Next was a walled city akin to Balconaru. Situated in the Xactus Galaxy, it was a human city – Lantern – on a human world known as New Haven.
“All gods,” Elianas gasped out.
All gods indeed. Millions died here.
Movement filled the city, however. The Gravedigger Guild was already at work.
Torrullin gagged on the stench. “Why, I ask? This place is too young to draw his attention, for pity’s sake.”
Elianas pointed. “Those walls are truly old. Humans may be young here, but others lived here in the past. I am guessing Valleur.”
“Valleur never walled cities.”
“True,” Elianas frowned. “Torrullin, I suspect we are not going to like what we find here.”
He nodded in response, already feeling the dread of discovery settling into his gut.
“It is unshielded,” the dark man murmured as they approached the gates.
“Gravediggers have means to enter any place.”
At the gates a man in a blue turban hailed them. When he realised who he spoke to, he bowed, retreated, and waved them on.
The streets were paved in red brick, faded now to a generic colour, and buildings were high and narrow, of fitted stone and clay roof tiles. Lines criss-crossed overhead, some still sporting fluttering laundry. Window boxes gave off heady scents from exotic blooms, but not enough to mask the smell of death pervading every space.
Until recently, Lantern was a thriving city. Shops lined street level, selling everything from food to weapons if the signs were anything to go by. All was in the common tongue. Here no fire swept through to bring death. Yet the dead lay in heaps everywhere, of all shapes, sizes and colours. Many dogs and cats, too. And horses.
Torrullin stopped a digger team moving past them hefting stretchers. All wore white masks over nose and mouth.
“How did they die?”
“It remains a mystery,” one man said. “To us it looks as if they simply stopped breathing, but the scientists are working on it.”
The team went on their way.
“He removed oxygen,” Elianas muttered. “Killed all.”