The massive City of Aaiun has but one surviving bridge linking its two halves over the salty and corrosive river that divides them. It is located west of the point where even the hardiest metal boats will rapidly deteriorate, and was therefore used by Le Aaiun herself to travel between the two shores. On the bridge, roughly a quarter of the way across, she found what appeared to be a steam locomotive, stopped forever.

While such machines are not unheard of in the dreamlands, their uses are rare and certainly none was so ancient as the City of Aaiun appears to be. Stranger still, there were no tracks to be found on the hard, onyxian stone from which the bridge was made, not even under the vehicle’s wheels. Le asserted that, either the machine had its tracks torn from beneath it, or been deposited there by some unknown force. “I do not know which possibility disturbs me more,” she wrote.

The river moves underground not far beyond this bridge, while the precipitous cliffs of the Holzoff Range loom to the west. The city was built before, and straddles, the only known pass through the rocky maze.

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