"As we forded the Black river, the Tomb City of Nyxa did rise in the distance..."
"As we forded the Black river, the Tomb City of Nyxa did rise in the distance, carved from the rock of the mountain called Night. It gleamed in the sun to greet us, the fabled Bronze Gate through which the conqueror Tomas Radax could not ride without weeping for all the beauty that would be lost to war. But the gate still stands and is beautiful still. Banners flutter from the old watchtower, melted like a candle by some calamity of a long-forgotten age."
"Bright blue guls soar over Nyxa."
"Bright blue guls soar over Nyxa. They nest in the highest places of the city. Even the air here, just below the cloudline, is too heavy for mountain guls, but the presence of people have drawn them down from the pinnacles. In the city of Lubba I once saw birds like these in a sierrarium, where the air is kept thin through the use of rotors. But the guls in that crystal hall were small and smoky and used to eating grain and seeds, very different from the Tomb City’s bright scavengers. I did not once see a rat in that city, but the birds were everywhere (the very comparison would offend a Nyxan priest, I know this from experience). Guls are holy, they claim, for they help free the newly dead from their flesh."
"Each day another bone is replaced with an exact replica of
polished black gemstone..."
"I have been told that the ritual of coronation takes two hundred days. Each day another bone is replaced with an exact replica of polished black gemstone, starting with the heartbone to which the ribs are attached. Feasts are held for the larger bones: the thigh bones, the pelvis, the scapulae and the bones of the upper arms. On the two hundredth day the skull itself is replaced. The priests of Nyxa believe that this calls the essence of the prince back from the bright lands to rule as king. When his heir dies he will take his place on the black chair, and the old king will return to continue his ancient house’s wonderful conquest of heaven. The king never moves, for such things are below him. He only speaks to the high Priest and his council, who are elected every ten years by the city’s free dead men and women. When the Priest bent over with his ear to the king’s mouth I heard nothing, so very subtle - perhaps - are the mysteries of government as to be imperceptible to one such as myself."