Iog, City of Gates
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Vital statistics
Type Empire
Location Terra Nullis San
Inhabitants Nexals
Contact N/A

There is a sudden flash of light from all around that blinds you momentarily. As your eyes return to normal, you momentarily see several unknown rune shapes.

Visions and memories, not your own, flood your mind.

There are the eyes of a woman, auburn-haired. Laughing. Her name is Molly.

Here are the cracked and peeling houses of the neighborhood where the you-who-is-not-you grew up.

Two small boys are chasing a dog through a field. One of them has a bb gun, and will shoot it in the side. The wound will get infected, and the dog will die.

The blonde woman buys ice cream for her son. His name is Clay. He has a liver disease. The sun is setting.

The sun rises behind the tower, spreading golden light across a field of yellow grass dotted with sleeping horses. The king is dead; you have failed.

You will hear the racous cries of the fishermen selling their wares one day; the whack-whack snicker-snack of knives gutting tuna and salmon.

The wails of the slaves, so viscous, a pathetic, liquid sound. Mayhaps you'll eat one soon.

You should speak to her. That girl. You know the one I mean. Tell her soon; the world is ending.

The symbols fade and the world rightens.

His voiced bellows from between cracked teeth, "Hey, ho! Waves shall beat and wind may blow! Hold fast, me hearties! We'll be meetin' the pirate kings soon enough."

The true name of the Maker lies hidden between the muted rhythm of a heart beat and the liquid eeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah of the lungs. Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

The dentist grimaces as she sands bits of dried epoxy from a patient's tooth. The teeth are stained - too much tobacco and coffee - and the filling doesn't match.

A handful of dirt splatters on the coffin. The mortuary gave out cards; one side has a picture of a saint, and the other side has the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. You fold it without thinking and put it in your pocket.

His name is Richard. You can smell his lust; it's a oily tang in the city air. He intends to sleep with the blonde stripper. He will fail. You order another drink and wait, the gun heavy in your pocket.

The prisoners sing spirituals as they work along the road. The pounding of rocks punctuates each verse. The noon sun gleams dully off the black steel of the guard's shotgun.

A young brunette woman leans out of an apartment building to watch a wedding processional in the street below. This moment is captured on a greasy stream of film. It will be one of the few photographs of her. She will die a few years later, the victim of a genocidal pogrom.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

Your grandfather is teaching you how to twirl a gun. His enormous hands effortless spin an antique Colt while yours struggle with a cheap, tin pop-gun. You are four years old. He will soon die, and this will be your only memory of him.

Gently the child bobs in the water, bouyed by an air-filled vest. She smiles and gurgles as she learns to swim.

Every time a baby is born in the ward, the nurse presses a little button, and strains of Brahms are heard through the floor.

The tangy smell of cordite fills the air as the deranged assassin finds his mark. The musician dies, bleeding into the gutter. His widow cries over his body.

He is furiously stabbing at the tree where he had carved their initials together inside of a heart. Tears blind him, and he cuts his hand.

The cat is in pain. It does not know how to communicate this to its mother. Instead it sets down, glassy-eyed, barely moving.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

Several thousand miles away, an unsung poet dies.

Thrum thrum thrum.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

She touches his hand, accidentally, electrically. "I'm sorry," she says, but doesn't mean it, not really, he is so handsome. Her name is Hannah; his Francis. One day, in the future, she will bear him a son who will become a president.

You sit at the edge of the lake. Your fishing rod is a simple thing: just a stick with a nylon line tied the end and a bright orange bobber above the hook. Father has a *real* fishing rod, with a reel and everything. There is a metal bucket filled with small trout; he caught them. You will never be happier than this moment, being a son in the moment of your father, who loves you more than you can know. Eventually, you will drift apart, and then together.

He said, "We shouldn't tell anyone about this," as he touched her. She sighs.

I have to let you go. You are no longer mine.

Her name is Tatinana. She likes playing with her doll. Her father is important somehow but she doesn't quite understand. Someday, in the future, she will help to hold down a soldier while a surgeon violently removes a bullet from his chest.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

She doesn't understand. The boy pushed her in the sand; she just wanted to go down the slide. Mother wipes away tears with a cheap tissue. There will be ice cream.

OHGOD OHGOD OHGOD DON'T FUCKING DIE ON ME YOU BITCH. ohfuck you're overdosing. don'tyoufuckingdieplease. Here, take some speed; maybe that will make you well until the ambulance comes.

