Spell of Catastrophe: The Dance of Gods #1
For a change, Max was not actually on the run, which is to say that he didn’t think anyone in particular was after him. Of course, his perception (which happened to be wrong) did not materially change the situation. He did indeed have a pursuer, and later that night the pursuer caught up.
THE AIR WAS THICK and the heat oppressive. Outside the flap of canvas that covered the doorway, a vast range of beige desert overlaid by a scattering of scrub ran to the horizon. The line of dust raised by the approach of the caravan hung motionless in the air, stretching south from the oasis into a cluster of low hills.
Max dropped the flap, turned, and descended the short flight of steps, his eyes still smarting from the desert sun. Each stair had the solidity of rough board, reassuring after the sands of the past few days, except for the bottom one, which yielded under Max’s foot in a very unstairlike fashion. He rocked back and squinted down