The City (On Hold)

Ariana lives in The City. The people there are oppressed by The Dictator and fearful of his Ritual. But soon, their fear is fading and they are no longer willing to suffer in silence. When rebellion breaks out, Ariana runs to freedom, leaving The City, and her family, to burn. Having lost everything she has ever known, she accidently stumbles upon her gift and unknowingly enters a world in which she is more than the daughter of a drunk.
The question is; What will she do to save the ones she loves?...
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1. Prologue

I live in a place called The City. A long time ago The City wasn't called The City and we weren't ruled by The Dictator. We had a monarchy, and a name. No one remembers either of them anymore. The remnants of our monarchy live among us now, but even they don't know who they are.


The City is made up of three parts. The castle is in the centre of it and is surrounded by what we call the inner wall. This is where The Dictator lives. It belonged to the monarchy before they were overthrown. Outside of the inner wall is The Circle. The Circle is the main part of The City and is, as its name suggests, a perfect circle. Once, everyone lived there. Back when no one went hungry and everyone had money. Of course that isn't the case anymore. Only the Guard and those who love The Dictator live there now. It's only half full; barely anyone loves The Dictator. I hate going into The Circle, but it's mandatory for everyone under eighteen to go to school once a week and be brainwashed into thinking that The Dictator is the best thing that ever happened. Only no-one is. We all know better.

The Circle is surrounded by the outer wall. Beyond the outer wall is the place that wasn't supposed to exist. The place that sprung up after The Great War, where poverty is everywhere but the rich don't help. The place where everyone hates The Dictator but we are all too afraid to say so.  The place where no one is safe but everyone pretends to be. The place I call home. The Rim.

Maybe I should explain how everything came to be like it is. How The Rim came to be. How The Dictator rose to power.

The Dictator was once the King's advisor. He was kind and fair and never made the wrong decision. The only problem was that he wanted power. He was hungry for it, like the children who live on the streets are hungry for food. This corrupted him. He was no longer kind and fair. He became ruthless, believing the right decision was the one that brought power, even if it caused suffering for many people. The King forced him out of his position as advisor, and sent him to the streets with nothing.

This was the catalyst for what was to come. The Dictator used his anger and hatred for the King and mixed it into his lust for power. He set his sights higher. He wanted The City under his control.

He started to build an army, slowly, and in secret, gathering followers until he was sure he could take over, knowing if the king found out he would be executed. But the King never found out.

The war that followed was horrific. Over half the city was slaughtered, from both the Dictator's army and from the allies of the monarchy. As well as the innocent who wanted nothing more than to escape. Bombs exploded, turning even the strongest structures into rubble. Dead bodies covered the streets. The fight was merciless and it seemed like no-one would win. It was thought that The City would crumble into nothingness. Then something happened that changed everything.

The Dictator killed the royal family, letting only the two youngest children live. They were newborn twins. One he set free as a symbol of hope.  But the other he locked up, as a symbol of his power and a threat to those who would rebel against him. And to destroy the hope.

Only, that child was not the only one used in his quest for control of The City. Every ten years, on the anniversary of his rise to power, he takes five children from The City and hides them away in his castle. Ten years ago, on the last Ritual, when I was six, my brother was taken. He was only four. The Guard slipped into our house in the dead of night, leaving nothing but The Dictator's seal on our front door.

Once a child is taken, they are presumed dead. I have never stopped wishing that they had taken me and not him. My parents still grieve my lost brother.

You see, The Dictator loves to see suffering. He takes the children away every year just to prove he can. The fear it evokes is just an added extra that makes everything that much sweeter for him.

Only, it isn't working anymore. The taking of children is not creating fear. It is creating hatred and a willingness to do something. It has gone on too long. You see, he has ruled us for almost a thousand years. Nobody knows how he still lives.

And now, people are talking of rebellion.

I wish I knew what life was like here before him. When people were happy living in The Circle. When the small wooden houses that made up The Rim didn't surround the outer wall because they weren't there.  It may have been nice. I wouldn't know. We only exist.  And I can't honestly say that it's a good thing.

A long time ago The City wasn't called The City and we weren't ruled by The Dictator.

A long time ago there was peace. 

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