As the Cirque's last day on Belle Isle comes to a close, the grounds light up. This feast-day is as jovial and bright as any other. There are tables filled with excellent foods, piled high with everything from meats to sweets. Local fare is blended in with the rest of the prepared food – samples from the Detroit restaurants that employees have explored and liked best. The evening rises up around them, brightened by the lights of the circus. But these fade, going out one by one as the employees take to their beds.
Just before midnight, the Coven, the Ringmaster, and some of the Fae gather around the Cauldron. Soon, the familiar power begins to build. The magic is the same as always, both familiar and strange. A steady build, a sudden swell – the feeling of time and space folding in on themselves... And then the release of all the magic, the dizzying sensation of movement and then settling. Just like that, cool night of Detroit is gone, fading into something different – still cool and clear, but the air is different.
The lovely scenery of Belle Isle has faded away, replaced by the lush, structured grounds of a fortress. A high stone wall rises around the Cirque, obscuring all but the towering glow of the Ferris Wheel. For some, the turrets that rise above the circus tents are unmistakeable – the Tower of London and its grounds, nearly a thousand years old, is the new host to the Cirque Nocturne. The Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat, the general layout of the site mostly unchanged since the late 13th century.
London, England – The Tower of London
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period.