Decaying and decadent, the City sprawled far beyond the feverish imaginings of the Lower dwellers who chattered and brawled and surged through its dark alleyways, cellars, taverns and market places.
Beyond, ruinous and rotting, the outer city merged into swamps and sluggish black waters where lived slithering creatures and crawling, scuttling things, half-seen, half-fabled.
Far above soared the Towers where, glittering, flitting in their flying-belts and decorated airborne carriages, the Tower people lived. Brutally armed squadrons of Killers kept the teeming menace far below at bay. Only the Poets, the Dancers and the Conjurors could rise up, by invitation and command, to entertain the high-born, high-living Tower people.
Yet all were bound together, subjects of the Aliens who had come to the planet, their purpose unexplained but their power absolute. Barely communicating, lethally aloof, they cared only that the City did not threaten their galaxy-wide schemes.
But in the Lowers, prophetic forces were at work. Forces that would disturb first the Tower dwellers and then their alien masters. It was Jeen Vayim, the Poet, who first noticed the changes...