By Chad Rossouw
At some point, he could not quite remember when, the paladins had left him some water and bread. It was the smell of the bread that had woken him. They had also unlocked the irons on his hands, although his ankles were now in chains. He tore off a crust from the loaf and ate it, sipping some water. The sensation made him feel a little better and he managed to get up onto the wooden bench at the back of the van and cover himself properly with the blanket.
It was a long drive through the two cities and then up through the freezing mountains. They were passing through the outskirts of the second city. He could see out the grilled windows that they were passing Location 22; an area that had once been demarked for ruin. A 13th-century roofless and windowless Franciscan friary had been built at the crest of the road. A process of demolishing and rebuilding that involved the construction of semi-detached Edwardian houses with sundried clay-bricks was taking along the winding streets up the foothills towards the snowline. Four-storey chimneys towered over the structures beneath. They were being built despite the fact that domestic fires had been banned under the Smoking Act of 2275, some 30 years ago.