Between the winding Pathways that twist and curl around the enormous skyscrapers above and the rigid, regimented grid segregating the streets below, Empire City’s width and breadth is an architectural wonder. The garish array of blinking lights from hundreds of transmission towers and beacons, enormous holographic advertisements, and vehicles both ground and air have transformed the city into a giant neon beehive.
In the daylight, the buildings gleam and the windows sparkle, intense and bright. The constant traffic flows steadily like blood through the veins of some gigantic mythological beast. Empire City is a capital of innovation and industry in the new world, a thriving metropolis full of opportunity and adventure, and the forerunner for the future.
But if you ask me, once you get up close and personal, it’s just a big pile of dog shit.
Oh, sure, it’s pretty all right, with all its glitz and glamour, the sweeping and varied architecture, the skyline and waterfront.
But when you strip it all down, you’ll see what I mean.
The truth is, people make up the enclave. Not buildings or streets, ‘ways or bridges. That’s infrastructure and geometry, all angles and hard lines. No, people are the lifeblood to any place, and most folks just want to make a living, pay taxes and have the government leave them the hell alone.
And they will also, without fail, choose themselves over nearly anything else.
People are selfish, self-centered, egoistical creatures who lie and cheat and murder and steal to get ahead, or to just get by. When you stand upon the shoulders of those who came before, all you’re really doing is driving them further into the ground.
I’ve seen first-hand the corruption and greed, the decay and evil of which some people are capable. It’s both sad and scary, a painful reminder that no matter how hard you try to be good, someone else just wants to do bad.
But I’ve also seen other things, dark and sinister things, masquerading as your neighbor, your lover, even your friend.
And they are much, much worse.
You see, Empire City is full of them…if you only know where to look.
How do I know all this?
Well for starters, the name is Tom Holliday, and I’m a homicide detective for Empire City’s Special Crimes. My friends, what few I have, call me Doc.
And the other reason?
I’ve got magic of my own.