written by Fyren
It has been too long. The rangers were due back yesterday and we have seen no sign of them. Naturally I fear the worst. They had given me a plan before they left, and they are far overdue to return. I sigh, a sound that escapes me far too often these days. The people know that something is wrong as well, expecting their heroes to return at any moment but being let down with each passing minute.
With everyone on the lookout for the returning rangers it is no wonder that we saw an approaching figure through the wind and snow. A lone, huddled, figure shuffling towards our small city. “We’ve got incoming!” someone shouts. I leave my tent just in time to see a few rescuers head out to escort the man to safety, abandoning their work to do so. The man’s legs give out before he makes it to the city, and the volunteer rescuers carry him towards the generator, laying him down in the street.
With his final breaths the man tells the gathered crowd his story. He claims to be the sole survivor of a nearby failed settlement by the name of Winterhome. Unfortunately, he spares us the details of the fall of Winterhome, which would have valuable information to be sure. All he has for us is warnings. The people gathered start murmuring amongst themselves, and then a riot begins brewing. A man jumps up onto a box and begins a tirade that may well turn a simple riot into a full blown revolution.
“So…Winterhome fell, they all died out here. What’s to say we won’t suffer the same? We should abandon this settlement and make our way back to London. The journey will be hard, but we’ll have a better chance at surviving there than in this God forsaken hole with our… leader”. That last word leaves the man’s throat carrying more venom with it than a cobra.
This could spell disaster for us all. Riots, strikes, boycotts, unrest and desertion will lead to nothing more than shortages, sickness, starvation and death. How best to deal with this then? I never saw myself as a dictator. I don’t squash uprisings and I don’t keep the people down. I have only ever tried to ensure the survival of everyone. I assume this is why I was allowed to assume the leadership position here. This though… this situation, I realize now, is how a dictator is born. Not through anything malicious, but through good intentions paving the way.
The fear of becoming the next Winterhome is still setting in. The Londoners are parading through the streets attempting to recruit people to their cause. I need to do something and fast.
“Every society has a guiding principle that leads it to success. Some lean on their faith, something of which we are in terribly short supply. We will be led by our discipline, order and unity. To that end I will be accepting applications for a permanent watch. We will establish guard towers to ensure the safety of our citizens!” The Londoners are heard loudly booing and shouting at my decree. A few others join in. The majority however seem to be accepting of the new direction. Give the people a common goal and they will pursue it endlessly. Now, I will have them keep each other in check. A police force that will answer to me. This should quell any thoughts of rebellion.
The crowd is still assembled, waiting it seems, for what I may say next. I hadn’t thought that far, but every dictator needs a slogan for people to rally behind. “Let there be cool heads and warm beds!” I cry as I awkwardly salute and step down from my opposing box. Several people echo the cry “Cool heads! Warms beds!”
I head back to my tent with a mountain weighing down upon my mind. What have I become? Where are our rangers? How much colder will it get? Will I be able to put down the revolution? Will we make it? I shiver, partly against the cold and partly to ward off these troubling thoughts. This is what I must tackle head on, this is my responsibility now that I have truly become the frozen dictator.
continued in Will Wonders Never Cease