Have you ever been to Tree Top Town? It’s the strangest place. It’s an area of Hercynia, not too far from where I live, and the architecture is so weird. It includes a residential area plus a small assortment of shops, but the entire thing is built on these elevated concrete platforms, with bridges in between. I wonder why it was built like this; I expect there’s some historical reason for it. Anyway, it’s quite pretty, because there are trees growing up amid the bridges, and you’re level with the tops of the trees. There is a touristy market there on Saturdays, which is quite cool if you’re looking for gifts for people, and I went there with a friend this weekend.
The only problem with Tree Top Town, my friend said, is that you want to be careful because it’s easy to wander too far and find yourself in Bridgeside, and that’s a rough place. It’s easy to forget it, because most of the city seems so relaxed, but Hercynia does have quite a history of gang violence, mostly confined to certain areas like Bridgeside. That was never something I worried about in Hyperborea, because it wasn’t such an issue there; occasionally you might hear on the news about someone who’d been attacked, but it was a rare occurrence. Hercynia might not be quite so bad as London, Liverpool or Manchester in terms of gang activity, but it’s up there.
There’s a school near Bridgeside called Knox-Ardsley. The people from that school call it “Hard Knocks” – well, with a name like that, it’s the obvious pun, isn’t it? Sometimes people from that school come over to our school and hang around outside the gates, and a lot of them dress like Hawkbites. You got people like that at my old school, who would call themselves gangsters and use that as an excuse to be violent, abusive and generally noxious to everyone, but here there’s the possibility that they might actually be Hawkbites, which I find pretty scary. My friends and I just give them a wide berth.