Jace paused at the top of the rise. Turning, he shielded his eyes with his hand.The landscape was clear. Nothing but the shimmering waves of heat distorting the foreground. Nothing but baking and baked rocks, trying to reflect back as much heat as they were receiving from the twin suns. They were failing on an epic scale.
He continued to scan the horizon, taking in the panorama. Grey-blue sky, grey-brown land. Sand, rocks, stones and pebbles scattered about as far as he could see, the same as the miles behind him, the same as the miles to come. Broken by the occasional boulder or slight rise. He should have listened when the Derrosians told him no one trod through the Garden of the Gods.
‘Garden of the Gods indeed’, he thought to himself. Only the gods would be foolish or crazy enough to live in such a desolate, lonely, depressing place. But, as the old Derrosian saying goes, as best as he could translate it,‘The Gods are crazy. Derrosians are crazy. May they never meet in this life or the next’. Still, it looked like he had lost his pursuers.
Taking out his canteen, he takes a measured mouthful of water. He rolls it around his mouth, the warm, slightly brackish water slowly trickling down his parched throat. It only made his thirst worse.
Gazing at the shadows cast by the sun, he figures he is about 2/3 of the way across ‘The Forge’, the narrowest part of the Gardens. If he pushes through without stopping, and he doesn’t sprain an ankle or break a bone on these damnable rocks, he figures he will reach the oasis at Zagrib just after nightfall.
If daylight on Derros was like a crematoria, night was indescrible. No human, alone and on their own had ever survived a night on Derros. Hell, even when they were together after the crash, those first few nights had taken fully 80% of his crew until the Derossians had arrived to assist them.
Interesting prelude. Please keep going.