The Kingdom (Chapter Two - Unspoken Words, page 1 of 10)

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You'd think for essentially being a desert, the Wastelands would be warmer than this, I thought, as I hugged myself with my arms, stumbling along the shadow of yet one more overreaching dune of sand.

I was cold, hungry, and above all thirsty. The occurrence of all three were making life downright miserable, but at least I was alive.

I stopped my journey through the sand as my eyes took in the cornerstone work of an ancient dwelling half consumed by the desert. Beyond that lay another work of stone and another and more after that. I'd stumbled onto one of the ancient cities of the old kingdom!

What to do?

So little was known of the Wastelands or from the time before when the vast plain had been host to El Elyon's chosen people, the Yesathurim. Idly, I wondered about the people who once made their home here, only to be kicked out because of disbelief in the Creator and the false worship of others. I had never even seen a Yesathurim for myself, although it was said that there was Yesathurim blood mixed in with the blood of both Kingdomers and Nicationers.

Looking now upon the ancient city that lay in stark ruin before me, I could not but feel sympathy for the people upon whom such calamity, deserved or not, had fallen.

"You do well, stranger, to have sympathy for the plight of others less fortunate than even your own poor self."

My blood froze as the words spoke directly into my consciousness. I was sure that they had not been spoken audibly, but rather they had been spoken from within. How was that even possible?

Looking upon the scattered ruins I had the unreasoning fear that I had stumbled upon the home of a demon. What else could it be?

Stuttering slightly, my words hindered by cracked lips, I asked, "Who are you and how do you know what my situation is?

The words came once again from within and, as at the first, I could detect no threat in them, but only a calm sureness of spirit, "I am a sojourner come to find my way among the peoples of Ayenathurim. As to the condition of your place in life, well forgive me for stating the obvious, but you are alone and well within the borders of these once fair lands that now suffer under a curse that few wish to challenge by being here."

"Where are you and why do I feel that you know exactly where I am?" I asked in fear.

"There is much for you to learn Rollan, but for the moment you will do well to last through the night. A word of warning. Go no further into the city, least of all stay within its dwellings, for they are a deceptive refuge. Go back a ways into the dunes, dig into the sands and you will be warm enough."

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