Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

Work in progress

Even the trip in the little carriage was difficult. The streets teemed with people. Not refugees -- for where was there to flee, except the foetid jungles downriver? -- but the dispossessed, the frightened, the unruly. Tokhari drovers wrestled their suspicious camels through herds of children, flocks of goats butted past men carrying their households on their backs, farmers selling illegally on the street called their wares in voices as loud as the godmongers who seemed to thrive of late. The driver whipped his lithe, skittish horse, but that proved fruitless, for the horse had little choice in the matter, and the wide-axled fiacre even less.

Jason finally gave the driver three copper chalkies for his trouble, and dismounted to push through the crowd, heading up Shallot Street on his own two feet.

There was a convection to the mass of people, carrying with them the scents of their native spices, the sour spew of babies, the wet-corn smell of dogs, the fresh-dirt odor of mushrooms. And they pushed together in the swirl which had blocked his fiacre, colors and fabrics and sweating, muscled arms in the rising light of the morning. He was no more than a chip tossed into the spin and turn of this river of frightened flesh.

Close in, he could tell it was fear. People whispered and chattered and called out to one another, gathered round the godmongers, bet each other lengths of rope and handfuls of ten-to-a-chalkie nails.
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