An old woman walked on an endless expanse of barren desert land--a land wrapped in the dark quilt of night. A full moon, nearly as bright as the sun, gazed down upon the old woman who was wrapping a cloak tightly about her shoulders, shivering. The old woman didn’t know why she was walking. Indeed. She didn’t even know how she was still alive, considering there was nothing left. No humans, no elves, no dwarves, no fairies, no buildings. It was just her and the blindingly bright moon looming over her--mocking her attempts at sleeping. The old woman yawned, rubbing eyes. Her legs were sore, and she could move no more. She fell to the sandy earth, closing her eyes.
She was sure she would be able to sleep. After all, she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for three whole days. She was sure that if she just closed her eyes, then god would grant her a boon and she would finally be able to fall into a deep sleep. When she awakened, she would finally feel well-rested after days of heavy eyelids, sore muscles, and a foggy mind.
It felt to her like an hour had past, and then two, and still, sleep would not take her despite her aching muscles and her heavy eyes. She knew that her thoughts were partially responsible for keeping her up. The old woman seemed to only be able to think of things that stressed her out and old memories that were too ugly to bear.
In a moment, her strained muscles finally relaxed.
Her fingers, which had been tensed against the rough sand, loosened and went lank. Her mind, which pulsed in thudding pain from a sleep-deprived headache, became clear and peaceful.
A good memory spread throughout her mind and warmed her like a soft blanket, causing her body to finally relax.
She fell asleep.
The old woman felt a tickle in her throat as she roused. She coughed violently—little specks of sand erupting from her throat—and then rose to a sitting position.
She sighed, a smile spreading across her face. She stretched her arms with a happy yawn.
She finally felt awake enough to think.
The old woman climbed to her feet and scanned the vast desert before her with wide eyes.
She raised her eyebrows.
There were two blue eyes peering at her over a sandy dune up ahead.
I thought there was no one left! The old woman thought to herself.
The old woman called out, “Hello! It’s nice to meet you!”
The two blue eyes ducked behind the sand dune, disappearing.
The old woman dashed toward the dune with a smile.
She circled around to the back of the sand dune in time to see a child--clothed from head-to-toe in a heavy cloak—running further into the desert.
The old woman pushed herself to run faster. For her, it was easy. She could run faster than any humanoid on Yharos. She caught up to the child in seconds—aided by the fact that the child had tripped on the cloak draping from his or her shoulders.
The old woman caught up to where the child fell and rolled the child onto his or her back by their shoulder.
The boy had sand all over his face, but the sand could not hide the fact that he had the most brilliant, bright blue eyes—offset by dark skin--she had ever seen.
The child was breathing heavily, his pupils constricted in fear.
The old woman realized that she had had probably terrified him. She was a seven-foot-tall behemoth after all. She helped the child up and then gave him some space.
She clawed at her disheveled, silver hair, realizing that she didn’t quite know how to talk to children.
She cleared her throat. “What’s your name?”
The boy was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t speak for a moment. Eventually, he managed to squeak out, “Deforest.”
The old woman looked at the boy expressionlessly. “My name is Pollyanna.”
The boy and the old woman had nothing more to say to one another for a moment.
The boy looked at his feet and pulled at his robes nervously. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Pollyanna realized that she didn’t know why she had stopped the boy. I suppose it was nice to see another human, at least. Pollyanna thought to herself.
“It was nice to meet you, too.” Pollyanna repeated out loud, and then she brushed past the boy.
She didn’t know where she was going or why. There was nothing in the desert but her and the boy, after all. There were no people for her to impress nor tasks for her to complete. She had a drive to keep walking to the end of the desert to see what was at the end, and that was the only thing that kept her going.
The boy watched her go in silence, blinking curiously.
Pollyanna walked woodenly through the desert, sighing heavily at the blue, cloudless sky looming ahead of her and the hot wind whipping her white hair about, making it difficult to breathe. Pollyanna’s mouth felt drier than the desert surrounding her, and she felt like she had not had anything to drink for at least a month, nor had had anything to eat for at least a month.
Pollyanna searched her memories like she had been doing daily for as long as she had begun scaling the massive desert. She tried to remember where she had come from and who she was, but the memories evaded her. She could only remember certain things, and it drove her mad.
Suddenly, she felt something tugging on her cloak.
She glanced over her shoulder. The boy had followed her.
“Lady…” The boy whispered.
Pollyanna waited for him to continue, wearing a condescending look on her face.
“I wanna show you something.” The boy continued.
Pollyanna wrenched her cloak out of his small hands. “I have things to do, kid. I don’t have time for games.”
Deforest looked around. “What do you have to do? Everything’s sandy…”
“I have to go to the edge of the desert. Maybe I’ll find something there.” Pollyanna replied, continuing her march through the desert under the blazing sun.
Deforest watched her go for a moment, and then dashed after her. He kept pace with her for a time. “I think you’ll like it. It’s a really pretty surprise. It’s right around the corner, too!”
“Pass.” Pollyanna panted, licking her lips.
“It might remind you who you are!” Deforest said.
Pollyanna finally stopped in her tracks. She fixed her gaze on the child. “Really? Did you remember who you are when you saw it?”
Deforest shook his head. “No. For some reason, the Spider didn’t know who I am.”
Pollyanna raised an eyebrow. “Why should I bother seeing him, then?”
Deforest shrugged. “You have nothing else to do.”
Pollyanna scratched her cheek, giving it some thought. She supposed, if there were even a slim chance that she could find out who she was, she supposed she should take it. “Very well. Lead the way to this ‘Spider’.”
Deforest hopped excitedly. “Will do, Lady.”
Pollyanna rolled her eyes. “My name is Pollyanna.”
Deforest chuckled. “Okay. Can I call you Polly?”
“No.” She replied firmly.