“Our people are dying. We cannot live in the wastes much longer and you must help find a way.”
Those were the words my mother told me the night before I was to leave on my Great Hunt. I am known as Dune Jumper of the Swirling Sand Steppe Clan. I am a scout for one of our hunt packs, tasked with journeying ahead of the clan to find the resources needed for our survival. We range through the Arkain Desert, as our ancestors have done for generations, hunting the land for our sustenance and occasionally trading with the denizens of the Bazaar. The desert makes us strong, but the desert is punishing, unkind, unforgiving, and there are those who feel we do not belong here. My mother, Water Seer, one of the leaders of our clan, told me that the bounties the hunt packs are able to scour from the desert are diminishing and have been ever since she was litter aged. Maybe even farther back than she can remember. Then she told me what is believed to be a forbidden thought among us; that we live a wandering life in the desert not as a way to make us strong, but as punishment. That we were scattered, cast from grace and forced to survive on what scraps we can scavenge between the dunes.
The Great Hunt is something every litter-aged member must go through before they are able to take their rightful place as a full member of the clan when they come of age. It is a solo journey that, most times, is just tasking someone with surviving the desert and finding anything the clan has never experienced before. To take my place as a true scout for our people my mother has tasked my Great Hunt with helping to find either: a reason why our people have been scattered and left to roam the desert or a way to new, more plentiful lands to hunt to ensure the clan’s survival.