#weeklywritingcontest @danielandangel The MC of this story is a Xotokian, which is depicted in the concept art attached. This story is written open ended, and I am expecting to have follow up stories with the same characters. Hopefully I am not bending the rules too much with this one. Title - Over the Dune The sun beat down upon the beige dunes of Achinos. Even the scrub bushes had gone dormant to escape the high heat of the summer. Even so, a cloud of dust could be seen from a distance, rising up into the air like the smoke of a snuffed out match. Akhani knew the cause. Akhani scrambled with his lizard-like limbs over the dunes. Scrambling on all fours was taboo around the Doiketians, but he was alone. No Doiketians were foolish enough to venture this far into the “barren wasteland,” as they called it. Akhani stopped short two dunes away and drew his knife. If his suspicions were correct, the skirmish would not last long. Slowly, and methodically, Akhani made his way towards the final dune which separated him from whatever was kicking up the dust. His eyes peered over the edge, but he beheld something that he did not expect. A tall, thin, pale blue skinned woman lay on the ground holding a desert asp. The asp whipped continuously towards the face of the young Syverenian, who struggled to find a way to subdue the beast. Flailing the snake against the soft sand was not a viable strategy, as the woman was quickly learning. However, she appeared to be weaponless, and thus, defenseless. Akhani sat and wondered. He had never seen a Syverenian before. No, they had never ventured into the desert. He had only heard rumors of these mostly-human giants from the northeastern mountains. If there was one Syverenian, where were the others? Had she simply gotten lost, the last survivor of a foolish army, or… well… he couldn’t even think of any other options. Akhani lowered his ears, put his sand-colored wrapping cloth over his head, and took one more glance over the apex of the dune. Sure enough, his eyes had not deceived him. That was a Syverenian woman. And, most importantly, she was losing her fight against the asp. Without giving a second thought, Akhani made his leap to the other side of the dune, slid down the sand on three limbs, and prepared himself for the ensuing battle. He knew that once the asp had been killed, the battle would not end there. Syverenians were not known for gratitude, and were easily overcome by blood lust in the heat of battle. Or, at least this is what the Doiketians had told the Xotokians about the Syverenians. The asp was blinded by the blue reflection of light from Akhani’s blade. Before the asp could reorient itself, the blade plunged between its eyes, and only a weak gasp was heard as the snake went limp. Just as quickly as he had rid the world of the serpent, Akhani sprung back into a defensive stance facing the Syverenian. Though he had always been trained to strike first, something held his blade. Something deep within him had made him hesitate, giving ample time for any other Xotokian to deal a deadly blow. But, it was not a fellow Xotokian that he was facing, and he did not know what to expect, nor why his hand was stayed. “The gods led me to you, Akhani,” said the Syverenian woman in a silky, comforting voice. “The time has come, and I must follow.” “Why were you fighting a snake? Why are you out here? How do you know my name?” All these questions flowed from Akhani’s mouth, but many others remained trapped in his throat. “I heard a Word, that Word brought the snake, and that snake brought you. Beyond that, I do not know. I am only able to listen and follow, and I am supposed to follow you.” At these words, the snake dissolved into smoke. Akhani fell to his knees in confusion and submitted himself to the will of the gods.
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