The rise to the gates, although gradual, was constant, and neither of them was as young as he had once been. Each man’s posture hindered his ability to drive his body harder. They each eased the pace and shortened the stride, as their need for oxygen heightened. They fell silent.
Not that they had previously been talkative, far from it. They appeared brotherly in many respects, as they trudged the uneven pathway. Not bothered by a social need to keep the conversation flowing, they moved along through the early morning sunshine in companionable silence.
Part-way up, beneath the spreading limbs of a tortured fig, they stumbled upon an aged bubbler on its stone pedestal, its porcelain bowl replete with ferrous stains. Hunching their shoulder blades and splaying their legs, they each bent for a long guzzle, before rising to their full height to survey the park laid out before them.