This tale was inspired by a discussion on the Steelhead City Ning about the new Steelhead Shanghai sim – the idea was to describe how the dream of the new city area somehow became reality. I tied it into another big event around the same time, a storm that destroyed a gasworks recently opened by New Babbage. Oh, and I also tied in the end of The Lost Journal to both the storm and the rise of Shanghai. Anyhoo, I hope you like it 🙂
How long had the city slept now? Curled and coiled around the heart and waiting for its long slumber to end, waiting to rise and stretch and claim the day. How long had it slept? Long enough for memories to dissolve and names to vanish; long enough for the skies to change and the seas be born anew; long enough for the other cities to rise and bloom and wither. Through all this the city had slept, holding tight to its own memories to come lest they too be lost. Through the night it had slept, and though the night was long it was not endless – over the far, far horizon, a strange dawn was about to break.
The night was hot and sultry, the air thick with moisture as the storm moved inland from the sea. Fronds of fog, foot soldiers of the approaching front, crept silently over the jetties and wharves, snaking forward, searching out slumbering souls. The storm pushed them forward, willing them on to search for what it needed. The storm had a heart as dark as death and hungrily pulled water and air into its swirling vortex to power its terrible desire.
On land, the fog slithered through the streets, pouring over cobbled roads towards houses grand and small. It squeezed under doors and oozed through the gaps around windows, searching room by room until it found the warm bodies its mistress sought so eagerly. Thin tendrils snaked out, their tips flicking and twitching as they moved unfelt over the beds and bodies towards faces locked in sleep’s embrace; eyes and mouths and eras and nostrils were gently probed and slowly filled. With an unspoken signal the countless filaments pushed inwards and claimed all its prey at once.
Out to sea, the storm crackled with new energy and began to move inland with terrifying speed. Lightning bolts began to form around it, erupting outwards and exploding into great geysers of steam where they struck the water. Peels of thunder split the sky, roaring into the night like a furious Titan.
Beneath the waves something began to stir. A giant began to uncurl. A city to wake.
The sleepers, locked together in their beds, began to dream. Their minds were full of the dream, the same dream, the only dream. A city rising from the ocean, rising from the endless night, rising to take its rightful place.
The giant stretched and rose. It tore through time, through creation, though the night and upwards into the light. The city awoke.
The sleepers dreamed of streets and roads that appeared as if formed from fog. The mist moulded into buildings and houses and shops. The clouds poured onto the land and filled the sea.
The city felt itself changing, forming and reforming with the wishes and desires of so many minds. It felt itself taking shape and laying down roots. It felts itself made. It felt itself built. The city gazed up at the celestial heavens as dawn, the first dawn it had known, broke above it. And the city smiled for it knew its future. The city waited. The city watched.
The fog pulled back, creeping out of houses and back towards the sea. Even as it retreated it began to dissolve, the winds tearing it apart and scattering it into nothingness. Its sleepers were free once more and as they awoke from a troubled sleep to gaze across in wonder at the new area of their city, the storm that had given birth knew its purpose was fulfilled and finally made landfall, battering itself to oblivion over Steelhead Shanghai, its firstborn.