From a distance, the stranger watched them excavate a temple.
Slaves brushed away dirt from the pointed tips of metal towers under their masters’ watchful eyes. The warlord would allow nothing to damage his prize.
Legend said that the Sky People created the temples in the ancient past, and tales of unstoppable armies and magical weapons set wheels spinning in every despot’s mind.
So far, they were children playing with forces they didn’t understand. Some temples had exploded. Others did nothing at all, their magic long spent.
That night he snuck into camp and disabled the half-buried rocket beyond repair.

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