Circles in the Dark - Part I
The moon crept across the sky, and far far below it Hectar and Shacruna were but two black scraps sliding up and down the rippling dunes.
Unfolding in their minds was a whole host of imagined dramas, playing out against the backdrop of an unstable Meditar.
The unrest in Yptah chilled Hectar to the bone. The signs were subtle and well-disguised, but there was no doubt the Principaean Senate had started pulling strings long ago tied in place; that carefully planned social ploys were now being executed. The thanes of Yptah were caught in an intricate web, cold and calculated, and each way they turned only bound them up further.
There were already ten thousand imperial spears in the streets, with more arriving every day, and now with the Queen and much of her Council dead or disappeared it would be some time before Aethetaria acted cohesively. By that time it would be too late, and the Empire would be in control. Principaea’s Senate already had a list of handpicked replacements for each of the fallen Council members. The Senate would intimidate, coerce, or impeach any of the stalwart Councillors who remained, and would do everything in their power to string up an interim government which was, ultimately, under their command.
The Empire operates ever out of fear, knew Hectar, most ancient killer of the mind. Emperor Aegonus is dead, and with him that fleeting glimpse of paradise has passed, and the Senate again seeks to possess the world itself...
Now in the aftermath of Aethetaria’s public murders, in this artificially created circumstance of terror, the thanes of Yptah were likely to abandon or forget much of the wisdom they were known for. They would be blind to the hands that put the puppet government in place, in fact, they might even vote the puppets in themselves. Just as the master of puppets intended.
Nobody notices the strings when they’re reeling from some fresh terror, and just trying to survive.
Fear...it all comes down to fear.
Primordial confuser; corruptor of the soul. A state of fear reduces even a Sage to some creature of base instincts, seeking under its desperate influence only to satisfy instinctual survival. In the envelope of fear man becomes beast again – for the powers of reason are chemically clouded, and all ideals are utterly forsaken.
A cunning plan, bred there in that numb void beyond morality. A thing of pure mind; the emotionless mind of a predatory genius.
And yet, with skin crawling, he caught himself in awe of this plan; for it was possessed of an undeniable efficacy, albeit only when examined through the lens of pure logic.
But Hectar's awe was immediately replaced with horror when considering its method. No lens could hide how it showed a total indifference towards people and their lives. Human carnage and national upheaval were used as tools in some social architect's arsenal. A means to an end; an end which justified any means.
It was painful even to imagine how such a plan was rationalized, the mental contortions it demanded, and the total absence of feeling required to formulate, stage, and maintain it.
Someone dreamed up this dark, dark dream; and someone then bid other people enact it, mostly without their even knowing it.All those blind dumb dogs of war and state...what terrible intelligence are we up against, that can leash the freedom of entire nations?