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August 31 , 2008

The Man in the Cistern


Set about ten years after the conclusion of the full-length novel In a Milk and Honeyed Land, this short story follows Damariel and Nepheret, seers and priests of the town of Kephrath, as they tackle a new challenge to the four towns. A group of migrants has set up an encampment just down the trackway towards Shalem. What are their intentions? Do they come in peace or war?

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“They are more of a threat to themselves just now. But two things might happen. One is that men might join, and stay, who have some weapons and some real aggression. Then they might start to intrude on surrounding towns including this Kephrath. Or, and maybe more likely, they could bring a plague of sickness into the area. These are not men who know how to live outside, not for the most part. A few have been slaves, but most of them are workers who have always been told what to do. They are used to living in houses. The main thing that protects Kephrath is that they do not know how to act in concert as a group. They are just like a rough heap of gravel. But perhaps someone could turn them into a rock and start to pound others around them.”

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