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Wandering: Xell's Story


by hzoo_26

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Dedicated to my friends, without whom I'd not be sane. :)

Since the beginning of time, there have always been wanderers. Some wandering in search of riches, some wandering in search of a place to rest. There are few, although rarely known, who wander simply to wander. To see what is on the other side of the ridge, to see what lies in the heart of the desert, or to find what lies beyond the mountains. They make the ghostly and dim trails that we follow now, trails as old as time. "The people who came before", the nomads, the loners. Such is the way of the desert, of the wilderness, and of the wandering soul. Fear the footloose, praise the pondering, and wish luck to the wanderers....

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     Heat. Endless, and oppressive heat. The sun beat down without mercy, taunting him. The wind picked up, but instead of it cooling and bringing relief to his parched lips, it brought another tormenting blast of heat and hardship. The Hissi looked around. The landscape around was composed of thousands of sand dunes, covered in rocks and small cacti. Small desert shrubs clung to life in a clump to his left, and to his right in the distance, he saw the grey outline of mountains. And the Hissi known as Xellaration let a faint smile play on his lips. It was time to move, time to wander on.

     All of his life, the Hissi known as Xellaration, or sometimes "Xell", had been wandering. He'd made tracks all over the desert lands, and he had not been the first. He knew every inch of the sand dunes, and every ruin and oasis in the desert. Many said that the brown Hissi would never stop, and would wander until his last breath, and many times, the poor Hissi wondered if that was all he was going to be. For wandering does give you time to think. He thought of kings, and queens, battles taken place, he prepared lists in his mind of where to stop, what he was going to cook over his fire that night, and mentally prepared everything for the next day. For when one has few friends, all one has is oneself. All of the day he'd been moving east, towards the cities and markets of Sakhmet. Perhaps it was time to visit a friend or two? The Hissi paused for a second, his beautifully carved wooden staff clutched in his hand, then moved on. 

     He stopped at an oasis, and filled his canteen, and wiped the dirt and sand off of his brown travellers clothes. He ate his dinner in silence, adding a lot of salt, and slept in the sand under the shade of the trees, his fire cackling and popping nearby. 

     Once again, he was moving, heading east again, and ready to start. He'd woken up at dawn, and begun to walk. A scamander scurried under a rock, and a fly buzzed nearby. All signs of the water he had just left. Soon, no life would be seen. It would just be him... and the desert lands. 

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     The purple Krawk known simply as "Wand" sat on a few rugs lining the floor of the tent that was his home, and his business. A large wooden trunk sat in the back of the pale colored structure, filled to the brim with supplies, weapons, clothes, and more. The Krawk had been quite happy since he had stopped traveling. His business was doing good, he could want nothing, for the nomads and wanderers of the desert provided company whenever they happened to stop in. Food was easy to get, thanks to the small fruit trees lining the oasis, and a small number of fish already lived in the cool water nearby. The oasis was full year round, as it came from an underground spring, so few could have a better life than he. The Krawk sat up, grabbed his spy glass, and looked out upon the desert sands. He began to laugh when he saw the small speck against the horizon. Company was coming. So he must prepare with haste. 

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     When Xell first spotted Wanderer's Rest, he smiled. Wanderer's Rest was one of the most well known spots for the desert nomads, and its name had a story behind it too. Xell's dear friend had been like him, wandering, and always searching for something, until he came upon that one oasis. It was there that he finally wanted to stop, and so, he went into the business of supplies, selling them to the few who attempted to travel across the desert lands. 

     Xell never understood why Wand had suddenly decided to stop, why he had chosen that oasis, instead of some other place. It was a mystery to the brown Hissi. Wand always said, "I just knew, Xell, I just knew." And the brown Hissi pondered if he might ever have a moment like that. Would he ever stop? Put down roots and raise a family? The need for company, for the sound of another voice was part of him, but... would he ever really stop? The thought shook him to the core.

     When the Hissi finally reached the small tent, Wand was there to greet him. "Xellaration, you wanderer, where've you been?" the Krawk said, shaking the brown Hissi's hand.

     "Everywhere, it seems," the Hissi replied, smiling.

     "Well, after going everywhere, you sure must have an appetite. Come on in, and I'll get you some dinner," the Krawk replied.

     Dinner was modest. A small salad of desert fruits, some rice, and a small bit of steak. Xell ate with a voracious appetite, cleaning his plate with ease. The small tent was furnished with pillows, and some rugs, and a small cot in the corner, with a blanket for the cool desert nights. And after they had finished eating, the two friends sat and talked of old times. 

     "So Xell, how goes the wandering?" Wand asked, using a small toothpick to pick the remains of dinner from his teeth.

     "I'm still at it. Although it's been very hard as of late due to drought," the Hissi replied.

     "Yes, yes. I heard from Remnok that some of the well known water holes have been drying up due to the heat. Pity for those wandering nomads." Xell nodded as his friend spoke.

     "Yes. I've considered staying near Sakhmet until the dry spell stops, but you never know what happens with the rains in the desert lands," Xell said.

     "Yes. When you underestimate the desert, you rarely ever come back. Speaking of which, I've heard there's been a lot of dust devils lately," Wanderer replied. Dust Devils were columns of shifting dirt and sand, almost like a weak tornado. Usually they happened during the hottest months of the year, and any unlucky travelers who got caught in one would find themselves with a lot of sand in their eyes.

