Through the Ancient Desert of the Stars
By Jeff Baker
Arikos stared up at the window, as the sunlight streamed down through it. Late afternoon and he remembered when he had been a young boy in here, taking instruction and staring at the faded painting on the walls. The Vizath’s robes rustled as he walked behind him.
“Truly one of the oldest buildings on this world…” the Vizath said. “But the building beneath it is even older. Here, help me move this carpet.”
Arikos helped pull the old rug to the side of the room, remembering sliding across it when he had been a young child. Beneath it was a small, round door. He helped the Vizath pull the door open and then followed him down a narrow flight of stairs he had not known about before. In the dark basement, the Vizath lit a torch and held it high, illuminating the large chamber with wall paintings Arikos had never seen before; he recognized the building he was in with the three moons hanging in the sky above it; the tall and foreboding Dark Mountain and then the Vizath pointed at a back wall.
Arikos stared at the scene depicted there.
“That wall is tens of thousands of years old,” the Vizath said. “It is our heritage, forgotten these many years.”
The painting, faded but still discernable was in several sections. One showed a large, grey cylinder against a backdrop of dark sky and stars. Arikos remembered an old song about an Ancient Desert of Stars. The next section showed the cylinder on the ground with three moons in the sky, people emerging from the cylinder to meet other people on the ground.
“That’s us,” Arikos said. “It’s how we got there. To this world. Our ancestors.”
“Maybe,” the Vizath said. “Or our ancestors were the ones on the ground meeting the travelers.”