Chapter 1 [The Old City]
As one moves north, upriver, the city gradually quietens and grows less and less busy. First houses, then entire streets, then finally entire neighbourhoods seem abandoned and partly overgrown.
Curious about this phenomenon, I often went walking in these areas in my time in the Yellow City. At first I did so tentatively, fearing thieves and whatever strange beasts might live there. But I soon came to see these places as dominated by feelings of melancholia and incredible age, rather than danger.
As I ranged deeper and deeper into the Old Town, as it is called, I began to discover the city eventually merging with the very jungle itself. First I found streets given over to trees and bushes, pushing their way up through the pavements. Then I came across great plazas, palaces and temples from the Yellow City’s distant past, covered with vines and mosses, with trees growing through their cracked floors and up through their broken roofs. Ultimately, these buildings come to resemble not so much human constructions but eerie vegetation-covered monoliths haunting the forest.
These jungle ruins indicate that once the city was even larger than it is now, but over millennia its population has receded and moved southwards, leaving ancient suburbs to rot in the jungle. I subsequently heard that the people of the city-proper fear the Old Town, and tell of ghosts and spirits living there, as well as criminal exiles and mad men. I came across none of these. The people also believe that in the ruins are treasures and strange artefacts beyond the imagination of ordinary men. Unfortunately, I came across none of these either.