The Account of a Lifetime

August 15, 2010

The Steps of the Pleasure Garden

Filed under: Bolthole Game — xisor @ 1:22 am
You enter the High Steps of the Pleasure Gardens through the exterior gateway nearest the massive, squat and artful marble domes of the Akasen Follies. The gateway is grand, arching many metres high overhead, structurally and architecturally reminiscent of the archway seen in Coscarla District by Petr on his very earliest mission.
The commercial expedition into the Follies had proved fruitful, revealing not only the variegated companions of the sector-famous Follies, but also the darker black market and the revelling parties punctuating the prelude of the Tattered Fates Festival.
The thick vegetation lining the sides of the walkway led on into oppressive, sweltering shade. Iconic shrubbery from across the sector and beyond can be seen within the gardens, almost all magnificently tended and pristinely kept. The Gardens are not, however, neat. As you walk onwards there are increasingly many secret, curious or discreet passages barely visible, leading off to at least a few accidentally exposed groves and secluded ponds. The true depth of the gardens’ secrets seems almost fractal in nature.

As you climb the tiered gardens, each new level unveils a new sense of wonder and mystery. A further turning reveals a thinning of the shrubbery, a magnificent viewpoint from which many more tiers are visible, as well as the city itself. The marble-veined dome-supports arc high above the gardens, reaching kilometres into the air above the city itself.
Looking across the city the central focus of the Gabriel Chase Estate is quite plainly visible, the manse a singular structure in its centre bearing vague though more wholesome similarities to the Haarlock’s Folly of Sinophia. Beyond it to the left of the view lies the vast monolithic structures of the libraries, the Chancelry and the athenaeum. To the far right in the distance you are able to pick out the immense promenade, still thronging with crowds, wherein you emerged from the Red Cages stretching below the city.

Though the gardens rise further behind you, their heigest peaks sprouting gargantuan buildings which reach further upwards towards the dome’s roof, the rise upon which you stand obscures the dormant and Ashtear spaceport, your likely point of exit from the city providing you stop the Heron Mask.
Walking further within the gardens, with a vague idea as to your direction, the movement of arachnids and birds seemingly drawing you onwards, you sense the deepening almost narcotic headiness of the gardens; a place you would feel utterly enraptured by in almost any other circumstance. For now, it feels sinister, ominous…pregnant.
Your path arcs backwards, you feel you are retreading steps but everything is new, unique and yet wholly ancient. Vibrant and tended, living and stagnant in its cloying scents. The few revellers who pass through the garden mutter heavily about the Twighlight Gardens, trying to draw your attention to parties and events elsewhere.
You draw downwards, approaching a nest of secluded grottos and sumptuous arbours. Shaded by filtering drift-silk pavilions and, quite surprisingly, shrouding void-fields, the Twighlight Gardens are a deepening plunge of cool shadow, despite the low, Quaddisian star’s blazing light beaming in from far beyond the dome. The outskirts have a strange mirage-like quality, like an unsettling luxurious dream.
As you mill within the borders of this mysterious realm, only a scant passing of epicures and masked dilettantes seem to visit the area; seemingly willing to risk their lives and more in the pursuit of pleasure. The remainder of those dwelling here are fleeting, this aspect of the garden is tended by a succession of pale and luminous beauties in perfect and graceful attire; unseen things scuttle just on the edge of sight. One of these ladies approaches you.
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