A story passed down from ancient times describes the legend of a otherworldly castle; made entirely of blackened glass. It has been dubbed ‘Pandemonium’ by the oral tradition of its storytellers. This evocative folktale has been handed down from father to son, generation to generation. A few souls who ventured into the barren zone have even claimed to see it. They describe a magnificent palace with translucent walls and indescribable architecture. Unfortunately, the curse for laying eyes on the alien pillars of Pandemonium is certain death. All witnesses to this ethereal wonder have died within a few days from a chronic, unknown sickness.
Half way through our grow season, our wells, lakes and streams began to dry up. Very little rain fell during this period to replenish the dangerously low water supply. While the drought occurs every year, this one started earlier and lasted longer that usual. Since we were only half way through the dry season, our crops and livestock would never survive until the rainy season started again.
The village had became so populous that our demand was greater than the supply to take care of it. Ironically, our only hope was to seek water where no one lived to consume it; in the barren zone.
As the tribunal chief of the village, it was my duty to go into the barren zone in search of a fresh water supply. I called for and received two other volunteers for the mission. How we would manage to transport it back was a mystery we hadn’t solved yet.
After packing enough supplies to last throughout the expedition, we left our homeland and ventured into the unfamiliar sands of the barren zone. We soon found that it was true to name. There was almost nothing living for as far as the eye could see. Only a few scattered scrub brushes and cactus plants broke up the bland monotony of sand.
As had been true of countless others before us, we began to feel sick and fatigued as we went deeper into the desert. The bouts of nausea grew increasingly worse as time wore on. We stopped and set up camp as darkness fell over the arid sky. After mapping out search routes with the men, we contemplated our certain deaths.
The dismal realization seemed unavoidable. All three of us began to display the same signs of sickness that had claimed the others before us. There was little reason for me to keep my fears from them. I’m sure they were dwelling on the same morbid thoughts as I was.
We knew that the quest was a fatal excursion but many lives depended on our success in finding water. It would be up to them to engineer a practical method of getting it back to the village reservoirs. I bade my two brave companions good night and settled into my tent.