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The Midnight Desert is the twenty-second episode of The Dragon Prince and fourth chapter of the third book, "Sun".

A mysterious stranger offers Rayla, Callum and Zym a ride across the Midnight Desert. With Katolis in danger, Ezran makes a startling announcement.

Plot

An illuminated bird flies across Xadia, when suddenly an unknown Skywing Elf initiates a chase, then an attack on the bird, striking it with a weapon and bringing it down. The bird turns out to be Ethari's Shadowhawk message to the Dragon Queen, which the elf then reads, planning to use the information to her advantage.

Rayla and Callum ride with Zym through a forest. Callum comments that the previous day must have been hard for Rayla. She says that it was not and he tells her that his family did a thing called "big feelings time" when he was a kid. He describes the ritual, but Rayla simply says that humans are weird and trots ahead. He presses, but she warns him to leave her alone, saying that she will give a "big feeling" on the side of his head if he does not.

In Katolis, Saleer informs King Ezran that Prince Kasef has requested an audience. The prince enters and declares that he delivers an ultimatum. With help of the visual display on the war table, he explains that the people of Del Bar and Evenere seek justice for the deaths of their rulers, and that they have marched into the kingdom of Katolis. He once again tries to convince Ezran to join their army but is immediately declined, leaving Kasef no choice but to declare war on Katolis.

In his prison cell, Aaravos's caterpillar crawls onto Viren's face and forces open his eye, causing the mage to jolt awake to question his doings. He states that he is about to prepare him for greatness before he begins weaving a web-like structure across Viren's right eyeball.

Back in the forest, there is a rustling and Rayla tells Callum that someone is coming. She draws her blades and a Skywing Elf swoops down from the sky, introducing herself with her full name of Naimi-Selari-Nykantia, though she tells them they can call her "Nyx". Rayla tells her that she is in a bad mood and to fly away or she will use her blades on her. Nyx replies that she should have guessed that she is the banished Moonshadow Elf. Rayla asks what she is talking about. Nyx tells her that she is an emissary of the Dragon Queen, who sent her to help. She turns to Callum, who is wearing a pair of fake horns and who claims to be an Earthblood Elf, speaking in a stupid accent. Nyx replies that the message said that Rayla would be traveling with a human companion. Callum uses a magical transformation to reveal himself as human and Nyx turns her attention to Zym. She says that Zym has his mother's eyes and that she has been authorized by the Dragon Queen to fly him directly home.

Rayla draws her blade, telling Nyx this is not going to happen. She tells the Skywing Elf that they are doing fine on their own. Nyx argues that getting Zym home fast matters most, but Rayla will not have any of it. She suggests that she could give them all a ride, but Rayla does not like that idea either. She asks how they plan to cross the Midnight Desert. Rayla tells her that they are not, that they are going around it. Nyx asks if they would waste a week on this when she can take them across in two days. Rayla, defeated, asks how and Nyx tells her to follow.

In the throne room, Opeli tells Ezran that they can win against the armies because their army is trained and disciplined. Ezran wonders about the cost and Opeli tells him that the cost is necessary. He asks how many lives it would take, demanding a number. She admits that it would be thousands and possibly tens of thousands, and Ezran replies that this is no triumph. Rayla's group approaches the Midnight Desert, Nyx warning of its dangers, the most fearsome being the Soulfang Serpents. She tells them that they will be above it all, as her ride is an Ambler. She can get them to the central oasis by sundown, then come out the other side the next day. Callum asks what Rayla thinks and she admits that with the Dragon Queen dying, it is their only choice. They climb aboard and set off. Back at Katolis, Bait comforts Ezran, kneading his back. Ezran contemplates the costs of war, that every soldier he would be sending is someone's son and daughter and many have their own children waiting back home. He does not know how he can let this happen. Saleer enters, telling him there may be a way to prevent the bloodshed.

