Fontanus was situated in the heart of a dark forest filled with a profusion of various kinds of plants and exotic flowers of the most fantastic caliber. The trees pressed in closely around it, yet seemed to be held at bay from encroaching on the city itself. It appeared to the careful observer that perhaps the forest had grown up around the city, instead of the other way around. There was an ever-present blanket of dark clouds that lingered listlessly above the forest as far as the eye could see, and yet there was one large hole that punctured the darkness, allowing streams of light to pour into the city.
The buildings were all constructed differently, almost as if a different architect had designed each specifically for the purpose of being unique. Yet while the architecture varied greatly, a mantle of uniformity rested upon the city as an oppressive heat in the height of summer. White buildings with red painted doors constituted the entire city, without the slightest variation. All of the structures were perfectly aligned in a series of concentric circles, resonating out of the center of the city where a grandiose fountain continuously sent cascades of silver water into the pool in which it stood. It was a masterpiece of stone sculpture that was lifelike in its perfection. Water poured out from chalices held by forgotten maidens and heroes, and from the flowers that adorned their hair, in a sort of impossible intricacy. The fountain stood in a circular stone courtyard that composed the innermost of the city's rings. At regular intervals, six streets shot off in different directions, like spokes on a wheel, reaching to the extreme limits of the city where they abruptly came to an end at the verge of the forest.
An eerie silence prevailed, broken only by the merry gurgling of the fountain that echoed in the courtyard and resounded in the streets. It was that sort of silence one experiences in the perfection of solitude that is tainted only by the slightest whispering of something sinister that no amount of explanation can fully satisfy. The silence gave the impression that perhaps the city was uninhabited, however not a hint of neglect was to be seen anywhere. Every lawn was meticulously kept, every flowerbed containing exactly twelve flowering clusters was freshly pruned and weeded, and every building appeared to have been newly painted, yet how could such careful attention be given when no one was to be seen mowing or pruning or painting? In fact, no one was to be seen at all except when the sun reached its zenith in the middle of the day.
At exactly noon when the sun had aligned with the tip of the fountain, every door was simultaneously opened with a loud noise that crashed in comparison to the former silence. A woman appeared on the threshold of every house clad in a plain white dress. Each carried with her a scarlet rose in the one hand, and a silver vase in the other, and all proceeded down one of the six streets towards the fountain in the center of town. Systematically they laid the roses they had brought around the edge of the fountain, none uttering a word. That accomplished, all approached the fountain and filled their gleaming vases with the silvery water that poured from it. In silence, the women turned and made their way down the streets away from the courtyard. All returned to their homes with uniform precision, and in the same instant every red door was closed behind them. The city appeared at this point to be alive, as if the women, the buildings, the streets, and the fountain existed together or not at all. The consistent pulsing of the water falling from the fountain appeared to be the heartbeat of the city, sustaining everything therein. The commanding silence returned almost forcefully as if to demand the immediate withdrawal of the observer into the forest that the city might again be at peace.