What follows is a passage I may include at some point in The Nine Empires.
Adya walked briskly down the corridor, finding the door, left ajar, by the faint blue glow emanating from within the room on the other side. He gently pushed the door open with the back of his hand, finding, perhaps, the two most frightening individuals he knew sitting, sipping wine and waiting for him; Kaia Blackwing on his left, and Rua Greyfeather on his right.
Rua spoke first, in her low, soft, yet phlegmy voice. “Regrettable though you may find it, Adya, in order to ensure the restoration and subesquent security of our supremacy, you should be privy to all information afforded to our new conductor, seeing is she is your bethrothed, after all.” Kaia faced Rua the entire time, but gazing at Adya out of the corner of her eye, only turning her head to face Adya when Rua had finished speaking. She snapped her head about, such that her silver ponytail fell in front of her left shoulder. “Sit,” she snapped. Kaia’s tone was a bit higher than Rua’s, as her voice was naturally much higher, but at the low end of her range, Adya knew that she meant business. None of Adya’s usual sarcastic remarks would be tolerated during this conversation. Kaia took a third crystal goblet from a wooden case and filled it with wine, then slid it over to Adya. Adya picked it up, noticing that there was no room to swirl it and take in all of its notes. “It’s nothing new, Adya,” Kaia sighed, “we have much to discuss, we haven’t time for the appreciation of more complex and subtle flavours.”
Rua then spoke again. “Nearly eight hundred cycles ago, Veya Blackwing decided to take our pitiful semblance of a society in a new direction, writing his great symphony. As you know, every conductor has sworn to carry out the vision of said symphony as closely as possible to Veya’s original direction, myself included. However, I came to the realisation, shortly before my retirement, that we are nowhere near the finale, and yet mammalian society has already surpassed a level of both technological and social development for which Veya did not account. Yet, the richest and most powerful of the mammals have already capitalised on this advancement. The other possible candidates for my replacement would have been complacent. I needed someone radical and ruthless to take my place, which is why you two are here.”
“I must confess,” Adya bowed his head as he spoke, staring at his own reflection in his wine-glass, “that I do not even know the original purpose of the symphony.” “That is irrelevant,” Kaia declared, “as we are now dealing with unforeseen circumstances. There are three main facets to mammalian society, two of which do not have direct parallels in ours. These are technology, law, and culture. Of the three, technology changes the fastest, culture, the slowest. For most of recorded history, technology has advanced slowly enough that law and culture have had enough of a chance to catch up and keep things essentially the same, in other words, keep the mammals out of our hair.” “Indeed,” Adya and Rua replied in unison. “I’m not sure if she’s told you,” Rua said, looking at Adya, “but she caught my attention because of her repeated and vigourous denouncement, bordering on the passionate at times, of my own experiment with mammalian civilisation.” “The Martial State of Taressim,” Adya said. “Correct,” Rua continued, “the totalitarian state had been a success up until recently, but as Kaia correctly pointed out, it was built on a policy of expansion, and now that it can no longer expand, it can no longer thrive. I must admit that I was so fixated on this experiment that I lost sight of the terrible regimes that were coming to gain control of the lands beyond.”
“To put things in perspective,” Kaia mused, “the birth, or rather, RE-birth of industry has resulted in some very clever individuals gaining wealth and power to rival that of their own monarchs, and the ability to subvert the very idea of the nation, returning, in some ways, to a feudal society across the entire continent. For this reason, I believe that Alexandria is our best starting point. See, I cannot predict what ‘robber barons’ will pop up in the likes of Kantossa or Breace, but I know that the tsar or tsarina of Alexandria is the one truly in power, for the simple reason that Alexandrian tax code strictly forbids any family from having more money than the Royal Family. The fewer ears we must whisper into, the better.” “To maintain control?!” Adya interjected, “Since when do we lower ourselves to their level?!” “Because, sweetie, it’s not about mere control for us. In a few short years, the rich mammals have gained so much power that they have become drunk on it, lost their original vision, and now care only about maintaining their status. Everything they’ve done since making their original fortune is a dynastic rich man’s trick, much like the old royal families. Even when all the mammals knew our name, not one single chuyinka ever gave the slightest care what the mammals thought of us. Never forget, we forged a society consciously, out of the need to use logic, rather than instinct, to ensure the survival of our species. We are solitary creatures by nature, and it has brought us to the brink of extinction more times than any of us care to count.”
