“The land was gone. I couldn’t believe it. Whole stretches of the earth were all rent up, as though torn by some monstrous beast. Ash covered the land where the orchards had been, and even the air was choked with an oily rain. I grabbed a passing indigent, picking through the filth like a stray dog.

‘What in Hells’ name happened here?’ I asked, aghast.

‘The queen came to take what was owed her,” said the man, looking dazed. His flesh was spare and cracked, like leather. I was suddenly aware of the bones poking up under his skin.

‘Debts? The orchards? The crop? Blast it, man, what did she come for? Why wreak such destruction across the whole land?’

‘No,’ gaped the man, ‘That’s what she came for.’

‘What?’ I said, with sudden realization.

‘Everything,’ said the man. I released him and he stumbled back to picking through the dirt. I covered my face with my scarf. The black rain fell. I didn’t stay long.”

– Payapop Pritrum, Memoirs