In the underground city of Lower Ilium, two brothers join a resistance group. Above ground, the Chancellor's prophets say one thing only: "The supplanters are coming."
( 100 short blurbs featuring characters from my original fiction project, Topside. )
Damen isn't actually there yet when it all begins. It starts with a blood test, conducted before he is even born. In the single droplet of red suspended precariously from the tip of a syringe, his fate hangs just as uncertain. The condemned bead slips free and falls, becomes nothing more than an unremarkable spot on the antiseptic tile beneath. If that is an omen, no one in the lab is poetic enough to care.
The results returned a week later to his parents-to-be are negative. He has the genetic make-up of a Mage, but for one crucial flaw in the double-helix that betrays him: his abilities will be worthless. He is hideously deformed in a way undetectable to the naked eye, but deformed nonetheless from the cores of his cells. And so he is rejected.
By the time he makes it in to the world—by the time he reaches what should be the beginning—everything is over. He is delivered, produced like a defective toy and cast aside, sent through the tall gates and below the cold steel ground before the day is done. His mother never sees him.
And after the end has come and gone—when opportunity has forsaken him and his future has crumbled before he has any concept of either—he opens his eyes at last in the cold darkness of the city below the city. It is over—it has been over, since before he was even born—but for him, this is where it begins.