With Eventhe in the rigging and Emaria at the wheel, Arcite had nothing to do but sweep with his spyglass. The army flowed around the catapults, converging on the stairways. A different mob of lobsters pooled in the dunes north of the Eye–evacuees, ragged and scared, some with children on their backs, some leading the elderly. Vehicles coasted to a stop and joined the muddle. The army circled around them. Arcite pointed this out.

“Wonderful,” Eventhe replied. “Another mob to avoid.”

“I suppose you can’t be happy so many of them survived.” Arcite looked out to the desert. “We’re halfway between. Where’s the Militia?” He swung the spyglass to point at Emaria. “Can we watch the armies kill each other?”

Emaria frowned. “That would be an uncomfortable position.”

Arcite lowered the glass. “Need me to take a turn at the wheel, princess? I’d hate for you to get fatigued.”

She was about to fire back when Eventhe silenced them both. “Evasive maneuvers, now!

Emaria’s claws froze to the wheel. “I don’t–” she stammered, “I don’t know any!”

“Into the desert! Turn!”

Emaria cranked the wheel three turns right until the rudder locked. The bow swung to landward, throwing Eventhe clear from her perch, and tipping Emaria and Arcite across the deck as their hull took three sharp hits.

The vessel collapsed on its side in a dune, dropping them all in the sand. On his back under the rail, Arcite found what had struck them.

“Glass spears…” he whispered. “They’ve made better throwers.”

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