A lone figure on the trail to Raam

October 31, 2010

The sun will always bake down upon Athas. And I will always be somewhere between them.

For days now, I’ve wandered this desert. My skin is protected by crude, but adequate clothing from Draj. They make it especially for this purpose: to shield travellers from the blazing heat during the day. In the night, when the temperature drops dramatically, I have blankets. For when my tongue turns to stone from the heat, I have my canteen and my waterskins.

The trail ahead leads towards Raam. I follow it for no particular reason. There’s always something going on in Raam and a good chance to turn a kind of profit. Especially if you’re willing to do dirty work. Especially if you’re willing to kill.

Evil. It’s supposed to be something you shy away from. Something you hesitate to do. Most of my people abhor it and work against it. They know they’ll be punished harshly by the very fabrics of the universe if they don’t. I’ll take that punishment any day, if I could get away from here.

I look out over the desert. Grab a sip of water. This is a good life. As good as I could hope for here. Some of my lives have been brutal and short. Appearing naked in the endless dunes with no water and no bearings. Just walking off in any direction that presents itself. Watching my skin dry up, lose its colour under the bleaching, burning rays of the dark, crimson sun. Feeling my throat drying up like a sponge in the summer. Those are the bad lives. I have 3 or 4 of them for every one that looks like this.

I’m travelling. Always wandering. Sometimes people ask me, why I haven’t settled down. They even offer to put me up until I can get my bearings. That’s when I know I’ll have to go. I’m getting too close. They are of no interest to me, these people. Their entire destinies rely on the whims of their tormentors, the tyrannical sorcerer-kings. They live out their meaningless lives in conditions that daily tell them to give up and die. Some of them have the decency to obey, but most of them struggle on, pointlessly. Like me, only I don’t have a choice.

I wander between the sun and the desert. I steal, I kill, I die and am reborn. Always waiting, craving a punishment that will never come. I am the last deva of Athas.