The tale of a walking city
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Includes: Violence, gore.

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    The tale of a walking city

    It is said that this part of history happened several thousand years ago, before the birth of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and before the Romans destroyed Carthage. In a time of grievous jahiliya, as my father describes it, when the sands blew freely, the Firauns were no more than petty warlords, and the pyramids were only a few houses large, our people, the Amizaghi, roamed in the desert as we do now with a lot of others. A desert free from any man-made borders. But a threat inhabited the desert, against whom we were helpless, like an ant is helpless against a man when he stomps it under his shoe.

    This threat was Alshiriyr and his people, who hunted the Amizaghi to near extinction.

    Alshiriyr was an angel who fell from heaven along with Iblis after their expulsion. It is said that Alshiriyr was a master blacksmith, building weapons for the angels. His blades were so sharp that they could cut the light in half. Such was his prowess that the angels still today wield his weapons and gained a huge advantage against the Shaitans, defeating them, after which the Shaitans cursed him, “Woe on you, Alshiriyr, who made such weapons that slice away even our best shields.”

    But as you may have understood, Alshiriyr is not known to be with Iblis and his army since he chose his own path to wage war against all that is good. After Father Adam, peace be upon him, left the earth and humanity started populating this world, this beautiful earth, Alshiriyr began to find a people among several who had intelligence, a strong sense of morality, and the strength to conquer the creation. And he found one after years, the Fuladh of Sinai. The Fuladh were fleeing from someone or something; our forefathers knew nothing about the pursuers. During that time, Alshiriyr made contact with them and made a covenant with them, as witnessed by the people of Firaun, who later told us. The Fuladh went back, and for three years, there was peace in our lands.

    Then came the city of Iram, walking on lofty pillars, crossing the Sinai. The Fuladh changed, showing the corruption of Alshiriyr in its unholy glory. Their flesh was covered with golden plates, and their faces were covered in a veil, showing no features except two red eyes.

    The city of Iram marched, seemingly beaten, towards the land of Misir. The Firaun of that time assembled an army of tens of thousands, the best warriors in the entire Misr. In the battle, the Fuladhi took out their weapons, the long sickle that they used to behead their opponents and weapons similar to white men’s guns, which would fire not bullets but rays of corrupted light that would burn all that crossed their path. Titans from the fables of Al Yunan dominated the battlefield, firing the corrupted light on Firaun's forces. The Firaun himself was captured and reportedly taken to Iram, where he was never found again.

    The Fuladh overran Misir, plunging the entire nation into anarchy. They then moved to Libya, where they eradicated a people once known as Memis. In our desert, the cursed city roamed as it brought destruction over us. No longer was walking on the sand safe. We would flee like rodents at the sight of Iram on the horizon. They ruthlessly enslaved our brothers and sisters as our numbers fell drastically. Sometimes the Fuladhi would sit on sand, removing their veils, showing their skulls, devoid of flesh, and eyes devoid of Ruh. They sat around the dead bodies and, like vultures, devoured their flesh.

    Many tales exist from this ancient past that talk about our struggle against the Fuladh—not a heroic one, but one of desperation. The ghazw were done not for heroic glory or war booty but to draw the Fuladh away from the tribe's hiding spot. Brave men were led by Ghazis, not to glorious battles but to one last stand against the Fuladh. They died like animals, slaughtered on a butcher's table.

    The Tale of Askil is one such tale about a young man, passed on for generations by our forefathers. His tribe’s hiding spot was raided by the Fuladh, who then went on to massacre everyone except him, as he was away from the hiding spot at that time.

    He hid among the dunes as he watched the massacre of his tribe. The Fuladh gathered the bodies, making them into a heap. Their warriors were disciplined, like one soul, inhibiting many bodies as they massacred Askil’s tribe’s best warriors. But as he witnessed, when the deed was done, some Fuladhi broke off the rank. They took off their veils, exposing skulls as they grabbed the bread and wine of his tribe, chomping and chewing it and drinking the wine. But alas, it spilled over. One in particular took some bread and cooked camel meat and sat down before taking a handful of sand in his right hand and starting to make guttural noises while waving his closed fist. Like a prayer, he then threw the sand on the food before starting to eat it. He, unlike others, ate like a man.

    Some dragged the bodies out and started eating them with their broken teeth. Their inhumanity was shown as they chomped on the flesh like vultures, ripping it off and chewing it before the flesh fell from jaws on the coarse sand. Some bit the corpses faces off; others used their blades to tear open the abdomen and claw out the guts before slowly eating it. They ate like they were starving—the worst kind of starvation that may turn the most enlightened person into a primal being, a slave to his basic instincts.

    One deviant was eating the food with others until its eyes fell on a vessel full of water. It looked into it and suddenly started making sharp and painful screeches. Like when one scratches metal with a sharp stone. It touched its face, or at least the front of its skull. The screeching increased as it then turned to its brethren, who were mauling the corpses.

    It sprinted and pulled the body of a woman. It drew its blade and beheaded the corpse before picking the head up and flaying it, pulling the skin away. It wore the skin on its skull before rushing back to the vessel and looking at itself. Its screeching increased even more, becoming unbearable as it tore the skin off its skull and went back to bodies, finding a new female body to repeat the process again and again. The corpses of every woman, including Askil’s sisters, wives, and daughters, suffered the same fate. Fortunately, his mother was mauled by others.

    But one deviant was there, which took his sleep away for the rest of his life. She broke away from the ranks while her deviant brethren were wreaking havoc. She walked to the heap and dragged the body of a child, no smaller than five years old, out. She looked at the child before kneeling down, hugging him, and trying to wake him up. After some attempts, she began to cry. Askil said that she was crying; her voice was not that of a human but of inhumane shrieks. But he knew it was the cry of a mother.

    The non-deviants, who for that time looked towards deviants with no care, suddenly turned to face backward. All deviants stopped their work and marched back to join the ranks again, except the ‘grieving mother’ who laid down with the corpse of the child, resting on her golden armour. The Fuladh marched away, and Askil saw his moment and fled to the nearest tribe to warn them.

    After a thousand years, the desert, where once you could find a tribe after every few thousand steps, was now nearly empty as Alshiriyr turned the city of Iram back towards Misir and disappeared, never to come back. No one knows what happened to him or the city of Iram.

    The desert became silent again, the Amazighi eventually repopulated it, and a new Firaun built Misr back to its full glory. Askil’s descendants were now a tribe of their own; the deviant now rested under the sand with the child, and the rest is history.

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