ii) The road people dismount the wagon

The road people dismount the wagon, walk to the bridge’s edge. Fassn, sucking an orange crunchy to a wet paste, tends to the sputtering fire. He uses his frame to block the wind but it whips from all angles, rises up as though with a mind to extinguish the tiny flame.

“Your handiwork?” Shyan asks the road man, gesturing at the ruined bridge.

He shakes his head. “Not us, but others, sure.”

The chasm’s easily half-a-hundred paces. “Too bad we used all that rope on the ugobok,” Shyan says.

The man’s eyes bug out of his head. “You met the ugobok?”

Shyan waves his comment away. “Town is near, yes?”

The road woman nods. “A day’s ride, across the bridge.”

A narrow run creeps down the side of the chasm, the trail of small game. Cang peers over the edge into the gathering gloom below. “I suppose what goes up simply must come down.”

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