I've been looking, and not found a single Carpet People fic. So I've claimed the fandom in fanfic100 on LJ – I'll build up the fandom if it kills me!

Sections in italics are quoted directly from the book.

Several times Bane awoke, and thought he heard crashes and cries in the wind, but when he listened hard they seemed to disappear.

He dreamed of pale, shimmering mist that danced and writhed in the darkness, dark shapes within it just out of reach. By degrees the mist coalesced into forms of buildings, the dark shapes resolving themselves into familiar faces. Brocando. Glurk. Pismire. Snibril. There were others he didn't recognise, tired soldiers and people of the Dumii Empire. They were in the great city of Ware, but he had never seen the city looking like this before.

Buildings had buckled and collapsed as if crushed from above by a great weight. Fire burned like the eyes of hell in the darkness, and bodies lay everywhere, scattered as if they had been carelessly tossed aside like a child's unwanted toys.

He was aware of pain, and looked down at himself to see a vicious gash on his leg seeping blood. A weary-eyed Dumii woman in a shredded dress was bandaging an even nastier wound on Glurk's arm. He was bone tired, as if he'd been fighting all day: from the looks of the city, this dream-him probably had. Snibril was heading towards them: filthy and exhausted, his right sleeve soaked with blood, determinedly clutching a sword he didn't know how to use.

"Well at least they'll say we went down fighting," Glurk said, grunting in pain as the bandage tightened. The woman snapped at him to hold still.

"I don't expect the mouls have much interest in history," Bane heard himself say. He didn't object: this other Bane clearly had more of a handle on the situation than he did; "After this, no more books. No more history. No more history books."

Snibril looked down at his notched and blood-stained sword without really seeing it; "Somehow that's the worst part."

'I dreamed...I dreamed...' Bane began, and then seemed to wake up. 'I dreamed of nothing. I slept well.'

The mouls were charging again, row after row of sneering animal faces rushing towards them with weapons in their hands and murder in their eyes. There was barey a handful of defenders now, not nearly enough to hold the stockade. The arrows were spent: they were down to close-quarters fighting in the streets of Ware. Distantly, he was grateful they had sent the non-combatants out of the city already. No-one should have to see this.

A sword slashed across his ribs and he fell to his knees, pain searing through his chest. He barely avoided the blow that came at him from above, rolling to his feet in time to see the moul's weapon slam home into the ground where he had been. A swift uppercut dispatched the creature and he struggled to his feet. A noise behind him made him turn, and his injured leg almost buckled beneath him. The first strike he managed to block, but the moul was carrying two swords, and the second punched clean through his battered armour and tore like fire into his left shoulder. The moul shoved him roughly off the blade and he landed awkwardly in the churned mud of the battleground. For a moment he could only stare at the blood-soaked ground beneath him.

'I'm going to die'

A strangled scream sounded above him, followed by a dull thud. Bane hissed in pain between his teeth as strong hands took hold of his good arm and hauled him to his feet. He looked into eyes as grim and cold as he winter sky: Snibril. He'd seen Glurk die, a moul sword clean through the chest. He could only hope that Snibril hadn't.

"Come on," the young Munrung said sharply; "Lean on me, we have to get out of here." His eyes were a little too bright, a brittle edge to his words. His face had been badly sliced up and from the way he was moving he had probably broken at least a few ribs. Leaning heavily on him, all the time siletly cursing the need to do so, Bane managed to stagger a few paces.

Then suddenly they were surrounded by mouls. There was an explosion of pain and everything went dark.

Defeat. The end of the Empire. The end of the unimaginative men who thought there was a better way of doing things than fighting. The death of Bane. The death of Snibril. Everyone dead. For nothing.

Bane sat with his back against the cold wall of the cellar in which they'd been imprisoned and watched the other occupant of the room with a weary eye. Snibril was lying in an untidy heap on the floor, slowly regaining consciousness. He let out a soft moan and slowly pulled himself upright. His face was swollen now as well as shredded, and he winced as his fingers encountered the wounds. With hopeless eyes he looked up at Bane.

"We lost."


"What about the others?"

Bane looked down at his hands, unwilling to meet the younger man's gaze as he spoke; "Dead. It's just us."


Snibril dragged himself cautiously across the floor and leaned back against the wall beside Bane: "I suppose this is it then. The end of the Empire. I never imagined dying like this."

Bane said nothing. He had.

Chilled and dizzy from blood loss and pain, the two men huddled together in the freezing cellar beneath the ruins of Ware. Footsteps sounded somewhere above them, the peculiar animal grace of the mouls.

"One final glorious stand," Snibril whispered, closing his eyes. It was an impossibility - neither of them had the strength to stand, let alone fight - but a comforting one. Bane's hand, coarse with calluses and dried blood, found his in the semi-darkness. The end of the Empire. The end of civillisation.

Above their bowed heads, death came inexorably closer on clawed feet.

There was a faraway look in Bane's eyes. 'What must it be like,' he said, 'to know everything that could happen?'

'Terrible,' said Pismire.