A parade of the scarcely living shuffled across the flagstones of the Causeway Al-Koji.
For weeks, it had trudged across the sweltering tropic glades of the inner Oman Caliphate: bound to unmarked gravel roads constantly washed out by monsoons and neglect. Ague stole elders, snatched children, plucked at the healthy to mark them as refugees. Sallow bones and rotting gums adorned once-swaggering bazaarmen, gruff paddy farmers, longshoremen, scribes, thieves.
It marched in a silence stifled by the creak of ungreased axles, the tramp of footfalls. Hundreds of mud-splattered cloaks obscured the Causeway's marble surface in a woolen canopy. Around the edges, several serpentine icons of Koki slipped over the edge and into the ocean's froth below. Few noticed, and none cared.
The Legion was inching southward, thirty miles a day. Seven fortified towns had fallen since they took the south road to Oman-Ah. Their infernos transfixed them at dusk halts, promising thirst and twisted ankles the following noon.
Southward, past the sunken ohawood bones of the docklands. Around barricades of vanities in the Old Heart district. Between the vicious food queues at the inshore jetties and caravan-ports. Through the half-feral phalanxes of rogue Levy companies, waiting derelict for the treaty. Over the heaps of dead that followed.
And now, a windswept morning simmered in grey and soaked with rain, across one of the House Causeways.
Salvation would be a caravel or zigger-ship. And if the Hoard Coast had not blocked their escape this morning with a titanic gale, the mob might have simply marched into the sea with bowed heads. Oman-Ah, the Treasury of a Million Hearths, had thrown them nothing but bones.
So, onward. The living staggered onwards, leaving black cloaks and silver shards to swirl and scatter under the Causeway's curves. Overhead, the gongs of the Al-Koji Basilica crashed out a warning.
Work in progress. Intro to a Deadfall section I'm working on. You'll get more as the weeks drag on, and my patience for the draft of a certain Terraform submission wears thin.
<work> "Leak", "Sanctuary", "arachnae.we"
<words> "The Armour of Contempt"--Dan Abnett/"Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse"--ed. John Joseph Adams
<noise> Perfect Confusion (first incarnation of Cage The Elephant)
<food+drink> French toast, water
<quote> “Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next."--Juan Gabriel Vasquez, "The Sound of Things Falling"