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In the tales, Kevaar's origins were somewhat of a mystery. We know he came from the land of the Brown Skins, a race far to the East. I have never been there myself, but I'm told the plant life is magnificent in its abundance. Picture entire swathes of land covered in the bright green of aloe vera! Imagine not having to worry of thirst wherever you go! Truly, these people seemed to have a ken with the land far beyond our own.

As perhaps could be expected, there were mixed feelings between Brown Skins and degonti. The races are close enough to coexist, but not enough, perhaps, to fully understand one another. Some stories about Kevaar the Just do not mention his lovers among them, believing it to be a scandal. I don't care which you believe, but tell you this because it is the truth, and Saint Kevaar's tale is nothing if not a lesson on the burdens of truth.

Kevaar swallowed slowly, his mouth feeling like it was full of cloth. His sweat dried rapidly, leaving cold patches on his back and shoulders, but it was welcome relief to the heat. The sun beat down on him from above, stinging his eyes when he looked to the east, but he barely noticed, lost in thought.

The cliff face he had found in the blind sandstorm was apparently not the same one he had climbed down from out of the prairie. These ones rose to the same towering height over the flat red desert, only to fall again, and rise again, and on and on, like the wrinkles in bedsheets as far as Kevaar could strain his eyes. It would be beautiful, if it weren't so damn inconvenient, he thought.

Kevaar slid back down the rock face, grimacing as he jarred his leg, and took up refuge in a shady crack between two boulders. He had climbed up here before the sun had risen, thinking to get a look around. What might have been a five-minute hike had turned into an hours long toil. He had almost given up a few times, faced by a rock slide or a boulder in his path that might've taken him only a few seconds to scrabble over if he had been well.

He wasn't so sure it had been worth it in the end. Either his race were much deeper in the desert than the tales said, or they were remarkably good at hiding their dwellings. It was too early yet to spot smoke from cook fires spiraling up into the sky, and he planned to wait until nightfall when they or the fires that started them might be more visible. He didn't have much else to do.

He shifted in place, trying to get his throbbing leg into a better position. The area around the break was swelling up, and he hoped that was part of the normal healing process. Kevaar wasn't sure what he'd do if he were to get an infection.

Die, probably. Sighing, Kevaar closed his eyes, shifting again until he was in a position moderately conducive to sleep.


"I had something I wanted to tell you."

"What is it that could possibly make up for what you've done?"

"I know. I know. It's just...I'm sorry."

"You lie. You're trying to trick me."

"My Re..."

"Enough. I'm asleep."


"I'm dreaming..."

He lay beside her, her scent in his nostrils. She pressed against him, fingers drawing lazy lines down his cheeks.

There was something he should be remembering right now, something important, about her. But she took his head and drew it down to her chest, whispering little platitudes. A loving gesture, but a provoctive one... An aversion prickled in his gut, but he could think of nothing else he wanted at that moment except her, so didn't say a word.

Someone was watching--a disapproving guardian perhaps? Kevaar's neck prickled, and he disentangled himself from Leanqa. She seemed to fall away from him, a watery cold filling the space her warm body had been. If he hadn't been aware before this was a dream, he knew now. The bed seemed to disappear out from under him, leaving only darkness. Shivering, Kevaar quested for the eyes he still felt upon him.

It was human, or humanoid. It's face was covered with a hood, but it drew it back to reveal long plaited hair falling on either side of a stern man's face.

Kevaar gasped, almost waking up. The face was that of a degonti! Normally something he only saw when looking in a mirror, or when the traders made the long detour through his hometown...He could feel the press of rocks against his back as he rose towards waking, but the dream still clung doggedly on.

"I am disappointed in you, my Re," said the degonti. In the certainty of dreams, Kevaar knew the man was speaking another language, but he could understand it perfectly.

In the logic of dreams, too, Kevaar thought he was talking about Leanqa, and the bitter heartbreak their liaison had turned into. "I loved her," he told the dream degonti stubbornly. "You've got no right to judge."

"I never thought I'd hear those words from your mouth," replied the Other, and he looked faintly puzzled. "But you know me. And you will know more. I give this to you, my old clan brother. May it bring you the resolve you will need."

"Resolve for what?" Kevaar asked. The sense of ill ease increased, but the Other seemed to not hear him. "Hey! Listen to me! What is going on?"

The Other waved his hand, as if casting a spell. Kevaar felt arms encircle him from behind, Leanqa's voice calling him back.

"I'm sorry..." He couldn't tell if it was the Other who spoke, or Leanqa. He turned to his old lover, who smiled the special smile as only she could. He drew her closer.

"You must remember," murmured the Other, as his visage faded out of sight.

Something pricked him in the side, and Kevaar looked down to find Leanqa pressing a dagger under his ribs. Her smile had turned into a smirk, and her eyes were cold. Memories flooded back in, and Kevaar screamed.

He remembered nothing else about the dream. When he woke, the horror swiftly faded. Like déjà vu, he could be certain that it was nothing more than a dream, but deeper, he knew something had changed. Something was wrong.


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