Wilom adjusted the straps on his bag, and pretended to stifle a yawn. He honestly didn’t mind the early mornings — in fact, he didn’t seem to need much sleep at all anymore — but even Harie seemed to be suffering for the pre-dawn wake up call, and the Ferryman’s Knowledge was telling him to play along. It wasn’t particularly heavy, but he hadn’t worn the backpack since he’d arrived, and he didn’t like the way the straps sat.
Two trucks rounded the corner. Colonel Briar turned to them. Continue reading
It was after dinner when the little squad was called into one of the debriefing rooms and told that they were finally going to be given a real job to do. Continue reading
The next morning, they all assembled in the yard. The Colonel had a grin on his face and his hand resting on a big pile of blue cloth. Continue reading
Wilom didn’t introduce himself to the rest of the squad until after they’d left the training field, although most of his attention was taken up with trying not to wobble too much. He was sort of impressed by his ability to keep up — given that in the last almost-century he could count the number of times he’d moved faster than a walk on one hand. But he’d managed not to embarrass himself — he could at least keep up with Javrinnen and Yolin, even if he didn’t have a hope of matching Firin, who had the advantage of long legs, and Harie, who seemed to be able to turn off the parts of her brain that interacted with the outside word at will, if the Ferryman’s Knowledge had anything to go by. Continue reading
It was a relief to finally leave Mr Treene’s house.
Wilom had expected to go to the barracks within a day or two of being conscripted, but it turned out not to be that simple. He had had to organise some basic equipment, a uniform, a backpack that matched the regulation size and make. Continue reading
There was a hastily-called meeting of the Heads the next morning, to discuss the fate of the town. Wilom didn’t know what they could do about it now, and he told them so, despite the heartbroken look on Vicdra’s face. Apparently most of them had been investigated also. Nobody could risk being further involved.
Rytel was conspicuously absent. Continue reading
For the first time since he’d left the River, Wilom found himself wishing that Vanda had given him some way to contact her.
There was only one person who would still offer him a place to sleep.
Mr Treene. Continue reading
It didn’t hit Wilom at all as he was walking home, despite the new sheaf of paper in his briefcase: the lists of things he would need to procure and do before he reported for training. He probed at the idea like a sore tooth. Continue reading
This time, as Wilom approached the gates, there were more guards than usual. This was hardly uncommon – returning patrols often stopped by the gates to talk – so it wasn’t until Wilom got much closer that he realised that they were not chatting, and in fact, that they were all looking at him. Continue reading
Wilom went to visit the construction site with Vanda every day for a while – with the Pathways, it was a matter of minutes to get to and from the site every morning. Rickart had thoroughly taken over the site planning, and was so obviously competent at it that Wilom honestly felt a little useless. Instead, he joined Inushi’s heavy lifting crew. Wilom realised with a start that he’d never seen a soldier in any sort of action – he’d only ever seen them either sitting on the boat, or waiting idly. Inushi was wearing only her singlet and trousers, bracing a plank of wood upright as a few men and women up on the scaffolding got themselves in place to pull it up. Wilom admired her. She was efficient and capable, and had a knack for being part of a team while she led it. Continue reading