29 April 2008

Year 3700: The City of Sand

It was a small group, designed to move quickly through the forests, a mixture of military and a core group of people needed to settle the new city: ironsmiths and priests, adventurous families and farmers, courtiers and courtesans. They had left Hadrumetum and its pleasant lakeside life months ago, following the maps provided by the scouts. At first, they were jubilant, singing songs as they moved through the trees, but over time the hardships of the voyage took over, and the reality of all they were leaving behind settled in.

The landscape grew more sober with them: the forests were thinning, more and more space appearing between the trees, and the ground slowly changed from the rich, familiar loam of home to a fine, brown dust. They had been warned that, just beyond the hill scattered with the reddish-orange dust, the desert would appear, but nothing could prepare them for the shocking reality of it, the vast expanse of nothingness, stretching southwards to the horizon. Dirt, dust, and sand and beyond that, more sand, with an occasional splotch of green dotting the landscape.

A tall woman at the front of the group suddenly threw both hands high over her head, her dagger held parallel to the ground in her left. Instantly, the other captains did the same, and the rest of the group froze as well, with all conversation ceasing. The woman turned, motioned to three other armed figures, and took off at a loping run towards a higher ridge to the East. As they neared the top, she turned to the other two.

“Did you see what I saw?”

The other two looked at each other and shook their heads.

“Maybe I was wrong. Let’s go.”

They reached the top of the ridge and, using a large boulder as cover, examined the valley below. They were well trained, and remained silent, but their eyes showed shock.

“There’s a city there! How?”

“No idea. But Queen Hannah will not be pleased.”

(from http://civisibles.blogspot.com/ )

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