The Chains Are Broken


13-03-2008 17:22:58

This is a zoom in of a part of my character's history. It is set after he was exiled from his sinkhole home city and banished to the unlivable surface of the planet.


The wind blasted across the barren plains, the low hillocks opposing no resistance to the massive flow of air. The stunted shrubs that pushed their way through the cracks in the scorched earth grew bowed to the wind, their skeletal branches trembling erratically with every gust. Racing to the West, the wind swept up clouds of dust as fine as chalk powder. These ashy hazel billows rose high up in the air as they left the Taraban lowlands and covered the Kati desert in a flickering pattern of light and shadow, which animated the sand dunes into an ocean of fossilized waves.
The dust clouds sailed back down to the ground, now mixing with the yellow sand being swept off the crests of the dunes. The cloud advanced like a dark tidal wave, over the dunes and past the kneeling figure of a tall and thin humanoid. It howled through the sound-receptors of the young Pau’an, hurled sand at him, wrenched his tattered robe back and forth until it looked no more than a sun-faded rag. It was barely held together by a frayed hide belt, embossed with scratched metal ornaments that made it look like a badly-preserved relic, together with the sabre’s long sheath, which was once adorned with effigies of birds and lizards, but which was now etched and dented, the images worn to blandness. Only the curved hilt of the sword appeared to be untouched by the sand, the white horn handgrip and metal cross guard still smooth and polished.
The thin gnarled fingers clutched a leather knapsack which, by the way it fluttered in the wind, looked quite empty. The Pau’an took a limp bladder of water out of it and drank a restrained sip, careful not to spill any water or to let the savage wind snatch the waterskin out of his trembling hands. The trickle of water slid down his parched throat like sweet nectar, although it did little to weaken the overpowering thirst. He removed the neck of the bladder from his split and bleeding lips with reluctance. He stuffed it back in his bag and then he heaved himself to his feet. The dust clouds had moved on by now, and the low morning sun, already bright and hot, pierced the still air and distorted it into shimmering heat waves. It beat on the thinly stretched grey skin of the Pau’an’s bald skull, and by a play of light and shadow made his emaciated limbs and ribcage stand out even more beneath the shreds of his once garishly coloured robe.
Eight days of wind, sand, heat and blazing sun had taken its toll on Korroth Karn. The food had finished six days after his exile to the surface, and he was on his last waterskin. However, from the moment they had carried him outside of the sinkhole of Ika to now, he had kept on walking; he was determined to give his last breath fighting death. By murdering his brother, he had given himself a purpose, an ultimate objective for which he would walk the deceptive path of life: power. The rejection from his own mother and the banishment from his home and all that he knew and relied on previously was simply the breaking of the chains of weakness. But now, just after he had discovered his supreme principle, all would be lost, and he would die in this desolate wasteland, a forgotten heap of bones soon to be covered by the sand.
He shook his head wearily. He could not allow himself to go down this road, or all hope would be lost. There was still a chance, a distant glimmer of hope that Tuvon, his father and the long-ago exiled dictator of Ika, was still out there somewhere, somehow having survived the merciless surface of Utapau. Korroth started walking again, dragging one thin-soled sandal out of the sand and putting it in front of the other, the scabbard of the sword whacking his thigh with every step. In front of him, the crest of the sand dune continued into the distance, intertwining with the crests of other dunes and reaching on until it was confused with the air glistening and wavering in the heat. The dark horizon was a perfect straight line joining with the intense blue sky, and it seemed to get further and further away with every step. The flaring molten ball of the sun had risen to the middle of the sky, and now it was parading all of its white-hot intensity. By the afternoon, the water had finished, and Korroth felt his throat becoming a piece of taut dry hide. The heat penetrated his flesh, the sunlight scorched his skin, but he didn’t even have enough water left in his body to shed a drop of sweat. Every pulse of the blood sent an explosion of clear pain from the back of his neck to the centre of his skull. His eyelids drooped and the fully black eyes looked on into emptiness, by now blinded by the glare.
A large shadow passed over him, that Korroth barely perceived with what remained of his awareness as a brief relief from the sun’s remorseless rays. His battered sound-receptors received a soft swoosh of shifted air above him, but Korroth did not have enough strength to look up. He did not have enough strength to stop walking; he just trudged on a few steps until he stumbled in exhaustion and fell to the sand unconscious.

When he awoke, he blinked his eyes open and saw the large-boned face of a dark-skinned Pau’an looming over him. As soon as the Pau’an saw he was awake, he removed a rough cloth from Korroth’s sunken chest and placed Korroth’s hand on a cool flask. Korroth sat up abruptly, making his head swoon. However, he still managed to bring the flask of water to his lips and drain it in noisy gulps to the last drop. The thickset Pau’an beside him grinned, then drew aside the drape covering the entrance to the low tan-coloured tent they were in and shouted with a strange slurry accent:
“He’s up! Call for Ka’Tuvon Karn!”