The Fade by Chris Wooding

Description : The Fade
The outposts of Eskara are lonely, desolate places. Beyond the network of chthonomantically carved roadways and rivers, the world bes hostile. Here, there are caverns that can only be reached by clambering up ancient gas vents or negotiating treacherous dust fields and fungal marshes that can swallow the unwary. Beasts roam, enormous insectile things with jaws strong enough to shear off a leg. Civilisation ends.

The people that choose toe here are the damaged, the exiled, the explorers. Those who don’t mesh well with society, or who seek to live on its boundaries. They pay little attention to strangers, and they tend to keep to themselves. Most are occupied with the tough business of eking out a livelihood. That suits me well enough.

I’ve been all over the edges of Eskara this past season. I’ve stayed in outposts ranging from shanties to little towns. I’ve been put up in farms and slept in sheds with animals. I’ve used a dozen names and disguises.

It doesn’t matter. They’re still on my trail. The Cadre of Clan Caracassa, now under Casta’s domination, as the elder of the twins by a few minutes. I’ve already killed two of them, but they keeping.

I can’t run any more.

The town of Scratch, where I find myself now, is a crude and empty place. They’ve planted luminous fungi where they can, but they haven’t grown big enough yet, so the place is always dark. Lantern oil is always in short supply so none of the three streets are lit, and there’s not a shinestone to be found. Small, square buildings hunker unevenly together, with stony paths winding between...
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