Monday, September 16, 2013

Day Five-Thirty-One: Civilization at long last

For the last two weeks we've travelled at a decent pace. The land of the Indy Plains is deceptively hilly, something you wouldn't notice from a distance, and the Dauphine is being tested more than I would've liked. We're still quite a distance from the border, says Queen Daena, and since she's made this trip before I think I'll trust her judgement.

Up 'til now we hadn't come across any towns. Now we have. I kinda wish we'd picked a different direction.

The Dauphine rolled to a laborious stop sometime after lunch. Morris had volunteered for watch duty, as he wanted to work on his tan, and we heard his echoed yell of 'TOWN HO!' all the way down in the Neo Beefiary.

(Libby, laid up in a hammock, pointed at Bora behind the counter when she heard 'TOWN HO'. I had to give her a little high five, I just had to.)

That was it for break. Queen Daena, still munching on a bagel as she pedalled, wheeled her tree back up to Command. The rest of us followed, hoping to get a look out the front window. We'd spotted evidence of towns along the way, mainly through beaten paths, but we hadn't bothered to divert our course. We're still well stocked for several months of travel. Coming across a town directly, though? Yes, sure, why not, let's give it a once-over.

According to the plaque outside town hall, the town is called Vacia. It's a decent-sized little community, maybe a hundred strong, and a whole lot less urban than even Pubton. Farms stretch as far as the eye can wander, mostly used for growing husk corn and winterweed. There's a small line of stores near city hall, but that's about it for alternate commerce. Aside from a small barracks, there's no sign of martial might…

… which might explain why the town is absolutely empty.

I wasn't surprised when nobody came out to greet us. Anybody watching the Dauphine lumber in from the east would no doubt shit their pants and hide in their cellar. But we made our intentions plain with shouts of peace after disembarking our giant war machine, and though we wandered down the main street of Vacia without arms we received no greetings. At the very least we should've heard some shouted threats, but, nope.

Upon closer inspection, I suppose I should've expected as much. Vacia's in terrible condition. The houses are in disrepair, there are big hunks of wood strewn about the homesteads, and the commercial buildings are stripped of everything of value. Ample signs of a struggle, and I suspect it was a pretty one-sided struggle at that.

Why suspect as much? Because we found footprints. Massive footprints. The kind that might be attached to, say, a former member of the Omega Corps.

There's no indication of lingering trouble, so we're going to remain in Vacia and continue searching. If there are people still in hiding, I'd like to find them and, at the very least, ferry them to the next inhabited town. The trauma they've endured is no doubt worth at least that much.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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