Dreamer's Refuge

A Student of Sense and Nonsense

A Monk in the Desert

Originally written on July 31’st 2018…

I stumble and go to the west, for that is the direction the wayfarers traveled. I know not who, for they have no names, or if they did they have been long lost to time. The scorching sun above me once a pleasure, is now like daggers at my back. At the same time it hinders and propels me forward in a vain attempt to escape it.

The desert speaks to me as it shifts in hushed whispers, the distant songs of wind and sand. I turn to look around, but see nothing but the golden-red dunes that surround me; they are like waves of a vast ocean frozen in time, and baked by the furnace of the sun.

My throat aches, I’ve run out of water, each swallow is like needles piercing flesh. But I’ve come too far to go back, though I fear I have come to my death. I see no life, no spring to sate my parched tongue, nor shrub or tree to hide me from the piercing rays. 

My father sent me, though I would have gone willingly on my own. The sons and daughters of the priests of our order were, like me, sent to the desolate dunes of the desert beyond the springs of our kingdom. Our springs, which in bygone days brought meaning, and life, are running thin, and our people now fight amongst themselves using terrible magic in their confusion.

For confusion is the spirit of our age; as we learned, and knowledge spread, we shunned the past and where we came from. Progress became our new myth, and our shared stories which once unified our people were forgotten, or dismissed as fairy tales. New tribes formed – and believing themselves to be wiser than the rest – created new stories. They started fighting amongst the other tribes which had different perspective on reality. New heresies, and dogmas came to be, as these new factions saw the others as heretical to their new found “Gods” of the intellect.

We learned to channel Magic as we discovered the secrets of our reality; it was first used to heal, then spare the dying, then to uplift our lives and conquer the trivialities of life. It has now turned upon itself and used by those that wield political power to enthrall and distract the divided people of the kingdom.

And so, the last remaining, though faltering men and women of the numinous felt the time was right to revivify that which lay dead, forgotten, and threatened to spread its rot throughout.

That is our task – as the children of the priests – to find the seeds hidden in us which may germinate in a new world and once again bring meaning to and unite our people.

I travel the dunes in hopes of finding that which is ancient and lost, so that I may bring it back to our crumbling nation.

I have not seen any others, though the children of the desert, the snakes, spiders, and other such creatures, roam freely at night. My reserve of magic is drained and I cannot summon more food or water and so must seek shelter or I will surely perish. 

In the distance, I see something… an outcropping of stone, I shift my path towards it, mayhaps it will offer shelter from the sun, and protection for me to regain my strength while I am in trance.

As I get closer, what from a distance looked like random stone is a ruined structure. I walk cautiously to it and notice carved figures of unidentifiable animals in the walls, they are worn from the sun and sand.

Two statues of winged lion like animals border a partially buried entrance into a sallow room, inside is a medium-sized rectangular stone structure. In the recesses of my mind an image appears of a burial tomb, and sarcophagus.

Inside the tomb are worn and crumbling murals which line the walls and ceiling, I cannot make out what they depict, though from what I can make out, they are reminiscent of art from dead cultures that I have only glimpsed from father and his books. 

I move closer to the sarcophagus; it is uncovered, and I feel my heart start to race. I bend over to peer inside.  A desiccated skeleton buried in sand. I relax and move back, turning to the entrance. 

My heart skips a beat and starts to pound, I panic and jump back but keep my composure. Standing in front of me is a beautiful woman with long flowing black hair. Her eyes do not meet mine, she is looking down, and the sound of distant crying bounce off the walls of the tomb. She is wearing a dress of many colors, and is adorned with gold and silver jewelry; my eyes are drawn to a silver necklace ornamented with black and white pearls dangling from it like tear drops.

I work up the nerve to ask if she is alright when from the back I feel something grab my wrist, as I spin around half in shock, for I know what has taken hold, I hear a sorrowful cry, “Find me!”

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