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The city of Retarc was unlike any other. Situated in a bowl-shape depression it sank down to its center where the Silent Palace stood, rather than rising up to a hilltop as one might consider normal. Rivers from the surrounding countryside flowed into the great bowl, filling the center with a lake that formed a natural moat for the castle. The lake's level never rose despite the inflowing waters, and the lack of a visible outflow.
The city had been terraced, the natural slope cut into level rings, creating numerous waterfalls that were harnessed for power. Great water wheels spun at all hours filling the city with the sound of creaking wood that even the falling waters could not silence. As a result Retarc became an economic powerhouse. The ready access to free power allowed artisans to work their craft with less physical effort which gave way to more thoughtful pursuit of their trades. Retarc-worked steel produced the greatest blades in all the land. Grains milled in the city were finer and cheaper than any local miller could hope to produce. Potters used great fans to fire their kilns, and weavers use fantastic machines to spin thread.
Retarc became the economic center of the six kingdoms. Its lands and merchants defended with the best weaponry in the world. Though its lands were few, and its population small, none of the six kingdoms dared attempt attack for they knew that the other five kingdoms would come to the city's aide.
If only they knew where the water was going. If only they suspected what truly ruled from the Silent Palace. If the six kingdoms were at all aware of Retarc's secrets perhaps they would stand a chance.