by Max Barry

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Region: Selene

The Everlasting Conflict

Above the arid lands of Aja and fertile fields of Emporia lies concrete walls ten miles thick, though these walls hollow would harbor a great metropolis teeming with culture and is the melting pot of Corpia. This wall is built upon a stretch of land dubbed the 'Agreed Ceasefire Line', was formed to separate the two countries from their constant fighting hundreds of years ago. "It would almost seem like they stopped." he pulls his scarf up to protect his face from rough coarse sand blasting the catwalk. "Oh you know, its always the calm before the fight." as he said that, multiple technical trucks gathered at the part of the wall where a steel-coated line would separate. "Whatca think? 100 credits that the Ajians can win this one." "What? No, Emporians have those missile systems remember? But 100 credits is a 100 credits mike." the wall would open, hydraulics built decades ago creak and groan with each passing rotation as the concrete would part to reveal a venerable Eden. A warcry from the skirmishing group would turn into cries of mercy in their native language, as tiny hornet missiles would destroy their pitiful assemble of resistance. Cataphracts, elite power armored mercenaries, came from the Emporian side and finished off these desert militants. They reared their heads to the guards above them and set the bodies on fire. "Wheres my hundred credits?" "You'll get it next paycheck duke," their radios would go off. "Breaks over come on" he adjusted his rifle strap and went inside.

The City of Augbrah is often called the Dull Jewel of Aja, named for its latent decline and disrepair. Its streets broken and potholes filled with sand, driving over such a road would careen a car into a street market if driven fast enough. A well of commerce and the arts dried up, the hate is for the wall, malice for builders of that grey abomination that mocks them for still standing tall. Pity the Emperor who sits upon the sandstone throne, that burden with the eyes of the nation to look upon the wall, to struggle with no end. His towns drown in an ever consuming sand, the bellies and pockets beneath him empty, and an enemy old as his throne, older than the wall, the eternal enemy to resist and fight. Pity the Emperor for his hands would shake and ache, but the fires of war still rage in his heart. For even the desert dulls the sharpest knife, cloud the shiniest jade, and rot an entire empire.

If one would gaze an eye or two to the other side of the wall, they would see green from sea to shining sea. Marked with Temperate Forests abound in mighty trees for timber and plump game for the hunter. Pools of water form lakes and ponds for a man of the sea should he wish to rest from the its more vast cousin. Stepping from nature, well-paved roads but with few cars, animals would just cross by with little hesitation. One of these roads will lead to one of the many cities dotting the map of the Republic of Emporia. A flag snaps in the wind, revealing the eagle of the sun, with its rays shining on the golden fields of wheat and rye. This flag symbolizes the greatness of its people and land, for the leaders would make them believe that. In truth the fields would burn periodically, not by beast or nature, but by angry freedom fighters. And these rebels would be brutally suppressed with the full might of the military. From the wall, to gaze is to look at the surface, and oppression is more than skin deep.

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