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Pen Your Pride

The first evening stars flecked the lavender sky as five ghostly figures glided across the rushing waters of the river Thyne-Occo. As they moved above the surface, a thin layer of ice formed where their faint shadows fell and the air around them crackled like a freshly lit fire as they stole warmth from the summer air. On the riverbank, insects and night creatures fell silent, feelers and antennae alert, a million assortments of eyes watching the mysterious procession.

Long black robes spilling around their invisible feet, the figures floated inches above the churning water. Beneath each of them a school of luminous rayon-fish swam in circular motions illuminating their journey across the dark waters of the river. Further downstream, the mighty Thyne-Occo tumbled past an island at the very edge of the plateau and then cascaded over, disappearing into the darkness.

From the centre of the rocky island a circular tower stretched to the starry sky above, its base firmly squatting on the barren surface around it. It had no visible windows or doors and stood black against the twilight.

As the rayon-fish approached the island, the light they shed intensified gradually. The tallest member of the strange party lifted a hand and whispered something to which the rayon-fish responded by accelerating through the water. Each robed figure floated onto the shore of the island and the rings of dazzling rayon-fish disappeared beneath the darkening waters of the Thyne-Occo. Moments later the party vanished into the base of the Tower of Truths.


In a nearby city on the other side of the river, in a vast series of chambers deep within the earth, a printing press was hard at work, churning out large official notices. Buckets of paste and large brushes stood at the ready, and as each batch of posters was bundled it was passed to one of the jointed wooden soldiers that formed a long file down the main central passage.

Hundreds of surveillance holocameras scanned the numerous chambers, zooming toward particular soldiers at any given moment. The air was filled with the steady beat of a curious song blaring through concealed speakers; the repetitive rythym complementing the methodical work. With every click-click of the conveyor-belt, followed by the swish-swish of brush against paper, a woman’s voice echoed through the subterranean workhouse against a plethora of beats:

“You won’t find no lady

Who does it like I does it, yeah!

rom here on out I’ll be your commander

No fear, no doubt I’ll provide the answer –

Right now I command you to dance!”[1]

When the last of the posters rolled off the press the wooden puppets moved forward, each bent at the waist to collect a bucket of glue and a brush. Then they stood silently, waiting for the order to move out into the city streets and begin their work.     

[1]Lyrics from ‘Commander’ performed by Kelly Rowland ft. David Guetta.Songwriters: David Guetta, Sandy Wilhelm & Richard Butler, Jr., 2010.Producer: David Guetta. Album: Here I Am. Label: Universal Motown

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