The City of Dying: The Fallen Kingdom

Volume 1: The Intrusion

Chapter 1: Home to Degenerates

Underneath the City of Dion lies the former glorious capital of Zenith. In its previous existence, once upon a time it was renowned as the
Imperial City, a living achievement of beauty, marvel, and technological innovation. However, that was many lifetimes and many centuries
ago. Now the Old City diminished to a barren wasteland, ruined beyond repair, buried thousands of feet beneath solid rock and earth,
partially dormant within its final resting place.

The Old City’s destruction is preserved in these unnatural burial grounds, reduced to a large labyrinth of massive interconnecting caves
spanning hundreds of miles in all directions. Its precedent majesty concealed within a depreciated tomb of silence, except for the
unconventional life scattered variably isolated within its purgatorial remains. It is the home to the underprivileged and dejected citizens,
bearing the brunt of an ancient and bitter war.

As a reminder of their afflictions, the long-lived wreckage and refuse litter the majority of its surroundings with broken and half-fallen
structures cluttering these underworld streets. Dirt and mold seem to dominate the décor within the caves, and the stale, musty air burns
their depleted lungs with the old, overwhelming, decayed dust that permeates in the air.

Steel girders and shattered concrete still peer from most of the ruined remnants of broken bridges, crumbled streets, fallen monuments,
and toppled buildings. Not much of anything remains intact. Their sordid living conditions are a direct contrast to the world above, just
beyond the dividing line of solid rock, hidden away from the infamy cast by the shadow of the capital city, hidden beneath the Belly of Dion.

The relics of this old, emaciated, and partially dead municipality stretch well beyond the borders directly beneath the newly conceived
capital. The inhabitants within this massive subterranean universe barely live, life poor, devastated, and dangerous. They only have the
burning desire to survive, to leave this dilapidated burden behind, and live once again as they did before the Great War as told in legend of
old, among privileged society.

These unconventional inhabitants confined within these suffocating boundaries refer to the Old City as the City of Dying, ridiculing and
tarnishing Dion’s once immaculate name. These scornful taunts express their indelible frustration that they have endured for so long.
Generations under the stone sky and artificial lights are conducive to an unhealthy society. This sanctioned isolation is indisputably helping
to wipe these people’s unbreakable spirits clean away.

Over the years, they have grown subjectively and abhorrently tolerant to their dismal surroundings. They are almost desensitized to the
less than adequate and deplorable hardships that no man should have to deal with, let alone live in. As a result, more prevalent now, they
begin to notice a cynical and rebellious proclivity in their internal society that no one can deny. They are beginning to change, reflecting the
grave angst and animosity festering in the depths of their tortured souls. In their inglorious and dramatic fall from grace, the Old City has
become the home of vagrants, thieves, murderers, rebels, monsters, unspeakable evils, and the underprivileged but innocent citizens of
Dion alike. A far cry from their once passive and submissive demeanor, but they had no other choice in this repressive evolution of the
mind, body, and soul——a testament to their infertile ambiance.

They make do with what they have and improvise where they are lacking. A few have made somewhat of an uncomfortable home out of
insurmountable adversity, where others have become overwhelmed by the same afflictions. As their forefathers before them rebuilt the new
capital in the upper city, they too have forged ahead despite their overwrought restraints. They have rebuilt several subpar variations
scattered in remote pockets throughout the region, divided into districts. They have done the best they could with the best they knew how.

A heavy tax comes with their survival, beyond the shackles enslaving them to intolerable stipulations, beyond the underwhelming anxiety of
hopelessness, and beyond their tormentors wishing them an irreconcilable and excruciating death. They have succumbed to a societal
depression of self-loathing and destructive behavior, wavering on a pendulum of uncertainty. Some have surrendered, choosing to accept
their defeat, while a few unmovable extremist refuse to claim this despondent reality. The third-class citizens were, after all, the rightful
born children of Zenith shoveled underneath the dirt and ostracized to make room for Dion’s precious brood.

Ten years have passed since someone assassinated King Graven, the ninth king. Explosive planted in the palace supposedly took the lives
of the monarchy except for the young prince, who inherited the kingdom and became the youngest king to ever govern these territories.
However, now he isolates himself in fear, his father’s conspirator never brought to justice, leaving a tremendous void carved deep in their
hearts, exposing the entire kingdom to Sedi’An’s Curse to creep in and gain ground. In his sorrow and regret, he has now become the first
tyrant king to ever rule these lands with an iron fist, hiding from his own people and his own fears, hoping that the people will not discover
his shame and realize what he has forsaken.

The people in the Old City have their reasons to want to rise beyond the anguish they have inherited and escape this rigid place, while
those that oppress them selfishly insists for them to remain in their decrepit mausoleum where they belong, beneath their feet, buried alive,
and out of their sight. It seems no one can be absolutely happy in this world unless those around them suffer miserably.

However, some of them choose to remain in this seclusion, unseen from the scrutiny of the public eye, and they will have it no other way.
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