in the middle of the sky, the sun. A large, white, blinding sun, bathing the desert in hot light that made the blood boil. By all accounts, Jhin and Melissa should take a break. They should get in the shade, and wait until the light waned. It was too hot to walk, and they were running low on water. But, there was no shade around. There was just the desert, omnipresent.
They didn't plan on going directly to the Sewi lake. They were walking a bit more to the west, to a small rocky outcrop known as Witomo. There, they would find a cave which was often used by travelers in which they could rest. They had had a choice, between either going to Witomo to rest, or more to the east to an oasis known as Witelo. Both would have been fine, but they chose Witomo because they wanted to wait for the night.
The cave wasn't deep. It only went a dozen meters in the red rocks. The air inside was fresh, but also humid. At the end of the cave, a small spring could be used to refill water. The cave was also low in ceiling, at some points not even one meter tall. They were waiting in the deeper end of the cave. It was still not much after noon, so they would have to wait a little while until night, or at least dusk. Jhin pitched the idea to sleep now, and make a road at night, so they set up camp and fell asleep.
Melissa woke up. From the mouth of the grotto, only silvery light reflected by the dust entered. She stood up. The red rock walls were painted in blue and purple hues. It felt like a dream. I shook ▓ awake. ▓ moved a bit and went back to sleep, so I shook again and ▓ woke up. After ▓ woke me up, I followed ▓ outside. The both of ▓ and ▓ looked at the desert. You could tell at first glance. We saw ▓, and ▓, ▓ covered in ▓. Junk. Rust. Tools. Trash. And ahead, I saw something. I point it out to ▓. ▓ points something out to me. It's a shadow. Hole in the world. The shodow does not speak. ▓ and ▓ understand. I tell them, through means untold, that I am an Umbradesertus. It's not a shadow, outside of reality. They see it as they were before being banished. ▓ asks where they are. ▓ cannot answer. The umbradesertus cannot answer. The shadow probes. ▓ is susceptible. ▓ had watched ▓ do the same. Now it was my turn. I raise my hand. ▓ does the same. Cracks in reality coalesce into a sword-shape. In ▓'s hand, cracks of reality coalesce into a sword. This is a new element. ▓ learned an element I don't know about. The element of trash. Cracks in reality.
A few hours before the horizon was painted with hues of gold, Jhin woke Melissa up. It was time to leave. But, before they did, he tried to remember the night before. Something happened... but he couldn't tell what. Melissa couldn't as well. Jhin saw images in his mind, but didn't know what they were. Still, they raised their hand, and cracks in reality coalesced into a sword-shape. The trash element. He knew he should not abuse it, lest the crack would never heal.
Something called them, to the east. They set out to Witelo. At night, the desert was completely different. The sky was much, much darker. It still wasn't black, but its dark abyssal blue seemed almost black compared to the soil. The ground was still very light, but it wasn't white. It was a silvery purple, given color by the moon. The full moon. Its disc was bright and large. Around it, the stars were obscured by the bright moonlight, but far from the moon, the heard of shimmering light was the brightest they had ever seen. Melissa wondered how beautiful that sky would be during a new moon.
They arrived at Witelo. The oasis was small. All around it, a few plants basked in the moonlight. The water was a shallow pool. They knew it had to be shallow. But it wasn't. They got near the edge of the water. They couldn't see the bottom. They were looking at a deep, bottomless well that extended down and down and down. Darker and darker, the abyss beckons. And they feel called. And deeper and deeper. And deeper. The moon is reflected on the surface- or is it reflected in the abyss ? Eaten by the abyss ? Trapped down below, in the bottom of a bottomless well. But the moon isn't alone. It's not the moon they know. On its surface, they can see cities. Alabaster cities, with geometric, symmetric buildings, square gardens, and mirror-like pools. Lunarians, a people lost to time. Trapped in their own prison of time and space. From deep within the abyss, something comes up. An octahedron of pure gold. Lunatesseire. It looks at Jhin, recognizing the potential. And it teaches them. He learns of an old spell, not used since the collapse of the moon-people. Waves in the ripple of reality.