**Continued from Part VI**
“You have to be careful here,” Peter told her. “You might still be living, but the world of the dead doesn’t care. They’re just as willing to keep you here as they are anyone who’s actually dead.”
“So… what do you mean by that?” Rowan asked.
“I mean there are a thousand different things that could trap you and keep you here,” he explained. “And I don’t even know what all of them are. Just be careful. Stay close, and don’t get distracted.”
Rowan felt like she had been told not to be distracted a thousand times before in her lifetime. She supposed that it applied here just as well as anywhere else.
“Were you scared when you first came here?” Rowan asked him.
“Was I scared? Peter repeated. “I suppose I was as terrified of being here as I was fearless.”
“You mean not at all?” Rowan asked him.
Peter shook his head. “I mean a great deal,” he told her. “I know people think I’m strong and fearless, but a place has me thinking otherwise.”
“I guess I should admit,” Roman said after a moment of thought, “I didn’t know much about you until a few days ago. But from what I’ve read, it didn’t sound like you had expected to…”
“To die?” Peter asked when she faltered.
Rowan nodded. “I mean, at the time that you did,” she explained, “you seem to have been trying to do better for yourself.”
Peter shrugged. “I guess that’s what you get from a lifetime of how I treated my body. But you didn’t come here to meet me, did you?” Peter reminded her. “You’re here for your friend.”
“But it’s interesting that I did meet you,” Rowan pointed out.
“You could meet thousands of interesting people here,” he told her. “And there’s a thousand more that you could never meet. So many have moved on from this place. Like I told you,” he reminded her, “don’t get distracted.”
He walked through the rest of the way to the gates without saying anything else to her. The gates were impossibly tall, but the wall was impossibly taller. It was built stories and stories high, as though it was meant to keep in giants. Then again, the people who might have been in that city, the dead of so long ago, were not giants in a literal sense, but important figures from all of history. Rowan tried to remember what Peter had told her: there was no sense in wondering who had moved on to another life, and who still remained in the necropolis.
The wall was littered with carvings and statues, styles from all sorts of ancient cultures. Some of them looked like images from major cultures, mythologies that she had heard of time and again. Others were things that she did not recognize, but supposed contained symbols from distant cultures.
That was the one thing common to all humans, and it was probably one of the few things that was in all human cultures. The necropolis seemed to be partly a place that couldn’t decide which culture it was from, and partly a place for all cultures. It was somewhat overwhelming to look at.
**Continued in Part VIII**