I gripped into it, twisted the blanket, drew on it slightly brushing down my brows. I tug on it to loosen itself, creased at the edges of my noses bridge. And it falls away like tangible, sensational, sheet of water.

The feeling thwarted and jostled upon the contours of my face.

The world still had the silver tinge only found in the same likeness of surveying it through opaque dark lenses.

Disoriented, dazed and like the bubbling plume of pale light when drowning. Felt heart in throat. Bringing me to lose thought as I focused on the sensation burning the base of my Adams Apple, vocal chords coarse; sifted and shaped in granules of salt and spit, tasted acidic. Its wetting my tonsils shallow.

Lengthened my neck skyward, wind blowing against my stiff neck, from torso to the back of my shins my body ached with the same acidic feeling coursing through my blood, I felt defiled.

Kept on swallowing spit, yet no tingling sprite gave up a cough proper. So, taken hold of throat, both hands upon it, stretched birds wings. My casual and debased face came sour.

Bird against throat, pressed two forefingers into the grooves between the parabola shaped muscles which made up neck and seated Adams Apple.

Nothing felt out of the ordinary. This bird perched, gripping tight had died, wings failing, fell to a sway — motioning a leaf fluttering down and held back by still air. Back into the form of human hands.

Moonlight was the only source of light and it was coming down on me, a hard beam of white light, seems solid you could touch it. Maybe.

One large hole on the roof, the spine of a once great oak tree beam shattered and splintered; that right there is where the moonlight caresses this small room from.

No field mice, no owl and no other cloud apart from the clouds wallowing beneath the moon. Winds hushed the sound of approaching hooves on the highway, but were then quickly hushed themselves too by the cry birds in the trees being awakened by an unknown force. An unknown force because there were no dark clouds, no lightning, no bad omen in the horizon as far as I could see.

If it was a sound, Id like to think it was the word: spruik, which had pricked their ear canals. A fishing rod, its twine string, the nail hook tossed in there, baiting thought.

The howling wind was the spruik which disturbed the night.

And that word, spruik, kept tugging at me like how dogs tug at an unmoving pound of unkept meat.

Made me shiver at the thought of bare teeth sheering along-ways my arm.

Took my time, brought in my legs, curled up to the wall. More and more light washed over me, sensing clarity welling up in me. Nights cooling feel and indistinguishable vice crashed reality into be, place all round reminded me I was kept inside a dishevelled garret for a reason.

I felt the back of my head. There was blood. Removed my gloves, felt the back of my head more, skin of mine against skin of mine. Dry blood. And a slowly unhinging piece of damp cloth sticking on, means the garrets keeper tended to me.

This had brought my attention, I was here to see whatever across me was, and I could see that there was a mound and a stick protruding out of the mound. Ok, I see. Actually Ive mistook the stick for a trees branch, rather it was the spiked club the dead trench raider had thrusted at me with such gusto. I forgot how I got him … killed? I just remember that there he was! Scavenging for goods in a small millhouse, and he panicked over a small object. Then his panic showered him with packed adrenaline, he came at me when I had moved onto broken porcelains scattered across the large open room.

Cracks and powdered crush went chinaware, old vintage replicas and the shards of blown-glass.

I believe, saying to myself, that he thrusted the spiked club at me because he was coming right out of the hallway and had little room to raise and hack the club at me. He hit my faceplate and I was sent aback, hit my head on the corner of the dining table and then, now, this. This is *that* instant and the disparity between this and that instant unnerved me.

Within that same happenstance, something mustve happened. He died and I lived. Not a plausible outcome.

Trench raider. Home invader. Made no difference.

The man rummaging through the old millhouse now a poorly done-in sod, a grave mound inside a solemn, sombre little garret.

Odd place for a garret to be undermined and beneath an old millhouse, so far from the nearest town upriver. Unless of course this isn a millhouse and someone kept me alive though not chained to the cobble wall here.

