Chapter 5: The Mission
Beyond the Holy City of Ravan, stretching for many parasangs eastward, lay the vast wastes of the Kholaj Desert. The Kholaj, bane of travelers, accursed of merchants, a portion of purgatory lying along one of the most important trade routes in all Parsina—the route from the eastern lands of Indi and Sinjin to the center of the world itself, Ravan. Each year untold millions of dinars worth of merchandise crossed through those forbidding tracts—and each year the tales grew of travelers who didn’t complete the crossing. Many were the caravans that vanished entirely within the treacherous sands, and many more were the individual wayfarers who succumbed to the snakes, scorpions, and other vile creatures of Rimahn that plagued this barren land.
Near the center of the Kho