By Mark Smith.
Sickened by the ways of your fellow men and despairing of man's cruelty, you have quit the teeming city of Godorno, with its cesspools and plague pits, its beggars and abject slaves. You walk for days, revelling in the fresh air of the countryside. This is a green land of hills and dales, farmsteads and mills -- a veritable bread-basket that yields all its grains and fruits to the decadent city.
As you walk you have much time to think. Long ago your family told you how the star of destiny, purple Praxis, changed colour to the flaming gold of Moraine, God of War, at the moment of your birth. Even as Praxis flared with energy, so your mother's life waned. She died of exhaustion bringing you into the world, but her sisters looked after you until you were old enough, at eight, to go up to the dreaming spires of the academy at Hegalopolis.
The cloistered life of the academy, with its politness and order, gave you scant preparation for life on the streets of Gordono. You developed the cunning of a sewer rat and the patience of the damned just staying alive day to day, dodging the press gangs from the war galleys that carry young men off to fight the corsairs. Your cunning was great enough to avoid the fate of the galley slave and you have grown to maturity, strong, tough and determined.
The ways of city folk revolt you. Your diligent study of history shows an ever churning cycle of oppressors and the downtrodden. Man is strapped to the wheel of fate to be alternately dragged to the heights and plunged again into the pits and windblasted depths of pain and want.
As you walk, every step that bears you away from the stench of the city is a step taken more lightly than the last. You resolve to return to the city of if you have changed things for the better. Yours is the nobleness of spirit that would lay down its life to better the lot of your fellow man. If Praxis robbed you of a mother's love, Praxis can repay the debt by shining brightly on your destiny.
Ship of Fools press Exhibition: Mesopotamia - Some pages from *Mesopotamia*, 1987. Due for re-publication. (Text is part of *Twentieth Century Blues *and also in *History or Sleep.*) *Mesopotamia* w...
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