"Hey... since you have me here, I wanted to ask you something." "Are you really in any position for that?" He pulled against his bindings and sighed. "I yield your point. Come on though, please?" It was the Drifter's turn to sigh. "What is it?" "Is it real? The city out in the wilds that the Drifters stole and call their own?" He smiled like a child, forgetting his predicament for a moment. "I heard it's got huge towers that allow you to see for miles and that there's an army of tamed Afflicted that defend it. It's a place with more food and clean water than the average man can dream of... Also that the secret to a longer life lives there, guarded jealously by-" He was interrupted by bell like laughter. "Is that really what you Depraved think? I mean... You're not really wrong, but it's not some paradise out in the middle of this." They gestured to the thick wood surrounding them. "There is no paradise anymore, it was destroyed long before we were born. We do have a city. There are large towers, but most of them have been destroyed. Technically there is an army of Afflicted, but we have to kill leagues of them to keep our home in good repair. We struggle daily to keep what food we have, and all those who are able bodied are not allowed to remain in there for long." The prisoner frowned. "But why? If you have everything there, why leave? Why can't you stay?" "We give up everything for our home. Love, family, security, and for a lot of us, our lives. We know that if we stayed, it would collapse. We driift to gather what the city needs so that it will be there when we need it... So many of us are lost to you Depraved, and with every loss, we are weaker." "I'm sorry. Truly..." The Drifter glared at the apology, then turned away to stoke the fire in front of them. "So it really does exist then? A home for all of you Drifters?" They let out an exasperated sigh and nodded.
"Yes... and home is where the Heart is."
Trade is accomplished through a barter system. Drifters bring in what valuable items they can find, I.E. UV lamps/bulbs, hoses, solar panels, and batteries, and they are rewarded with food and services like clothing and weapon repair, as well as weapon upgrades should the Drifter find something particularly useful.
In the middle of the compound there is a large greenhouse built and maintained by the Elders. Its most impressive feature is the hydroponics system in place as it runs directly to the river, unlike the rain water from the city which is gathered and held in massive tanks. There are also an array of reclaimed UV lamps that are powered, ironically enough, by solar panels hidden on the surface.
This was once a massive subway built under the largest city. After the compound was released, it fell into disrepair and was eventually claimed by the Afflicted as a nest of sorts to wait out the day.
When the Depraved drove the Drifters further into the Styx they grew tired and fought back the Afflicted in the subway tunnels and claimed them as their own. Now it is a place to gather and have children for those who wish to. A place to learn, spread collected technology, and store knowledge. A safe haven for those who wander, for it does not belong to one, but all.
The tunnels leading into the city are brick and mortar and nearly identical. Along the path are many storage rooms and command centers behind large metal doors. The main hub is a massive train bay with high vaulted ceilings. The room itself is dotted with stores built into the stone, and armored ticket booths. Many tunnels leading out of the lost city above have been destroyed by the Drifters to prevent attack, with only a few tunnels between lost cities being left for ease of travel and as escape tunnels should anything happened to the Heart itself.
The rails are now primarily used to move the train cars, turned archives, around the Heart and are kept in good repair in case the archives need to be hidden or defended elsewhere.
The Heart is located under the heart of the Lost City Immortous. This is the largest and most dangerous of the lost cities as it has the highest population of insectile and mammalian predators, and the remnants of the Afflicted horde.
Looking beyond the dangers though, it is absolutely stunning in its beauty and a standing testament to nature's power over all things. The entrance to drifter's heart lies in an old mall, split nearly in two by an enormous oak tree.
Fruits and various mushrooms can be collected within the city by careful gatherers. Often other vegetables and edible flowers can be found growing in the parks naturally, while the collection of apple, orange, and lemon trees are additions the Drifters have planted and cared for over the years. Bordering the city is a large natural river where Drifter's Heart collects a majority of their water.
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