Beckoned by its invitation, the sea-ravaged foreigners plodded on across the sugary face of the windswept belt - weary footsteps rising and sinking amidst the soft sands, casting imprints within which their contorted shadows seemed to bleed and leave excess as the golden rays boiled them away like tallow. Another sharp wind swept in from over the dark, rolling waves, seeping through what little protection was offered by the water-logged clothes that stuck tight to the strangers' skins; some sought a vain sort of shelter from the unwelcome caress by trailing downwind of others, wrapping their arms about themselves and, when all else failed, simply resorting to stamping about in the muffling dunes. And in Ifor's eyes, it served those certain *others right - he didn't care to be tacitly voted Human Shield of the team just because he wouldn't throw a fit or meld with the ground every time the situation got tense.
...That being said, it was still a clever move for such salt-soaked and booze-ridden brains as theirs.
Hmm...for that 'victory' a ways back, it was almost surprising how many casualties they'd suffered: the lichen had stopped having delusions of grandeur over peace with the natives, and instead now merely whispered delusionally; the inebriated "Lazy" and her equally off-canter relative, "Izzy", were nowhere to be seen - even the vixen's mutt had skulked off to some region unknown.
He stopped at the sounds of mumbled grumbling - it appeared that the pair having to haul the old weasel's maddened state the world over weren't having the best time back there...mostly given his habits of rolling around on the ship-siding they'd repurposed into an uncomfortable stretcher. Yet, it was all they could do outside of leaving him to the skulking filth - tandem-dragging him up the crag hadn't turned out particularly well, and Ifor remained incapable of carrying the moaning corpse anywhere in his own state. Perhaps, with a little luck, the strange party might arrive fairly shortly at their destination...at least, before they could start a vote on how much excess luggage they were willing to carry...
The broad-bodied traveler was halfway through resuming his pace when, quite oddly, he was forced to stop once more at an awkward squelch caught beneath his ragged boot. Not the usual squelching of sogged leather, either, but rather unexpectedly, of a washed up, deflated and crusty-looking...squid, of some sort? It didn't entirely look like a squid, but could've perhaps been a distant relative - what with the limp multitude of testicles and...were squid eyeless and pink? Ifor scratched his head, crouching in idle bewilderment at the glimmering mass reflected under the cobalt light.
"SPLOOSH"; the sound jolted the straggler's eyes up, up, up...up onto the soaring, bestial shadow high above. It was the instinct of the others to immediately scurry for the cover of shadow, nearly scuttling their wounded in the process - yet Ifor could only gaze in wonder at the creature's majesty, in the power of its heavy, beating wings. It rounded the rocky bend, apparently missing them entirely, but nearly casting the party back by appearance alone.
Soft whispers and the sound of debate caught his ear from where he slunk, but little else could be gathered besides the ever-more cautious procession of the line: they would continue, it seemed...and so they did. Like mice they crept along, hugging what little cover could be provided by the incline, until finally they too turned the corner, and were met by an equally startling sight. What rays of glimmering gold that had been temporarily lost behind the cliff only minutes before now coveted almost the whole of the beach, the sea, and perhaps even the stars themselves! Soft, constant light flowed over the dunes, cutting through the night and drawing the eye towards its source, a...hovering? Yes, it was a hovering, almost 'carved' rock, and yes, there appeared to be children camping in the distance; and yes, there was more than one of--
"WOOSH" - like a thunderclap the air came to life! It burst across the sands, spewing forth a frantic shower of debris and pinning their clothes and hair behind them; even the shimmering idol seemed to momentarily flutter and fail...or perhaps it grew brighter? And yet, in the moment of its resurrection, the great ocean-churning wind was silent...and from what Ifor's startled eyes could make out through the shaken comfort of the shadows, it appeared that the mutt was motioning for them to be so as well; So this was where he'd gotten off too.
Like cornered rats they held tight, constipated in the crisp dim; all that could be done was wait, now that the watch had apparently been alerted.