A Guided Walking Tour of Guerdon (2)

I’m going to show you one of the city’s wonders, now.

Now, I must admit:  some of those who come to Guerdon are jaded. The city has no wild miracles. The gods don’t intervene here, so we have no fountains of youth, no oracles, no guardian monsters – except the ones we make ourselves. Soon, I think you’ll see the virtues of modernity; no wild miracles means no curses, no heavenly wrath. No godswar.

The wonder I want to show you is down these steps. They say there’s more city below the ground than above. Ghoul-tunnels, smuggler runs, natural caves, buried rivers – and the subway! Behold, our alchemical trains, running swiftly and cleanly through the city’s subterranean arteries!

I cannot help but grudgingly concede that you’re not astounded. Very well – not everyone appreciates civil engineering. Still, this train will get us quickly and safely to our next destination. It’s on the west side of the city, beyond the Wash. We could walk, but unless you know the Wash, it’s a dangerous place. Go down the wrong alleyway, and you won’t come out again.

There are other perils there, too. Are you familiar with the Stone Plague? A most horrible disease that was once rampant in Guerdon. If you’re infected, you turn to stone over time. It starts as a disease of the skin, then progresses to the internal organs until you’re nothing but a statue. It spreads through touch, and what makes it especially dangerous is that the disease makes its victims stronger and tougher as it progresses. There are accounts of late-stage Stone Men rampaging through the city, blind and in agony, smashing everything around them in their death throes until the bastards finally froze solid. The Alchemists found a cure, in the end – if you do get exposed, there’s a caustic ointment you can buy in any apothecary that’ll kill the infection before it takes root. Or foundation, as may be. The plague’s been eradicated in most parts of the city, but not the Wash. So, be careful what you touch.

This train is carrying us over to the west side of the harbour. Guerdon’s inner harbour is flanked on either side by headlands. There’s Holyhill to the east, and Queen’s Point to the west. You’ll see Queen’s Point when we climb back up to the surface – it’s a fortress. The City Watch is based there, but you must remember that Guerdon is a city-state, so our Watch also fulfils the role of army and navy. For defensive purposes only, of course – Guerdon’s neutral in the war, and has no designs on conquest or expansion!

Ah, here we are – the Newtown stop. I must call to my house and fetch one or two things, and then we can continue our tour. Please, forgive this brief diversion. There’s more of the city to see before nightfall.

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