I felt like I was worlds apart even though the dirt road can be seen just over 2 kilometres away, through shaved wooden wall, the splinters and surviving planks housing shrapnel in them like dirt in the pores of faces. Clouds up high closed inside a loosely hanged portrait painting, outside could be anywhere. Could be another world?

Yeah. Another world, where freedom is found in the night and the freedom it offers bestows strength.

And that strength it offered it to me. It bestowed upon me the ability to feel reinvigorated, especially as the moonlight shone upon me, light so cool it was like lying in barley, feel the brushes of barley come over you as the southern wind takes hold of you blowing inward.

I grasp the cobble wall, feel the aggregate brush along my leather gloves, its character developing as tears and patch-workable holes expose the farm-tan of olive and bronze checkered patterns which derived from the days of being a farm-hand, and my hands deeply soaked in the checkered-array of a poorly woven basket.

I basked again in the moonlight.

Moments wasted. Night was still, still. And the ever moving shadow of clouds made me snap my head back out of a trance.

Night moved, as I moved. World was turning sideways now, but it was oh-so clear. I just needed to breach the garret door, breach the millhouse door. Then what comes next? I do not know neither do I care, but I did not allow myself to doubt the taking of the spiked club.

No afterlife will need you there with this now.

Its all happening oh-so quickly now. Up the stairs, with the spiked club in my right hand. I could feel it slip due to this em piss-poor leather gloves.

I see the garret door, I lay both hands upon it, the spikes just moments before my face, I did not care for it being so close because I need it at the ready, for whatever or whomever were behind, I must be ready.

I pushed through, the iron door groaning, moonlight seeping through the crack then fanning out as the iron door continued to groan.

Cooling midnight air rushed through. Leaves swept up by small gusts, riding low scraping the aggregate.

Squawking, chirping birds, distinguished by how harsh they screeched into the night, awakened by the eternal wind, magenta and seafoam green sparks fluttered in the air. Excess energy emitted by the otherworldly.

The land glassed and deserted. Sands from The Dieback and The Gap were indistinguishable as the wind disrupted their separation and were distilled by the glassing caused by high intensity napalms, I deduced.

A single soul echoed a cry.

No bird knew its trajectory, they cooed or squawked randomly. How could the ocean winds come in passing over the bellies of hills and mountains? Never dampened as it hugged valleys downwind.

I hopped over the first dead mine. I chucked stones taking up the entirety of my right hand, chucking them over the debris field, waiting awhile for a boom that never came.

My paranoia damned by the evidence of unbroken tracks which I followed until an impasse, a carriage crushed beneath a large felled kauri tree.

I slid my ass across the barks and into a trench rummaged by toppled swig cans, empty rations, glittering spent shells, shrapnel of armour, titbits of flesh and sinew. Stench rising, I killed it with the flickering off a dripping Molotov bottle. I witness the trail of fire spread into the cavities.

No one screamed.

The fires only spread into the insides. The cool winds kept brushing the mildly jumping flames into the cavities, the Molotov liquids slushed, fanned into the muddy, bloody waters.

I clambered over a damp mud wall, because I knew the fires won get me here. I didn care if I was shot by an arrow or a stray bullet. This was No Mans Land turned into a Plane for the Damned.

And when I finally clambered over, kicking the mud wall lightly, then when abruptly slipping, kicked it heavy …

Albeit, truth be told, be damned by it! I was not ready to see a circus roustabout of a man popping off the head of another.

Deadman thudded on the receding grass, musty-smelling and deep trench mud, and gravel, and bark.

You really didn talk to us before all this. Taner rebutted. We are so indifferent you and we are always so distant, only when you need us wed all talk. Now we are all confined in this oblong box that flies. Gesturing with an open hand out of the array of windows and into the open pale grass towards the treeline, the manors roof could only be seen for a bit.

Roaring seas buckled the joints popping the hinges off the rustbuckets right side. Panels swung open along its edges cutting into an adjacent panel which was already weakened earlier by the pressure of waves against all sides of the coral reef bed.

