Thalem: twelve year old nephew of Thalace. One of the princes.
Thalace: king of Ventweno.
Hareb: a ranger dude who's travelling with them.
Lack of water: pretty self-explanatory.
The three men who had ridden ahead had not returned after a few days. Thalace decided that he and the others had to continue travelling. The horses were not getting better; they were getting worse. Thirteen out of forty had died.
After travelling for two days in the sweltering heat, Thalem saw smoke in the distance. He alerted Thalace, who, in turn, took counsel with Hareb.
“It’s not thick enough to be a forest fire. Someone must be camping there.”
Thalace glanced at the smoke. It was about four miles away. “They could be Rekipii.”
“That’s a possibility.”
“They could have water.”
“That’s also a possibility.”
“Yes.” Thalace wiped his brow, half wishing he could drink his sweat. He sighed. “We need water.”
“We’d be taking quite a risk if we approached them.”
“I know, but we have to drink something. Watergate River is still ---- miles away. We can only go a third of that before we’re out of water.”
“Then I suppose we’ll have to beg for some.”
“That’s better than dying.”
“If we didn’t have those kids here....” Hareb grumbled. He reached behind him for his horse’s bridle and then remembered that it had died. Thalace saw this and made up his mind.
“We’ll go to the fire immediately.”