|The Path of Skulls
Author: DrunkenMonkeyKing PM
The capitol of the Moren Empire; Loste Mor, the City of Black Wonders, this is where the story begins.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Crime - Chapters: 19 - Words: 29,082 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-21-09 - Published: 11-03-08 - id: 2591585
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Welcome to Loste Mor, the city of Black Wonders. Here is where Kelandir, the boy Emperor first spread his message of unity with fire and sword. Here is where the Moren Empire was first born. Here is where kingdoms thrive or die upon the whims of men who have never seen their lands.
Here is where our story begins.
Loste Mor is not a kind city, its walls blackened by the smoke of alchemical labs and the factories ran by those deemed unfitting for any other purpose, are not there to protect those who already live within. Those walls, stained with the blood of many from both within and without are there to keep those already born inside the confines of the city within its skeletal grasp. Those walls are but the physical manifestation of the rules of Loste Mor.
Where you are born, there shall you die. In both the literal and metaphorical sense.
It is foolish for a citizen of Loste Mor to expect better of himself than was expected of his fathers. It is foolish for a man to expect that he can rise above his own station. Only a fool would hope for more than what he is given at birth. Within Loste Mor there is only one punishment given to those who would so irrationally break these rules.
The sting of disappointment, of regret, followed with nothing sweeter than the release of death.
Where other societies mix their ranks together in an unwashed mass, allowing the slave to walk upon the same roads as his master, Loste Mor considers itself above such degradations. It separates the swill from the rest of the pack, the dredge from the cream. Also known as the Mazed City, Loste Mor is an example to the rest of the Empire on how to remind its people of their place.
It is said that it took a thousand architects over four thousand days to come up with a design pleasing to the Child Emperor, a symbol worthy of his greatness, a crown to match the glory of the Empire he had conquered. There design was so complex, the plans so intricate, that it had hardly been started by the time the Child Emperor was a child no more, but a corpse lying within his tomb.
For the city of Loste Mor is not laid out in anything resembling simplicity. Every street, every house has been planned to be where it is, even those that have not yet been built, they too have a place within the plans of Loste Mor. Street is layered on top of street, the paths wind ever upwards towards the top of Loste Mor in a pattern as complicated as any spider's web. One can walk for hours within the city of Loste Mor and never once see a glimpse of the sky, for all the mortar and stone that are separating the eye from the heavens above.
It is within these ever piling layers of stone that the men and women of Loste Mor are categorized. On the very bottom, cut off from all sunlight and with nothing to warm them but the heat of the factories upon which they toil for the benefit of the rest of the city, lay the scum of the city. These are where the men live when death was considered too merciful. Here too are their bastard children and the whores who gave them birth. Last but not least, this is where foreigners arrive in their ships, hoping in vain that their merchandise might appease the black beast of Loste Mor from devouring their countries as well.
Above them, separated by gates of thick iron and oak, lies the true heart of Loste Mor. This is where the citizens of the Empire may come when paying tribute to those whom have conquered them. This is where trade flourishes and where a simple piece of copper can change hands twenty times in a day and never notice. Fountains and monuments to the glory of the Empire abound, decorating each section of the city. From the Plaza of Shame to Cutpurse Square, one is constantly reminded of the ones that hold power above the rest.
And if one walks along the second level and follows the Path of Nobility? Few are the number that manage to walk up its golden steps to the third level. A man may live his whole life in Loste Mor and never see those doors open to him once. The third level of Loste Mor is the highest that many could ever dream of getting. Here is where the diplomats attempt to curry favor. Here is where King's rest to wait upon the Emperor's words. This is also the first level where one can look up and see the sky. For even though the Emperor's Palace floats above, it rests upon a transparent surface, whether diamonds or glass or something in between, no one is certain. The entire third level sparkles with opulence, the road is silver, the buildings made out of luminescent ghostwood transported from Mygrenn far to the south. Not a day goes by without a banquet or festival. The aristocrats of Loste Mor want for nothing and they know only too well who gives them these pleasures.
Of the Emperor's Palace, little is known. Rare is that an outsider can approach the onyx and pearl gates that guard it, even rarer is when the outsider is not killed out of hand for showing such arrogance. This is where the fate of many rests. This is where the Emperor, in all his eternal wisdom makes his decisions. This is where the Death Wardens, those silent specters of mail and blade come when those decisions need to be enforced. This is the glorious jewel that caps the crown of the Moren Empire. No King, whether Humble or High, would ever expect to be let within those forbidden walls.
This is Loste Mor, the Mazed City, the City of Black Wonders. Where predestination reigns and only a fool would seek to break its chains. Where only a fool would expect better of himself than was expected of his fathers. Where only a fool would expect that he can rise above his own station. Where only a fool would hope for more than what he is given at birth.
But there's something about fools that few ever remember. Fools can dream of things that wise men would never dare to. Fools can thirst for more than what they are given and expect to be given it.
Fools are born everyday.
This is Loste Mor.
This is where our story begins.