There is no such thing as goodness. There is no one you can truly trust. Life is about manipulation. These three sentences were taught to children from an early age, who soon learned that they lived in a world where everyone had to fend for themselves. A horrible world where horrible things happened, because someone allowed it. A world without a future, except for darkness. Ruled by a faceless leader, never seen, but always heard, this world was a grim, depressing place where everyone distrusted everyone else. Believing that people were inherently evil, this ruler enforced his law with an iron fist. Those who trusted others were regarded as fools. But those who got caught commiting evil acts were made an example of.
The culture in this world was based around the concepts of discipline and retribution. People were thought not to let their reasoning be impaired by petty things, and to treat others the way they had treated them. There was no religion, and most art was centered on the futility of life and on the horrors of the human soul.
The people were cold, cynical and manipulative, always looking for second intentions in every word, every deed. Always looking at hints of betrayal and manipulation while looking for ways to steer others to their own ends. In such a world, it was impossible for families to exist. The very concept was alien to them. Everyone was artificially bred and taught to be self sufficient and self reliant at all times. Nobody ever expected a helping hand, and everyone was suspicious when one was offered.
The ruler of this world seemed to have an ultimate goal. Perfection. He was harsh when necessary, but no one would call his decisions unfair. However, his view of the world cast a dark, heavy cloud of depression upon his people, who always felt they were imperfect, flawed, unworthy. Despite the incredible level of technological evolution, this world was isolated, surrounded by layer upon layer of impenetrable defenses. Colossal cities were spread across three huge continents and some islands, but for some reason, a large archipelago near the tropics had been deemed off limits by the ruler a long time ago.
There were essentially two groups of people in this world. Those of the first always sought to reach perfection, attempting to live up to the ruler’s impossible ideal. They thought themselves unworthy, and humbly attempted to purge the evil and flaws they saw in themselves. They had a sense of duty, and sought to prove that there was something more important than material possessions, and although they were not as paranoid as the rest, they were often afflicted by the same compulsion to look over their shoulders. The second group, however, was made up by master manipulators, always hungering for power, prestige, wealth and influence, always scheming and plotting. They were jealous, arrogant, self-centered and their greed knew no bounds.
In this state of affairs, there was little progress. Some felt that this was the apex of their civilization, while others thought that any improvement would simply take thousands of years. And so things continued, for a long time. No one truly remembered when it had all begun. The faceless ruler seemed to have been presiding over the world since the dawn of time.
However, there were rumors, strange tales whispered in the night. Tales of a different world, a different life, where things were not so grim. Tales of a culture where people were together, united, able to trust each other. Some even spoke of a place where people were not artificially bred.