     "Yes, yes. Although sometimes I wonder if I am a dust devil myself. Just wandering to and fro in the desert, until I have no more will to go on, and just collapse," Xell replied, sighing.

     "Come, Xellaration, you will find your place in the world. Someone will need you, and you'll suddenly want to stop. For me, this place needed me. I knew this is where I belonged, from the moment I set foot here. Nobody is destined to wander forever, for there is always the need for another person. The need to hear their voice, to tell them your hardships. You shall find it. One day." 

     The brown Hissi smiled at his old friend, then picked up his worn walking stick, and grinned. "Well then, my friend, if I am to find it, then I must head on."

     The Krawk nodded.

     After filling his canteen, and saying his farewell, the Hissi walked on, until he was a speck on the horizon. And when he vanished from sight, his old friend whispered, "I hope you find what you're looking for."

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     Once again the Hissi was headed east. Towards the city, and the marketplace. He wandered for hours, seeing nothing, not even a sign of life, until he looked at the horizon, and spotted something lying in the sand. The Hissi's pace quickened, for his curiosity was aroused, and he desperately wished to know what poor creature had lost the battle against the desert sands. But he didn't expect what he found.

     Lying in the hot sand was a human girl. She was unusually small in size, compared to the humans that the brown Hissi was used to seeing. Brown hair framed a tanned face, and a pair of blue glasses (now covered with sand) were perched on top of the poor girl's nose. Xell quickly rushed to the human's side, and was surprised to find that she was still breathing, although it looked like she was parched. Her eyes were closed, and her lips were cracked from thirst. 

     Thinking quickly, Xell rushed to figure out what to do. The nearest water was an oasis, over ten miles from where he stood now, and carrying a human girl, well, it would take much longer than he expected, and he didn't even know if it was dry or not. His canteen was a fourth of the way full, and the Hissi knew he would be needing the water if he was to survive the night. Finding no other alternative, the Hissi picked up the small frame of the girl, and began to walk again. Their survival depending on the chance of an oasis being found. 

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     The last thing I remembered was heat, and thirst. Looking for water, hoping for something to show, for a miracle to arrive. Being confused by the endless dunes, which all looked alike. I groan, my arms stiff, and I stretch, my eyes still closed. I blink, letting the sun hit my eyes. Bleary eyed, and confused, I sit up, looking around, only to find a brown face staring at me.

     "AHHHH!" I cry, finally awake, and startled. I blink the sleep from my eyes, and I find that I'm looking at the face of a brown Hissi.

     "Well, well, seems you finally are awake at last, child," he says, smiling. Looking at him, I wonder about who he is. He wears brown travelers clothes, and a brown hood. A worn walking stick is held in his right hand, and a small dagger is sheathed on his side.

     "W-who are you?" I ask, a little less than pleased with the armed stranger right next to me.

     "I am known as Xellaration. I am a wanderer of the desert sands, a nomad of sorts," the Hissi replies.

     "Nice to meet you. I suppose," I manage to say, wondering how in the world I got here. I look around, and find myself near a small oasis, shaded by palm trees.

     "Ah, yes. I found you in the desert, almost collapsed with thirst. You must have been foolish to try and tackle the desert with no supplies," Xell says.

     I blush, sheepishly. "Well, uh... I wasn't exactly planning to go into the desert in the first place. I saw a Dust Devil, and went chasing after it," I reply, trying to hide my shame at being so foolish.

     "Why in the world would you want to chase a Dust Devil? You could have ended up in a very tight spot!" the Hissi said, obviously annoyed with my foolhardy adventure. I twiddled my thumbs for a moment, unsure of what to say to that.

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     The girl looked sheepish, and rightfully she should be. Xell looked at the human before him, and sighed. Foolish, foolish girl. Who in the world would go chasing after a dust devil? He could tell that she was uncomfortable, for her green eyes never looked up at him. "Do you have a name, Dust chaser? Or should I just call you Dusty?" Xell said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

     The girl looked him right in the eye, and smiled. "Oh, I do have a name. Name's Sunny, although some people know me as Hzoo_26. I'm new to Neopia, or at least, that's what people say," the girl replied. 

     New to Neopia? Gosh, this girl needed help. Xell scowled, then said, "Ok, Sunny, the dust devil chaser. We're going to camp here for the night until I can get you back to Sakhmet, where hopefully you won't do anything foolhardy again. But until then, you get the honor of helping me prepare dinner," Xell said. This was going to be fun. 

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     The girl was asleep on the sand before him, as she had barely eaten the dinner of desert fruit he had put before her. She was appalled to learn that he practically had to broil everything over the fire, but of course, he didn't have any of those modern appliances. 

     He looked at the girl, and her tan face. Her emerald colored eyes, which held so much curiosity and youth hidden under her eyelids. This girl was going to need someone. Someone who knew Neopia, someone who could teach her how to do things, someone who had been everywhere. Someone... like him. Wand's words drifted back to him. Nobody is destined to wander forever, for there is always a need for another person. 

     Xell looked one last time at the desert lands, then whispered, "Wand, I know you were right. So I'll do my best." And the Hissi knew that finally, he'd found what he'd been looking for.

The End

 
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