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Book 5, Chapter 15 - Preliminary Stages Complete

 Nightfall, Greenland City.

Cloudhawk stood on the roof of the fort, looking down over his domain. This rare gem amid the sands... he remembered when it used to be a vicious place. The sort of place that would chew you up and spit you out. Since he'd come, him as his friends had helped the city shed its savage face. It was finally starting to come together as a home, where people could grow and be safe.

Before the enchantment was constructed there was nothing protecting their oasis from the ravaging sandstorms that plagued the wastes. However, now the God Tree blessed them with three hundred and sixty degrees of protection. Where before the city had only the facade of lawfulness, now there was true order. Meanwhile their high walls kept out the mutants and savages. Within the confines of the city, the dilapidated shanties were leveled to make way for brand new structures.

Dawn had played an important role in this slate of new residential buildings.

By giving her these presents, Cloudhawk had inspired her to work even more diligently. Between Terrangelica and her new relic, Heart of the Mire, changing the environment to their purposes became even easier. By calling up stones from the earth she constructed frames for these buildings, which then their trainee construction workers set about filling in. Gradually the city was peppered with stone towers for various purposes.

These towers were clearly inspired by Skycloud architecture. Each one was a round tower with five floors. Each floor was separated into four sections. Each section housed a family.

Ten towers constituted a neighborhood, which had its own roads, parks and markets. Such construction made the city seem staggered and broken up. It lacked the luxury of Skycloud but was functional and had a simplistic charm. They were far from done, but now people were starting to see what the future of Greenland City looked like.

This was what happened when everyone worked hard together. Without cooperation, Cloudhawk couldn't have accomplished any of this.

"Good. Very good. Greenland City is coming along very nicely. "Cloudhawk was very satisfied with the progress he saw. He turned to the chief designer by his side. "Thanks for your help. Without you we wouldn't have been able to work on this scale - much less design the streets and such. I have no idea what it would look like otherwise."

Gabriel was modest. "Well, you called us all together. Without you, we'd have no one to lead us."

"So what do you think of our new city so far?"

Cloudhawk was a little anxious about the answer he would receive. The Polaris family, for instance, were a noble family. It was hard to get used to living in squalor compared to the luxuries they grew up in. The food wasn't as delicious as Elysian fair, and their lodgings were spartan to put it kindly. What's more, they had to spend every day working with wastelanders - a class of people they'd despised all their lives.

Could they stomach it? Now things were at a point where they couldn't leave.

"Naberius and I are artists," Gabriel said, his arms folded. The last rays of the setting sun glimmered against his golden hair. Altogether very heroic. "And artists love to take the rugged and turn it into something beautiful. We've done countless works, but I think Greenland City will be our most important. As far as I'm concerned this place is precious."

Strong words from such a shy, sullen fellow.

"I'm afraid other people won't think so."

"Everyone feels the same to different degrees." Gabriel looked at Cloudhawk. "You can't assume everyone thinks the way you do, or think they might. You need to see it from the heart. Yeah, these folks have lost something, but they gained freedom in return. Life is harder than it used to be, but now they have something to look forward to. Tomorrow is in their hands, and there's nothing more inspiring than that."

"Heh, always the schizophrenic. Never know when you're going to change your mind." Cloudhawk chuckled teasingly. "I see you and Barb are getting pretty close. You're getting better at picking up the ladies, you dog. I guess even hopeless cases like you can learn."

Gabriel's face grew sour. "Yeah, not one tenth of your talent though."

"That's the wrong way of thinking about it. I've never chased women - they've always chased me."

Gabriel was speechless as he sized up the new Governor. He was wrapped tight in dirty gray bandages that only revealed his eyes. His relatively wiry frame was hidden beneath the ever-present tattered cloak that made him look weird and mysterious. Now he had a creepy gauntlet covering one arm and a broken sword on his back.

He was the picture of a wastelander, from head to toe. He had an average figure and the recent battle had left him disfigured... so how the fuck was he getting all the girls? From Selene to Dawn, Hellflower to Autumn, each one beautiful and talented. It was a mystery.

