During one particularly long winter, labyrinths began to break out in the metropolis like a civic disease. Every night, alleyways began to weave through one another, forming thick knots of concrete that blended with subway lines and decrepit telegraph tunnels. Brick and fiberglass curled into wild helices, and highways shed their skins like serpents to contribute to the tangle. By daylight, no evidence remained of these predatory mazes beyond the frozen bodies left behind by those who had been ensnared within.

Eventually, legends began to spread not only of these dark spaces, but also, of the one who could lead lost souls out of its urban caverns. She was said to be cloaked in robes of paisley midnight, illuminated by what was apparently her own blood. In her right hand, she carried her own luminous heart like a lantern, a throbbing ingot of golden muscle tethered to her chest by an assortment of thick cables. It dripped here and there as she wandered, leaving behind a trail of ichor that others could follow to safety.

Those who claim that she escorted them out of the labyrinth state also that she offered them no name beyond “Wayfinder,” and made little conversation beyond insisting on trust in her judgment. There are, however, plenty of rumors about her origin. Supposedly, the maze swallowed her whole one ill-fated evening, but she managed to survive the ordeal and crawl to safety through its wires, although her anatomical structure was permanently altered.  “A streetlamp poured her back into our world like a faucet,” goes one version of the story. “She died that night, and was reborn as part of the city itself.”

Others are not so sure about this interpretation. “This city has never been on humanity’s side,” explained one vagrant, who had grown tired of hearing this rendition. “The steel, the glass, hell, even the garbage… it yearns to consume us. Those phantom roads that she wanders are the city’s intestines. No, she’s not part of the city at all; she’s trying to protect us from it.”