The haven south of Cascadia had once been a gated residential development, called Maplewood, laid out as a series of brick townhouses in a cul-de-sac, fenced in and surrounded by a drainage ditch with a pool and a common green in the middle. When it was being built, students from Osborn University had picketed it, citing Maplewood as a particularly egregious example of urban sprawl and a lack of eco-consciousness.

Later, when the city was overrun by the Addled and violent marauders from the countryside, Maplewood found a new lease on life. The narrow gaps between townhouse blocks were filled in with chunks of torn-up pavement, the ground-floor windows and doors facing out were bricked up, and the cul-de-sac became a fortress. With the pavement torn up for use in fortifications, the fallow land beneath was sewn with crops. The recreational complex in the middle was filled with lifestock, and a well was sunk near the pool which found a new calling as a reservoir. Close proximity to a sporting goods superstore–which had also been picketed into its location on Cascadia’s outskirts–gave the refugees within the means to defend themselves.

That, coupled with the position’s natural defensive value, had allowed it to endure when other havens in the area, like the one at Osborn University, had been overrun. Harrister usually saw to it that he made a trading stop there; the Maplewoodlians knew the value of what he peddles and had picked the rest of Cascadia bare.

Now, that easy money looked increasingly like salvation.