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Alex Makridakis Alex Makridakis
Recommendations: 6

The City of Peace and Plenty

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She had a friend.

A totalitarian society has sucked all the free will out of their people, but are they really that evil? Written in 4 hours for a TAFE assignment.

Somewhere deep in the mountains, where no man had ventured, there was a city of dissonance. The land had never been touched by the ravages of war or famine, yet the people stranded dead on their feet, working day in and day out until the peace of death could find them. The rulers cared not for money or power, only for the people, yet still the people suffered and suffered until they knew nothing but suffering, and thus felt at ease, for suffering had become the norm. While the rest of the world tore itself apart, the city was at peace. A peace forged in pain and misery, but peace nonetheless. We begin this story in the year 1405 of the solar calendar, in the Room of Plenty, where the chancellors discussed the monthly report.

The Room of Plenty was a humble place, in spite of being located in a castle overlooking the city. The castle was not like other castles, in which they are made for the King's luxury and servants. This castle was for all of the members of the Council, as their job was their life. The walls came no higher than that of an average thatch cottage, but were made of stone, with tasteful windows that overlook a tasteful grassy knoll that obscured the working class. In the centre of the room was a circular table with fourteen seats, so that no one man would seem in a position of power over his peers. As all of the members sat in their positions, the High Chancellor initiated his monthly progress report.

"Our statistic collectors note an increase in wheat production by 6.23 percent, and note that if production were to stop, we would have enough wheat to feed the city for 30 years"

This was met with much applause, as this was the goal of the previous 5 year plan.

"We have also eradicated the Barley weed, which other cities have used to poison the minds of their people with its toxic by-product"

This was met with even more applause, as this was an unexpected turn of events. One of the only times surprises are welcomed in the Room. Unbeknownst to them, trouble stirred in the depths of their beloved city and in the hearts of its precious inhabitants. The Nomadic Explorer, whose life is freedom for freedom's sake, infiltrated the walls of the fabled "City of Peace". What he saw was not what he had expecting of a city with such a name. He saw misery, but not as he knew it. He did not see children dying in the streets, or soldiers extorting money from the poor. Instead he saw nothing of meaning. He saw the people, indistinguishable in any meaningful way, toil in back breaking work with no rest or luxury. He couldn't see people, only husks. As he witnessed this false peace, his heart sank, and he resolved to free these people from their misery. He gathered people and shared in foreign luxury, such as beer and opium. This continued for weeks, all while dodging the Moral Police, and the people were inspired.

He organized a plot to steal the Moral Police's weapons from their vaults, which were unopened for decades. What would a city of peace need of weapons? The heists were easier than the Explorer could have imagined, as the Moral Police had become lazy with inactivity, and paid no attention to small noises or shadows in the corners of the eyes. The weapons were rusted, but functional, and even a poor weapon is better than fists and feet.

Word spread to the High Council, who had no plan for something like this. Hundreds of plans for the efficient rationing of wheat, but naught for any sort of siege, internal or external. In their panic they sealed their fate. They did the one unforgivable thing that made them monsters in the people's eyes.

They cut off the chocolate rations.

When the people heard of this, they stormed the castle. There was no planning, no thought, just hatred and rage of beasts let off a leash onto their abusive trainers. The chocolate was the one thing that the people held sacred, as even sex was strictly controlled to avoid famine. The Explorer tried to stop them, fearing bloodshed, but was cut down and forgotten. The castle had ample defences from times where conflict and invasion were still fathomable, but had long become inactive with decay, and there was no one trained in their use. This is all a moot point, as anyone still loyal to the council defected after the banning of chocolate. Within 3 minutes of receiving the news about the chocolate rations, the people had breached the High Chancellor's room.

His room was in a worse state than those of the workers, as while he denied people luxuries, he had no time for them. Every waking hour was spent upholding the peace and protecting the future of the people. There was a lone straw bed in his room, and nothing else. The High Chancellor stood tall but feeble, and man nearing death in more ways than one, but refusing to give up.

Words were shared between the impromptu leader of the charge and the High Chancellor, but the only people who know what He said are either dead or dying. Rumours say that he begged to be spared, that he tried to join them to save his life, that he tried to kill at least one before going down, that he miraculously escaped. I believe that he faced death with dignity, and in his mind he regretted what had become of his brothers and sisters. With no leaders, the people had finally found their freedom.

That was 5 years ago. The City of Peace, whose people had been indoctrinated all their lives, had been thrust into a position of power. With no concept of leadership, democracy, or rational decision making, the people splintered into factions, now known as the fourteen Barbarian Tribes. The once fertile land had been destroyed with constant skirmishes and enemy tribes salting the earth in spite. This place is now known as the infamous Badlands, where no one dares venture for fear of their lives. Is there a moral in this story? I'm sure there is, my friends, but I think that is for the historians, not the bards. And certainly not one for the people.

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