A tale is told of this place, and begins with a sacrifice; the self-immolation of twelve children. It was here they stood, before a burning tree, faces rapt with awe—arms raised as if to embrace the inferno as it engulfed them. It is said they felt no pain and chanted even as the fire took them, to their steady refrain:
They had very much wanted to see the sun just once in their life, and in a terrible way was their wish not granted? But truth be told—were these children ever to witness the dawn, the cruel sun would rip the sight from their fragile eyes and throw them once again unto the night.
- The Whisperer Raven, of the Keening Grounds, The Second Eclipse of the Eye
My first memory was of the desert, and the train that took me away. My father had such ambition then, to make cities of steel under the African sun, each factory a seed to blossom into a shining metropolis. Steel to bring water, steel to to till dry sand, to ferry produce... so he told me.
But this is not the way of empire. Instead, we brought steel to enchain, steel to bludgeon, steel to tear flesh and to shatter bone. And it could have been no other way, for we are the cannon makers and these dreams are but the masks we wear.
- Max Esser, Industrialist, 29th July 1940
When they ask, I reply that my father was killed in the Great War. "A hero's death." I say, teeth clenched—swallowing the shame and the pride of my conflicted respect. When faced with the truth, would they share my pride and know my pain; or was it my shame that they would share, and my pain they would reject?
They gave him a clean death I was told, cleaner than the others.
I always picture it the same way. Brothers and sisters in arms—shivering in some cold winter safe-house in the slums of Berlin—to be sold out for a meal by a starving neighbor. I try not to picture the blood and torn flesh, but I know that when the killers turn to my father, there is only one thing they see of him—the limb he lost for Germany. And they spare him the pain.
- Ester Eisner, 19th February 1938
The Silver Masque, an Interactive Fiction work due for release in late June 2016. A Raven leads a blind woman through the night, as she begins to doubt the impossible things it whispers in her ear. As Europe collapses around her, a young woman seeks refuge in the only nation open to her: Mussolini's Italy. The heir to an industrial dynasty wanders the desert, questioning the foundation of his beliefs — under the African sun he is finally home.