We’ve been on the road for eighteen days.  Men, women, children, and even a cat.  I have no idea where Flora found it, but that little girl won’t let it go.  I thought all the pets had starved a long time ago, but I guess there are still people who love their pets so much that they make sacrifices.  Whatever the case, somebody kept this kitty alive.  We made a rest stop in an abandoned town last week, and when we left, Flora was carrying the cat in her little arms.  It had nearly starved, so it must have lost its owner, but there used to be someone who loved it.  I hope their end was swift.  In these dark days, sometimes that’s all you can hope for.  That the dying don’t suffer.

            It’s getting colder.  I expect that winter will come any day now.  We left the mountains and are heading east.  The further we get from the Citadel the better, if you ask me.  Genevieve’s runners came back in the early autumn, bearing glad tidings.  Towns in the east were organizing, gathering forces, building up strength.  It had begun as defence against bandits; two towns would gather together and fortify one village against attack.  Outlying peasants would flock to the safety of the newly walled town.  Then there was a loose confederacy of communities working together, until their area was well protected against brigands.  Patrols, watch towers, actual defences.

            As Genevieve had learned six years ago, the Citadel army had been scouting the Outlands, stealing from farmers there, and murdering as they went.  Now the towns were joining together for a greater purpose than just defence from outlaws, now they fully intended to destroy this greater enemy.  They welcomed our messengers with open arms when they heard that Alex and Eve could provide them with maps of the area, details about forces, weaponry, the Citadel’s defences and good strategies and tactics.  The Outlanders were enthusiastic about getting some revenge, but had no military skill.  Defending against rag-tag raiders was one thing, but fighting a war was another.

            So we left our mountain base to join them, so Alexander and Genevieve could organize an army.  It’s been a hard march for some of us.  The children often need to be carried, or put on the few horse drawn carts.  So far we haven’t seen any sign of the enemy, but that makes Evie even more nervous.  I don’t think she’s slept hardly three hours a night since we left the mountains, and those hours come from exhaustion, not because she lies down to rest.

            I don’t know how she does it.  The rest of us are always tired, plodding along.  It’s so far.  Not just getting to this place, but our quest itself.  It’s such a long and lonely road, to fight for what’s still right and good in the world.  All the odds are against us, and there seems to be little hope.  I don’t know what will happen next, I don’t know what to do, other than keep my feet moving, one step at a time.

            I have to go.  We’re breaking camp, and we’ll march the rest of the day.

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