The wastes before the knight ended in a backdrop of teak and ivory.
But in front of him, an apocalyptic land awaited.
Sand, dunes, dirt, death. All of these things awaited him, all of these things called to him. Skulls sat at the wayside of a road that had once cut through this dismal plain. Thick crusts of alkali, shrubs, they were the only markers remaining to remind him that life had once thrived within this land. As he walked, the knight noticed some skulls were new, though, still covered in the remains of their owners. Hair, mostly, but sometimes skin.
He avoided those ones, he felt their death stares as he walked past them, but paid them no more heed than the empty skulls. The sky seemed to drift ever upward, clouds were scarce and only visible miles ahead of him, behind the backdrop of teak and ivory. He knew that he'd reach there, but when was the only question within his mind.
The land had since died off, cried off, and left the few living beings left to their own devices. Witchcraft, rebellion, and pain awaited far behind him, he'd drifted his way through with very little blood. But ahead of him was far worse. A place he'd never been to and would never be going to had his quest not demanded it.
His hair was grey at his temples, graying not with age, but with the dying land. His body was young and time seemed to have forgotten itself with some people. Some aged forward, others aged backward, and for the particularly unlucky, they were unborn. The knight couldn't believe the pain the Unborn must have gone through.
The knight's eyes were the color of cool teak wood, seeming to be filled with the will to live and move on. They spoke of resistance to the harshest elements, to the hell he'd been through to reach this point, of the mind behind the eyes which was as cold and calculating as his voice, which also spoke of all these things. While he was young, his voice was remarkably deep. Seeming to sound like the report of a cannon in sheer sound and volume. When he spoke, entire towns listened.
His shirt was white with a string thong criss-crossing itself across the opening at his neck. The string went through tiny iron holes that kept them in place. He could tighten them and loosen them to his pleasure.
The Knight's jeans were thinned at his knees and patches littered them up and down. While he wasn't a professional at sewing, he knew a little thanks to his mother. His boots were weathered and worn leather with pointed toes. At his side was a sheath belonging to his sword, attached to a leather belt. the f
It's blade was long and slender, only slightly thicker than that of a duelists sword. The color of the blade was cool blue steel, the hilt was covered in carving from his past ancestors, each carving detailing their greatest challenge, their quest, and kill. Some of these carvings wrote over each other while others found small covers not yet writ upon. The knight believed that one day he'd be honored enough to write upon the hilt.
At his side was a hide waterbag that was bloated with water, it was dripping out from under the bottom. He was sure he'd lost at least a liter of water in the past half hour, he'd wager this was true.
He was thirsty. It was a thirsty and hot land that faced him which he'd never faced before in his life, the closest he'd gotten were the Fields of Athenry. Even then, he'd only gone there with childhood friends a few times, all those times they'd come home earlier than usual, thirsty and begging for water. He couldn't remember why the Fields had been so hot, he knew it had to do with technology handed down from the Ancestors. Whether it was a steamed land, or just a hot land was any man's guess better than his.
He allowed himself a sip from his bag before trying the knot around it's top closed again. His thirst was quenched, for now.
As the knight breasted over a large dune of sand, he noticed that the teak trees seemed farther away than before. They seemed to be moving as well. The knight, not hurrying and not loafing behind, began walking again. Keeping his eyes on the forest before him. Huge, thick, teak trees poked out from the center of the forest while smaller ones, Kelpies, were prominent on the outskirts. A long wind brought the salty smell of the ocean to his nostrils and he sucked it in greedily. He hadn't smelled anything but the sand and dirt in front of him, and change was more than welcome.
Crossing the desert again, he breasted a large hill of sand and was met with a startling realization. The hill was the edge of a huge bowl that ended with a town in the center. He heard singing, he saw people mingling, and he thought: How could someone live in this town?
He answered his own question: Ghosts.
He thought about going around, but the bowl was huge, stretching for maybe twenty or thirty miles across, if he was right and the forest was moving, the only possible way to reach it would be to go forward, to push through the ghost town.
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