Prologue

To protect this city and thereby all it's inhabitants, to assure those who follow the path of destruction are never numerous enough to taint this our city with their hideous ways, the circle of high priests of the Order of Guardia are permitted to sanctify the public by sacrificing those who oppose the order. Any who outwardly or even attempt to cause harm, show deviance or commit an indecent act of any form shall be put to trail and judged as to whether or not they may be allowed to repent their sins or are beyond the help of His Magnificence the High Priest and be sent over the edge to be judged by an even higher power, the power that keeps us afloat. All will be fairly trailed, and those deemed unfit for life in our divine city are still entitled to humane sacrifice; put into a peaceful sleep before their day comes and given ceremony along the canals. May they return to their creator and protector to be cleansed and come back to us in a later life in the most magnificent of ships.

That's what they read to whoever was around at the beginning of my parent's trial, and even though I was only nine at the time and didn't really understand any of it, the words stuck in my head like someone wrote it down on a piece of paper and glued in my mind. When all this was happening I didn't care what the old geezers sitting way up in the citadel's archways with their fancy white and gold robes had to say. All that mattered to me was getting out of there, because the sheer white of the building's marble and the plain old gigantic size of the place frightened me. All I was used to were the busy and cramped spaces of the canals, with their shops and ships and many other things, and repetitive, rectangular shapes of the massive expanses of apartments. The citadel was something I had only caught the occasional glimpse of; an ornate mess of columns and arches and the like. Way too showy for my tastes, as simple as they were when I was that age.

I'd told my parents I've wanted to leave multiple times now, but they're not listening to me. Actually, no one was listening to me; everyone was starring up at this especially old and showy looking dude up on the highest chair in the main room. Like I said, I didn't understand almost any of it; they were talking way too fancy for me. I didn't know why my parents seemed so frightened, why mom was crying and dad had started yelling at the shrouded figure perched way up above where we were standing. Nor why everyone else around us were starring at my parents like they were looking at a pile of poop. I didn't know that my parents had just been condemned to death by being sent over the edge of the world in a stupid fancy boat, the reason being that they disagreed with the old man's views on how things should work.

I didn't understand why some big guys in shiny metal plates suddenly took me away from them, mom crying out for me and dad continuing to yell at the old guy on his chair even louder then before. All I knew was that they were taking me away from my mom and dad, and I didn't like it. I tried to go back to them, screaming at them and kicking them, but that just ended with me hurting my toes. The shiny metal guys wouldn't let me go back to them; they dragged me outside and left me all alone out by the canal surrounding the citadel, a kid who hadn't even hit the double digits yet. I never saw my parents again after the doors closed behind the mean men in metal suits, not knowingly at least because I did see the fancy boats that floated down to the edge a couple days later. Their bright colours and fluttering red and gold flags drew my childish attention as they sailed by. At that time my young mind gave little to no thought about how I was going to survive after that. I just waited outside the big white doors for days on end waiting for my mom and dad to come out.

But they never came, and eventually hunger drove me to go scrounge for something to eat.

At that time I didn't know how long that would be how I'd live; scrounging for things I need just to survive. Even now I don't understand why the old guy in the white and gold robe, sitting high up above everyone else, had to go and take my parents away from me. Their reason still seems stupid to me, and so does why no one ever came to help me. They can read as many scriptures as they like; it doesn't make what they did to me any less wrong.