Seb-tet crouched on the boulder overlooking the narrow ravine, the sun beat at her sleek fur covered body but she ignored it, she was Rashanni and the heat would not effect her unless she allowed it to. She watched intently looking for the movement again, it had been so quick but she knew what she had seen, she waited paitently despite having not eated in four days and the last drink she had take was two days ago when she had found the tiny spring that sprung from a crack in one of the desert rocks.
Reflexsively her ears flatten to the side of her head as the creature skittered out of the shadows, she had seen it, fortunately it had not seen her or she would not be crouch here as she was, it thick chitten cover body moved quickly through the ravine, it eight spindley leges move it quickly, this "Spider" that was larger than one of the humans, was hunting her, little did it know that she was hunting it and if she survived the encounter this would provide enough to survive the last nights of her trial, failure was not an option as she did not relish dying to the sands and ending up as a dried out husk blown across the desert.
mongst the Rashanni People there is a Coming of Age Ritual that they must all pass to take their place as a true member of the tribes, this ritual is known as The Trial of the Sands and is one of extreme hardship and a deep routed cultural ideal.
Coming of Age
Upon their eighteenth birthday all Rashanni are taken to the oasis known as Inkah where they are stripped of all clothes and belongings and left. They will spend the night here in contemplation before beginning the Trial of the Sands.
On the first glimmers of the new day they enter the desert as naked as the day that they were born. They must then make the journey to the Sept that they wish to join as adults, the strength of a sept is weighed by its distance from Inkah, with Ru'shak Hold being the farthest from the oasis, in the deep south of the Deserts.
Judged by the Desert
The jouney through the desert is hard and would kill lesser races, but the Rashanni see this as a time of soul searching and preperation for the life a head, they have trained everyday for this moment since they could walk and have thought deep and long about which tribe they will join.
The desert will test them with many things, the least of these being thirst and starvation, but any youngling who learnt well will find these things trivial to overcome.
The heat will show them visions and nightmares, testing them to see how strong there resolve is, some of the Rashanni see these visions as prophetic and carry spirtual value for their chosen path.
The young Rashanni will also have to face the creatures of the desert themselves for the Rashanni are not the only things to dwell in the deep desert and the vast sands contain many deadly creatures and traps for the unwary.
An additional threat for those who would choose the path of Clan Ru'shak is that they must face the wander patrols of Khenari Hunters that hunt the southern deserts in thier never ending attempts to find Ru'shak Hold.
The Path of the Sands
This rite of passage serves three separate purposes for the Rashanni tribes. The first is to remember the days that Amset and his people wandered the desert in search of a home, many died for they were ill prepared and not born of the deserts, but eventually they found the locations of the Holds that they live in to this day.
The second is that it is the day that a Rashanni chooses the tribe that they will join for the rest of their adult lives, once they arrive at their chosen hold they are welcomed as brothers and sisters of that tribe.
The final reason is that it serves a more practical purpose and that is to ensure the tribes remain strong, for they live in a such a harsh environment that they cannot afford for the weak to effect the clans chance of survival, so this weeds out those who would not survive and are likely to indeed cost the lives of others.
As one can guess failing this test will either result in the death of the Rashanni or in some rare cases they will leave the deserts all together and become exiles, never able to take their place amongst the Rashanni tribes again.
A Cruel Necessity
To many softer cultures this rite of passage seems cruel at best, but all Rashanni grow up knowing of this ritual they are trained from the moment they can walk to survive and to fight and the chance of failing the trial for them is relatively low and their whole cultural makeup is based upon survival to them this is just a natural part of life that must be endure to survive.