A cold, harsh wind battered her frozen figure, howling with malicious laughter. It was so cruel, so unlike Sandover village, and Keira hated it.
It appeared to be day when she awoke, although it was hard to tell in that dusty city. It was so claustrophobic.
In Sandover, the warmth caressed her skin, and the ground was covered in smooth grass or soft sand, so she didn't need to wear feet-coverings like the people of this city. Here, she felt frightened and isolated.
People milled about, and vehicles which looked oddly like her A-Grav zoomer whizzed past. Decrepit beige buildings lined what were presumably the city walls. A foul stench stung her nostrils, unlike the soft smell of grass or sea that she was accustomed to. Even when she breathed through her mouth, she could still taste the acrid smell of this place.
Keira shivered. Her thin, cropped tank top, knee-length trousers and bare feet did not suit this place.
She sank to her knees, burying her face in her hands. Where was her father? Or Jak? Or even Daxter? Even that little furball's face would be a welcome relief!
The people here, were so remote. The civilians passed her by like she was insignificant, and the soldiers, in their bulky crimson armour, seemed to be annoyed by the scene she was making.
"Are you okay?" Asked a feminine voice.
Keira reluctantly showed her face, seeing concerned blue eyes gazing back at her from the friendly face of a young blonde woman. She didn't seem all that much older than Keira herself. The frightened mechanic shook her head. She knew better than to trust strangers, but what choice did she have? Sit here alone and hope her father and friends would find her? Not likely.
"Oh, why?" Asked the blonde, crouching beside her.
"I-I'm lost. I don't know how I got here and I don't know what this place is. I hate it here!"
Surprisingly, the blonde woman giggled. "I know, it looks kinda awful, doesn't it? You can thank Baron Praxis for that...though I guess it was never all that pretty here..."
The woman trailed off, gazing around. Keira interrupted the blonde's thoughts with a question. "Baron who?"
"Praxis." The woman repeated, giving the mechanic a curious stare. "Where exactly do you come from? Everyone's heard of the stupid baron."
"Not me," Keira smiled nervously. "I, uh, come from a little village, no where near here."
The blonde raised her pale eyebrows, but didn't pry any further.
"He's an nasty guy, Praxis. He oppresses people, but everyone who stands up to him gets killed, or put in prison. Either way, it's not good."
"But surely people still stand up to him though?" Keira questioned. "Otherwise, they'll always be in his power."
The blonde grinned, as though some new idea had taken hold of her. She pulled Keira to her feet, grabbing the girl's wrist and tugging her down a grimy side street. Keira cried out as she stepped on a jagged piece of metal.
"We need to get you some shoes." Said the blonde.
She pulled Keira to a small door at the end of the small street. It opened, apparently of it's own accord, and Keira was pushed reluctantly down the narrow stairway.
Bunk beds lined the small dark room, with poorly fitted shelves adorning the grimy walls. A low table, covered in papers sat opposite her. The blonde woman led her over to it, and the thin brunette man who was leaning so close to the maps, his nose was probably touching them. He didn't seem to have seen them.
"Ahem," said the blonde, "Torn? I've got a surprise!"
He looked up at her, and scowled momentarily before he spotted Keira, and she cringed. His face was so heavily tattooed with blue, it almost reminded her of Gol and Maia.
"What the hell is this?" He snapped rudely in a gruff voice.
The blonde woman grinned, sitting on the table, which Keira now realised was covered in maps and blueprints. A few papers fluttered to the ground, deepening the scowl on Torn's face.
"What are you doing?!" He cried, "you can't just bring random people in here!"
"Yes I can," she countered. "No one died and made you boss. Anyway, this isn't a random person, I thought she'd make a great new recruit, she totally agrees with our cause."
"Are you stupid? She could be a spy." He scrutinised her, especially her shoeless feet, before turning back to the blonde. "How would she be any good, she's so scrawny."
Keira rolled her eyes, she'd had enough of those kind of comments from her father, who was adamant that she worked too much, and so didn't eat enough Yaccow meat. It never even crossed his mind that she may not like eating Yaccow meat because it tasted like feet.
"But she's smart, and she's got spirit!" The blonde protested, jumping from the table, scattering more papers. Torn groaned with annoyance.
"I don't even know what you two are talking about." Keira piped up.
They glanced at her with surprise, as though they had forgotten that she was even present.
"I'm Tess," smiled the blonde woman. "I'm the barmaid at the Hip Hog Saloon. This is Torn, he's the commander of the-"
"QUIET!!" He yelled. A shelf fell from the wall, along with a piece of plastering. "You can't tell her stuff like that, she might be a spy!"
Keira could feel her anger bubbling at being so in the dark. These two hadn't told her a single thing, except their names. She'd thought Tess might be taking her to someone who could get her home, but she'd actually taken Keira to some ass who wasn't being in the least bit helpful.
"So Mr. Grumpy over here is the commander of the Underground. We're trying to overthrow Praxis."
"Just the two of you?" Keira scoffed, forcing her anger to subside. Tess smiled and shook her head. Keira wasn't comforted. "But what about me? What do you want me to do? I don't even know this place, or anything about you people. I just want to find my father, and my friends, and go home!"
"Don't worry." Tess smiled reassuringly. "Just you rest now. I don't know when you'll be able to find them, but you can stay with us till then. I'm sure there's some way you could make yourself useful until then, right?"
Keira shrugged She didn't care. She wanted to go home. Or to sleep. Either way, she didn't want to spend anymore time talking about this awful place.
"I gotta go, Krew'll be waiting." Tess jumped, bouncing over to the staircase. "See ya!"
Torn strode grumpily over to the bed furthest from his table as the small door banged shut behind Tess.
"You can sleep here." He barked. "Just don't snore, don't fidget, don't talk in your sleep, don't pull the blankets off, don't expect me to read you bedtime stories and please, please don't scream like a girl if you hear gunshots outside."
"But I am a girl." Keira pointed out.
"Just go to sleep." He snapped, striding back over to his little table and dim swinging light.
She did as she was told, and climbed into the cramped bed, ignoring the occasionally shuffling of paper, or irritated noise, or sounds of gunshots outside. She tried to sleep, and forget about the worry of finding her friends and father, her home and her apparent new life in the terrifying haven City.