Come with me now across the long centuries to a desolate, lonely stretch of land, completely barren of all but the most primitive signs of life.  Sand and lonely rocks are the only scenery, sun-scorched and uninviting.  The glowing sun itself beats down upon this desert relentlessly, glaring like some angry golden eye above that stares down upon the world beneath it and loathes what it sees.  Cacti stand at full attention, like sentinels armed with sharp spines, frozen in place to guard this empty land from invaders that will never come. 

            Watch with me as the sun begins to set, getting lower and lower in the sky until it kisses the western horizon and seems to extinguish itself behind the rolling sand-dunes.  The clouds in the sky turn from lush oranges and reds to a rich velvety purple that gradually fades into dark blues as the sun disappears, the sky they float through finally achieving the perfect blackness of night.  The stars begin to appear, winking brightly in the cool night sky like jewels set in a cloth stretched over the world.  Their pure white light is not as punishing as the sun’s smouldering, burning rays, but they seem cold and distant, offering no comfort from the hardship the desert can inflict upon whomever finds themselves trapped within its deadly grip.

            Look carefully there, on the eastern horizon.  Do you see it?  That dark speck, rising over the dunes?  Coming over the crest of a sand dune is a lone figure, slowly plodding across the cold sands, now bereft of the warmth they gained from the sun.  The figure walks across the desert, the sand crunching and crackling beneath every purposeful step he takes.  Cloth covers the walker, robes to keep out the cold of the chill of the desert night, and to evade the sun’s harsh gaze during the day.  His arms are held close together against his chest under the robes to retain as much heat as possible, but he does not let the freezing temperatures dissuade him from his chosen course.  This man is going somewhere, and means to get there no matter what obstacle arises in his path.

            The moon rises, full and bright with the sun’s reflected rays.  It seems cooler and soothing after the violent burning.  It bathes the man in white, and he seems to shine in the dark.

            What twist of fate brings him to such a lonely place?  What goal drives him on across these empty wastes?  Who is he?  All good questions, to be answered in time, but for now we must leave him to his solitary quest, for there are other things to see before we return to the desert and the secrets it contains within its deadly grasp.

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