Abolishment of the feline species was a topic that had only been brought up in private meetings among the Council of Five once or twice before. It was never assumed that the concept would be revived publicly during a live broadcasting of the yearly color festival. Near the beginning of the festivities (which was slightly after mid-evening) The First of the Five, Minister Conx, stepped onto the capitol building’s twenty fifth story balcony. Conx was a mammoth in comparison to those within his species boundaries, being almost double the size of other mongrels. Though, in contrast to his brutish appearance, The First of the Five was a rather congenial canine, at least when compared to the other council members. The metal platform groaned in protest under the minister’s weight as he approached the podium that had been set up several hours earlier. He adjusted himself and briefly glanced down at the crowded central plaza and streets.
Festival lanterns hung on lines stretching from building to building, glistening in a fantastic multicolored light. The lanterns varied in height, some being only a few feet off the ground while others extended into the crimson sky where towering skyscrapers reached their peak. The lantern light danced off the minister’s coarse fur causing it to glimmer in a strange fashion.
Conx rested his arms on the pulpit and quickly cleared his throat. A filming drone flew through the air and stopped next to Conx, pointing its small lens at The Minister to broadcast his voice live through the city speakers and homes of those unable to attend the celebration.
“Ladies and gentlemen, species of all kinds, I welcome you to the fifty eighth annual color festival, a celebration of the humble beginnings of our great city!” Conx warmly announced in his booming voice, opening his arms in a personable manner. The crowds below cheered in response to his statement. The minister let the crowd settle into silence again before continuing. “However, before we begin the festivities, The Master has asked that I announce the passing of these regulations.”
There was silence as an uneasy feeling passed through the crowd. A single mention of The Fifth of the Five sent chills down the spines of every soul standing in the central plaza. The Minister noted the change in mood and cleared his throat respectively.
“Might I remind you, The Master, the council and I are looking for ways to improve Terrum for the benefit of all.” The Minister paused briefly. “We only wish to bring peace and prosperity to our way of life!”
The crowd began to whisper amongst themselves, but Conx raised his hand and silence returned. “Regardless of what you may murmur against The Master and The Council, once a decision has been made, it is final.” The Minister’s face darkened as he continued. “With that, I present the latest proclamation.” He disappeared under the podium for a moment, before reappearing again with a rather large document. He smoothed the document out on the podium, cleared his throat again and began to read:
“Proclamation 46,” Conx read. “Upon reviewing recent events that have taken place within companies, organizations, public services, as well as religious meetings, The Council of Five has determined that all those within, or who claim to have been involved with the secret organization, The Tail, are to be charged with murder, plundering, robbery, criminal mischeif and mayhem…” The Minister squinted at the document nervously, checking that he was reading every word correctly. “...for which, as unfortunate as it may be, the sentence for committing such crimes is death. A formal execution will take place the evening after this document is read.” The Minister looked up from the document, genuine sorrow in his eyes. “I give my sincere condolences in advance.” He replaced the document under the pulpit, concluding the proclamation.
“On a lighter note,” Conx said, straightening his posture, a pseudo smile spreading across his face. “The festivities may now begin!” The lamps glowed brighter than before, but nobody cheered. Without another word or glance toward the crowds below, The Minister whirled around, taking several large strides across the balcony before opening the large glass doors leading back into the capitol building.
Located in the center of Terrum, the capitol building was the focal point of the great city. The central plaza, located just outside the capitol, was a gathering place for the people of Terrum. Within the building, large and beautiful tapestries depicting events and legends prophesied thousands of years past hung smartly on the wall. These tapestries hung from the marble-steel walls within a great cathedral located on the ground floor of the capitol. Minister Conx headed there now, his heavy footsteps could be heard echoing through the building’s hallways as he approached the cathedral entryway.
Another mongrel, who Conx recognized from the information division, greeted him at the cathedral’s large wooden doors.
“Minister!” She inquired, frantically approaching him. “The plaza is in chaos, there’s fighting, discord and-and-” The Minister turned briefly to look at the girl. She wore an anxious expression that wordlessly explained the rest of her concern.
“I’m going in to speak with them now.” He explained, smoothly reaching for the door handles.
“Minister, with all due respect, I don’t believe it would be wise to-” Conx ignored her, throwing open the twin doors which hit the marble-steel walls with a bang. Conx stepped forward several paces allowing the girl to cautiously shut the doors behind him.
Three of the five council members sat on the far side of the cathedral, whispering to one another. They went silent when they noticed Conx standing at the other end of the room.
“Conx.” The Second of the council members coarsely said after a moment. The Second of The Five, better known as The Magistrate, was a elderly scrooge of a mongrel. He had a short snout and long, floppy ears that grazed the floor when he walked. He required a cane most of the time, as his back had gone out years ago and never popped back into its proper place. The Magistrate gestured for The Minister to come forward. “Please, have a seat.” Conx reluctantly walked forward, taking a seat with the rest of the council in the chair farthest to the left. The chair groaned loudly as Conx sat and the sound reverberated across the walls.
There was another moment of silence before The Second member of the council again spoke.
“You read it?”
“Yes.” The Minister replied. He nervously shifted in his chair, wishing to be someplace else.
“How did the masses react?”
Conx took a moment to think. “I failed to pay much attention, I apologize-” He stopped mid sentence, recalling what the girl from the hallway had said and corrected himself. “There is chaos and disorder. The people are fighting in the streets. We must act quickly before-”
“No.” A dark voice from the opposite end of the chairs said, cutting The Minister off. “We will do nothing.”
“With all due respect, it seems rather irresponsible-”
“Do you not recall what we discussed?” The voice growled.
“I do, but we never truthfully discussed intending to-”
“Plans change Conx.”
Plans change!” The source of the voice stood suddenly, baring his teeth as he briskly walked to The Minister. He lifted Conx out of it by the scruff of his neck with a surprisingly effortless movement. The other council members stared in silent astonishment at the mongrel’s raw strength.
“Might I remind you of who I am.” The mongrel darkly hissed. He stared deeply into Conx’s eyes, sinister intent gleaming from within the dark void of his pupils. “Say my name.”
Conx choked on his words, sputtering nonsensical syllables.
“Say my name!” He barked again.
“Master!” The Minister managed to blurt out. “You are The Master!”
The Mongrel, revealed to be The Fifth of the Five, smiled. He dropped Conx back into his chair and sauntered to the center of the great cathedral, his long, slender legs casually and gracefully carrying him across the room. He turned to face the council before he began to nobody in particular:
“The felines have been the nuisance of Terrum from its inception. So, naturally, as we discussed before, they needed to be dealt with like the villains they are. We will destroy them.” He raised a hand and clenched it into a fist. “By executing all members of The Tail we simultaneously wipe more than half of their species.”
“How are we to dispose of those that remain?” The Magistrate inquired. The Master’s gaze drifted across the room to one of the many tapestries that hung from the walls. He thought for a moment as he stared at the oddly colored shapes depicted on the tapestry from a legend long forgotten.
“We wait for rebelion.” He finally decided.
“Then?” Conx questioned, nervousness lacing his voice.
A foreboding smile spread across The Master’s face as he returned his attention to the council. “Then, Minister, we slaughter them.”
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