For many visitors, San Paro begins and ends in Havalynd, with its iconic architecture and dazzling vertically, and its skyline remains the city's defining image. It's where the real power lies, with the corporations and financial institutions making their homes high above the pell-mell of the city streets.
Havalynd was always about money. When the banks first moved in, with their tidy little fortresses made out of brick, horses were still shitting in the gutters outside. Things were nice and conventional then, almost a gentleman's agreement. The banks kept the money in big metal boxes, and the crims tried to get in the boxes and take the money. Everybody knows where everybody stood.
Trains came, then cars. Havalynd expanded outwards and upwards. An initial wave of vertical engineering, growing in momentum through the first few decades of the twentieth century, stalled in the shadows of global conflict. Throughout the decades after, the center gradually emerged above the stunted grids of the surrounding districts.
By the eighties, Havalynd was reaching its fingers into the sky. A new found optimism and stridency had infected every sphere of society. San Paro was a boomtown, and money was pouring in. Developers competed to create the biggest, the greatest, the most priapic monuments to their wealth and power.
At ground level, sheet glass gives way to marbled foyers. In the forecourts stand cantilever steel sculptures, fountains spume skyward. And at nearly every corner, regular as lamppost, men wait rigid, fake-nonchalant, all the time scanning behind their dark suits and dark shades. Utopia patrolled by private security.
The flagship stores of the fashion cognoscenti line Border Street. Behind the type-traps and raid barriers, Sensays rubs shoulders with Carlo Vitorelli, Devereaux jewels glitter like waterfalls under the reinforced displays, and even Testero and Lyka, whose very public spat at the San Paro Fashion Expo the previous year had exploded into a legal fireball of suit and counter-suit, were willing to share space in the invitation-only Golden Mall that graced the ground floor of the prestigious Pyramid complex on Shianxi Boulevard. Even the shop dummies here are fashioned from chatoyant mahogany and inlaid with ivory. At ground level, Havalynd has always had the power to dazzle. But then, most of Havalyned doesn't happen at ground level.
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