Remnok the Aisha had never known his family. For as long
as he could remember, Remnok had wandered through the deserts outside Sakhmet.
He had hiked over countless dunes and had been tricked by countless mirages that
appeared in the sweltering heat of the Lost Desert. Remnok was a nomad.
Remnok didn't particularly want a home. They
were simply things to keep you anchored in one place, and he didn't enjoy the
feeling of having to return to something. It was just a hassle, Remnok felt.
So he didn't have one. Why deal with it at all?
The one thing Remnok loved to do was treasure
hunt. There was nothing more thrilling than finding an artifact buried in a
secret tomb somewhere in the numerous sand dunes. The magic and secrecy appealed
to Remnok greatly. It was a wondrous feeling, and Remnok enjoyed it immensely.
But deep in his heart, he felt something missing. He could never place what
was absent, but he knew something was. He wasn't fulfilled, and it bothered
him deeply. And as Remnok sat outside his tent one night watching the stars,
the feeling returned to him.
Remnok thought of his family. What had happened
to them? He didn't know. He could vaguely remember an Aisha with brown fur and
a long, flowing dress. Was that his mother? He may never know. He suddenly had
a strong longing for his family.
"Remnok," a voice said. Remnok jolted up and
turned towards the voice. How had it appeared without him hearing it? His eyes
landed on a Ruki, jet black with strange designs covering his scales. The designs
ranged from swirls to illegible words to a giant sun covering his abdomen.
"Who are you?" Remnok asked warily, for he had
learned the hard way not to trust strangers in the desert. Once, when he was
just an amateur, the treasure he had found was stolen by a group of bandits
known as the Sand Thieves. They were violent, greedy criminals who had no consciences.
Remnok had run into them a few times, and every time his findings had been stolen.
So of course, Remnok was wary when the Ruki silently appeared behind him.
"Who are you?" Remnok asked again when the Ruki
just stared at him.
"I am you," he said. "I am part of you."
"What?" Remnok asked. "What are you talking about?"
"You have always known a feeling deep inside
your heart, am I correct? A feeling of sadness? Well, I am here to resolve that
feeling. I can lead you to your family," the Ruki said with a faint smile on
Remnok just stared at him, stupefied. "How did
you know about that feeling?" he asked.
"I told you," the Ruki replied. "I am part of
"Do I really need to?" he asked. "I think you
know I am part of you. Can't you feel the connection between us?"
Remnok watched the Ruki. As he gazed at the strange
creature in front of him, he suddenly felt something. It was odd, but the Ruki
was right. The Ruki was part of him; there was no doubt about it. He didn't
know how it had happened, but that Ruki was somehow a part of Remnok.
"How… how did you get… out of me?" Remnok stammered.
"What part of you are me?"
The Ruki chuckled. "I am your soul. Well, part
of it, anyway."
Remnok gaped at the Ruki. "Wow. Do you have a
name?" he asked.
"You may call me Rakna," he said. "If you'll
follow me, please, I will now take you to your family," he said. He showed no
emotion except a permanent smile plastered on his face.
"My family?" Remnok asked excitedly. "Are they
still alive? Where are they?"
"I cannot say. You will see them shortly," Rakna
said. "Now please, follow me. Leave your belongings, you will not need them
where we are going."
The Aisha scrambled to stand up. Rakna turned
and led the way he had come, following his tracks in the sand. They walked for
most of the night. Suddenly the wind kicked up, and the tracks that the Ruki
had laid disappeared forever. The duo stopped and shielded their faces from
the whipping wind.
Remnok was dismayed. "How will we find our way
now?" he asked, his emotions getting the better of him. Since he had met this
Ruki, it seemed as if his past self had disappeared with the wind, and a new
one was taking its place.
"I know the way," Rakna said. "I will lead you."
Comforted by Rakna's persistence and confidence,
the two continued on their path. A half hour later, the Ruki stopped in front
of an enormous sand dune.
"We are here," he told Remnok.
"Where?" Remnok replied.
"The Tomb of the Scarab," he said.
"A tomb?" Remnok asked, happiness fading. "Is
my family inside?"
"Yes," the Ruki said.
Remnok's smile had disappeared. "You mean they're
dead?" he asked.
"Follow me," the Ruki told him, his face expressionless.
Remnok was dazed. He couldn't figure out what
Rakna was trying to tell him, and it was impossible to figure it out from his
face. Were his parents dead? He couldn't tell, but he hoped not. Maybe they
were waiting inside. It all felt like a surreal dream. It was too much.
