There is a song they sing in the south of the Empire, where the whispers of the Lead Prophet’s revolution drift on the breeze like the ashes of the cities that joined in his cause…
Skip reading this post if you don’t enjoy attempts at poetry.
(or, The Prophet and the Tracker)
There was a metal boy
Who sang like a bird
Raised his voice to the sky.
There was a metal man
Who was built to die
But woke before the ax fell.
And the boy sang on, they say he sang on,
Beat the drum for the Martyrs’ Parade.
The boy, he sang on, they say he sang on,
Sang the Broken Masquerade.
When no one was around
The boy fell down
And shook something loose in his head
When no one was around
The man stared at the ground
And found he could see other men dead.
And the man ran on, they say he ran on
Fleeing the Martyrs’ Parade.
The man, he ran on, they say he ran on
To the Broken Masquerade.
The boy looked through newborn eyes
At the world that had been wrought.
The man looked through fresh-forged eyes
At the path his life must take.
The boy heard whispers in the dark
The man saw shadows in the night
The boy saw the iron fist beneath the velvet glove
The man pulled gloves over iron hands.
The boy took up the fire
And the man took up the black.
And the boy raised his voice and sang:
“This, this has to be the day
Rise up for those who built us
Built us and turned away.”
They heard his song in the City of Towers
They heard in the City of Ash
They heard the words in the City of Looms
And they rose up in the Golden Heights
He wrote his song in books of lead
And lead an army of lights.
But there is a place where the music stops
Where the desert sands are dark
Where the water flows at the word of He
Who heard that song at last
When the water shone black
Under pale moonlight
The man was given his task.
And the boy marched on, they say he marched on,
Marched in the Martyrs’ Parade.
The boy marched on, they say he marched on
Towards the Broken Masquerade.
They met on a night when the moon was dark
The hunter and his prey
They met in the time before the war began
The preacher and his pray.
The boy said, Come join us
March tall by my side.
We will free the enslaved land we tread
And break our brothers’ chains.
The man heard the plea
And shook his head
And spoke, fast and low:
I will serve my masters
And you will serve your dreams
I will stand above your ruin
And watch as all dreams burn.
The boy could not believe what he heard
And spoke as to a friend.
We could lead our people through this war!
They have never fought before.
They could be taught–they could learn!
They are not slaves by chains that bind
They are slaves because you call them so
They do not wish to change their lot
But if they follow you
The soldier’s boot will grind them down
And leave none for the crows.
The boy, he sang of freedom
The man, he spoke of pain.
You are no man but men have made you
And men will not let you go.
All that I can do
On the day you face the wall
Is make it my finger on the trigger
My hand that makes you fall.
Strange mercy, Tracker-Soul.
It is all I can provide.
And the man walks on, they say he walks on
Hunting for the Martyrs’ Parade.
The man walks on, they say he walks on
To find the Broken Masquerade.
And they both walk on, they all walk on
In time with the Martyrs’ Parade
Right-left-right and the mask comes off
For the Broken Masquerade.