This is the interlude preceding Part 5 of the Sevenfold Gyre. That part is in progress and will be posted soon. This interlude is shorter than its predecessors, but things are coming together, and the pace will speed up from here.
It has been two years since the walls of Mudhull burst, releasing their torrents of undead upon the Riverlands. It has been nineteen months since the region fell to the Bloodfish, its last defenders retreating, with every citizen they could persuade, to the Bloodwood, the Dunes, the northern hills, whichever domain brought them relief from the Sadist’s inexorable advance. It has been a hard, hellish war, but its life has thus far been short. For the man that calls himself Matze Matsua, though, it has been much longer. He has seen this all before, seen its beginnings and ends again and again. As before, he remembers the beginning–the first beginning. He always will. But since then, he has discovered just how long life is.
This time, the war is going well. The coalition, the forces of Harmony, fled the roaches for a time, but upon their first counterattack, far from the Sadist’s main force, they discovered the weakness, the hollowness of the Bloodfish’s stunted war machine. Its monsters are swift, strong, inhumanly vicious. They know not fear nor pain, but, as Harmony discovered, falling upon the most far-flung of Ka’s outposts, this is because the creatures know almost nothing at all.
Harmony has now learned a great deal about their enemy, that the roaches are no more loyal to their keepers than to their enemies, that Ka’s soldiers keep them chained as threats to their sparse prisoners but never free them, that only Ka and the One-Eyed Sadist are able to command them. And, of course: the monsters are fueled by magic, imbued with a lifespan of months instead of years, and each wretched one is made–unborn, undead–by Ka himself in Bloodhull. In this knowledge, Harmony has found its target. They will destroy the Bloodfish’s death camps, his grim depots for his armies’ harvests. In so doing, they will rob him of his bones, his eyes, his teeth, the materials the camps channel back to Bloodhull. Without them, the roaches’ numbers will dwindle. Ka, influence shrinking, will grow desperate, stupid, and then, then the tide of discord–as it always does–will ebb.