A thirst for the people is a feast for the crows

  • Esquire

    A thirst for the people is a feast for the crows. That was the phrase that came to mind as Kagad observed the choked streets below. The crowd was heaving against the shining wall of shields as a great wave pummels the shoreline. People were reaching through the cracks, only to find the end of a truncheon or the edge of a chestplate and quickly retreat. The scuffles were forming eddies and whirlpools, as the masses struggled against the current driving them towards the goal. The sun shimmered off of the shaking hands of the guardsmen gingerly pouring out the water rations, handing out small clay cups to the grasping morass, with each drop spilled raising indignant cries from the onlookers.

    The water supply, flowing from the great Oasis in Shahirstan, is the lifeblood of desert society. The sole separation between the civilisation of the city and the barbarity and desolation of the wastes. Sogadar has endured droughts before but this one was dragging on, and with each day of thirst, the fragile network of wells and springs that supported the web of settlements dotted throughout the wastes took one more step toward collapse.

    Kagad lent back from the balcony, pouring himself another cup of water from the barrel stowed safely beneath the table. The system would never be allowed to get that bad. It never has before anyway, and even if it did, the subsequent thinning would make the next drought easier to bear, and my business more profitable. Kagad sank back into his thoughts, only disturbed by the trundling of the cart wheels carrying the first tranche of corpses to an ignominious grave far out in the wastes. The crows would be eating well tonight, he thought with a smirk.

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