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Thursday, April 23

Serpentine Path: Conclusion

Semar had been liberated, but at a terrible cost. The city and its people would never be the same. They had witnessed the brutality of the Ssethregoran horde firsthand.

Somehow, Kham had produced a wineskin. He took a long drink. He had seen things he would never be able to tell anyone without several bottles of strong drink.

Muatma addressed them all, holding one arm with the other, useless and bleeding. “Some of you have lost trusted companions and love ones. Some of you have witnessed great acts of bravery and terrible acts of cowardice.”

Kham thought of Quablo. Was he dead? Did it matter?

“We have all seen the best and worst of man and beast.”

He thought of Bijoux and Calactyte. Calactyte had been buried under the rubble. They were forced to abandon Bijoux in their flight to the citadel. She could fly, but could she escape the flying Ssethregoran troops? Would she even care to?

“We have been tested by battle and survived!”

The crowd gave a cheer. Muatma left to survey the battlefield.

All around them was the carnage of war. A child’s bloody rag doll lay silently next to a broken sword. An empty baby carriage sat idly on its side next to a destroyed temple. A tattered Shining Patrol banner wafted languidly in the breeze, keeping silent time with Ilmarė’s hauntingly beautiful lament for the dead. [MORE]


posted by Michael Tresca at 7:05 AM

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