Here, in the Deep Desert, life evaporated long ago.
These lands were good and fertile once; so I have heard—choice above all the lands of fair Ileora. Though I cannot imagine them in such a state. From afar, the dunes appear as hills of gold, glimmering in the sun, but do not let this picture seduce you. This gold will sooner blind a man than make him rich, or strangle the unprotected throat with a layer of golden mud.
An hour past sunrise, the dunes already waver in the heat. Dust blows on the wind. I drop at the base of a dune, pulling scarfs and robes closer to keep the sand out. I have walked all night; now, I must rest in open daylight, sleep if possible, yet not so soundly that the shifting sands entomb me. Even as I lie, it feels as if this dead land draws upon my life, sapping me, draining every will to rise again.
Yet, when evening comes, I must. When at last the sun drains itself into the western horizon, I will rise, and take up my journey anew, for such death does not hold sway upon all lands. Not yet.
I will rise, if only such strength is given me to outlast the fullness of The Withering.