The rest of the ride across the plains was without incident. However, the worst was yet to come. Desert Ronima was an unforgiving place. Sandstorms were frequent and long-lasting. Sand demons that appeared at night were robust and vicious, and storms regularly marred the Wards of even veteran Warders. There was a reason no one even stepped foot there unless they really needed to.
Aran covered his face with the cloak and pressed forth. Seven of his ten horses had died a month into the search, two more the month after. Some were killed by demons after they breached Aran’s Wards, but most died due to exhaustion and lack of food. Only one, the strongest warhorse in the whole of General Oliver’s army, was still alive, but barely. There was still no sign of any ruins that could possibly hold attack Wards, and Aran was getting tired. Water was dangerously low. The food was all gone, and Aran had to scavenge the dead horses for food. However, he still pressed on. Going home empty handed was not a choice at all. Either he found the Wards or died in the unforgiving desert.
The horse lets out a light bray. Aran looked at her and saw what it saw. An oasis, merely a mile from where they were. Aran knew that there was a chance it could be a mirage, and their efforts would be wasted. However, the chance for water and food was too good to pass up. Snapping the reins, Aran raced to the oasis, rumored to be the only one left in Desert Ronima.
As Aran neared the oasis, he could see the shimmer of the water. It was not a mirage! It was really an oasis! The horse brayed and made all haste to the oasis. Soon, Aran and the horse were sipping water eagerly. Aran poured some over his head. He had not bathed in months and was rejuvenated significantly. He used some of the water to wash the horse, much to her delight. Aran began to draw up the Ward Shield for the night. They were going to stay in this Heaven for the evening, before heading off to Hell the next day.