|Richard Pett Contributor|
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“Sickened walls jut from the green waters like jagged teeth, their brickwork haemorrhaging from the strain of the towering load above – centuries of rebuilding, repairing, shoring and praying teetering on the edge of ruin above a poison ink bay of arsenic toxic waters. Brick walls rise from the dead waters of the Great Lyme River, lying in a bay bereft of natural life where slurry sticks to the foot of this failing domain. Timbers rise and jut across streets – joists shore up walls and iron bars lash whole avenues together – the endless sinking decay and toil making the city a giant endless building site – bamboo scaffolding lashes around every structure, walls are propped against others by vast beams crossing rivers and the whole place is like a pack of cards – waiting for the fall to commence. Nothing is still, and everything will one day drown.
This city continues to rise from its vile depths – buildings lashed on other buildings, with a lace of piers and ladders, rope bridges and stone structures heaved between its various confusing levels. It is a cat’s cradle of interwoven wood and stone and hemp where a trip of fifty feet can take an hour on foot. Older buildings are crushed under the foundations of their children and gaze up weakly, senile structures being trampled to death in the struggle for air.
Bright boats of all sizes ply the sluggish bays and streams between the houses – offering a quick but costly way of getting from one street to the next avoiding the perilous crossings and drops below. These boats compete for garishness, whilst their owners compete for noise - shouting, crying and even singing the safety and pleasure of their wares. Above their heads, a treadmill ferry creaks by, lumbering on despite the abuse from the boatmen, hateful of yet another invention in this city of renaissance.
The city is also alive with birdsong – the singing of canaries, which seem to be as populace as the people, who throng the streets and bay and bridges in their thousands.
And outwards and upwards the city spreads, like a Blighting mass of architecture – towers rise in distant BookTown, the garish lights dance over Festival, and the echo of sounds and life in a dozen other districts drifts lazily towards you. And high, high above all towers the grey ramparts of the Capital – a schizophrenic mass of tastes and styles, decrees, orders and tyranny.
Welcome to one of the greatest cities in the World – Castorhage, the Blight, to its inhabitants, a metropolis dancing on its own grave…”