Winds whistled through mouseholes where old piping ran along the floor and into where the old steam room used to be. A lack of proper oxygen could be sensed as margins once separating catwalks from machinery were now distinguished by bodies of water sloshing crude oil and bursts of waves pulsing through gaps in the hull, all in a delayed, syncopated rhythm from the outside rushed laymen and custodians. Splashes of water tore through bush and brush taken aback. All it took was an ugly turn in a single day with the dead grass peeled back revealing what was already there, hidden.

None top-dressed land apart from the estate, the sea consuming close to ten-thousand hectares of it. Marred by black sands clearly swayed in by waves, first like bees in a swarm being smacked about by heavy winds yet still magnetised to their homing scent of home. Transferring, washed all into patches of land like unwanted weeds dug up alongside bundles of wheat.

Fences which dictated what land was owed and of the others domain now merged in hurled fence posts, frayed wires, splinters and lobbed and tossed haybales gone, owner wept for the estates labour. Patches of hay scattered like breadcrumbs, some wild animals pestered the employees trying to save what they can, whatever was lost though was given back to nature, same goes for the hay being chewed.

Dashes of what once were the salt river flats which derived from the rains of past winters sunk into numerous cracks along the riverbed. Trails of seawater slushed foreign gunk between the cracks. Patches of moon-whites and the hazing-yellow blots of the old river remained. Some clear spring water resided in the mounds made by the sudden torrential snowstorm.

The dam which was clogged by the same snowstorm they caught last week overflowed and spread the waters weight against itself, cracked then engorged its mass against hairline cracks———— imploding, causing widespread panic as people were evacuated to the highest point.

Everything just went to shit.

Though the dam was small, the damage done to the river flats were now being inspected: Tinsley pinching soil, smelling it from splayed fingers, the top-dressings were products from the estate and the bottom layers were its byproducts. He shifted the weird granules between his fingers, eyes far-yonder. Clearly none poked a ten-feet pole into the ground annually to check their foundations. Whoever was the foreman couldve been a hero, though they couldn be blamed for such a disaster, there was no incentive to do such a task.

His dogs circling around the estate. They sat nobly to indicate their task finished. Not only this patch of land was done in. Most of the housings close to the cliff or protruded out for a better view of the seaside were all consumed by the sea. The landslide suggested over fifty people dead or buried alive somewhere.

An event such as this shouldve had a margin to enable a personnel from the statistics agency and the sky, land and sea department to rub-out a letter of housing removal. Clearly the peculiar snowstorm behind us was the perpetrator here, it was only a matter of time. As for the sea? Its an all-consuming thing.

Now, this place we now call a part of The Dins is just another tourist attraction for other victims of a similar fate. All passing through to find a future in the cities.

Its just the way of life doing-us-in. The Dins.

Morand met up with Tinsley. Both appeared apologetic. Although sincerity lost conversing with the owner of the estate, his face was tired from his onslaught of rage and fear-for-ones-self led both leaders into the mess hall.

Tinsley especially didn take a liking to the man, eyes kept rolling back into his mind possibly comparing this owners character to another.

The two inspectors chipped at the mans emotions, trying to get him to give up information as to why he had not provided shelter for the oppressed. He just shook his head and abruptly caught the arm of a distraught employee and told him to get a certain man, the owner expressed his disdain by shaping and contorting his face downwards. Not a display of feeling but a description. The distraught employee was shook yet compliant.

Time was felt with each gust of wind against their backs.

The estates foreman came out of the administration office, his gait was aggressive, gumboots trudged in the soft and dishevelled gravel. Cloaked in a storm grey two-piece, his face was distinguishable to a dying man. His presence betrayed a hint of something otherworldly and of authority, which threw Tinsley off. This side of the world in which extended to his understanding and profession, an image he once knew and sought himself in was starting to reveal its layers.

