After the walls had fallen we had marched into a city filled with those who did not even have shrouds to wake, who did not wear the armbands that protected them with shields of projected energy. Marcus took the infantry into the city and hunted the rest of them out. The White Swarm went with him. I remembered that reversion was not a gentle process. From my vantage I saw some sit. Some knelt, many were sick. Some lost consciousness.
We spearmen had sat mounted with the sun on our backs and could not believe there had been so little fighting. Our beasts trumpeted uneasily because they were not used to the smell or feel of the nightwind which was still all around us, though it steadily thinned as Marcus went into the streets with infantry and broke the relics apart. Julius dismounted and went to talk to Jerem Cozak. I followed suit, finally catching up to them as they began tending to the reverted.
“But I don’t understand,” I said, basking in our easy victory. “There must have been five thousand people here. I thought the Augers sent everyone, either to take this world or others. And these aren’t even soldiers. But I thought the nightwind made fanatics out of everyone.”
Jerem Cozak grunted. “We are more than five years from Earth at the very swiftest speed. Other worlds may lie beyond it, and many have perished there. Conquest is the victory of many generations. These cities were only to have children."
He shook his head. “They left a skeleton crew, to delay us only. The scouts report the tracks of thousands heading west. At the end of the Free Cities and the river lies the port city Wesing, a citadel of the Profusion, where the greatships of the world have always gone for maintenance and repair.”
He waited until I came to the conclusion for myself. “They’re gathering their strength,” I said.
He nodded. “In the war that took this world they sent millions against us. Wave after wave wore down Sepira and Nogilia and Redmarak. Now the tide goes out, their numbers decrease, and so they must pull together, or lose all advantage. Wesing will not fall easily.”