It was just after 8 o’clock in the morning when Morgan and Pegan left the protection of the city walls and began trudging up the huge sand hill. The desert morning was already heating up.
The boy had never been beyond the wall and he looked around this new world as if in a daze. Morgan was used to this reaction. “Hurry up, kid!” Morgan called back to the boy. “Stay close to me or else we’ll never get there.”
The boy mumbled something that sounded like a “yes” and shuffled faster to catch up.
By 9 o’clock they had reached an area of red rock formations. Morgan chose a path that he knew like the back of his hand. The path led to the edge of a cliff that overlooked a canyon. As they approached the edge of the canyon Morgan halted and pulled the boy close.
“Alright, kid, listen up,” Morgan said in a low voice. “Down in that canyon are the ruins of a Pre-Cataclysmic city. Sometimes creatures roam the canyon and lurk in the old buildings. These creatures are very dangerous. They’ll kill you as soon look at you. You need to stay right beside me and not go off into the ruins no matter how curious they might look. You got me?”
The kid shook his head.
Morgan stood at the edge of the cliff and surveyed the canyon for several minutes. Nothing in the canyon stirred. “Let’s go, Pegan,” he said and the two headed down a trail that switched back and forth as it descended into the canyon.
By 10:30 the two had navigated through the canyon, the old city, and emerged back into open desert. Before they left the canyon, however, they stopped in the shadow of a rock to rest and rehydrate before tackling the vast expanse of sand dunes that would bring them to the city of Kishmurg.
It was a long, slow, hot walk in the burning sun. Morgan had to teach the boy how to wear his clothes properly to protect his skin. He also had to keep pushing the boy to walk faster as the sand harried his tired feet.
It was around 12 o’clock when the city finally appeared in the distance. Unlike Dolmrung, which was made of the detritus of a lost civilization thrown together against the rocks, Kishmurg was built of the stones of the desert out in the open. It looked more natural than Dolmrung and blended with the ocean of sand all about it.
Morgan and Pegan arrived at the large stone entryway to the city at half past 12 and were let in just as easily as Morgan was let into Dolmrung – the guards knew him by sight all too well.
Once inside the city they made their way underground. Most of the city of Kishmurg was subterranean. Morgan led the boy to a room where a swarthy looking, muscular man was waiting. He rose when the two entered and greeted Morgan. “Let’s have a look at today’s child,” he said eyeing the boy.
“His name is Pegan,” Morgan said. “Good luck, boy. And good day to you, Rorick, I must be on my way.”
“Of course, Morgan,” the man said, but he was busy looking the boy over as if he were inspecting a thoroughbred.
Morgan made faster speed on the return journey because he wasn’t slowed down by any child. Morgan knew many routes home and it was the return journey when he took time for exploring; but today yielded nothing.
His day ended as most of his days did.