Closing into a weak appearance, drooping his smile, this man next to Tinsley insisting permission to take a leak in the outwash, whilst corner-eyeing a large, black, warped rhombus, belonging to the estate now being lodged into a trailer-cage, kept wavering his sight. Tinsleys glance did waver, then too Morands. Saw the visage which felt like a mirroring portal reflected against the warped black crystal rhombus. Tinsley closed his eyes and imagined peering stars for eyes, failing to see past the brim of his black woven sun hat. Uncertainty merged sun hat into his woven black hair. Yet certain his face was a skull perplexed Tinsley.

One shouldn reside in imagination. His presence was pervasive. Deep, thorough and meticulous yet unyielding in his grasp. Every response of his being shot down each consecutive breath, a dark-plume signifying a cold night.

Tinsleys gaze thrown more than a yard away, unsure as to what was the extent of his will?

His face: contours rich, nose sucked in and the muscle topology of his eyes near perfect-circled. Bags under his eyes looked like an extra pair of eyelids.

Eh … uhhh. S-surely circles like so for a masked face wouldn emit such a light? The profile of the foreman they were drawing in didn appear to house anything inside that skull of his. Yet, a lapping section of the watch were clearing way and were wary.

The owners final demand was to escort the surviving residents of the disaster back to the Anda Liuga Fortress which was a tedium, a hassle for both joined parties. Morands response was just a grunt, both shook their head in decadence and Tinsleys willingness to get this done and over with added to it.

We have no means to keep your people alive in our journey. The estates owner raised a hand. Tinsley added: We
e not heading that way too. It is also not aligned with our interests and itd be a hindrance to our primary objective.

Oh? And what is your primary objective. The owner tried to sass his way through. Tinsley paid no mind, cackled as the words came out.

To get a girl much needed medical attention.

Its been told by Tinsleys circle, that Tinsley was the seventh youngest and therefore was thorough in getting his demands across.

Finally all parties parted. None looked back to see if the other was pestered.

As Tinsley hopped around the campfire, Morand kept to himself on the opposite end, glancing up to capture his reluctant apparent younger self. He gave a sly grin and went back to rubbing his jawline immersed in an odd book he had been reading kept within the carriages glove compartment. He kept thinking about how a magical phenomenon could mutate any lingering within them, shared every thought and lingering quote from the book to Tinsley, so that he may try to feel like a young lost soul again.

Mutations considered were split mandible jaws and blossoming, flower-bud tongues or eyes on the back of ones head. Morands thoughts were loud. Tinsley opposite him, sitting upon a log, imagined Morand, facing towards the dimly lit treeline, having eyes at the back of his head.

As their small revelry at the contents grew so did the mens banter.

The scoundrel, Morand, eyes affixed to the book pricked his ears every time he heard his men lolling and fussing over the love of girls. Yet he couldn imagine as to how these people would be able to maintain or even attain such a relationship. Spitting on the idea, he found it hypocritical to even judge such desires much less like his own.

Bound to the book, Sycrose slyly tried to pry it off him. The two looked at each other for a bit then started hogging over the book, tarnishing the covers close to a tear. The shouts kept on going til the others commotion stopped and a big guy, from the islands, rose from his comfy sitting on a log. The Islander known as the Bactaggard eyed both of them down.

Tinsley, trying to lull himself resting his arm against the log wolfed down the last sweetened-egg-yolk drenched bread then hunkered down to savour an almond nougat he had lustily and greedily kept hidden in his knapsack. He played with the corner of his eye and grinned watching the commotion of the men before both pointed fingers at Tinsleys dessert, in which Tinsley begrudgingly tore a piece and handed it over slowly and with hesitation.

Same hesitation as Tinsleys grin lost from looking up and down at his blueprint, templates and manual, the twos old commotion still in the corner of his eye.

He had taken apart a devices cover and had been cycling through the bundles of paper-leaves to uncover hidden truths about the composites that radiated from the large, black, warped rhombus box, and the aspect of the insidious appearance of the foreman from before. Funnily enough, this same device was given by the estate owner, originally gifted by the previous estates foreman. And so the desire to uncover the truth not only befell on him and to his men but also to the peculiar and eccentric nomad they had met, he distanced and tried to repel the noise as he brought the schematics back into his carriage.

