There is a platform, large enough to walk three steps across, in the desert…Once you stand on it, it immediately becomes dusk of a strange color, and the desert temple towers just behind to you…
A rather large armed group slowly walks the road. Unless you get to see what they transport, you could think it is a caravan with expensive goods, or the soldiers escort someone important. But this is a prisoner transport, on the way to mines, criminals on their way for punishment.
The soldiers may be willing to talk, the captain will have a few questions on you and the road, but they will keep distance, and part soon.