Generations ago, our world changed. For most, it ended. Those left, the lucky ones, gathered together in the very few cities that were spared. Walls were built around the surviving areas, to protect the people inside from the raiders, savage animals, and worse, the unlucky ones. The walls grew thicker, taller, and stronger with each passing generation.
Rhoubai is the last walled city, as far as anyone knows. Communications with the dozen other cities ceased, one city at a time, over the last few generations. For nearly fifteen years, there has been no contact with anyone, or anything, outside of Rhoubai.
Until a guard, on duty atop the western desert wall, saw a pillar of dust in the distance. The guard dismissed the sight as a mere disturbance in the air. But as his watch wore on, the cloud of dust grew bigger, more distinct. Near the end of his watch duty, he checked the single scope mounted atop the wall.
In the distance, still too far away to make out features, the guard saw a tiny figure through the lens on the wall. The person, if indeed it was a person, was racing toward the western gate of Rhoubai. In the darkness behind, in the coming night, something trailed behind the minute figure.
Alarms sounded, the solitary guard wasn’t the only one who noticed the sprinting person. By his estimate, the guard estimated the figure would reach Rhoubai in less than six hours, if the pursuing darkness didn’t stop the headlong rush.
The guard stepped from the wall, floating to the dusty ground, outside of the protections of the walled city of Rhoubai. Panic and desperation urged the guard forward, hurtling him into the unknown, toward the figure his heart urged him to help.