Even as eccentric a nomad the weirdo was, the sallow, deathly foreman was surely like many others Tinsley had met on the road. Its the aura of a man which bewilders people in Tinsleys field.

Tinsley looked over his shoulder to see the open-fields façade of iridescent flowers and Birds of Paradise and ravens with demons gaze, now reflected upon the surface of the lake.

The little latch to reveal the step at the side of the carriage fumbled and drummed. Ahead of the other three carriages, driven by coaches who still had horses reins around their wrists. Still he looked across the window and the lake, the sun setting down in a warm-pastel-like colour before them, and the clouds were heavy and appeared cumbersome as they were dark navy.

Colder than a winters day in June, as the hills captured the rolling winds coming under and over the green pastures. As a stonewall was being built, wrapping around the new windmill with the steel cables running along past the fences and cows hopping over them in a jolly parade. Cowboys tended to their livestock with their eyes fixated towards the city walled in by hills which could rival the smallest mountain far out towards the strait, you can hear and feel the winds coming from the rough seas during this month. It was because we were a city, a port, our nations capital was founded inside an obsidian wall, cornered by a mountain-dome.

Tarpits, foxholes, mounds of dirt and corpses smelt rancid, putrid, waters too smelt acidic. This bad company trudged through Winters favourite telltale of things to come and what had happened here. Bodies and fluids of bandits littered the sides of the road, the capitals City Watch clearly were at home, hints of them still being present at the ridges and cliff edges were signalled by falling debris off cliff-faces.

Tinsley opened a leather-bound notebook engraved with the emblem relaying a citizen of Saint Sano: a boy oncoming whilst kiting the Southern Cross stars. He kept it close to his heart.

The carriages wheels did not tremble for the roads were well maintained, and were clearly renewed with newly laid bricks and recycled asphalt of varying rock composites.

Metal and stone rubbles were rummaged by soldiers, filtering out metal and steel fit for the refinery and for reuse for strengthening their appointed weaponry or for scrap metal.

Morand and Sycrose halted all four carriages and had run around collecting coppers and metal bits a dozen metres before the first gate checkpoint.

Sycrose reached out an open palm to Tinsley. Copper or metal scraps or bits? Tinsley handed him a pinched metal flask he stole from a deadman in No Mans Land, before encroaching into Anda Liuga Fortress. Before he had felled the many smuggling ships into the Strait.

Good enough.

The steel bars then huge metals gates were creeping open. Both Morand and Sycrose produced a sack in front of the guardsmen, the guardsman closest to the weighing scale plopped the bundle into the single dish and saw that it had surpassed a good forty-or-so pounds. Next Morand produced in his hands copper from the men and a sliver of silver ingot from his own keep.

The guardsmen and the section captain all nodded in a series from lowest to highest.

This bad company had proven their worth.

The right gate jumped a little over a small dirt dome as the great steel gates groaned open. The light from the outside world was held in contrast to the citys refracting and reflecting light from the shine off the black crystals which made up the base of this countrys designs.

Slivers of shiny cuts, shimmering stones glittered the jagged ceiling before the wet market. The smell of fruits and fish lingered in the air but were separated both in smell and sight by a single blue rope cutting straight down the middle of the road. Wet market on the incoming companys right and a fruit market on their left.

Clearly this layout was done in consideration of the capitals logistics. Morand remarked. Enticed to know as to whether or not the blue rope was a breadcrumb for fishmongers and people to seek each others delights. As he squinted his sight further down the road following the blue rope the more adamant and true his remark was.

Sycrose gestured to his merry little band to go ahead! See what you like! Be free! Be free! Like he was waving away birds to take flight.

Ah yes. Tinsley thought to himself. This was a side to the world he was more entitled to than accustomed. A world set apart, reeled from in order to face reality. The market was the destination any farmhand running goods from country to city always planned in mind, from the sowing of seeds to the reaping of the seasons harvest. It was good to be a citizen of the New Inland Empire. It was good to be in peacetime.

