chapter 36

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 36

CHAPTER 36: A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR

Picture it now.

Above, the great dome of the stone sky.

Beneath; tents, shanties, caravans and the like stretching like an ocean as far as the eye can see. Closer to the centre they harden, tents become huts, huts become inns and cabins, which become tenement buildings.

This is his army.

To the west, the medical tower, a jagged stone nightmare clawing upwards like a demon’s paw. That is Groethuis’ kingdom, where he patched up Thomas and countless others like him.

To the east, the combat tower, a perfectly rectangular slab; two thousand stories of arenas, armories, sparring rings, training rooms and shooting ranges. Where every brick stinks of sweat and blood. This is where Mabus’ army trains every day. This is where they keep their brutal skills at their peak, ready for the day Mabus will call on them to be used.

To the south, Xanadu, the pleasure dome. Like nothing so much as the great shell of a turtle a mile across, this is where the troops go to unwind. Pretty much any entertainment you can think of is provided for here.

And the elegant black needle in the very centre. It is known as the Chamber. And the soldiers do not speak of it in hushed tones. They simply do not speak of it at all. This is where Mabus floats in his emerald pool. It is where any soldier who has displeased him is taken. It is not spoken of.

Picture it now. Mabus’ great army, the medical tower, the combat tower, the pleasure dome and the Chamber. The great stone sky and the endless tenements, tents and huts.

This is his kingdom.

This is New Gomorrah.

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