Suddenly the Ruki turned to the sand dune in
front of them. "The doors of the Tomb open wide when the pieces of the scarab
collide," he recited. He fumbled with something in his hands and held up three
parts of a scarab, which he had assembled. There was a rumbling deep inside
the dune, and suddenly a passage burst open, flinging sand everywhere. When
the duo had adjusted to the change, Rakna looked at the Aisha.
"Follow me," he said again. He stepped up to
the doorway and entered it, gesturing for Remnok to follow him.
The corridor was dull, to say the least. Remnok
had expected treasure of some sort, piles of gold at the least. But it was just
a corridor. It was narrow, and it seemed to be carved out of rock, which was
strange seeing as they were inside a sand dune. There were torches spaced out
sporadically, casting odd shadows. They were spread out just far enough to cause
Remnok and Rakna to walk through patches of light and dark alternatively. Rakna
led Remnok through the corridor for what seemed like hours, but Remnok had lost
all sense of time. His feet were becoming sore.
"Rakna, may we stop?" he asked.
"Of course," he said. "Take as long as you need
Remnok sat down and began to massage his feet.
Small blisters had begun to pop up. He winced when he touched them.
"So, are you really my soul?" Remnok asked of
the Ruki, who was staring into the dark ahead of them.
The Ruki turned, and Remnok saw his eyes caught
the light in a strange way. His eyes seemed to be glowing yellow. "Yes, of course,"
"How is it possible for you to be separated from
me?" he asked. The question had bugged him for a while now.
"Let me ask you this question in response. When
you go searching for artifacts, do you find magical one sometimes? Ones with
magical properties?" the Ruki inquired.
Remnok nodded. Magical artifacts were the most
coveted type of treasure to be found.
"Do you question why? Do you ever stop and ask
yourself what sort of magic the artifact has?"
Remnok shook his head. "I guess I never thought
about it that way," he admitted.
"Then why do you interrogate me? If you have
seen magic before, then there is no reason for you to question me. It is magic,
plain and simple."
"I guess so," Remnok said. "Well, I think I'm
ready." He stood up and dusted himself off.
"We shall proceed now," Rakna said.
After what seemed like ages, they stopped suddenly.
Rakna held up an arm. "Stop," he whispered. He pulled out the scarab he had
assembled earlier and held it up again. With his left arm, he felt along the
wall until his fingers caught on something.
"Grab a torch, please," he asked of Remnok. He
hurried to the nearest torch and lifted it out of its holder. He returned to
the Ruki to find him fumbling with the scarab.
"Shine it over here," he told him. Remnok complied,
and found a hole carved into the wall that fit the scarab's pieces exactly.
Glancing at the Aisha, Rakna placed the scarab into the hole, and they heard
a deep, resonant click. Suddenly, the scarab began to spin wildly in circles,
over and over again until it became a glowing blur. Remnok saw the Ruki watch
the scarab carefully, so he knew this was a normal occurrence.
And then, there was a thud. The segment of wall
in front of them shuddered, and slid into the ground. The room they saw was
what Remnok was waiting for the whole time: treasure! He ran forward, greedily
grabbing as much as he could hold.
"Stop," Rakna said calmly. "This is not yours
to take yet. You still have to learn of your family."
He turned to him, crestfallen. "Not even a small
Rakna firmly shook his head. "Wait, and you shall
find a better treasure," he said.
Remnok perked up. "Lead on, then," he replied.
They made their way through the treasure room,
until they reached an enormous door. Rakna walked forward, and pushed it open.
Remnok waited, expecting something astounding to be behind the door.
But there wasn't anything astounding hidden there.
There was a simple book, on a simple pedestal, dusty and ancient. Rakna looked
at Remnok meaningfully, motioning Remnok to step forward and examine the book.
He did so, and on the cover he saw "A Family Tree" in long, flowing print. Fingers
trembling, he opened the book and saw drawings of Aishas. On each page was a
different Aisha, with a small passage beside it, describing the family member
on that page. Remnok flipped through the pages, and saw hundreds of Aishas in
the book, all with their own story.
"Is this my family?" Remnok asked.
"Indeed it is," he said, smiling.
"So you don't know where my actual family is,"
Remnok said without a feeling of sadness.
The Ruki frowned. "You are holding it," he said.
"No, I mean the actual people," Remnok said.
"I'm sorry to say that you are the last surviving
member of your family lineage," Rakna said.
Remnok looked at him. "It's okay," he said. "I
have a book that includes every member of my family that's ever lived. This
is the next best thing. I'll have a lot of reading for a while." Remnok grinned.
"Then I have served my purpose," the Ruki said.
Rakna smiled and disappeared in a flash. Remnok
looked around, but the Ruki was gone. He turned to leave, a new feeling in his
heart. He left the building without even a glance at the piles of gold. He had
an even better treasure.