And of course, Alex was well aware that many had not, that many of the poverty stricken members of society, who had before relied upon charity for their well being, had simply died of hunger. Many had been killed by the policemen of the occupying force during the early uprisings that took place in the first year of the occupation. And many had attempted to leave the Delta, though few had succeeded.
So the cities had adapted to their oppressors, and, in secret, planned their downfall.
"Filthy, oily bastards! Why?" Alex was weeping now. And of course, there was no answer, although he couldn't shake the strange feeling that someone, or something, was watching him.
The Starcatchers open their silvery cages, and shimmering star kites are released, stretching out into the sky on silken filaments. These filaments are attached to the cages by miniature winches, which the Starcatchers spin out rapidly. There are only a dozen or so.
What initially draws Alex's attention to the hilltop on the other side of the fields is the sound, which he initially thinks is coming from the group of Starcatchers. He can barely make out what they are doing, but the sound seems to come from the strange boxes they are holding, or from the bright kites rising from the crowd.
"The kites! The kites! They're trying to snare the eagles!" He yells out, and the other farm-folk join in the chorus.1
Silent they become as the mages of the Oakenshore Guild and the remaining crop mages pool their energy and cast out devastating curses to the opposing hilltop, obliterating several of the Starcatchers on the spot. Flying above the kites, the eagles descend on the hilltop, similarly bent on carnage.
The cacaphony from the other hill only grows. When he was a child, Alex had watched, horrified, as a group of older boys tortured an alleycat for their own amusement. This sound is similar, but worse, pure but awful, a cross between the sound of music and the sound of agony.