A weekly serial

RAZE – 003 – The Knife Wind

I was bathing; my mother and father had gone inside, and my young siblings were still inside as well. Their baths would be after I was finished, and so mother waited inside with them. That they were not outside when the knife winds came, I am grateful.

The wind howled in the south, leagues away. I had worked hard that day and was filthy with dirt and animal stink and I was proud to have worked alongside my parents like a man. I wanted to finish bathing quickly, before the wind blew in the dust, so I ladled the water over my body and it drained back into the shallow basin in which I stood. I splashed much away into the yellow grass, careless as I was. The water was already brown and dusty from father and mother. It might not have mattered much if I was caught in a dust storm after bathing. I would leave the bath filthy, regardless. Funny to think what habit and hope make of plain truth.

While I stood in the basin, shivering with cold, trying to wash myself in filthy water, and the sun sank, the wind howled in the south from the mountains. From Lonireil. I looked and in the falling sunlight I saw the wind cutting a path through the rocklands and the gold grass bending before it, wide paths like those of a passing suliard, flattening, undulating, but invisible, laying down the low grasses and then sliding right, then left, waves on a far off golden ocean. I stared. The wind sighed and whistled. Then, as the wind neared I saw it was not flattening or bending, but cutting down the grass, as a scythe driven by a tireless arm. The grasses were being shorn down by the wind, and then I saw the boulders were etched by its passing.

I ran to our house. The water sprayed up onto my back and then the knife wind, the first knife wind to visit death on Naban in the south of Serehvan, caught me and spiderwebbed my legs and ass and back with razor cuts. I reached the door and inside I bled on the rugs and I struggled to hold my tears, for I thought I was a man. Outside, the wind howled and scored our walls.


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