—    Slew City Citadel    —

You can only get to the Slew City Citadel by steam locomotive. The train races through the night, burning, carrying carloads of the hopeful. Showers of sparks flash from the rails and the cinders glow and twist like the luminescent leaves of fall, and they can see you from the ramparts as you approach through the darkness.

From the train, you can see the City only as a towering darkness that expands slowly, eating the stars and the blue-black of the sky, that shrinks the moon to a half, then to a quarter, then to nothing. The Citadel becomes the sky, and the hopeful know they're getting close as they speed through the sprawling mass of dwellings surrounding the massive walls.

Why do we want to get to the Citadel of Slew City? You can hear echoes of the reason in our voices:

"Only He can make it right..."

"He must surely be a reasonable man..."

"...need..."   "...pain..."   "...war..."

"...the Others hate us..."   "...they are not human..."

The train howls into the darker darkness of a tunnel, emerging inside the walls, on elevated tracks beneath which soldiers maneuver, spears and guns and helmets glinting in the moonlight like the faint hope in the eyes of the riders. Ahead you will see new walls, higher than before.

"It is only necessary..."   "...for our own safety..."

The hopeful are going for an audience in the Citadel, the City's inner sanctum. With them, you pass through another set of fortifications as the City folds out beneath you.

"...we seek audience with the Powerful..."

You pull into a station, and with the riders wash off the train into a press of humanity—ten, fifty trains all unloading pilgrims onto the same platform. Through more barriers, checkpoints, you queue...

"...we seek audience with Power..."