He had seen what was deathly, which had phased him, just thinking about Alex————him mentioning of George unnerved him, and this was just sometimes. Yet the possibility of realising death by his hands always lingered in the back of his mind and above his throat.

For now he will relish in this peace and maybe within this peace was an opportunity lurking about.

With Morand and Sycrose at the helm, there were bound to be opportunities, whereas the others: Cathro, Taner, Mate and Neddy Ned, made him wonder if their roles were switched would it make any difference as to what the outcome of today was?

I remember … In closed eyes, in the darkness she remembers us and this very moment, then in the darkness I could sense you had turned yourself towards me, gazing at my presence.

Who was I but a boy? I sought you out for means of bettering myself, at a loss for words when you took me under your wing, made me swear allegiance to some clandestine powers you said one day I shall possess. Impression was marked and most memorable underneath the veranda of some café in between the first avenue and the first initial crossing around the corner to the east. Sun rose from the south-east, unlike how most literature read the world from right-to-left, and how you read Reading as: Red-ding made me wonder what part of the world I was or where you came from?

Remember when I came to you sullied, distressed and not alarmed by how bleak you dressed that day? You told me Id be better for it if I just kept my mouth shut as the worlds looming shadow came around the bend to close the day off.

Skippers came in from out of town with their ships and sailboats, and wed watch them hunker down at some docked bar, youd laugh and ask me to not be some drunk in the future if you left me all alone. Certainly, you paused, the desperate kind, you continued, I speak ill of, it was a matter of mutuality we both benefitted from, inside that same apartment room where that same veranda attached, we met underneath, we killed God and demons. I told you dumb poems that were feverishly written and love came out of our lusts.

What can describe moonlight-bathed in the same effect as sunkissed? Mocking me when I abruptly burst out poetically how I felt about you, I knew of from the short stories I read, the words needed to elaborate and elevate the mood.

You, too, read those same short stories and told me that my mannerisms were similar, but in terms of appearance youd think Id be handsome. My accent and tone failed your impression of me.

Travelled from across the ocean, your sister-land called me and here, underneath that same veranda, sitting on an uncomfortable metal chair with poking fleurs, sun rose more from the south now, well past Spring.

God … Is it really nearing a year? Im killing time here until the landlords leering eyes peeked through the thin curtain.

Tinsley. His voice sounded through an ajar window yawning. You missed out on all them changes, he said, raised a few kids himself then drove out his little birds to fly out the nest.

Your birds are gonna return like a boomerang someday

I wish itd be the same for you in your future, Tinsley. Blue eyes continue leering. There was a levelled intensity peering through. God damn the sun. Shadows didn hold in the reflection off the white curtain. Hes making a novelty of me. You
e getting older, old man, why are you mocking a bastard like me trying to reminisce in this small town. I did not expect him to finally stop staring out. My novelty died.

If only I was a good looking lad. Money came in so little back at the homesteads, working out of town jobs, all sorts of hard labour. Tradesmen kept giving contractors like me the stink-eye, theyd say they can do an arborists job, harness, chainsaw and core-abdominal strength, monkey feet and all. They
e all hacks and frauds. Fakes! The lot of them! Theyll never figure out that six digit combo off my treasure box, no sir, Id have a shotgun contraption in there to blow their brains out if they hack it. No Great Ruler you
e, old man said coming out of his shop just to continue his jeers.

Prig, stop hammering into me your clichés.

A shame, a shame, he repeated. Shoulda done this, shoulda done that. Shoulda never **ed up. Once you come here the feeling of ever leaving should have struck you in first day. Outsiders never live in small towns, its harder to disappear, harder for the locals to let you go.

Bite your arse. Im heady, Im completely drenched in sweat, my hands were clenched ready to swing at the old man, whichd be petty of me, his blue eyes, intensely staring me down. Back down dog, Tinsley, you
e an outsider, Hes old blood, hes thinking.

