Gone and Forgotten
A grain of sand never sees the beach it's a part of, just as the tesserae never knows the pattern it conforms to. Such knowledge is above them, beyond them. So too was it beyond Hiatch. Cosmic intricacies and the cold hand of destiny held no plots in what was the admittedly sparse cropland of his mind.
Hiatch was too old for this. His hair was turning silver, his face covered in wrinkles like the great crags of the northern Mesa. Still, he trudged onward, wondering again why he had agreed to this task when by all rights such assignments should be long behind him. Just a few more hours, and the lone Ganche would find himself on the other side of the mountains. He knew a downward slope awaited him, Twae willing, it would be gentle. Hiatch yanked his fur cloak around him and buried his face sidelong into his pack bison as a particularly biting gust of wind roared down the mountain pass, eagerly finding every loose crack in his clothing and leeching the warmth away. He cursed allowed, though unable to hear his own voice over the wind. He cursed the mountains, this assignment, the Covenant, and himself.
It went on like this for quite sometime as the sun crossed the sky. Hiatch scrabbled for every inch across the icy rocks, yanking his protesting bison along with him, until at last he crossed the threshold of the mountain pass and gazed down at the lands far below. Green, as far as the eye could see. A veritable paradise perched along the fractured edge of the most inhospitable mountains Hiatch had ever crossed. Far below, where the snowcap droplets became a great white river snaking it's way north through the valley, Hiatch could just barely make out the shapes of structures. Perhaps he hadn't lost his knack for navigation after all, he thought with a smile. The village was small, a few dozen buildings. Hiatch could count them by their red roofs standing out amongst the deep green of the valley. Rising from the cluster of houses was a larger building of whitestone, when he tilted his head just the right way, Hiatch could see a greenish glint coming from the windows. That was all the confirmation he needed - he had definitely reached his long-sought destination.
The grizzled veteran hoisted himself atop a stone and embraced the heat the noonday sun was giving him. He pulled out a thin strip of jerky, whitetail from home, the last of his rations after his mountain trek. He tried to savor the morsel as long as he could, tasting the black-sand seasoning from some distant land he'd never see nor cared to remember the name of. But it was gone all too soon, leaving his stomach growling in protest. He would need more food to make it down the mountain, and this was an unfamiliar land. Hiatch pulls a knife from his moccasin with a sigh, eyes turning to his starving Bison. He rises to his feet, joints protesting as he strides towards the beast, one hand reached out to calm it, the other hiding the blade. He rests his head against the Bison's, whispering through the wind.
"I'm sorry, Friend. But the mission must go on."
A squeal echoes through the mountain valley, breaking the unrelenting wind for the briefest of moments, gone and forgotten as an itch in the night.