Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three days

Kurga climbed the dune to where Prudence sat like a lonely, low, wind-worn stump of some forgotten race’s stone god, presiding over the utter destruction of the civilization which had trusted it.  He flopped down next to her and caught his breath before saying, “Good news or bad news first?”
“There is good news?”
“Depending on one’s point of view.”
“We shall see.  Bad.”
“Probably only three days of water survived the wreck.”
“How long will it take to repair the boat?”
“If we cannibalize the broken rigger to fix the mast and bind the front skid?  Three days.”
“Then we should have just enough!  That’s better than I..”
“Then another four days to stitch the sail back together.  Then possibly a two day journey to the nearest legion picket, which we would then have to hope is manned and willing to provision a pathetic packet of paupers showing up at their door with their alms cups out.”
“Oh.”  Kurga mulled this over in silence.
“And the good?”
“The good news?”
“Oh.  Yes.  The child shall probably not be drinking much of the water.”
“Yes.”  Prudence snorted.  A sound Kurga had come to associate with laughter.  “The flesh trader probably would have dumped her soon so she didn’t infect the rest of his stock.  He must be truly charmed to have run across someone whose head is as soft as his heart and sold her for a tidy profit instead.”
“Would that we had such luck.  She will probably out live us all, the little parasite.”  Kurga chose not to tell Prudence that much of their water and provisions were probably ‘lost’ because the child had helped herself to them while hiding from the storm amongst the baggage.  It would only ruin the captain’s black mood.  “And what of our soft headed evangelist?  What is he doing?”
“Figures.  Shouldn’t you be joining him?  After all, you are his partner in ministry.”
“I handle the earthly parts, he handles the heavenly parts.  And you?  Do you sit here by yourself, surveying the wreckage of your life and livelihood and seeking the intercession of God?”
“Hardly.  He stopped listening to my prayers a long time ago.”

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