The city had been floating for as long as anyone could remember. No one quite remembered why it started, or how, or where it had departed from. Sure, there were the elder scrolls which told of a time when the city was earthbound and it’s inhabitants farmed and fished and great tunnels from which they pulled stones of value. And there were those couple of epic poems that talked about sailing on great oceans and being attacked by winged beasts that only the heros could reason with. But everyone assumed they were just stories from the religion. All of their Gods had wings, afterall. And the king’s family line was said to have to started from the union of a winged God and beautiful mortal. But no one really believed the stories, they were just part of the mythology of the culture: things that had always been there and which you didn’t question unless you wanted trouble.
No, no one living in the city had any memory of a time when the city did anything more than float, lazily and somewhat drunkenly through the sky too far above the clouds for them to see land. And no one really noticed when the city started to sink, either. It had been submerged in clouds before and, much like fog, they came and went with little more than a few random complaints from the air-born urbanites. But when the city emerged from the cloud cover below the line of clouds and land was seen for the very first time there was an explosion of panic from anyone who’d peaked over the edge.
To be fair, the citizens reacted like any civilization before them had when faced with an apocalyptic scenario. They got really, really stupid. After the failed attempts at decreasing the city’s weight by pushing everything not nailed down off the edge, they turned to more conventional measures. There was mass religious hysteria complete with human sacrifices aimed at appeasing the Gods, suicides, murders and people ranting in the streets. And overall, there was fear.
Fear of the strange new sounds emerging from below, of the change in temperature, of the winds and most of all of the fact that no matter how many ceremonies, prayers, chants, sacrifices and desperate attempts at redemption were made the city continued to sink.
It dropped down alongside a long line of mountains scattered across a vast, strange landscape and veered dangerously close the side of a particularly sharp slope. But despite millions bracing for impact, it did not hit. There was a collective sigh of relief from those still conscious.
And then a shadow fell. A shadow in the shape of a very tall, very steep, very hard peak.