At the edge of the desert, meandering fields and little cottages huddle in the shadow of the ruined city, all bent steel girders and crumbling cement blocks outlining the places where skyscrapers used to be. They call it the Labyrinth, a twisted maze of destruction and death. It must have been a great city once, but no one ever went there. It was off-limits, taboo, a stark reminder of the ages of devastation and the perils of progress.
Gabriel, though, didn’t heed the warnings of the village elders, and sneaked off on his own to gather materials — he found plenty of scrap metal, even some old gun parts. Bit by bit, from what he found there, he was able to build the Icarus. As the years went by and he didn’t return, his name was cursed, his defiant ventures into the Labyrinth doubly condemned, since his folly had led to his apparent death. Chastened by the Paritan elders into obedience, no one even thought of trying to follow his footsteps, although his name continued to circulate, a cautionary tale.
A generation passed before another upstart youngster, inspired by Gabriel’s bravery and ingenuity, decided to go poke in the rubble to see what she could find. Soon others followed, and found much there that they could use — copper, steel, even the plans to the Icarus, which had been dumped there when the village leaders wanted Gabriel’s legacy buried. It was too late to stop it now. The people’s curiosity had been aroused, and they began to explore the resources they had so long ignored — and they began to build new airships. Many a renowned airship captain nowadays calls Paritus home.