Chatel is a city without doors or windows or streets: walls run to walls, rooftops are treacherous with trapdoors through which dark eyes reflect the sunlight. Cedar sits in a garden perched on the cliff of the east wall, and watches through a vine-choked trellis as small children hurtle from building to building.

The coffee here is cold and too sweet; the sun is merciless and the valley fertile. The Chatelaine refills her cup solicitously. “Suddenly you are far away,” she observes. “Where do you go?”

Laughter is easy. “I see taller buildings,” says Cedar, “of glass and steel, marble and granite, with space between them like trees in an orchard. No bones lie hidden beneath the floors; the people do not believe in luck or fate or history. There are those who climb their towers only to throw themselves down again, to prove themselves mighty as gravity, defiant as eagles, masters of the air.”

“Yes,” says her friend. “Such places I see in my dreams.”