The camp was completely abandoned, littered with the detritus that one might expect an army to leave behind: empty gasoline cans, bits of shredded paper, and discarded ration wrappers.

“What happened here?” said Davis.

“Do you really want to stop and find out?” Caroline snapped.

“I’m paying you, aren’t I?” Davis said. “And I want to see.”

“All right then,” Caroline growled. “But when you tell me you wish we’d just kept walking, remember that I told you so.”

More abandoned junk and deep tire tracks in the mud waited further ahead, but no sign of the massive army it would have taken to generate so much debris. In time, Davis came upon what looked like a reviewing stand with podium. A note was pinned to the lectern with a combat knife.

“We have set off to take that which is ours,” Davis read. “We will make a name for ourselves outside the Permeable Lands. History will long remember Coxley’s Division.” He adjusted the glasses on his head. “What’s that mean? I never heard of an army coming out of the Permeable Lands, certainly not one big enough to leave all this litter.”

“I guarantee you they never came out,” said Caroline. “You remember what I said about the rough triangle of Grant, Anhui, and Phesheya? The line’s not razor sharp, but cross it and anything permeable goes away. Every now and then one of these little armies springs up. Someone puts a lot of time and effort into making something that’s useless in the Permeable Lands. Then they convince themselves it’s real, it’s not permeable, and try to leave.”

“A-are you saying all these people died when they tried to leave, and that whoever created them is out there alone now, trying to make a new army?”

“I’m saying that whoever made this army was probably permeable themselves,” retorted Caroline. “They fooled themselves otherwise and fell to pieces with the rest of their permeable men.”