**Continued from Part V**
The world of the dead had no sun to shine down on it. Although it seemed as though it was always nighttime, it was not entirely dark. The city of the dead had countless lights glowing within it, even up to the heights of the cathedral. Some of them were a ghostly color, not quite white, but like a ghost, or the color of old bones. Others were the same eerie shade of green that Peter seemed to glow with. Every now and then, she saw a faint blue glow, but those did not seem to last.
The city was a mass of tall buildings, like spires that pierced the darkness, lights glowing in windows here and there all the way up. The air smelled rich and deep, like soil that had just been turn up from deep down. Rowan also had the sense of something just of the edge of rot; it reminded her that the air might have smelled horrible there, but instead it somehow tolerable.
They walked on, the dirt crunching beneath their feet as they began to descend the hill towards the necropolis. As still and silent as she had imagined the place to be, it was neither of those things. There was a soft sort of wind blowing across them, and the noises of small things moving in the fields on either side of the path. Rowan might have called it grass, but it was nothing like the lush green that filled her backyard. It had faded and darkened ages ago, a mere husk of its former self.
The path carried them down towards a gate. Peter slowed his pace as they approached it.
“There is a wall around the city,” Peter told her. “And only a few gates allow passage through it. The dead are not allowed to leave the city unless their next fate has been decided.”
“Do they enter the gate when they first arrive here?” Rowan asked him. “Or do they find themselves in the city when they die?”
Peter stopped and looked down at her. “This field around us,” he told here. “is as vast as it is dark. The dead show up in the fields, and if they are able, they find their way to the city.”
“You mean some of them are unable?”
Peter sighed and looked out into the shadows of the field. It became apparent that there was also no moon; there was not even starlight to guide their way. “Some spirits are not in a state to come to the city. They wander the fields for ages before…”
“Before what” Rowan pressed.
“You have seen movies, heard stories… sometimes the dead are restless or tormented. In life, they suffered a great deal of pain, and in death…” He shook his head. “It takes them a lot longer to get to the city.”
Rowan to at the gate that they were approaching. “Then what’s so important about this city?”
“Besides the fact that your friend is in it?” Peter asked. “Everything, really. You’ll never leave the realm of the dead without passing through the city first. …Not unless something very bad is going on.”
**Continued in Part VII**