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On the rustscape the air tastes like dry elbows, and the dirt will cut you open. Truwe and Augate march in heavy boots and ripstop jackets, swathed and goggled, mute as turtles.

Truwe scans the riddled skyline when they stop to rest. The fractal’s definitely growing. After two decades of careful moisture farming, the air’s changed, and their home won’t last long in a freshening breeze. She and her apprentice are out to find the reason; she’s not sure they’ll both return.

Break’s over. They move out at a right angle to gravity, and their battery boots say tong, tong, tong.