By the Queen’s Command – Prologue
And away we go!
BY THE QUEEN’S COMMAND
by LC Feeney
Electronic edition published 2014 by LC Feeney
Copyright © LC Feeney. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction, in whole or in part in any form, without written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover image © Elena Ray / BigstockPhoto.com.
Long ago, there was The Purge, a great extinction that almost eliminated humankind completely. Legends tell of a disease created by the followers of one god to eliminate the followers of another. The stories say that a disease was created by scientists in a laboratory and was used as a weapon against not only the soldiers but the people of the enemy. It was only supposed to destroy the non-believers and the infidels, but diseases don’t have political boundaries or ideology or even discretion. Diseases just kill, indiscriminately and without concern for who is dying.
The ones who’d created the disease denied it at first, of course. It was too horrific to believe, that human beings would purposefully infect others with a terrible illness that had no cure. The disease morphed, changed, evolved rapidly, and soon those who claimed they could cure it or control it began to be infected, and eventually had to admit that it was unstoppable. There were many supposed treatments and cures, but in the end The Purge spread over the entire planet, killing almost everyone without regard for age, race, income level or political affiliation. Only a handful of people survived – mostly small pockets of indigent tribes who had limited contact with civilization, and groups with a penchant for isolation and eschewing modern technology.
As the centuries passed, those who were left carried on as best they could, struggling to survive in a world with failing technology. So many had died and so much knowledge was lost in The Purge that those who survived maintained what they could or what they felt was most important and gave up the rest. Electricity, global communication, and transportation mostly disappeared, except in those very limited areas where it was deemed necessary and the knowledge could be passed down to subsequent generations. The world fell back to rural, agrarian times, with those who survived forming tribes to pool resources and share knowledge. A few ventured into the cities to scavenge what they could from the ruins of civilization, but most were never seen or heard from again, and those who did return were forever changed by their experience. The cities became places to fear and avoid.
Civilization has taken on a medieval quality. Other than the wild tribes of the desert regions, there are no automobiles or combustion engines. Electric power is practically non-existent, and plumbing is a luxury most do not have. Horses are a luxury as well, so most people travel by foot, although some use carts and wagons pulled by oxen, horses or mules if they have them. People have existed this way for hundreds of years.