Chapter 1

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Hero of Allacrost - Chapter 1

Author: Tyler Olsen (Roots)
Editor: Brian Aloisi
Copyright 2008

Countless numbers of sand dunes raced by Claudius as he sped thru the desert on the sand glider. The ride was smooth, save for the small leaps the craft made as it descended over each dune. The vast, unchanging scenery left Claudius amazed, and reminded him of just how barren and grandiose his homeland was. Were it not for the long, straight tracks left by the twin skis of his craft, he may have doubted whether or not he was really moving anywhere at all.

An outsider may have found it strange to see someone traveling in the searing heat of the afternoon rather than in the coolness of the night. Certainly in any other desert, it would be a foolish decision to roam at this hour. But one can not survive in this Harrvahan desert if they rely on such logic. For as silent and lifeless as this desert appears during the day, sleeping beneath are its inhabitants, using the cool sand to shield themselves from the scorching heat. At night when the temperatures drop, the ground becomes alive with countless foul creatures seeking to feed. As Claudius continued his journey, he tried to suppress the thoughts of what monstrosities could be sleeping just a short distance beneath him.

Fortunately, the winds were strong enough to shorten Claudius' trek to the ends of the desert by at least half a day. Claudius carefully tugged the rough leather straps of the sail lines ever so slightly so to maintain an optimum speed. The larger mainsail was the primary source of power for the vessel, while the smaller topsail was adjusted to make gradual changes in direction. Although he had practiced piloting a sand glider with his adopted father a few times in his childhood, he was still far from adept at the task, which he was reminded of occasionally as the craft shook back and forth violently when he momentarily lost control.

The great sun quickly approached the horizon, and Claudius knew that he would need to stop in the safety of the next village. He scanned the surroundings, searching for a source of refuge. After some time had passed he felt anxious; not a single home came into sight. Thoughts of being hopelessly trapped in the middle of the desert when nightfall came crept into his mind. After a period of incessant worry, Claudius let out an audible sigh of relief as he spotted a small farming community in the distance. With a strong tug on the topsail line, he directed his vessel toward the village as the sun disappeared over the horizon.