As Rayla's group travels across the Midnight Desert, Zym frolics with a group of Adoraburrs. Callum asks Rayla what she is thinking about. She tells him that she is fine. The Ambler comes to a sudden stop. Her foot has gotten stuck in a hole created by one of the Soulfang Serpents. Nyx goes down to free her foot, warning them to not touch her stuff. Callum, however, is entranced by her staff. He says there is something strangely familiar and lifts one of the scythes, or "boomerangs" from the staff. Nyx frees the Ambler's foot and heads up back up. Callum replaces the boomerang. In Katolis, Ezran and Bait address the baker Barius from the grate in his shop. He apologizes, saying he had it fixed. He pulls it away and as Ezran enters, he tells him he will be sure to leave it broken. He gives Ezran and Bait jelly tarts and Ezran asks a favor - that if anything happens, he should take care of Bait. Barius calls himself humbled, promising him an infinite supply of jelly tarts, understanding and love. Ezran thanks him and leaves reluctantly, but not before taking the tray of tarts. Bait moans in despair and turns green and Ezran leaves. Barius promises the Glow Toad that they are kindred spirits.

Rayla's group reaches the oasis, which is surrounded by obelisks that create a circle of protection. The group enters and enjoys the radiant water and palm trees. Nyx hands out blankets, saying that she was not sure if they needed two or just one. Callum hastily says that it is two. The group settles down for the night and back in Katolis, the Aaravos caterpillar tells Viren that "it is ready." He sucks away the silk from his eyelid and tells him to open it. A ghostly form of Aaravos enters the cell, saying that Viren can hear him, and now he can see him and he can better serve him. At the oasis, Zym sleeps soundly with the Adoraburrs, but Callum is having trouble sleeping. He hears Rayla sobbing. He tells her that it is okay, trying to give her a comforting gesture, but she pulls away and runs off. As she does, Nyx, who has been listening to the entire time, smiles. In Katolis, Corvus tells Ezran that there must be another way with Opeli adding the fact that there is no going back. Ezran tells them not to worry and that he knows what he has to do. Saleer then enters the throne room and informs Ezran that there will be no attack at dawn and those who no longer wish to fight will be allowed to lay down their arms and return to their families peacefully. Ezran removes his crown and sets it on the throne before he is taken under arrest by the guards and marched out of the castle. He is deposited in the dungeon, in the same cell as Viren. Viren is unchained and he walks free. As Ezran enters the cell, he tells him he is sorry it has come to this. Ezran replies that he is not. Viren admits that he is not before marching away with Aaravos's spectral form following him.

In the oasis, Callum approaches Rayla, but she tells him to leave her alone, that she does not want him to see her like this. He tells her that he does not care if she is crying. She tells him that she has lost everything and that there is nowhere she belongs. He says she is just going through a hard time, but she insists that she failed those around her, letting them all down and that they are right to reject her. He tells her to shut up, that she is talking crazy. She is too good to feel so bad about herself; she has courage and a big heart. She always gets back up again and she is ten times funnier than any human he knows. She smiles and gives him a small kiss. He admits it was not what he was expecting, that he was not saying all those things to get her to do that. She gasps, turns away, and tells him that they will never speak of this again, threatening to bind herself to killing him if he even mentions it. They walk back together and discover the Adoraburrs squeaking in panic before realizing that Zym, Nyx, and the Ambler are gone, leaving the two alone in the oasis.

Cast

Trivia

  • Callum's "transformation scene" - when he takes off the elf disguise - is a reference to anime transformation scenes.
  • Callum inspecting Nyx’s boomerangs is a reference to Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender and his boomerang. His phrase "something seems familiar" is a direct joke, as the two characters share the same voice actor.
  • The title of the oasis's barrier, "Wonderwall", is a reference to the most popular song of a band with the name Oasis, which shares the same name.
  • Ezran's decision to sacrifice his crown in return for the safety of his people was inspired by Aslan's sacrifice in the "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".[1]

Credits

  • The tracks of Nyx's Ambler can be seen, foreshadowing Rayla using these tracks to find Nyx in the following episode.
  • During the illustrations in the credits, Callum is seen holding a boomerang identical to Sokka's boomerang from and posing with it like Sokka usually would.
  • Two Soulfang Serpents can be seen wrapping around each other affectionately, which may be a foreshadowing of Rayla's and Callum's relationship blooming.

References

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