The Verdant Passage
Luken is an elf with deeply tanned skin, like someone might have who is outside in the wilds a lot. He looks at the ready, always watching his surroundings. His gear looks weathered, but in good repair. He wears leather armor and carries a spear. His hair is kept in long dreads with bones woven into them. When he is not set for battle he can usually be found fidgeting with a totem or string of bones in his hands.
Lucan stood on a cliff overlooking the dark valley below as a furious thunderstorm rolled overhead. The rain pelted his face as he stood, arms outstretched and screamed furiously into the heavens. As if in response the sky resounded with a violent crack of thunder followed by a bright flash of lightning. The bolt surged from the heavens into Lucan illuminating him for all to see.
Suddenly Lucan shot bolt upright in bed, sweat pouring off his head. A cool touch brought him back to his surroundings.
“The same dream again,” asked his wife, Suralyn.
“The spirits of Athas call to me,” he quietly said. “I fear that I must answer their call, but it shall unmake me.”
Lucan kissed Suralyn gently on the forehead as he rose from bed. He walked from his tent to clear his head as he had every night for the last month. The same dream or vision flashed in his head each night, but what did it mean?
He walked into the desert to meditate on the matter. He reached down and grasped a handful of sand, letting it run through his fingers. He knelt down in meditation focusing on the energies around him. He knew what he must do, but he was in denial. How could he leave his tribe and his wife to pursue a vision quest. Surely the others would not understand, nor would they allow their shaman to run fool heartedly alone into the desert in search of rain.
Athas screamed to Lucan. She was dying of thirst.
Lucan’s eyes shot open. A scream woke him from his trance. He looked up to see flames coming from the encampment, there was a fire raging through the camp. Fire is especially dangerous in Athas. The lives saved using water to fight the flames would be insignificant to the lives lost through dehydration.
Lucan ran toward the encampment. He had to find Suralyn. Those who escaped quickly were assembled near the edge of the encampment. Families held each other close. Suralyn was nowhere to found. Lucan fearing for the worst began to head toward the camp, but someone stopped him.
“Where do you think you are going,” asked the chieftain.
“Suralyn…” Lucan said.
“…is dead or has escaped Lucan,” he responded. “You cannot risk yourself Lucan you are too important to us.”
Lucan fought through the strong arms of his comrades trying with desperation to break their iron grip, to be free, to get to her. The flames rolled through the encampment with wild abandon. Finally he broke free from their grasp and ran toward the encampment. The smoke and heat were intense, but he made his way toward his tent.
He was too late, his tent was part of the inferno that raged around him. He ran toward his tent trying to find her amongst the flames. She was gone, no magics he possessed would bring her back to him. Risking further injury or death he recovered her body and carried it from the camp. Lucan carried her back through the waiting crowd and beyond them into the dessert. They gave him a wide berth, sensing the building storm within him.
Lucan lay her down in the sand and cried. He said a prayer over her remains and summoned spirits of Athas to consume her body in flames reducing her to ash. Once the fire finished the work it had previously started and reduced her to earth he summoned wind to return her to the world. His tears we the only water he could summon.
When he looked down all the remained was a ring, still glowing from the heat. He picked it up and squeezed it tightly. The pain as it burned his flesh felt good to him. When he opened his hand he had a circular burn in his palm. A reminder of this night. He put the ring on a chain with his own and placed it around his neck.
That was the last night he had dreams of rain. The rest of his nights were plagued with fire. He knew what it was that he must do now. He needed to leave the tribe, he just needed the right opportunity to go.