The Hanging Gardens
Folks used to go here to relax from their relaxing.
The dead welcome him with open arms. The Calamity took everybody after all. Kid sees it plain in frozen faces all around. He don’t much care to see them. Not like this. He does what he has to. Set them free. These folks never saw the Calamity coming. But someone did. Someone close. Someone who ain’t like Mr. Beckley and his kindly wife. It was someone…like him. Pure white skin, with black hair. Kid sees him there agape. In the flesh. Hits a snag or two trying to get to him. Kid breaks the Security apart, then keeps moving. He ain’t about to stop, no matter what. He’s got so many questions after all. Just ain’t got time for answers. The Tunder brothers didn’t make it. They never saw what it was like beyond the Walls. Nordy the bird boy? Didn’t make it. The Jawsons, they didn’t make it. Grady Senior, Grady Junior, they didn’t make it. But him? He survived. Why? What makes him special? Kid finds proof enough that man ain’t from around here. Just think. Without that man, we wouldn’t be here right now. Would we. Kid’s so wrapped up in his thoughts he almost forgets the reason he’s here at all. The Core survived as well. Folks ran to it to save them. Not that it did any good. They block him from getting to the Core. Kid does what he has to do.
And then? What do you say to a man who’s seen too much? Kid hasn’t a clue. But he says this: We have to go. Please.
He’s a proper gentleman, that man. His name is Zulf. No hiding he’s an Ura. Folks like him ain’t ever been a common sight in Caelondia. He’s relieved to see a living face or two. The Kid and I introduce ourselves in kind. Both to him…and to each other, for the first time.
While Zulf settles in at the Bastion, the Kid takes me aside and shows me the Ura Sigil. I tell him we fought the Ura decades ago but that was then. Things are different between us now. Zulf finishes pitching his tent and notices the City Crest on the Kid’s back. For Zulf, Caelondia was like a second home. He’s real worried about his first home, too. Far to the East. Then he spots the Spyglass lying behind me. He takes a quick look through it, then [Zulf] offers to help me plot the Skyways for the Kid. At least the Calamity hasn’t touched the stars, he says. He spots the Ura Sigil in the Kid’s hand. With a small look of embarassment, he quickly says he was born in the Tazal Terminals, but the Ura sent him on a mission of peace to the City. And he’s lived here ever since. Silence between the three of us. Then as the Kid turns to put the Core in the Monument, the Crystal Barrette falls out of his bag. Zulf picks it up. We all lost loved ones in the Calamity, he says. I don’t know how I’m going to go on without mine. Kid keeps walking without a word. Places the Core in gently.
The Cores…they remember. That’s why this place is coming together. That’s why things are going to be all right. Well look what we have here. An extra plot of land. Kid doesn’t know what to build this time though. I pick for him. The Memorial. Here the Kid can pay respect to the old world, and earn it in kind. Words can’t express all that happened. But they’re all I got.
We track down a couple more Cores near the edge of the City.
Hey thanks for reading everyone! Man, it’s already been a month since I started this. I wonder how many people actually come here every week, though? = P