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20020109 the desert -tid242

The three sons of Tehra-Li flexed their might as they baked the ever shifting towers of sand rising above the vast ocean of charred and blackened earth, their rays only occasionally obliterated by the blowing torrents of black dust and rock driven across the desert of Ahl-Ahnnh. This seemingly lifeless and waterless land extended for thousands of Kehl-Ata in every direction, a virtually endless expanse of hellish waste. But in no part of Tehra-Li is life totally absent, and this is even true in the wastes of Ahl-Ahnnh, where Ghfnoff's wiry frame silently crouched, draped in his heavy, sand-caked Johsni shielding him from the solar death flying high, and mercilessly above. Ghfnoff had stopped to examine footprints of sorts leading south away from the land of et'Nkthk, toward the cliffs of Khrask, the end of the world. The tracks were spaced farther apart than Ghfnoff was tall and seemed to leap from dune to dune undoubtedly covering vast distances tirelessly, the tracks belonged without a doubt to an Naktk, an enigmatic and mysterious race of enormous ant-like creatures buried deep in the heart of et'Nkthk. Ghfnoff could find the tracks because he was Jihala, descended from a long race of desert rangers whose specialty was surviving the Ahl-Ahnnh, unbeknownst to anyone in the desert distant peoples told stories of a race of humanoids that lived in the great waste, oftentimes known as "desert rats" to the outside the desert rats were as wonderful and exciting as the land beyond the fire sea. Ghfnoff knew which rocks had water inside, how to shield himself from the suns, and perhaps most importantly, hot to remain unseen, unheard, and unsmelled. After examining the tracks Ghfnoff offered a quick prayer of gratitude to Ant'ha that the fourth sun and black sun, Sesshuel, had not yet risen, showering the land in sickness, and in death, more hours for progress remained before the rising of Sesshuel would force daily retirement. Ghfnoff knew, as did all Jihala that Naktk did not fear Sesshuel but were impervious to the sun-sickness, Sesshuea, and as such made the impossible pace of the Naktk Ghfnoff was following even more difficult to follow.

Off Ghfnoff leapt from his crouch into his usual bounding pace of jumps and nimble tumbles from dune to dune, eager to gain distance on the Naktk while the absence of Sesshuel permitted. Mountainous dunes carrying with them rocks, and debris of Ahl-Ahnnh's victims, wandered the great waste like autonomous waves in a vast ocean of sooty-blackness. Sometimes strange creatures lived and traveled inside the dunes: Mer-Oni, Sehli'ta, or most dangerously Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen, the blue eyed ghosts. Alas Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen could control the dunes and use them to carry themselves great distances consuming everything in their paths be they Se'Tai, Sehli'ta, Mer-Oni, or unwary Jihala. An observant wanderer could see the Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen coming, a great dune traveling apart from the others, oftentimes against the wind, at unnatural speeds, there are times however when avoidance is not possible, such as when Sesshuel is soaring the heavens. A Jihala may hope the Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen pass without notice, but this seldom happens, the Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen are highly proficient in consuming all they come upon, no matter how stealthily a Jihala may hide. Many, many cycles ago Ghfnoff was forced to venture into the day of Sesshuel, and still bore the black boiling scars of Sesshuea, throbbing pain to remind him of his former foolishness. Ghfnoff would bear the scars, and the pain until his death, though hopefully not at the maw of a Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen.

For many degrees Ghfnoff followed the tracks trying to gain on the Naktk's impossible pace, but the time steadily came for Sesshuel's dawn. Giving himself plenty of time Ghfnoff dug his way into an enormous blackened and apparently vacant dune, surrounding himself with his Johsni, and prepared to hunker down and eat Achta, drain some water, sleep, and defend his temporary home from anything else that may also fear Sesshuel's wrath. The Naktk's tracks went unwaiveringly southward, and Ghfnoff was sure he could pick up the trail after 180 Sesshuel degrees. The three brothers rise and fall unimportantly, whether there are 2 suns in the sky or 3 unless one of them is Sesshuel, their existence is unimportant, gradually the blackness inside the dune lifted and Ghfnoff could see through the countless grains of sand as if standing in an empty room, so strange, and mesmerizing was Sesshuel's magic, it's deadly light strangely penetrating everything it touches, be it earth, soot or flesh. Sesshuel had risen.

Many Kehl-Ata south of Ghfnoff K leapt and bound through the hills and valleys of lifelike dunes oblivious to the fact that Sesshuel had risen, and the gifted of Sesshuea immunity. K pushed ever south, tirelessly, effortlessly and relentlessly, without emotion, remorse, regret or fear, the Naktks not endowed with any such emotion. "Nehaliani sanai ahe!, Nehaliani sanai ahe!, Nehaliani sanai ahe!" K heard in the distance. Upon an adjacent ridge K saw a tribe of Malawa, roughly 30 small humanoids wielding barbed bone spears at least 3 or 4 times their height. Malawa were the only other creatures in Ahl-Ahnnh immune to the effects of Sesshuel. Generally the Sesshuel day is the prime hunting-time of the Malawa when all Ant'ha's creatures must retire into dunes, their spears are pushed into dune after dune seeking soft flesh to feed their hungry comrades.

Malawa - night hungers
Achta - eatable grubs.
Se'Tai - enormous rock-eating nutritionless worms.
Sehli'ta - ant-lion type beetles.
Mer-Oni - spider/squid thingies.
Mehri'ra'no-Sehhen - blue eyed ghosts.
Ant'ha - god
Tehra-Li - the planet
Ahl-Ahnnh - the desert
Johsni - protective robe
Ghfnoff - the desert rat.
et'Nkthk - land of insects
Khrask - volcanic cliffs separating Ahl-Ahnnh from the outside.
Kehl-Ata - unit of distance
Naktk - ant-like creatures.
Jihala - desert rat
Sesshuel - black sun.
Sesshuea - sun sickness.

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