Published by Gregory Ashe
Copyright 2012 Gregory Ashe
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Warm, with no wind, it was a perfect day for harvesting lemons and a perfect day for war. Subkhi dug the toe of his boot into the ground, turning up pale, sandy soil. Good soil for lemons, too. Tachmaz, one of the Thirteen Paths of Nakhacevir, sat less than a mile away; at a distance, the business of slaughter dwindled to the frenzy of ants on rotting fruit. Still, there was good soil here, and the winds were not strong, even though Subkhi had come far to the north and west, and the sea had ill-fame for strong winds. It was a good place, a fine place for lemon groves.
A pity the men and women of Tachmaz were fools.
This far north and west, so far from Ihan’et with its gray-white dirt and dusty olive trees, everything was different. Subkhi did not like to watch the war, and so he examined the thick-growing forest. Here, like everywhere in Nakhacevir of the Thirteen Paths, nature grew in abundance—tall-growing grasses garlanded with wildflowers crowded the space between the trees. The roads remained clear, in part through the will of the gods-made-flesh, in part through the constant efforts of men. But a span, two spans, past the road rose a wall of vegetation.