Chapter 1.3: To the White City

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The King and his sons joined the Queen and Princess inside the royal carriage as the outer walls of the realm's boisterous capital swelled up from the prairie after so many weeks on the road

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The King and his sons joined the Queen and Princess inside the royal carriage as the outer walls of the realm's boisterous capital swelled up from the prairie after so many weeks on the road.

"Why do they call it the White City?" asked Galia as their caravan pushed into the outer folds of the bustling metropolis. "It's so ugly."

Val couldn't agree more. The city's wall and most of the visible structures were blocky, gray and lifeless. Juxtaposed against Tahala's vibrant murals, masterful sculptures and salient architecture, it was very plain indeed.

"White means colorless. Neutral," their father explained. "It's not really about its appearance but its political function."

"But I thought white light was actually comprised of all the colors, unbroken," commented Val.

The King smiled. "Precisely. The White Throne is every house, yet no house. Sadly, however, the neutrality of this supposed omnipotence has not always held true."

Tonight, the streets of the White City were crammed with fairgoers of every class and category. Traffic snarls forced the Roberts caravan to a crawl. To stave off boredom, Val tossed open the curtains of his carriage window to watch the spectacle unfold.

"This is one of the poorest and most dangerous districts in the city," said their father. "It's probably best you close your drapes, Val. At least until we reach the Crossroad." As if to emphasize his point, Val noticed several of the Royal Guard cavalry sucking in close against the carriage. He pulled the curtains closed.

The Crossroad was four-way junction in which traffic poured into the centralized capital from all four of the united kingdoms: Dehn from the north, Rocklands from the west, Seldor from the south and Pent from the east.  With his father's blessing, Val re-opened the curtain once they reached it.

A fascinating spectrum of humanity filled the streets: every size and station from every corner of the realm was well represented. Val saw robed men proselytizing politics, merchants trading trinkets and treasures, musicians serenading clapping crowds with complex melodies, and other performers executing dazzling exhibitions of variations un-counted.

Sliding into place among the frenetic traffic, the caravan plodded  onto a broad thoroughfare running parallel to the outer walls of the White Castle.

"This is your first time seeing it, isn't it, Val?" said his father.

Val bobbed his head, gaping in awe at the massive structure. Though  the Castle of Dehn was larger in sheer acreage, The Pike crowned the summit of a tall mountain, and the Triplets were their own island, no castle in all New America was as tall and wide as the White Castle. Val had to crane his neck to glimpse its most skyward turrets. And it wasn't just the height but its shocking proximity. There was no buffer beyond the inner wall; the sheer ramparts were right there among the city's convoluted streets.

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