The City of Red Water

This is an image post. Inspiration for this sketch came from this image.

The trains run beneath the minarets of bone in Cheka, along the southern edge of the Great Salt Desert, past the silent dwellings of the necromancers to the mountains that shelter lost Anquim. Beyond the mountains they tie together magician’s city Albion, shrouded Oast and soft Pinene where poets vie with leather-lunged verses in the marketplaces, but here they trace stranger paths and seldom traveled. The secret police watch the railroad closely and throng its carriages, their talk of sign and countersign drowning out all other speech. Few travel through the remains of the southern empire; only the servants of the necromancers who indeed know many secrets but few that sit comfortably in living ears.

It is claimed by the police that there has been no death by violence in the City of Red Water since the last emperor succumbed to plague. This is true, though every morning new bodies strew the plaza beneath the Palace Tower. Death by misadventure, death by suicide.

Or, perhaps–

On a high-shouldered island in the Red Water the police have their headquarters, and each evening older bodies wash ashore. Death by misadventure, death by drowning.

The young women of Cheka lay themselves upon the tracks to prove their courage. When the trains thunder over them, they shout their defiance and their names into the rattling steel. Inside the cars the police hear nothing over their own endless recognition. The servants of the necromancers do, indeed, but their thoughts are of farther things, colder passions.