Out of darkened door and brightened lock set, shadow makes a key that turns to reveal what lies beyond.
Atrix's streets are always slick with condensation. Its air is not hot nor unwholesome. It is cool and given that coolness, surprisingly humid. These conditions along with the always half-lit nature of the sky, makes the city a challenge to all inhabitants. Those born to it, are not worried greatly by the dark and dank climate but visitors can weary of Atrix quickly. It takes a different kind of person to embrace the city's conditions. Over-garments are a necessary if inconvenient item for anybody planning more than a day or two in Atrix... "...I stepped out into the road from the taverna I had a room at. I had to ask a passerby how to manage the kerchief-head covering that I had been sold the day before by a street vendor. He laughed when I mentioned the possibility the vendor had duped me, as the 'scarf' was too complex to be taken for real. He reassured me as did another citizen who had overheard my comment. Simply put, it took their children a year or two to master its intricacies, rather like tying bootlaces might. I thanked them for the help and decided not to press my luck by undoing how they had fastened the 'althergola' scarf-thingie, and trying my hand again! Besides a steady dripping from the eaves and awnings indicated that rain was going to be my traveling companion today. The roads of Atrix are wide. To get from a shop, or what have you, on one side to a shop on the the other can take almost a minute. To make crossing these broad expanses somewhat less wet, the city has erected overhanging banners. These stretch across the road, hung from cables. I wonder why they choose only hues of blues and greys for these fabrics, as some brighter colours might serve to enhance the appeal of the place. Perhaps they're just being cautious, given the importance attached to colours symbolically! Or maybe it's just that it might make people realise how dark their city truly is in comparison. Leaving the 'decorations' as drab as the rest of the vistas, might be best for all concerned... While the shopfronts are scaled appropriately to be welcoming to shoppers, the business areas and well-to-do neighbourhoods have towering buildings. It's quite a skyline! I'd put it just below the UDA Canticle homeworld, in terms of the impression of power and expertise these structures create in the viewer. I wasn't too overwhelmed as it is easy enough to keep one's eyes from seeing these taller buildings by adjusting the althergola scarf’s brim. The city has a mixture of areas, known as 'districts, which are ironically named after colours. One cleftyck who stopped to watch me sketch a building's facade, told me that this was indicative and critically important to understanding the citizens here. They saw colour in all its variety when they traveled away from Atrix. They believe that Atrix's true grandeur would be spoiled by actually allowing brighter colour to form a part of the city, as it does in most others. The world of Axildusk is the world of Shadow, after all and shadows don't really have colour. When I suggetsed she might be right and that I sensed the city would be rather more common looking if it were to emulate other inhabitations, she smiled and offered to have a drink with me later at the Ambrosia Arms. This long-term stay hostel, is apparently, highly regarded by all who live here. I'm looking forward to meeting her again. I do want to ask about how the cleftyck veers of Axildusk, might differ from those of the other eight Mainstay worlds... Taking my leave from her, I wended my way in and out of some smaller streets. Many struck me as under-cared for. Seriously dangerous feeling streets, these. I hope it's more for a calculated effect, as I have seen in other neighborhoods? This to keep unwanted strangers from hanging about. I did not see anyone to ask. There were signs for businesses in these streets; 'tavernas' promising drink, wagering and entertainment. Some less than wholesome places to obtain a meal as well. In my travels, I have learned that these can wind up being some of the better food experiences but I was unable to prove this true, as they were all closed despite it being near lunchtime. They most be open all night long. It was at this point, that a series of warning klaxons sounded and my attention was drawn to a massive floating machine some twenty yards in the air. This construct was a 'scaffold'. I had been cautioned to keep an ear out for the sound of any approaching. I had been told what to expect but it still came as something of a shock to see this device, for myself. It took up nearly the entire width of the street I was in. It must have measured a hundred and sixty feet wide and as I watched from the safety of an alcove, that I had been told was designed for this purpose, the construct began its work. Long, metal sectioned arms reached down from the hovering scaffold. These held brushes and what I perceived to be suction devices. Some of the brushes rotated rapidly. Other arms seemed to apply liquids to the building walls. these were them jetted off by hoses, aimed by yet other armatures. The result was a dry building! This would be the only time in my stay in Atrix, that I would see dry masonry. The scaffold construct was probably some fifty feet tall from the base that was nearest to those on the ground, to its tallest tower. There I could see the pilot, if that is the correct term, of the device. I raised an arm and he caused the shadows that swirled around the construct to pulse. This seemed a friendly gesture so I smiled and he nodded back pleasantly, before returning his gaze to his controls. It looked, for all I could tell, that the shadowstuff moving through the scaffold's intricate lacework of metallic struts and girders, was responsible for keeping it aloft. I need to find an expert on shadowstuff, who can explain some of the nature of this remarkable insubstantial substance, before this journal can be completed! The building I had watched being cleaned and dried began to darken and grow damp again. I'd say it took fifteen minutes to get that way. I assume this whole procedure in some way protects the buildings from serious structural issues. Hungry, I took to the main road again. I noted that a breeze had started up. This seemed to coincide with a medium loud whirring sound. This was much like a fleet of star vessels motors all running at once. I discovered at the eatery I went into for food and to relieve my battered ears, that this noise came from the Citadel. I had been heading toward the place so this came as a bit of a surprise. My notion of a citadel is one of grandeur; an imposing structure that inspires a sense of security in those that live near it. The owner of the eatery told me that the CItadel housed the constructs that purified the air of the city. I found this alarming as I had never heard of a city requiring such a business, not even in the UDA Canticle worlds! I was told that the air was so damp that the city had taken measures to extract some of the moisture. This allowed things to stop from rotting and at the same time collect this condensate for the production of rare distillations both potable and medicinal. I'm not one to stand against the prevailing wind -- even if it is man-made as in this case -- so I ordered just such a drink to try! He brought me a condensate. The citizens call them shadesate spirits. This one was a 'Versh'. It was mildly debilitating and pleasant. After a meal of native vegetables that were well roasted in some sort of fat that had an excellent effect on the food, I left to resume my walk and my drawing..." exerpted from, "Travels on the Nine" by Ongshan Willowy