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Worn feet tread worn paths in a worn city. Everywhere, suffering is evident. Gaunt faces, thin limbs, emancipated bodies. Some cannot stand. Most cannot walk. This is a place where hope is a dream and dreams are nonexistent.

The people wear little more than rags, their faces and hands caked with mud and dust. The soles of their feet are hard, covered in calluses and sores. Skin is papery, flaky, and almost soft, peeling from bones like the rind from an orange, an exotic fruit and color none had ever seen. Skeletal white hands creep out of hooded robes with long sleeves. The people themselves personify death.

The insane, the sick, the poor, the impoverished. All were left for dead. Nearly all are.

The few who can walk, walk slowly, shakily, as if their legs might give out beneath them. Their bare feet beat the path with a cautious pit-pat.

Even the sun is cruel. Its hard rays strike into the hearts of the people, bringing to light what they are, what they have become. Night is merciful. The moon and stars cast a softer glow on things, rounding faces, thickening limbs, feeding bodies. For a moment, people forget.

Then, the ever present hunger seizes control. The people should be in a frenzy, half mad and nearly bloodthirsty.

Yet, as if not to disturb the fleeting peace of the night, they move stealthily and quietly. The people have an unspeakable bond, one that is only present in times of desperation. A brotherhood is created.

The morning arrives once more and the people are reduced to their pathetic state.

The fingers reach out to grab skirts and trousers, the people beg in their hoarse voices for a bit of food or money. They receive a glare, a sniff, a slap, and no money and no food.

The people cook anger, eat fear, and drink humiliation. The once strong became weak, the once proud now need charity.

The people are locked in a vicious, endless cycle: humans destroying humans. Lives taken for power, people driven to the brink of insanity, chaos over order. Battles over minor conflicts, wars because of differences.

Poverty. Ruin. People.




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