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Section 1 MISSING


Section 2

Mo trudges on, and the air clears as the road winds up towards the chalk valley, where the hundred-thousand fell. At night, I've heard that phantoms drift gally among the buried, talking happily as if they had never been slain. They speak a language few of us, their progeny, can follow.
The soldiers' old belongings are still trapped in the earth, though I pray they are never disturbed. They are cursed, and it is said if those treasures are displaced, a terrible sandstorm will descend from the mountains upon Darat, and the city will be consumed.


Section 3 MISSING


Section 4 MISSING


Section 5 MISSING


Section 6

It is a moon or two later. We're atop the Mount of Plenty, walking around the lake. The waters are so broad, I can't see the other side, and I feel calmed. This is the source of the river Redu, on which Redusa relies. I let Mo drink, soft and sloppy, then we eat, rest, and I refill the decanter. There's folds of travertine on the water's near side, which have naturally formed a tiered garden of ponds. Their low walls are bright green from Atlas. It's easy to catch a few fish, and cook, and I find the roof of a mausoleum part-submerged. Once-holy text babbles along the wall, and continues out of sight beneath the tide of travertine. From where we stand and onwards out to the floodplain beyond, right up to where the river bursts into the delta, the desert dies, and all is lush and verdant green. Redusa is but a silver spectre on the horizon. This is now as far as I have ever been, but I've still a long way left to go.


Section 7

The river's broad and split. Mo's hooves slosh over the orange clay path. I see a rising place overhead. A ship is moored there, and a ritual's a-go.

A strange thing, the Saborian way, I can't recommend it. We should enjoy life as long as we can, who can know, or have proof there is anything beyond it? Yet they are so convinced, they take off to the grave early. If I were Saborian I'd be long gon, since I am old. But by small and token joys, I am more content and happy now than I have ever been. My journey will end when it ends, not when others decree it must.
I tether Mo at the base of the beehive, and eavesdrop upon the gathered crowd. A man, then summers greener than I, is readying himself for the rising place.


Section 8 MISSING


Section 9

On the approach to the city of Redusa, bevvies of boviaries are nursed by the sacred Redu, whose waters run milky-clear. The farmers here seem happy enough, if aloof. There is a thick smell of manure, and on the road, the horned creatures crowd Mo, in awe of his dankness. They look at his face, and they wonder, "are you...are we?" But Mo shifts around uneasily. The gaze of the milk-making beasts is too intense for him by a margin.

We trundle on to the residences stretching outwards from the city wall. They're all citizens here, because the border of Redusa grows outwards as well as upwards. A man on the back of donkey will turn heads, revealing sour, suspicious faces. If I'm to get out, I might have to leave Mo behind, or trade him. If I have something to sell, I can stowaway in a ship from the small skyport outside the walls. I won't get into the main one, not without going through the Godhands.


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Section 11 MISSING


Section 12

We're in Fasio's fishing town, Mo and I. We had a long few weeks in Mellifluan country. Mo caught a splinter in the foot, and refused to budge. While he was recovering, I fell into the arms of a local girl. She would've been a beauty once, and most generous to an old sot. She asked me to marry her, but instead of saying yes, I said I was leaving, like I always do. Before you accuse, remember I make this undertaking for my mother, and must set everything else aside.

I told this beauty I would never have a second chance. I told her I was headed for the Night Lands on account of my mother. She listened to what I had to say, then she left me. I later read in the press that she was proposed to another, but being well-versed in the language of love, I felt no pinch from it.

His ears are full of holes, and they itch because of the flies. But he is happy now we have reached Fasio, and the water of the bay laps his stumpy legs.
His rejuvenation gets the better of him, and he treads on a sailor's foot. As the owner, I am reprimanded , and having lately been at the tavern, protest a little too fiercely. There is a brawl, and I come out better off than my opponent, a man with a scar on his face. I haven't time to celebrate when I am whacked on the head, and out go the lights.


Section 13

I sup the mug of nut-vittles I have been given. It is hot and by no means unpleasant. I can tell I am being buttered up for something. The man behind the desk is asleep. He wears the pauldrons of authority, but snores with impropriety. He wears one of those ridiculous false moustaches that are the fashion in these parts. Why not make the effor and cultivate a real one? I make towards the door to leave, and he jerks to attention. It seems he is one of the Burghers elected to govern this land.

"Oi,"he says, and I jump.
"Thank you for looking after my donkey.." I say, seeing Mo through the window. He is standing impassively in the Burgher's stalls.
"..but it is time I was getting along."
"Nonsense. By Chabuti law, you are obligated to serve a notice of penalty."
"What's that you say?"
He looks out the window at my donkey.
"Are you alone?"
"Just me and Mo."
"Good, and do you fear death?"
"I have important business in the Night Lands before my time can come. When I've done that I'll die happy."
The Burgher cocks a gun and checks the barrel. He holds it like a babby in his lap.
"No, I make no guarantee of that," he says, then he stands up and straightens his jacked of office, "but being a non-Chabuti, and, it seems to me, a man of honour, concerned only for the welfare of his animal, upholding no deplorable and traitorous views about the regency of these lands, I feel you might be apt for a task."
"A task?"
"Call it payback for your mule injuring by brother."


Section 14 MISSING


Section 15 MISSING



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