Things have never been so swell.

The knives! The knives! Once, twice, five, twelve, twenty, they stab and stab. The pain, the pain - my cloak, my hands, the floor, they are painted crimson, this cannot be my blood. That cannot be my son...

I watch the fireflies swarm in the heat. They twist and dance among the eddies of the late summer night; I think of the girl I am crushing on and wish she could experience this with me.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

He is a gentle boy. He loves creatures; he loves the world. Nervously, he tells his parents that he thinks he is gay. "You're no son of mine," father says. "I didn't raise no faggot." There are bruises the next day.

I read your fucking book. Did you hear me? I READ YOUR FUCKING BOOK.

The blood washes down, mixing with the dirt, collecting in the cracks of the soles of my shoes. "I'll have to scrub that out", I think.

She lifts the bowl of soup to her mouth. She thinks of a man she used to love. He boarded a ship one day and she never saw him again.

Thrum thrum thrum.

Thrum thrum thrum.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

That girl, the one with dishwater hair, the one over there...

"Faggot! Faggot!" They scream this at me as they beat me but I'm not gay! I'm not! Stop! The gravel sticks into my skin, my skull lifted and pounded into it. Jesus, jesus, jesus, STOP.

Here sings the sun. It shines yellow upon the trees. They are golden in its light. I step across a broken branch and take her hand. Her touch is electric, like a jellyfish.

There is a burbling sound as he tries to breathe. Bubbles of blood collect around his mouth; ohgod it hurtssobad. The wrecked motorcycle lies five meters ahead; the car drives off.

"I want a divorce," she says. "I never really thought we had a future together." There is a flash of patience, then a flash of rage. There is a crunching sound as you punch the wall, bloodying your knuckles. "THEN WHY DID YOU FUCKING AGREE TO MARRY ME IN THE FIRST PLACE?" you scream. The wall will bear the mark for two years before it is cleaned.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

The monitors sing. deet. deet. deet. deet. deeeeeeeeeeeet. My friend dies from cancer, unknown, alone, in a hospital in New York. His parents are informed of his illness when they are called upon to claim his corpse.

"I do this for her," he thinks. "She'll love me when it's done." Finger pulses on the trigger: once, twice, thrice, four times. Secret Service tackles him, but the hornets find their marks.

As he lays to rest, her cat settles on his chest and purrs. He is accepted. Once he sleeps, she will slink away, her purpose complete.

"I've seen you around," she says. "You're noticable. 'Hey, whose that rockin' dude, there?'" Stunned, no words, the event passes without notice.

This is your world. This is your life.

Live in it now, or be a spectator forever.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

Thrum thrum thrum. Thrum thrum thrum.

It is July 2nd, 1961. The voices say, "take the pills! Take the pills!" Do it, papa. Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it. Best of all he loved the fall / The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods / Leaves floating on the trout stream / And above the hills / The high blue windless skies / Now he will be a part of them forever

Christ, she is so beautiful, and I'll never. . . I'll never be able to talk to her again.

"I want you to listen to this," she says. "I think you'll like it." It's a trip-hop drum-and-bass cd. He listens attentively because she is hot and he likes her. He tries not to think that the lyrics mean anything.

A small voice in the back of my skull says "no, stop" but I keep hitting him. He's down, done, drawn - I keep punching. Wet meat, broken bone, my knuckles. Someone grabs my shoulders, pulls me off him; he coughs blood. Someone says, "Cops are comin'". I wake up the next day with damaged hands and no memory of who he was.

"You know, I thought you were going to ask me if we could get another cat," she says. He had asked her to marry him. She said 'yes'.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

"I didn't know it was like this," he said. "I had no idea, I was so scared." He kisses the other boy. "I'm so scared; I don't know what to do, everyone will hate me."

Click, click, click. The bullets go click, click, click as they are slotted into the magazine. Click, click, click. The Ambassador Hotel. He'll be there.

She coughs for the last time. A small amount of blood seeps into the tube. Her family sighs, collectively.

"You know. . . You know that I love you, right?"

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.

A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to lose and a time to seek; A time to rend and a time to sew;

A time to keep silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate;

A time for war and a time for peace.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

Thrum, thrum, thrum.

My favorite quote is by an American author, John Steinbeck. "A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean question: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?"

Do your best to do good things because the time when you must ask those questions comes all too soon. I have enjoyed our time together. Thank you.