Blind Luck by Matthew Dawson
The long valley tumbled down to the water. Flynn and the rovers went down to it, satchels clung to their backs. Brick and mortar ruins stood idly, solemn reminders of another place. Sprigs and cotton orbs of dandelions held to their bases and blanketed the ground like newly-fallen snow, petering out farther from the comforting shelter. The hard sun tore the ground to dust in parts, only the corse, red leaves of relentless weeds stood defiant to its rays. The river cut through the land, winding along oblivious to the unbearable surroundings. Mentilh, the name lightly jotted onto the map in pencil by a forgotten hand. It had a said nature of calmity, though it surged over rocks in the narrows with an upsetting power. The banks were sore of living things, the waters murky. One spying told that it was the poisoned kind, like that is most places. Through boiling and reed-gates it could be made drinkable but doing so would waste precious daylight. They made the choice not to, even with their canteens growing light.