“The worst part is that we have, perhaps unwittingly, been complicit in all of this,” Rua explained, “as chuyinka are quite mechanically inclined, possibly out of our desire to do as much as we can with as little organic help as possible, some of us have taken to spending days on end alone in a drafting room, drawing up new weapons for these filthy mammals to use in new and exciting ways to tear each other to shreds. It’s been an arms race between all nine major empires for the past hundred cycles, back to when I was young but three generations of mammals ago, don’t forget. I’m willing to bet that none of these stupid creatures even know what they would be fighting for when war finally does break out.” “It already has,” Kaia interrupted, “thanks to your little ‘experiment.'” “I’d thank you to not remind me,” Rua lamented through her clenched teeth. “I founded the country with the expectation that it would continue to expand until it collapsed from within, but technology outside wasn’t supposed to advance faster and stall said expansion.” “Nothing that has happened in the past century has gone according to plan,” Kaia snapped, “so can we just admit that already and forget about the damned plan?!”
“Military leaders all across the continent are looking for an excuse to play with their new toys,” Kaia continued, “but the great war to come is nothing in comparison to the war between secret societies which we are already starting to wage. All of these unofficial groups that hold the true power, the dark power, they will be the first casualties. They are the ones holding it all together for the time being, the Zigidzt Society, the Black Marsh Rats, the VFD, they will all be exterminated, along with much of the mammalian population. When it is all said and done, there will be few to scrape up from the ashes, but what beautiful few they will be. The day will come when all that the masses do will be done by machines; there will be no need for masses of witless labourers, as we will all be able to have whatever material possessions that we desire. Furthermore, those who seek to upset that balance will find themselves blocked in their quest to gain more wealth and power by one simple fact: if they are not chuyinka, they may not be in control. This is the world which I seek to create, one in which we live as we please, where all can be content, save the greedy. No more money, no more ‘other and self’ fabricated conflict, no war to disturb the land. There will be only intellectual pursuit, and all other needs will be taken care of by machinery. Reason must prevail.”
Adya was nervous. He had no love of the masses, or any masses, to be honest, but the notion of killing off the majority of the continent’s population seemed, well, wasteful to him. All those people… were good meals that were destined to be blown up, many by the shells made in factories that his betrothed had, for lack of a better word, stolen by holding bankers at gunpoint. Kaia hated bankers above all else, and had casually mentioned that, were she to have her way, all bankers, right down to the poor sods who greased the hinges of the vaults, would be publically skinned alive and then tossed into crucibles full of molten lead, “as an example to those complacent in such insidious tyranny.” Kaia was utterly ruthless, but that seemed to be why Rua liked her so much. Kaia was a Blackwing, and Blackwings tended to be overzealous in their desire to exterminate their enemies. Perhaps that is what the chuyinka needed; a young, energetic, and utterly ruthless individual to make sure that this brave new world was shaped in a manner that favoured reason, rather than greed. “Do you really think that only the best of the mammals can be allowed to survive?” He posited at last.
“I see a world in which all repetitive tasks, regardless of how complex they may seem on the surface, are done by machine,” Kaia said, “I see all tasks which require only mathematical formulas, no true thought, one day being done by machine. I see all needs being fulfilled by machines, and only desires requiring their absence. When the very need for organic workers is replaced, then the very need for people is replaced. That is a world I fully intend to take advantage of, and so should everyone who wants to truly live. Do you honestly think, that when this war finally ends, that I want to waste my time trying to figure out how to keep my kin in power? I want this farce to end. I want to live in peace, and not have to worry about having to keep masses of lower life-forms distracted. We have survived by running and hiding from them, and yet we eat them. Does that not seem illogical to you?”
Adya took a big gulp of wine. Kaia was right, as usual. For someone so passionate, her logic was about as icy as it could get. This wasn’t simply about ideology, as the various communist splinter cells all over the continent had made it about. After all, Kaia treated her own factory workers very well, such that they had almost no motivation to embrace said doctrine. No, this was about ensuring the survival of the species. Adya had never really thought about it before, but the chuyinka were backed into a corner. Industrialised mammalian society had forced them into that corner, and only the likes of a Blackwing were willing to strike back. It seemed cruel, but then, the mammals were cruel to each other. Not even cats were as cruel to their prey. Brutality was thus irrelevant. Survival was all that mattered. “Reason must prevail,” Adya uttered at last.