After sharing a few words with Gabriel, Cloudhawk was in high spirits. Sometime in the last few days he'd changed, from a lone wolf to a city leader. It was never a part he thought he'd play. It came with increased pressure and responsibility but he didn't feel like he'd lost any freedom. It was like Gabby said; things were hard, but tomorrow was in his hands. Wasn't that real freedom?

His mentality had changed a lot from only a couple years ago. The world they'd all been born into was a flawed one. Whether it was man or all the other things, there were always weaknesses, always defects.

The pursuit of perfection was only ever asking for torment. Better to build the paradise you wanted than to try and find it outside. All of mankind's struggles were just paths on their quest toward peace of mind.

"What are you still doing here? You're such a pain in the ass!" Dawn stomped over, grabbed Cloudhawk, and started dragging him away. "It's an important day, everyone's waiting for you to speak!"

In the center of Greenland City the citizens had gathered, a veritable sea of humanity. The very first residential buildings had been completed. In all it'd taken just over ten days. It was staggeringly fast and all these people were here to see their grand opening.

The gathering took place in Greenland's newly renovated square. Dawn had made the ground flat and even, now surrounded by rows of circular towers. The citizens looked at it all with burning expectations. All were eager to be the first to move into these new lodgings, and for many it was their first opportunity to see this mysterious new leader.

"The Governor has arrived!" All heads rose toward the dais that'd been constructed in the square. The air shimmered and a figure appeared.

News had already spread that the Governor and his people possessed strange and magical powers. However, seeing it now before their eyes, the normal folk of Greenland were amazed.

Cloudhawk looked out over the crowds. "I am Cloudhawk, Governor of Greenland City."

Although he'd appeared before the people more than once, most citizens still didn't know what he looked like. It was a surprise to see that their Governor, this strange and powerful man... looked just like them.

Rather, it was his inner circle that was so strange. The men all seemed handsome, the women capable, nothing typical about any of them. Excluding, of course, the lame old man who followed them around.

By comparison Cloudhawk seemed rather down to earth. He was a wastelander after all.

"As you all can see, Greenland City is going through a period of change. These were our first steps and they've been a success. I've called everyone together so that we can all share in this success together." Cloudhawk looked and sounded very self-satisfied, but his words dialed it back. "But this can't be enough. It's only the beginning. Our home is a rare gem in a hostile wilderness, which we will cultivate into paradise. But to do it we will need everyone's hard work and support. I believe that if we do that, we can turn this gem into a dazzling, unparalleled jewel."

Murmurs were passed among the crowd. Cloudhawk looked at the sea of awkward faces. He saw fear and doubt. Only a few were confident enough to seem happy at the announcement.

Cloudhawk wasn't surprised. Trust was perhaps the wasteland's rarest commodity. For all his lofty promises he might as well be farting into the wind. It was a sobering reminder. He didn't want refugees coming and going as they pleased, or people who defected elsewhere when it didn't go the way they wanted. What he needed was citizens who could help him make this place great!

He wanted people who were willing to pick up their weapons and defend their home when it was in danger. Because they believed there was no other place like it and it was something worth fighting for. But from the faces he saw below him, it seemed this was going to be a long process. It didn't matter. He had the patience and dedicated to see it through.

"I won't waste your time." Cloudhawk wasn't good at inspiring hearts and minds. He was just going to be straight with them. "Make sure your eyes are open. We're about to enter into a whole new era."

He punctuated the assertion with a wave of his hand. He watched as mouths hung open and eyes went wide, for all around the towers twinkled to life.

Electricity. This was electricity! Every single building?

Hellflower's experiments with the mushrooms had gone well. These newly constructed neighborhoods had two or three mushroom trees each providing them with electricity. Power was a very unusual benefit out in the wastelands. Usually it was reserves just for the leader's lodgings.

Houses were just the beginning. Hellflower was laying the groundwork for a fully integrated electric grid. Everyone, everywhere would have access to power.

Her new engine was nearly ready and tracks were being laid for it around the city peripheral. Word was a fleet of transport trains were being constructed to facilitate the movement of people and resources through the city.

Finally, they'd begun to see. It was almost more than they could believe, like living in a fairy tale.

Cloudhawk watched the electric lights fill the square and beneath the bandages he grinned. Days of hard work had really paid off.

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