“No people to rule, but puppets to entertain the madness.”
The line had arrived months ago, encoded and embedded within an image found at the click of an innocuous link. When it first arrived on the forum no one knew what to make of it. The image was vague enough, a mess of shade nebulously suggestive but otherwise unrecognisable as anything more. It was only a single line, but the data indicated something remained hidden within. A pattern, similar to the first but as of yet wholly undecipherable. After a few weeks most everyone had given up, some admitting to finding the picture oddly unsettling.
The nightmares began one of two ways, though after they proceeded the same. A black shape at the door, its appearance indistinguishable beyond form. One was humanoid, tall but the other...an amorphous jellied implication, movements spreading from it in sinuous feelers throughout a room draped in night. A third mere pillar of darkness, twin lights seeming to serve for eyes. Startled wakefulness followed, the interchangeable figures a retreating spot of void quickly fading from the mind. But where others would have been lost to mist, the memory remained along with the image. Something about it couldn’t be ignored, something that went beyond the idea of cryptic messages and half-perceived meanings within colour and form. When it appeared it was like a revelation had stepped into the room and in an upraised palm there lay more answers than its emptiness might convey.
Everyone knew about the city of course, though few ever had seen it. When our forefathers thought to reclaim the planet it didn’t take long before they ran into the tin men and heard their stories of the sullied gem they had called home. But, in their hubris they wasted what glory they had built and were left wandering, transient nomads of the wastes. Unlike them, our Federation is strong. Already plans are in place to pierce the Murk that looms over all that the tin men had built. Even with the odd incursion by the metal beasts that lurk within the mists we will conquer it as our fathers conquered the skies above even while the planet burned below.
Blood and strength will serve to pierce the veil and claim the knowledge those tin men left behind.
Or so they like to say.
Yet the talk has spread just as that mysterious image and the single line that spurred so much speculation. Already, scores of bodies have left their rural lives in the colonial settlements across the continent, every single one moving toward that brooding presence all had feared before now.
Maybe its a fool’s errand.
Or maybe they will find their dreams when they delve into the depths.
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