The colossal city of Vhandrellis steps from the eastern hills onto the plains, only to encounter the rival city of Ahzis Mol.
Vhandrellis has spent the better part of a month maneuvering through the mountain passes, consuming and assimilating several small towns along the way. It emerged onto the open plains both fortified and flush from a new infusion of structures and inhabitants. Two day's journey across the plains will bring it to the autumn gathering of all the cities on this continent. The herd would then migrate down the river for the winter, following the lead of the great cloud cities that dominate the sky. They will all sprawl along the seaboard, where they will encounter submerged cities rising to the ocean surface. Cultural pollination will occur. Their populations will exchange goods and ideas. Each city will be enriched and strengthened.
But first Vhandrellis must deal with this threat.
Ahzis Mol is a rouge. Driven from the herd many seasons ago it has sustained itself only on the broken places, gorging on centers of corruption and disease. A steady diet of cursed villages and haunted ruins have left it quite dangerous. It has been said that only ghouls and madmen walk its streets. It has never been seen venturing this far into grazing territory.
Vhandrellis is too heavy from its recent feedings to risk retreating back into the hills. Ahzis Mol drains one of its waste reservoirs onto the soil and jettisons some of its ghettos. It is marking its territory. This plain is claimed. Earthmover claws rake dusty ground. A hundred chimneys belch black smoke. Vhandrellis will have to make a stand. The rogue is about to charge when the plain is shaken by an intense rumbling.
The ground beneath Ahzis Mol's great legs cracks, and then shatters. The city topples forward as its footing seems to drop away. There is a horrific scream of metal as buildings collapse upon each other, and then it is gone.
This showdown has disturbed the subterranean city of Zuul as it augurs its way beneath the plain. It too prepares for winter by boring great nests where its predatory kind can hibernate. It does not take kindly to rogues staking claims.
Vhandrellis watches the perforated wake of the burrowing city vanish over the horizon. Even then it waits a while before continuing its voyage.