2. At the Foot of the Black Mountain

At first, Inglorion felt the serene clarity that follows a long illness. As Inglorion lies there, in his son’s embrace, emotion and sensation well up within him. He says, “Where are we, Lucius? I don’t understand how you found me.” “What do you remember?” “Very little. It’s strange. I can’t recall where I’ve been recently. […]

89. A Close-Run Thing

Consciousness returns unsteadily. Later it seems as if he was awake and lucid for long stretches, explaining complicated matters to people who wouldn’t listen. He feels that perhaps he was interrogated at some point, and that he may have had visions, none of them memorable, thank God. When he’s first truly conscious, it’s evening, and […]

85. A Plea for Guidance

Just before daybreak, the temperature drops and a chill breeze kicks up, waking Virginia from trance. She’s shivering. Inglorion has somehow stolen both cloaks in his sleep. He’s curled up tightly, deep in trance, and she’s huddled next to him for warmth. She disentangles herself gently. He’s limp, breathing deep and slow. When he’s awake […]

83. Man and the Reason for Living

That evening, the refugee camp hosts a double-wedding. Father Nate Szyba looks cold and solemn and forbidding, and reads the rites in sepulchral tones. Aramil looks radiantly happy, and Ajax is composed and prim, with an air of quiet triumph appropriate to someone who has been wooed and won. Aramil wears the same outfit he […]

81. Virginia Replies

Inglorion takes Virginia’s arm again, and they walk further down the post road. Finally she says again, “I hardly know what to say.” Her manner is calm, but he can tell that she’s puzzled and confused. “My dear, only three answers are possible: Yes, no, or a request for time to think it over. Why […]

77. So Shitty, So Hard

The rest of the day is a blur of misery. No wagons arrive from Liamelia, so the remaining critically ill patients will have to spend another night shivering in tents. The two of the three remaining Gypsies approach and say that they’re leaving. Inglorion can’t keep them, so he thanks them for their help and […]

75. It Is Bad Here

Inglorion returns to his tent to draft an update to his first report, but finds himself checking Lucius again and again, suspecting that he’s feverish. He’s angered and frustrated by the suffering he sees around him; he’s questioning his own judgment, and the entire rescue effort. In the end he jots down something that sounds […]

73. Bonne Nuit, Mon Enfant

The day grinds on. Ajax selects 12 men, women and children to leave that night. Inglorion said he’d speak to them personally, but none is in a position to understand and reply. They’re gaunt, pale, feverish. The wounds from their irons are infected. An older woman’s limbs have swollen painfully around her irons, and gangrene […]