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Long before you see the fabled Queen of Cities you will smell it! A pungent odour drifts in on the breeze, and the briny tang to it comes less from the sea than from the fish sauce all Sogolothans are passionately keen about! What you smell are diffuse odours of ten thousand cooking fires, and the racks where countless scores of fish lie drying in the sun. The sauce, which seems to permeate all dishes, is formed from the juices dribbling into trays from the split-open fish, which suppurate in the afternoon sun.

When it finally comes into view the City of Brass itself is a wondrous sight from a distance. At night, a reddish glow denotes the smouldering red hot metal wall that encircles the Brithini Overlord's inviolate citadel; during the day, the air seems to shimmer above this point. Behind the walls lie the illuminated spirals, domes and minarets of the citadel, shining by day and glittering by night. Close by, the steeple of the university's College of Necromancy (reminiscent of the tall towers of our Dara Happan cities, but taller still!) seems to almost literally scrape the sky. The magnificent seven-tiered walls shine in the sun, an immovable bulwark against invaders; it is only up close that you see they are in fact crumbling and mostly in a state of parlous disrepair.

Of the seventeen gates into the city (one for each key mile of wall), all but nine have either been bricked up or buried in rubble since the days when Sog was proud. The most impressive remaining portal is the easternmost, the Dawn Gate, which has 25 meter high doors of solid bronze, adorned with law runes but now rusted and lichenous. One of these great gates is shut; the other lies permanently ajar, but many believe the Brithini know how to close it (and wish they had when Harrek laid siege to the city in 1615!). The other gates, from east to west are the Golothan Gates, the Fountain Gate (now dry), the Prophet's Gate, the Nude Gate, the Lich Gate, St. Rokar's Gate, the Gate of SS Xemela and Talor and the finally the West Gate, which is not really a gate at all, but a massive breach of the defences, caused long ago by the Vadeli.

Gaze in awe the Dawn Gate and titter at the Nude, but it is best to enter via the Lich, which is rarely blocked with troublesome refugees and other difficult traffic.

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Confess All to the Unspoken Word!

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