I let it go, and I let him watch me go. I made him watch me leave, thisll be a short story to tell at his club or at the pub. Putting up a fight to defend my pride, priceless and offers no reward. Old man probablys jived under his breath now Im more than two blocks down.

That, right there, was my one and only chance of return. Notice how I mellowed at the sight of how familiar a place was?

Angels chorus rose above the mountains, the treelines were being shaved early morning, and the religious fencers with their flamberge shaped rapiers and parry daggers practiced with their unified hoods, or troubadour hat-shaped helmets and visors watching me walk past their church, apartments and tents.

Inland-Imperials. Rapiers in a flowing motion, combined the shapes of rivers running themselves into fords and sounds, flowing movements, parry daggers hilts followed in jarring, vibrating hummingbird motions. Pauldron sculpted in bastardised, perturbing imagery, the merging of two faces passing another, mutating and mangling their faces into armour, and in noticing that their chests were bundled, chained, iron plates, and plated skirts running along their waists with greaves rising from the knees like teeth. Footwear were like socks and sandals but at the toes were metal rose petals, artistically refined into parodies of Samurais. Their gauntlets lined with the same fleurs of rose-gold petals, and their fingers were bound to rings of teeth.

And their eyes were blocked, where their lips should be were blots. For noses and ears were as plain and poorly shaped like caricatures of what were meant to be noses and ears.

The Regal Hispanic villas look good here in the lower world, eh, the pretty girls, the macabre priests, and the knights in their mutated uniforms observe their own image of the land from the back of their minds, Behind their Minds Eye, I repeat, Behind our Minds Eye, we die before the veil of reality, our perceptions warped then we are reincarnated into somebody else. Is what she meant to realise something, an epiphany which reshapes your destiny.

Reincarnation sounds like a pain to go through, to even bother with. If I die and am reincarnated I hope I still keep my favourite member, and am richer, powerful and omnipotent.

A power fantasy, eh. Sounds like a helluva time!

I with you with me if we ever cross such a veil. And so, once again, we closed our eyes.

Cathro and Sycrose appeared before the large cream coloured canvas tent. Shadows loitered and pained against the canvas, Sycrose floated his arm, flicked his hand, and the cigar spun in the air and fluttered onto the ground, the char splintered fanning out. Waving his hand to disperse smoke, Cathros coughs soured his face, I keep catching him with such an expression. Ever Cathro has a stroke his faced freeze in his sourness.

I once expected one of us seven to be some guy whod lord over us, take care of us, as we try to get a handle of things after the war. I half expected Sycrose to tell me more about his side of the war. He was in a regiment, under some lord who defected to our side, And that was Neddy alright. I continued his posteriori. If I can recall: weve been barred, segregated from ever seeing family further inland. A sad victory it was.

Airships, fighter planes, God empowered countries and their righteous campaigns against the world and her children. I, hazily in memory, brought up who died, became king then settled on a plan to rule the world. Was it Sius?

Attanaue. He was the reason the world got run over. Hes the reason why our mothers are dancing on our brothers and fathers graves. Sycroses eyes lowered as the sun shone over him, bathing in the glow until the clouds closed him off and he returned to himself sulking over no more Eastern cigars.

My final voyage into the back of each one of our minds, we settled on setting back our own plans to prioritise Elizes health, we were hoping wed get an airship getting us underway and over the Alluvion, albeit, a hard journey awaits us all, its not Alluvion wed settle, we are going to have to fight tooth and nail to get into the mainland, into the Heartland—into the Filin Vesna.

Or, we head to Anda Liuga. Hard call, Cathro, thats an Old World Order kind of place.

We cannot ensure Elizell be able to enter, heck, we cannot even ensure they wouldn ID us as Attanaue Apologists.

I retched, Huuuuuur—kf … ugh.

Sycrose looked at Cathro, eyebrows arching, who looked at me, his eyes blinked slowly, exchanging glances.

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