![desert.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmdbo63tyjuRTjLDP3vFYb2JiaAzqrRc5Zv59zvingFgeX/desert.png) “I hate sand.” Felix shouted at the sky, just as the portal from the dungeon above closed, as if had never existed. “Great. Just, fantastic and great. That’s what this is.” Felix fumed to himself, kicking at a dune of the sand in frustration, which only sent more sand flying in the desert wind back at him. “Ughhhh….” Felix let out a huff and stomped over to his flail, which he’d let go of sometime during the fall. The soft desert sand gave way under his feet with every step he took, adding to his displeasure. Out of all the places on earth he could have transported himself to, this was the last location on his list. He always hated sand for as long as he could think back. Sand, heat, incessant sunlight, the thought of it all made him grimace in disgust. “Well, it’s a long walk to the town from here… why couldn’t I have used the portal to go somewhere nice? Like Vens Bay, or Luminari, I’d rather has stayed in the dungeon.” Felix muttered and his eyes caught glint of the sun off a spike from his flail hurried in the sand. “Ah. So that’s where you’ve been hiding.” Felix looked down like a disapproving mother. “Well, come out of there.” Felix grasped the handle of his flail and pulled hard. The large weapon emerged from the dunes, sand spilling off it as it came out of hiding. Felix saw the links of the chain, the top of the spiked cage, the bottom, the creature clinging to the bottom- what?! Felix nearly dropped the flail out of surprise. There was a tiny desert creature hanging onto the bottom of his weapon as he held the massive flail suspended above the dune surface of the sand sea. “You’re an ugly little beast, now aren’t you?” Felix gazed down at the creature with a slight tilt to his head. The creature was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. A small spider looking thing, but dark brown and fuzzy, and very much larger than a spider. The thing had six legs-, or perhaps they were some sort of tentacle; stubby and feely looking rather than thin and sticky as a spider’s. The small creature had four, dull purple dots on the top of its body which formed a box around its eyes which were set on little bump on the top of its body. “I think I’ll call you a shrumshoe.” Felix said thoughtfully. “You’re stumpy, but fuzzy, round but lengthy, boy, The One had a time when he created you.” In a way, Felix felt sorry for the little beasty: like him, it was an outcast because of the way others viewed it. He and this shrumshoe were not so different. He stared down at the strange little thing that dangled from the end of his deadly flail by one fuzzy arm, swinging casually above the sand dunes. The beast reminded Felix of a starfish, a sea creature he was mildly familiar with from his days at sea…. The good ol’ days. When the rebellion still meant something, rather than being a catch-all moniker for bandits and raiders. “We have a ways to walk from here to the town,” Felix spoke down to the shrumshoe, “you can ride along down there if you’d rather not leg it all the way.” The creature seemed to understand what Felix said and crawled up the side of the cage of the flail to plop itself down on the top, by the chain. “Great, then let’s crack on.” Felix hefted the flail over his shoulder, grabbing a hold of the handle with both hands across his chest. With determination in his steps, he began the desert walk to the town ahead, like a desert mirage it seemed to melt in the beating sunlight. The disparaging heat of the sun sapped the life-force right out of Felix as he plodded through the burning sand on a seemingly never ending journey to nowhere. Had he mentioned how much he hated the desert. Delirious thoughts began to flirt with his mind, but he shook them off. For hours he strode through the thick sandy blanket over the earth. Desperation was not a feeling that was familiar to Felix. He had always prided himself in dominance over others, over nature. But the desert was the universe’s way of letting him know just how insignificant and powerless he was in the grand scheme of life and existence. The One set everything in place and in motion perfectly, and everything existed in harmony and union. That what Felix’s father used to say almost every night before bed. He would gather his five little children together: Regal, Khali, Hercule, Felix, and Cara, would all be seating in a pentagon around their father on the floor of their small village hut. The fire would be warming their little bodies in the chill of the Kodian nights. Their father would tell each one of them how special they were, that he loved them all, and then let them know something he believed about life. Their father was a scientist, and alchemist, and a botanist. Not a man of war or a man of culture. He held no position of authority or power, no influence over nations or armies. But he was the wisest and most important man in the world in the eyes of his children. Felix saw the faces of his brothers and sisters in his mind. He hadn’t seen many of them in a very long time. Life had a way of pulling them apart, pitting them on the wrong side of history. Felix was a Demon Hunter, a mage for hire who specialized in killing foul creatures, both human and inhuman. He excelled at this occupation, having been alchemically alter in a way that caused his body to regenerate at an extremely rapid pace. Besides that, Felix had never been afraid of much of anything. Even now, with his life tipping between the scales of survival and the finality of death, Felix felt no fear. Only a hint of remorse for lost relationships with his siblings hinted as a sign of life and feeling in the heart of this mechanical killer. With death hovering over him, casting a shadow behind Felix as the sun would not not relent in its brutal assault for a second. Felix took step after stumbling step forward. “So…” Felix murmured through parched lips as the hours ran on. “How long have you lived around here.” He spoke to the shrumshoe, but the creature did not respond. Felix glanced over his shoulder to see the little beast lying asleep on the top of his flail. Funny how a weapon so deadly, that had brought as much death and devastation as Felix’s spiked flail could be the safe space for an earthly creature to find rest. “Oh, I see how it is. You make me do all the work while you take a nap. That’s friendship for you.” Felix scoffed with a huff and he plodded on. “You know, if you were any kind of help at all, you’d carry me for half of this distance.” No response from the sleepy little shrumshoe. Felix shrugged under the weight of the flail on his shoulder and swung it over the other shoulder, careful not to wake the shrumshoe in the process. There was no reason for them both to be miserable. Felix took comfort in the fact that he could protect the little guy. Even if the reality was that the shrumshoe would be fine on its own, being built for desert life, Felix found a sense of redemption in doing an act of goodness for someone else. It was a thing he’d never considered before, but he hadn’t ever remembered having a soul until now. When it came down to it, the heart and soul of a human is not what they make of themselves, but how much of themselves they sacrifice for others: their redemption. And Felix had a lifetime of sin to atone for. If good and bad were on an equal scale, he’d already tipped the scales so far towards bad that the damage to his soul may be irreversible. But Felix had never given much thought to his soul. Life was kill, be killed, do something for some cause; if its the wrong on or right, if right and wrong can even be called black and white: just do and be done unto, that was how he lived his life. Looking ahead at the sea of sand before him now, he found a reason to live, to survive and continue living on. Not to make a bigger name for himself, or riches, or power, or pleasure, but for this feeling he felt in this moment of selflessness. He wanted to live, if only to feel like this one more time. Up until this moment in time he was not so sure that he’d ever really been alive: and that was enough to live on.