Legion of the Sands
Part Five- We Are Meant To Be Here
Even before dawn had broken, Vasra Fal and his men departed, marching out from the barracks and leaving not a man of their company behind. The storm that had blown so fierce during the night had abated by the time they left, leaving behind a fresh layer of sand and dust that coated everything. It had even worked its way inside through gaps in windows and the doors.
“Are we planning on heading out as well?” Abasan asked Nhaqosa over breakfast.
The big minotaur shook his head. “Not today. I think we are meant to be here.”
“Boss?” Lakach asked.
“I can no longer feel the pull of the pendant leading me on,” Nhaqosa explained, touching the wolf’s head pendant that hung around his neck, carved from red wood. “It stopped when we reached this place.”
“So is this the place where the way back to your world is?” asked Lakach.
Nhaqosa shook his head again. “No. This is another matter entirely. Until such time as we find out what exactly that is, we will be staying.”
“I will see to it that we are ready to leave when the time comes,” Abasan told him.
“Vasra told me that there is a well outside,” Nhaqosa announced. “We have our water at least.”
When Abasan returned later on from checking out there well, a deeply concerned expression marked his narrow face.
“Trouble?” Nhaqosa asked of him.
“The well you mentioned?” Abasan replied. “It is dry, holding nothing but sand and dust.”
A rumble echoed from deep within Nhaqosa. “That is unusual. Perhaps the storm from last night had something to do with it. The reason matters little. We need water. There must be another source in the city. We will spend the day searching out for it.”
They partook of a simple breakfast, one little different that the meal that they had eaten the night before. Once they were thus refreshed, they headed out into Hafrata just as the crimson sun began to rise above a horizon stained a deep bronze. Throughout the day they explored the city and its lonely silences, each potential source of water they found as dry as the last. It was not until towards the end of the day, after walking through many long empty streets, that Nhaqosa and his companions came upon, on the outskirts of the city, one last, barely functioning well that contained water, water that was thick with silt and barely drinkable. It had not been the first time they had been forced to contend with water thus contaminated, and Nhaqosa doubted it would be their last either.
“Run it through a cloth to strain out the silt,” Nhaqosa rumbled, dipping his hand into the bucket that had drawn up the water, “Then boil it up and it will be fine to drink.”
“Barely,” Lakach noted, “But to a thirsty man it will be as nectar. What I am disappointed about it that there has been nothing else to be had, not even a single barrel of wine or ale to be found.”
“When the city was abandoned, they would have taken with them near anything of worth or use,” Nhaqosa replied. “That or the city has been picked clean by others who came before us.”
“It is hard to imagine with the men of the Legion here.”
“Unless it was them that took it,” Nhaqosa replied, musing over the thought. The Legion Men had survived here somehow, with nothing in the way of supplies to be had.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of running feet as another group, led by a man called Katako, came hurrying down the street towards them. They were breathing heavily from the effort.
“Kwaza,” Katako panted out, “You were a difficult one to find. We saw desert men coming into the city and with them all manner of beasts.”
“The city is a large place,” Nhaqosa pointed out. “We should be able to remain hidden from them.”
“They are headed for the barracks, Kwaza.”
“And we still have people there,” Nhaqosa rumbled. “We can not leave them to face this alone.”
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