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Teamwork

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The best times are the times when they work together.

Famine is first, his laugh light as he canters through the fields on the outskirts. The crops wither with each hoofbeat, green turning to brown and then black. He reaches down to brush a hand through the tips of the wheat, graceful fingers painting grey where there was gold. He takes bread gently from children's hands, and tips his head back in ecstasy as the pangs gnaw at their stomachs.

Pestilence is next, looking up in curiosity at the houses she rides past. Intricate processes begin inside them, curling out from the corners of rooms and unfurling inside flesh. She grants immortality to cells, smiles as they grow and replicate, and replicate, and replicate. She meets Famine in the livestock fields and they sink the beasts softly to their knees, to their sides, and liquefy the flesh under their palms. She breathes deep the scent on the air, and her eyes shine.

Death follows both of them, her horse's tread sure and steady. She nods to herself as she passes those already visited and sees her companions' handiwork. She works with precision, pinching off the thin-worn threads of life and taking their last gasps deep into her lungs.

War gallops through on the wind of the people's cries, the glint of fire on her horse's hooves blending with the flash of light on their weapons. The living move forward as discarded bodies burst underfoot, and she directs each side to one another. She licks blood from her hand with a grin as sharp as her sword, and closes her eyes to the music.

Conquest rides through a while later, weapons lowering around him as he passes. The other horsemen fall into his wake, one by one: War reins her horse up into a parade trot and shines with the people's everlasting memories of bloodshed; Pestilence brushes a hand over the hearts of the remaining and knows their night screams will sustain her for generations to come; Death walks among the soldiers and the people trapped in the rubble, and seems to glow with each end; Famine lingers a moment to cup the cheek of a young man, and it sinks beneath his hand.

Conquest smiles as they ride; the people's hopes, dreams and identities are sweet on his lips.