The law says a petitioner can wait to see the sovereign. But in the Year of Thorns, a clever High Steward had ruled that food and drink could not be brought into the petition halls. So most vigils do not last long. But the dead have no need of food and drink. For six days, I waited, unmoving.
I’d been out to see the trains' footprints, which were like someone had stamped a table into the sand. They led off into the desert, leaving a trail in the scrub almost wide enough to drive a cart along. I thought I heard a steam whistle calling from out in the chaparral, wailing in the twilight like a coyote. “Who would make a train with feet?”