*You look around the small, simple room. A somewhat strange open book catches your eye. The author has not signed their name, but the subject they've written about seems eerily familiar. And the ink is still fresh on the page. Perhaps you are not the only one who's been through tumultuous times of late.*
Swimming and swirling about like a great school of fish.
Pressing upon me like a hurricane's roar.
I'm tossed to and fro.
End over end, and over again.
Akin to a grain of sand tumbling across the dunes of the Alik’r Desert.
Eyes locked tight I feel fresh breath kiss my cheek.
I try to focus.
It is wind. It is a great force.
A cold tempest crushing upon me as I'm lifted up, higher and higher.
Tears rise and fall below, groping ever after as I ascend, above my soaking misery.
Out of the cold dark depths of seething confusion.
I dare a glimpse but the gale seizes the opportunity and fervently returns my tears, ravishing my sight.
Eyes squeeze tight again as the kraken cups me in it's arm, hurling me upwards.
Over the edge of reason.
I crash down under the weight of the torrent, sprawling out on my back.
Like a starfish washed upon the rocks.
Relative stillness now.
Fewer tears remain. The stragglers calmly roll off my cheeks.
I feel a heaving as my hysterical heart tries to burst free, to escape madness.
I grasp and gather it up, along with my thoughts. Holding them close I slowly soothe my distraught children.
The maelstrom begins to subside.
But something is missing, something no longer inside. A coldness, an emptiness.
A sense of loss washes over in a flush of goose bumps.
I brave to perceive my surroundings again.
Straining, I see grey cloudy figures about, moving and changing form.
Behind them, seemingly grand tall trees loom high overhead, waving massive white canvas leaves fluttering in the breeze.
They are no palms.
I try to focus, but the veil lifts no further.
With hands and fingers I explore this new world.
Cold and hard. Wooden.
Where are the sands?
This was not how it should be.
This was not how my rite of passage should end.
Feelings of shame slowly slither in and coil up in a corner of my foggy mind.
They sew seeds of doubt, dishonour.
For my family, my Ra'gada, Tall Papa, Leki.
Only the strong survive. Only those return from the desert.
This is no desert. Where am I?
I close my eyes, recoiling my senses.
Exhausted, slumber takes me.
*Somewhere outside of Sentinel you find a simple cairn. On it, a piece of cloth held down by a stone. Scrawled upon the cloth are words, somewhat faded by the elements*
With gracious sun,
And stars and sands,
You danced final farewell,
Now on voyage,
Gaunt oarman helmed,
You're sung off by far knell.
The amber light,
And purple tinge,
Shows breath slowed for last rest;
The flames set in the west.
Of future bones,
And dusty wind,
High price it has been paid;
Now sadness falls,
And soaks the sands,
Under which you are bare laid.
So sleep my kin,
No more dry wind,
Nor desert seas will call;
Rest now in peace,
'neath golden dunes,
For life it ends for all.
*A poem that can sometimes be heard recited by the local bard on rowdy nights at The Screaming Mermaid in Port Hunding*
I'd run out of capons so in went some boar.
I pinched in some salt and then poured in some more.
'Twas all out of wheat so in went mushrooms whole,
with bile and fat all mixed up in the bowl.
Next on the list; "add grapes now with a grin".
But which type I think, I've three that could go in!
Last on the page was a simple green herb,
So I threw in some wormwood feeling quite superb.
"Oh this cooking's not hard" I mused chuffed at myself,
And I twirled as I mixed, nimble as a wood-elf.
But just as I placed my bowl down on the bench,
The owner yelled out, "What the hell is that Stench?!"
And the horror as this new aroma arose,
as it watered my eyes and it infused my nose.
So I tore around looking in cupboard and sink,
all about for the impressive pungent foul stink.
Till the owner came charging in, out from the bar,
More bull-like than man knocking ladle and jar.
Till he reached my bowl sitting on the bench alone,
And out the window he hurled it like a stone.
Then he roared "Zeht's tears! What went into that stew?"
"And I won't even ask what you mixed in that brew."
"The Jackals smell it and they're howling outside,"
"I've a mind to tan you and then throw them your hide!"
Then he shoved me and spat "Go on, get out of here!"
As I groped for my sack in a sprinkling of fear.
And then sure as the Alik'r sand burns ones feet,
I was out on my rear in the Stros M'Kai heat.
So I picked up myself and my sack and I fled,
Through the hot sandy streets with face redder than red.
Dodging jackal and wolf I went straight for the docks,
As they nipped at my heels; how I wished I'd wore socks!
Ever since I've been barred from The Screaming Mermaid,
And all over Port Hunding they now know my name,
As the one who went off to cook with her cook-pack,
But instead brought along her own alchemist's sack.