The stars hung over the desert like spectators of the twilight madness, a time when the savages roamed and the foolish seeking adventure and excitement in all the wrong places, would remain out when day began its descent into night courted death. This was a treacherous and seemingly endless land, infested with all manner of wretched and unfathomable creatures. Even now, their roars and screeches could be heard from kilometers away. This was an hour when the sane returned to their settlements and homes.
Across the boiling sands darted a shadow, still visible in the light of the setting suns, which were suspended in the darkening amber sky like the eyes of a distant god. They revealed the ﬁgure of a man, sprinting across the desert dunes towards an unknown destination. Gradually, the fading light revealed his appearance; that of a tall post-adolescent, young and full of life and promise, yet still somehow tired and worn like a man thrice twice his age. Further observation would reveal that he was exasperated to the point of exhaustion. He’d been running for nearly an hour, though it seemed a lifetime. His forest green eyes were ﬁxed upon the setting suns. He knew that the stars would appear soon, and they would guide him home.
The dunes stretched as far as his emerald eyes could see, one leading into the next. The lack of vegetation, the wicked heat bearing down like the fires of hell; they all served to mock anyone who ventured beyond the conﬁnes of their settlements. It was for that reason that few ever did. For most of the planet, that meant the After all, what was there to see? The planet was a wasteland, almost completely devoid of life: a place defined by the wisps of sandy particles dancing and swirling about in the hot winds.
As the man ran, the wind ﬂowing through his auburn hair, he felt an acute mixture of panic and weariness: the pains that one was apt to feel when running for their life. Yet there was a certain exhilaration amidst his panting and sweating, a feeling of being more alive than ever before. He imagined this was how adventurers felt, or soldiers facing the threat of death. Not that he would admit it to himself, the thrill of the chase admit to his perverse fixation with the danger that he faced. He had more important things to worry about. Like survival.
He came to a stop as he crested one of the higher dunes, thinking he was in the clear. His eyes darted, desperately searching for refuge seeing his settlement ahead of him as the light began to fade beyond the horizon. There was a settlement ahead of him of course, but he knew this place, and it was not ideal. It was not a 'safe haven.' He was aware of a better place, the perfect place to run away from death, away from fear and despair, a place where he could hide forever…but the place ahead of him wasn’t it. The 'safe haven' he hoped for was a dream, a fool’s errand far away from his current heading. But the settlement he now observed was the best source of asylum he currently had. Knowing what kind of hellhole it really was though, knowing that he would have to ﬁnd comfort in the security of tyrants, made him sick to his stomach. It was as if the place itself was taunting him, the light of the suns illuminating it’s shadowy structures, as if to say it was the best he could ever hope for. Maybe it was.
Looking back again, he saw the phantoms he had been ﬂeeing from closing in on his location. He quickly shifted into a frantic stride and lunged forward in a desperate, last ditch effort to survive began running with renewed vigor. Behind him was a pack of Tusken Raiders, the sand people who called the barren parts of the desert home, a menace to settlers across the planet. Little more than rapists and pillagers, they were the barely sentient pirates of the endless sands. The animalistic shrieks of rage they uttered as they chased him were words that only they could understand. To the settlers, their true language was brutality and mayhem. Whatever culture they may have had before had faded long ago.
The young man they chased was unarmed, yet the hunters were outﬁtted heavily with primitive (but dangerous) tools. He couldn’t get a good look at them—no one who laid their eyes on the sand people returned to speak of what they saw—but he knew of their weapons. Their gaderfﬁi sticks resembled spears, with a mace on one end and a serrated axe on the other. If the degenerates caught him, they would surely skin him alive. Only then, when he had been stripped raw, would they decide if he should die or if they should prolong his suffering for as long as possible. Just to satisfy their bloodlust.
Yes, he knew that he had to find a safe harbor from these monsters, and the so-called city of Anchorhead would have to do for now.