The Bastard Sands
Descabellado in the Old Tongue. Misbegotten, wild, by-blow, wrong side of the sheets. Bastard.
Mean son-of-a-bitch Desert, is what it should be called.
They don’t worry about it much, down in the soft South. The fine cities, and the Emperor’s mines and the dons and their ladies sipping at spider-tea under the shade of a white umbrella.
I worry. I worry plenty.
My wagons and my goats, out in the mess. Wind and sand, chewing away at your skin, gumming up the wheels, howling in the night so a man can’t get a decent sleep. They pay’s good when I roll into a town, but I’ve come close to dying of thirst more times than I care to remember. Anything goes wrong out in the Bastard, anything at all and all they’ll find is your shiny white bones.
I’m a fair tailor, a better cook, and a sharp-nosed merchant. I buy cheap and sell dear, and the common folk know better than to complain about the prices. They know what it takes to bring my tiny wagon across the sands, know the gold I pay to my caravan guards to keep the critters and savages and damn trail-spooks off of me.
One day, I’ll have enough money to retire. Buy me a nice little shop in Toledo and sell coffee and biscuits and spend every morning and evening sweeping my front stoop. Not a speck of sand, and clean white cloth on every table – the inside of the shop will always be cool. Cool stone and some nice green plants.
Not like out here in the Bastard.
Shit, I don’t even know why I’m writing all this. Won’t feed the cat or wake the Titan, like my old man used to say.
Fills the time, I suppose. Better than praying, or remembering. Not as good as drinking, but I’m out of whiskey until I make it to Briar in three days time. Ink I got, whiskey I don’t.
Listen to that sand howl, like a mad creature in the wind. Ha. Time to go to bed, that almost sounded poetical.
– Day, — Year
The Bastard Sands
[A little flavor text for my nascent tabletop campaign, Titan's Wake. ]