What is a person?
What is a personality?
Who are individuals?
Are we just the sum of memory?
Memories shaped by an emotional core,
What are we?
Thirst, like a raking claw in the back of a parched throat, it clouded the mind and slackened the feet. He felt a thirst for something, but he had long since passed the dependency for it. His body needed it, yes, but the body would not fall, for time and that is to say death and exhaustion would not collect it. The hero thirsted, hungered, grew tired beyond recollection, and yet was not hampered from wandering on. The hunter could not be stopped by the needs of the body, but he still suffered them just the same. Yet after so many years that thirst was regarded with a cold and clinical detachment; the green cloaked figure's mind simply noted it was thirsty, and carried on, without impulse or inclination to fix it.
Navi followed in his wake, as slow drifts of dust sifted about the supple leather boots, laden light steps on the dirt track, cloak swishing. The sun beat down hard and was high in the sky, and deciding on descent after following how many of the same cycles, the hunter did not know. Had he walked hours across the rolling grass, or was it days? No water but distant river or stream was to be had, and so the hunter did not drink. Time was funny, not just here, but everywhere for the hunter. He made the journey across the vast field, finally reaching the outskirts of a lazy, dry and run-down horse stead, his destination.
It was perched upon the rocks of a slight bulging hill in the grassy plains, with elevated pastures, and dried out, sun-caked stable-yards and horse-tracks, fermenting with the freshness of the waste of the equine occupants. Several dun-roans milled about the central pen, and with yet still more, others half-hidden in the far back-pasture. A cracked and shamble-wood sign marked the horsed stead as some kind of important ranch, but the proper named was all but faded from legible dissertation. There was the air of age and reject about the place; all the buildings were of the same dried out, bleach pale wood that made up the fences and the sign-work. The hunter stopped just short of the illegible sign, his staring cold blue eyes the only ice in that dry heat.
Despite the age and wear of the bones of the place, the ranch was not in neglect. It was sturdy and in good repair, if none of it terribly recent. The job had been done right, and so the upkeep was shabby if well maintained, just antiquated. The entire ranch held a tired vitality, weary but determined in the way of old things of high quality, only the bare nerve and fortuity keeping them going, long after both years and normal convention said they should of right quit. An almost palpable music of dry, silent dust winds and the quiet wickers of the penned and pastured inhabitants filled the ears, as much as the fresh scent of dung filled the nose, and the heat did the air.
Echoes of familiarity came back to the hunter, staggering enough at first, to rent a single small crack in that otherwise imperturbable ice wall of calm. He had been here before, the hunter knew, if not when or why. Some of those memories were gone now, left his head, and couldn't remember, for it was well over a thousand life times ago, and perhaps a million worlds and a billion dreams ago as well. Time was funny out here… time was funny everywhere, and so was the hunter's memory. Navi said nothing, hovering at his side.
"Hungry?" Asked a cracked voice, heavy with age; were the hunter someone else, he might of jumped. Instead, the cowled and cloaked figure turned to the side of the stable yard, where an old man sat resting on a barrel, sharpening the edges of a pitch fork with a stone. While not one to normally miss something, the old man was such a part of the ranch as to be one with the aged woodwork. Hair grey, eyes dark, beard full and curly, the old hostler continued to slowly sharpen the dull pitch fork, saying again, "Are you hungry, there, lad?" The hunter did not reply at first, could not reply at first, and then did not reply after; mute. Cold blue eyes stared at the grey ostler for a long time, silence finally broken as Navi tinkled, "Ingo?" There grey figure looked like Ingo, ancient and grayed, but still Ingo.