"To the east,” I pointed again, “Nesechia, whose peninsulas are pleasant, with golden forests and ripe fruits and deep harbors good for fishing. It is the home of the starspear, and those trained there in its use cannot be rivaled in this world.
"And directly to the south,” I said again, “cutting through the heart of the highest mountains in the world, the great river Kasora and its valley that leads to the Jade City, also named Kasora. We called it the jewel of the south, and it is the strongest city with the oldest buildings of the world, all the color of jade. The Arks were its war machines, and when they woke it was said they could not be beaten. But they failed during the Wars Between the Cities and will not wake again. Few even see them now, because they are sealed away.
"Before this war, the High Temple was there, and the most ancient libraries. Kasora sits high atop a cliff at the head of the valley with the highest walls and greatest towers of the world, and it has only ever been breached three times: once when the Profusion fell, then when the first Faith overthrew it, and now again when the Augers came, because it was the first city to fall silent.”
I sighed. “Before I killed him, I promised the last Faith that he would behold the Jade City, but it was the machines who spoke, and not myself.”
Julius smiled. “The machines, you say. The White Swarm? Then perhaps there is hope. Otherwise I would say that there is not.”
I furrowed my brow. “Why?” I asked. “What were you arguing about? And where was Marcus in all this? Surely some captain could have been loading the mastodons. I thought Jerem Cozak would want to hear his arguments.”