i) The bony palisade

The bony palisade rises up to a cream-coloured sky. It’s tipped in spikes, such that giants might fear — they’re entirely too tall to threaten our dogged team.

Set into the palisade is a massive gate, held closed with a series of cogs and levers, criss-crossed with chains.

Shyan bangs on the gate with a gloved fist. A face appears at a tower rising up beyond the palisade. The tower, too, is made of bones — enormous vertebrae, they appear to be, stacked atop one another like a spinal column rising out of the earth.

The face is that of a bird-like creature, with two orange forward-facing eyes, and a fleshy beak protruding below. It emits a shrill squawk. “What’s in the crates?” it asks.

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