AUTHORS NOTE: hopefully I'll be more regular now, I have quite a lot of this story from memory in my head so im trying to write it down before I forget it. Lets just hope my writing doesn't falter, ive been doing all English class essays so Im not used to free writing anymore.
The vast desert-wasteland of Eftal seemed as if endless. However it was evident of previous luscious life before; with skeletons of mangrove-like trees littering some areas, serving as shelter for small life-forms that have evolved to survive the harsh conditions born under. The odd corpses of insects were seen here and there; most likely from being flushed out by predators from the bordering forest to venture out into the desert to dehydrate or burn under the hot sun. The sand was golden and bronze, like a metallic sea reflecting the sun-rays from above giving off a radiating heat of sorts. It was starting to get unbearable with the pelts still on under both Asbel and Nausicaa's clothing from the chilly morning back at the Valley, but now it was at the peak of the day and it wasn't getting any cooler any time soon.
"Let's stop soon! It's starting to get hard to breath under this mask!" he wore his cloth mask to stop sand from getting in his mouth, the miasma hadn't reached the desert yet so masks to stop poison from entering the lungs was pointless here and would heat up ones' face quickly in the desert heat.
Nausicaa doesn't reply and keeps flying as if she hadn't heard him. She scans the landscape to find something to rest by, spotting a deep gully that was shaded by a hill of sand, although it would be for long. She lowered the glider towards the spot and pulled it back to make it land softly, tearing off her cap, goggles and cloth-mask quickly to inhale fresh air.
"Finally! My back has burnt through my shirt!" and at that she ripped off her shirt to tear away the warm-pelts revealing only her singlet underneath. She also removed her gaiters (those "leg-warmers", we call them gaiters in Australia so I have no idea the name elsewhere) and some pelts she had under the gaiters. They were wringing wet with sweat and sand despite being covered by a second layer of clothing the sand managed to get through, Asbel wasn't any better off, his layers of clothes came off as quickly as Nausicaa's had to get those pelts off.
"We should have gone a lot earlier, we could have beaten this heat if we didn't stop and talk to that watchman." Asbel groaned as he folded up his pelts and hid them away in the little hull inside the glider. He grabbed Nausicaa's pelts as well, which were carelessly discarded in the sand only to get dirtier.
"We didn't talk long, it probably wasn't even five minutes, we could have left this a day or two so we could have prepared better. And your wounds arn't in very good nick either, which reminds me that I have to re-apply some more of that herb-ointment on you again." Asbel cringed as he remembered that weird feeling of the ooze rubbed into his sores, it sort of felt like wind blowing into the cut, and a foam clogging up the hole at the same time, leaving a cool temperature on his skin even though the plant was room temperature.
"Well we cant do that now, it would be pointless since I'm filthy, it'll have to wait until Pejite, can you pass me your canteen? Mine is on its way out." Asbel said to change the subject, motioning to his empty canteen by shaking it upside down. Nausicaa reached for her belt, unhooked it and passed it to him.
"Don't swallow too fast, you might drink too much, we still have an hour or so until we get to Pejite, not that much further depending on how the wind fares." Nausicaa buried her hand into her pouch and pulled out a piece of a hard biscuit like food and cracked it in half, passing one end to Asbel in return for the canteen.
"Oh, thanks, a shame there isn't anything to go with it, some goat-cheese or a slab of smoked ham would be nice on this hey?" Nausicaa giggled as she bit a corner off her end and rolled it around in her mouth for it to soften enough for swallowing.
"Soldiers live off these biscuits you know, they are lucky if they ever get anything to go with them, but the carbs will keep you going anyway." She bit off some more of her biscuit and repreated the sequence again. Asbel looked at his piece sullenly and took a bite, overerestimating the durable biscuit and biting through his tounge.
"Shit!...awww bloody 'ell, shit, shit, shit that hurt, curse your biscuits Nausicaa!" Asbel buried his face in his hands in pain as Nausicaa looked at him stunned before bursting out in laughter.
"Well now you have flavor to go with your biscuit!" Nausicaa said in amusement, as Asbel tried again with his biscuit, being more careful this time. Nausicaa put the rest of her biscuit in her pouch and stood up again, heading towards her glider with no remark from the Asbel in pain.
"We better move, the sun is starting to hit this spot." She pointed at the ground as she put on her cap, googles and cloth-mask for flight; the shade from the sand hill was defiantly smaller than it was when they first landed. Asbel joined her with biscuit in hand, shoving the whole thing in his mouth, it just fitting; the pointed edges visible in his cheeks.
"Be'er soona t'an lai'er eh g'ess" Asbel mumbled through the biscuit in his mouth as he mounted his place under Nausicaa on the glider as she performed a take off, the glider catching the wind as she rose above the hill in a quick take off.
Before they knew it the mountains that shielded the Pejite "ruins" came into view. The carcasses of the ohmu and inscects from all those years ago had hollowed, only the empty shells of the larger insects remain scattered in pieces across the sand, the rest buried deep beneath the layers of earth from the shifting winds. No rain had fallen on Pejite since its fall so no spores had survived and sprouted in the bodies of the dead like it had done in all the other villages. Perhaps being so close to the desert could be something to do with lack of rain, but they should still be getting at least some sort of moisture.
They both peered down at the ruins bellow them; buildings toppled over and covered in sand. A once populated and prosperous country just completely annihilated and abandoned was an eye-sore to both Nausicaa and Asbel, and they knew if the former people of Pejite had seen this they would all become depressed.
"Ok we can land there, a well still has water at the bottom here so we can refill our canteens and take a look around." Nausicaa nodded and lowered her glider in a cleared area. They dismounted it, Nausicaa folding its wings and wedging it underneath some debris to prevent it from drifting off in any strong winds. Asbel headed straight for the well and started to pull the rope that had the bucket attached, receiving a full bucket of crystal clear water.
"Fill up mine as well please, and try to wash yourself so I can clean your wounds better." Asbel cringed at that, nearly dropping her canteen as she threw it to him.
"Im going to scout ahead, if anything happens call out to me alright? It wont be dark until a few hours, so ill meet with you here later." Asbel went to protest but she was already gone into the hollow husk of a city.
**The biscuits in the story are based off the biscuits the army had to live on in war times, a teacher I had once told me they got rations of these huge square rock hard biscuits that were bigger than a hand which were tasteless (stale mind you) that they would have to bite so hard just to crack them, however they got tins of minced meat to go with their biscuits occasionally which "softened" them slightly and added flavour. I thought they would be a good travel food since they last months without going bad. They arnt chocolate chip biscuits/cookies, just flat, boring cracker like.