The solar wind had dispersed, and the sky was clear of the ionic disturbance. The silvery moons shone brightly, providing Hickory with a fine view over the city. Centuries ago, when feuds were commonplace, each family unit had built their homes within protective enclosures so that the city had developed like a honeycomb of roads and alleyways. Dirigibles dotted the sky, some in use but most anchored to rooftops. It looks like the balloons are the latest status symbol in Ezekan.
Here and there, a shower of sparks flared from an outdoor fire suggesting a public park, and scattered about the town were the temples, magnificent structures built from stone that twinkled and sparkled. They were shaped like pyramids, except each had four sides, and the tops were flat and smooth as though severed by a giant scimitar. Two rows of rectangular windows let in air and light, and at night they glowed orange. Other buildings stretched towards the sky, their spires reaching for the clouds. Flags and banners, representing the city’s ruling families, were draped over the turrets of the administration buildings congregated in the center of the city. Hickory could see guards lazily patrolling on top. Watchtowers, marketplace stalls, lodging houses, and taverns proliferated—yet another sign of the rapid evolution of the city.
Exotic fruits, herbs and vines grew over rooftops and hung from window boxes in riotous colors. In the distance, Hickory spotted a large grassy area containing a sparkling silver lake, with an ornate fountain spouting high into the air. On the far side of the lake was a low hill with a sprinkling of trees covering its crown like a bad haircut.
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