Within the realm of the dreariest grey suns there is rarely any fortune to spare for the mere animals living within it, and mankind is no more than an animal that builds things and gets lonely easily
In this land with little fortune to spare for weak, brittle animals like humans a man with such a cruel a fate as Bill Gleam the balled man was no unusual sight. Bill Gleam’s body from below the neck had been twisted and butchered into a morbid ball, with his head and limbs jutting out sickly. His right hand stuck out just below his chin, his left shoulder folded so his left arm protruded out his back. His right leg was stuck uselessly sticking out of where his right shoulder should have been and his left shot out left of where his hip had once been.
But despite being mutilated beyond belief, Bill was still alive and breathing. He struggled along the roads of his hometown, Cyuthnhill City, rolling and fidgeting mere meters per hour. Such things were entirely possible within the realm of the dreariest suns.
How did this happen? Who was Bill Gleam before he became morbidly balled up, and how did he become so? Bill’s life had taken the turn for the worst one day ago on his night shift as one of the city guards. In this realm of dreary suns a guard’s job is never easy. It is actually lucky to find oneself guarding the city entrance from a mob of armed bandits. Many bandits lived on the outside of the city wall in a vast emptiness known as The Never Lit Dusts, a hilly desert of grey dirt. The emptiness of the desert was complimented by its legendary silence: if people were to enter the Never Lit Dusts and travel far, far away from the cities scattered around it they would hear nothing: no wind blowing, no animals walking or flapping wings, not even insects. The desert’s silence was frightening, but not its most frightening feature. What frightened people who lived in cities such as Cyuthnhill was that there were people and things thriving in it.
The deserts were home to bandits. Perhaps the desert had changed them, or perhaps it was a mater of survival of the fittest, but the bandits of the Never Lit Dusts were all monstrously large in size with defined muscles. They all held weapons stolen from cities or crafted from rough metals. Almost no bandit in the deserts had both of their eyes or even all of their fingers, and sometimes they replaced these missing bits with metal or wooden scraps.
Never Lit Dust bandits often attacked cities in large numbers. They weren’t likely to attack large cities such as Cyuthnhill, but every now and then they tried to get in. A bandit from the Never Lit Dusts was a suicidal creature, killing and taking for survival but simultaneously balancing this instinct with his or her desire to no longer live within the planes. They Dusts weren’t an inviting home and bandits were known to sneak into cities where they would commit atrocious acts until they were eventually caught. They were to be feared.
However, the bandits were merely human. Within the Dusts, and within the entirety of the realm of the dreary grey suns, there were beings much more frightening. There were beings that did not obey the logic that man and animal are bound to. There were beings that were unknowable, beings that could drive one to madness by being looked at and could kill by looking at something. There were beings with unfathomable power in the Dusts and though the bandits were a very real threat they did not stack well next to the monstrosities that plagued the world.
A guard’s job was to protect the city from guards and warn people whenever something else was attacking. It was a job that must always be done by somebody, no matter the weather or occasion. Bill Gleam was not happy to be walking along the top of the city border walls that night, being the first to feel the cascading rain drops, trying to see if there were attackers coming from the distances. He would have liked to be at home with his mother huddled by the fire. But money was money and Bill had so little. Besides, he had no choice. Guard duty was a conscription job given to the poorer men and women in the city. As guards were killed by bandits or heavens knows what else others were needed to keep the city safe.