City Lights at Night
The Broken Tower
“High they builded it, strong they guarded it, long they ruled in it, but they are gone. And only their shadows remain in its cracks, and shadows are deep in the Hedge”
— TJ, outside the Freehold of Washington, DC
“It is the symbol of our greatest pride, and our greatest sins. Ask me no more, my child, for the pain is still too fresh. Thorns still scar these wounds.”
—The Rev. Doremus Silas, apostle to those Lost
“They say it was a city built by the Lost in the Hedge to stand vigilantly as protector of the American freeholds. Written over its might gates read the inscription “Those who fear the thorns cannot pick the roses.” It would come to the assistance of any American freehold under attack by the agents of the Fae. It was a symbol of our unity and our power, and our pride. The pride of the lost led to its downfall, to think we could stand against the Fae, it is better not to take their notice. It is said they laid siege to the tower, none survived."
—Ondrej Gmeur, local
Again, like so many parts of the lives of those Lost, this is a mystery. It can be seen drifting through the skies of the Hedgeworld, from time to time, like a tombstone for an entire reality. It only appears in the United States of America, as far as anyone can tell. And every Changeling who sees it feels that wretched cord of memory strike as their minds race back to their time spent in Arcadia.
It has different names in different places, but the most common is the Broken Tower.
On clearer days, through spyglasses of Hedge crystal and beaten copper, you can see that it must have been magnificent. Cobwebbed glass domes and spires of tarnished silver perch still above crumbled walls of marble, and all wreathed in the dead brown of Thorn. The Fae didn’t make it, that’s what the elders say, and nor did the wonderworkers. And the hobs won’t even talk about it (maybe they can’t even see it). Where did it come from, this pathetic, wonderful, ancient thing of might?
Did we build this?
“We really did build it. I can’t even imagine the amount of Glamour, the amount of strength, the unity needed to build something so magnificent. It might have been our best shot, the strongest weapon we could ever have against the Keepers. And it was broken. Even more, when one rose with the power to attempt to reclaim its throne, it was considered such madness that She was driven from her court and freehold by such means that Coyote had to let summer fall with her. If the tower and those who built it were outgunned, there might not be a way to win this war after all…”
— Mr. Red