“Once, a long time ago, in my youth, I served as a caravan guard crossing the deserts of Qeen, a trip of around a half turn all in all, crossing through the kings road. I made the crossing about four or five times – the men in that caravan were hardened and bolstered by both youth and good, boisterous courage, fed by the frequent clashes with bandits, desert beasts, and other hazards that the crossing was known for.

One night we stayed in an errant ruin to shelter from a sandstorm. There was something about the place that set the hackles ablaze with ill feeling. Thorough examination of the area presented nothing, but into many of the stones of that place we found a curious marking – a single indentation, coiled and sinuous, as though something had been sealed in there, inside the stone itself, perhaps for millennia. Though we could not explain how, each man of that expedition, and there were fifty something of them, reacting almost instinctively with almost violent repulsion. Without any reason to think so, we somehow knew what had been encased in that stone was older than time itself.

We lost three men in the sandstorm trying to escape that place, but given no other quarter, we had no choice but to bivouac there. It was one of the most harrowing and uneventful nights of my career. The company parted soon after. We lost the stomach for the work.”

– Graves, belligerent knight