|The Nickel Tour
A very big set of rusty gates; through them, an ancient city, the first City. There are fossils in the cobblestones. Some of the graffiti on the sides of these buildings has existed for hundreds of years - oil paints flaked off and touched up with Krylon, a message through generations: we were here.
The street to the right leads to the Library; past it, to the business district, the bookshop and coffeehouse and junkshop. Open Mic at the coffeehouse; Sara Tallart's planning to sing tonight.
The street to your left? Purely residential for quite some time, starting with the low, monastic buildings of House Ziroth. If you keep going, you'll end up in the forest, then the park.
Of course, both paths will take you to the decaying, deserted castle in the center of the city. You can't get in - no one can. But you can gawk at it, if you want to look like a tourist. It's lacking in upkeep, but the foundation and walls are still strong. Tattered banners of ivy adorn those walls, moving almost imperceptibly in the slight breeze. Guards? No. What keeps you out is you. Go ahead, try it - the closer you get, the stronger the aversion gets. Cold to the marrow of your bones, an inexplicable panic rising deep inside you - it's okay, turn around, walk away. It won't let anyone in til its true chatelaine returns.
Keep walking the paths, and they'll take you back to the Carnival District; it's always party time there, but you should wait til sunset for the best stuff. Then again, nighttime's when those disappearances have happened. The District isn't often spoken of, but it looms nonetheless at the rear of the City; you can see the top of the Ferris wheel from most parts of the city. You should ride it, just once.
Beyond the Carnival District? Just the seawall, four stories high, the narrow excuse for the beach straight down. You can walk up there, if you want; it's just wide enough for a person to walk all around the city, back to the gates, though I wouldn't recommend it. But if you're on any part of the wall at sunset... that, you should definitely do, just to see the fog roll in from the sea. The waves carry it in; it builds, thickens, rises, and cascades down the walls into the City proper, only to fade back at first light.
It's during the nighttime that you really realize how ancient this place is, walking through the narrow eddies of fog. I hear that the effect is even more pronounced inside the castle. In the center of the castle, the grove still stands - the grove they used for the first gatherings of the Talthar Kithrayna, the first circle, back before there were humans as you'd know them. The grove is where the first magic took place.
And it's where the first Lishaya knelt after the first war, the only war that's touched this place; after her forces had been decimated and her enemies destroyed, when she knew that she had become something altogether too terrible - when she sacrificed herself and, in so doing, all of her descendants.
There is old and terrible magic in that grove. Go to that Open Mic thing instead.
I'll meet you there.
I'm going exploring.
Click to view the map details