She wasn't out for long before the jerking motions of her captors brought her back to consciousness. They'd bound her wrists in leather strips, and two guards held onto her.
Their grips loosened as she shook off the black spots clouding her vision and began to walk on her own. They were on a well worn stone trail that had been cut through the mossy floor.
It led down into the darkness cast by the wall far above them.
Lydia glanced to the side at one of her captors and he glared back with his all black eyes. They were huge and her scraped and dirty, moonlit face was reflected in them.
Up close she could see that the rats not only carried crude spears, but also wore leather straps with pouches and hide armor over their grey fur.
She saw the grip of, what had briefly been, her gun, poking out of a pouch swinging from the leader's hip.
The whole group was nearly silent. Occasionally they would click their yellow curved teeth, or make a hissing noise, but their procession was solemn.
Lydia thought she knew why, but she craned her head back uphill to check. She saw a large rat shape lying on the upper hillside. No doubt her last shot had killed one of them.
At the time it had seemed her only choice, but now she had blood on her hands, something she'd avoided in the past, and her guards didn't seem the forgiving type.
Blood from her newly acquired spear wound ran down to her hand.
The wound was bound in a cloth the rats must have tied on her arm, but still it leaked and all that fresh blood made her right wrist slick.
She subtly shifted her hand realizing that she might be able to slip out of the leather binding. She stilled her movements not seeing any plausible opportunities for escape.
Waiting seemed the best option. Besides, drastic action had gotten her into this mess.
Her left hand throbbed, probably broken from when she had landed on it, arriving at this place. Where was she? Or, more importantly, where were they taking her?
The rats marched her down the path and into the wide shadow at the bottom of the wall.
As she passed into the dark, she looked up and watched the moon disappear behind the top of the wall, a sky scraper's height above her.
It took her eyes a moment to adjust to the lack of light, but her guards seemed to know the path well, or else had an easier time adjusting, because their movements quickened.
Eventually Lydia was able to make out in the dark valley that the stone path had converged with others and become a wide road.
It led to a stone bridge, which was high and curved like the back of a stretching cat, and she could hear a stream moving below, but couldn't see it.
On the other side of the stream was the beginning of a city. Stone hovels of four simple slabs leaned here and there at the base of the hill that ran up to the towering wall.
Mud packed the corners and the roofs were topped with browning patches of moss.
Their doors were half blocked by tall flat stones, the other half closed off with long leather hides that shadowy figures passed through.
More rats moved on the road, a very few with torches held high and slightly behind them, flickering in the dark.
Some held spears like Lydia's captors, while others carried short dagger's that looked like ice picks, except they seemed to be cut from ivory, or bone.
A few of the rats pulled them out, as she was taken by, and held them toward her point first, as if warding off evil.
They passed through the hovel town, up the hill through a head high wall of cut stone, and into a series of more regular stone structures.
This portion of the city was quieter, and a few of the buildings here rose several stories.
The hill which the city sat on was frequently split with deep cracks, and little flat stone bridges interrupted their path every few minutes.
From them, Lydia could make out the distinct sound of churning water.
Some of the buildings even seemed to straddle these narrow canyons, and underneath she thought she saw dangling ropes rising and falling with buckets or hooks on their ends.
Eventually they came to the face of the great wall itself. There were many openings carved into the wall, but they went through the largest one, which was tall and rounded.
Four guards walked them in and under it, and helped them to roll aside the massive stone that had been placed in front of the inner doorway.
Within was a small chamber and another stone, which the guards knocked on in a specific pattern. The inner guard rolled away their stone likewise and they were allowed to enter.
Lydia wasn't asked to help so she stood and watched, but she wondered at what threat these people feared so much that they would block up their fortress in such a way.
They took her inside, and to her surprise, not down to some dungeon, but up through a winding staircase carved into the grey stone of the fortress.
It took them more than an hour, but eventually they stepped off the stairs and into one of the long corridors that ran through the width of the wall.
By then Lydia's legs had given out, and she had been unconsentingly slung over one rat's shoulder.
She was relieved when they finally slid aside a rectangular stone slab, and prodded her into what had to be a holding cell. The stone was moved back into place behind her.
After catching her breath, and tightening the cloth on her arm, she looked around. The room was small and carved from the grey stone of the great wall.
There was a slit in the far side that functioned as a window, and from it Lyida could feel a cold breeze. She went over to it and peered out.
Her cell was far above the rat's city. She had to be three fourths of the way up the wall. She heard a crunching noise as she leaned on the stone, and quickly jumped back, eyes wide.
She could trace a series of thin lines in the wall, but it was hard to tell if they were marks made by previous residents, or signs of the wall's deterioration.
If it broke with her against it, she would fall hundreds of feet. Tentatively she tested the wall with her bound hands, but it still held.
Once her adrenaline dispersed, she realized she could hear a whirring noise just above the wind. It sounded like it was coming from a floor or two up.
She crouched on the ground and looked up through the slit. To her surprise she saw the blades of a wooden windmill rotating quickly in the upper air.
It looked to be suspended on a frame a few feet out from the wall. She stood on her tiptoes and looked down, pressing her fingers gently against the chill stone.
There were a few similar windmills below her, but they seemed to stop rather abruptly. Maybe that was where the wind stopped? The windmills there did seem slower than the one above.
From here she could see that the high walls on the left and right, of the square courtyard where the rats lived, looked equally high to the one she had been imprisoned in.
Likely they would shield the lower section of the wall from the wind, but up this high it was whipping by.
Lydia noticed something hanging from one of the lowermost windmills: a thick brown cloak clawed at by the wind.
At first she thought it was another rat, maybe someone repairing it? But then, when his head tilted up, she saw it was a man.
In that instant, despite being clawed at by the winds, and being suspended over a deadly drop, he caught her eye, framed in that narrowed slit, and smiled up at her.