“We want change! We want change!” From afar, one would think this cry coming from a tower that is about 2ft taller than its surrounding wall to the right. A closer look would reveal, however, that it isn’t just a cry from some people on a tower. It is a cry from the tower itself—a tower of people breathing, supporting each other, shouting as they lay prostrate on top of one another and together forming a shape of an inverted cone. It is a tower composed of the entire population of the city of Po. All bent towards one purpose—change.
Its base is composed of middle-aged men who are well-built and healthy. From the base up to the top, each citizen is stationed in a prostrate position. This they do for an hour after the one on the topmost has rested on his place in the same position as the others.
It is an annual tradition that they have thought of doing for quite a long time now during these 300 years of the nation’s existence.
“We want change! We want change!”
“My! These people certainly are faithful in doing this every year. I wonder whether they ever think of getting tired.”
“Occasionally they will, sergeant. They’re actually uncertain as to what kind of change they want. They just gather and cry out there like some barking stray dogs.”
“You think so, general?”
“Certainly yes. And it is just what is expected of them. They gather, pile up, then when the topmost completes the tower they cry ‘We want change!’ for an hour, then they break up and return to their usual selves. Our job in this is simply to watch them and ensure that they don’t fall and break their tower. When they do, we help them go back to their pile and let them resume their tradition. Sergeant, we’re actually doing them a favor.”
“Indeed, I agree with you on that point. And to think we get nothing in return but shouts of ‘We want change’. Look now, general, there goes the newsmen from Uppa who are also doing them a favor by giving them the treat of being popular on TV and newspapers. How well-favored they are!”
In the east thrives the city of Po which comprises the nation’s hired laborers who spend most of their day working for the citizens of Uppa in exchange for provisions such as food, clothing, fuel, money, and other such things supplemental to life.
In between the two cities is the city of Wado. In it live Havencrest’s watchdogs, the Sentinels. Formerly they belonged to the nation’s well-to-dos but their incomes eventually no longer sustained them to be ranked as such. As a result, they were abolished from residing in Uppa. The citizens of Po refuse to accept them as they believe that they would just confuse the distinction given to them by the colonizers of time past. The citizens of Uppa thought the same.
To wit, 300 years ago Havencrest was a land with no original settlers. It was a popular trading point of civilized men from nearby countries and from around the world. Finding it a land rich with natural resources, many of the merchants decided to settle. Neither ruler nor rules or any form of boundary existed that time. All was in peace and the dwelling merchants thrived in freedom and plenty. Until a day came when a large group of luxurious elite voyagers, who claimed themselves highly civilized but in nature were so full of themselves and of arrogance, came and subdued the dwelling merchants. They made themselves sovereign according to wealth and influence. Also, they made the merchants pay them a portion of their gains. And, to suffice their lustful fantasies, they caused the females from teenage years and up to patronize them and to visit them every night at their shelters.
Not wanting to let the merchants leave the land and escape their exploitations, they built them a massive pile of stone houses which rose to 30 feet (ft) high. Each house is uniform to the other—each stands 6ft high with base length of 12ft and width of 12ft also. All were set in crimson. Windows were only allowed at the front of each house so that all occupants could only see the happenings as presented to them at the front of the pile. From above, one could see the pile of stone houses having the form of a crescent moon with a line of green-roofed trading stalls and shops at its opening.
Trade, gain, payment to voyagers, women to shelters every night—thus was the system for three long years. Until finally the day came when the usurpers left and went back to their land of origin. That was it—the end of a colony.
The dwelling merchants were left to indulge themselves in freedom as they were before. In spite of this liberty, however, they still continued to shelter themselves in the stone houses built for them by the voyagers. They did not mind building new and better ones since they found the stone houses of a strong foundation and mighty against storms and other such calamities. Also, they found it homey and very much comfortable to live in. And, staying was a pecuniary advantage than venturing out and building new ones. Well, how could anyone leave home sweet home under such pleasant circumstances?
Trade went fairly well in the succeeding years that those who gained much sought better living conditions outside the pile of stone houses. They reckoned themselves improved from their usual selves, and felt no longer fit to stay along with the other dwelling merchants who profited little. So, they went out and settled themselves on the land just outside the pile—land that once accommodated the voyagers and was situated some 18ft from the opening of the crescent pile. There they built shelters palatial in size and grandeur. Those who weren’t able to afford the luxury stayed within the pile.
At one point during that time, one of the prosperous merchants endeavored to hire some of his colleagues from the pile to do the trade for him.
“Friends, merchants and fellowmen, hear and gather near! I, John Reynolds, am come to call from among you laborers willing to work for me. Bounty awaits the willing and able in everyday of his life. Now, who among you shall I send forth to labor?”
And so started the hiring of laborers—a deed slowly imitated by the other well-to-dos until the entire line of trading stalls and shops adopted the system. In time, they became the only sources of living for the people of the pile.
Fortune did not go well, however, to some of the well-to-dos. Their families were forced to vacate their luxurious shelters because they could no longer afford the honor and majesty of being wealthy. No one wanted them. Neither their once fellow well-to-do merchants nor the dwellers of the pile had room for them in their respective lots. Both groups were very much hesitant to accommodate them. And, both believed that their admission to either party would just spoil the name each carried.
To settle the matter, an ambassador was sent from each group—one from the noblemen, one from the people of the pile, and one from the homeless group. As a result, all agreed to let the homeless settle on the lot between the land of the wealthy merchants and the crescent pile. In effect, a 42ft-high concrete edifice consisted of 7 landings and a span that can cover the opening of the crescent pile was built on the land in between the two territories. From then on it served as the shelter for the homeless and once well-to-do merchants. Also, to identify one group from another, the following labels were embraced: the land of the well-to-do merchants on the west was called Uppa, the pile resided by the laboring merchants was called Po, and the land of the homeless merchants was called Wado.
After several months, the once homeless merchants were obliged to become watchdogs for the citizens of Uppa and Po as it appeared to be the only recompense for their existence. They were then dubbed as the Sentinels. Their foremost responsibility was to ensure that no one from Uppa and Po would go beyond their respective shelters. Also, they were to serve as referees in any kind of dispute and protestation. They lived in lavish gifts of food, money, clothing, and fuel in return for their enduring service.
“We want change! We want change! We want change!” The entire population of Po now shout with their hearts out.
As this tower of humanity progresses in its cry, however, a child accidentally falls from his spot in the tower and lands outside the pile. Groping in fear, he rushes back to the tower where a troop of Sentinels helps him return to his spot and there reunites him to his parents who well in tears upon seeing him again. Not far from them was an old man who, gasping for breath, juts his head out from the upper level of the tower and in a moment saw the vast horizon outside the curved wall of their shelter these 300 years. He sees how very fertile the land outside is. A great and flowing river stems around it. Its verdant pastures are lined with trees of many kinds, all efficient for sustaining life. Abundance. All is fresh. All is free. He is immobilized by what he sees, however, it is not to stay long. Soon he hears the towering shout of a middle-aged man who constantly encouraged his fellow citizens at Po to press on in their annual endeavor.
“We want what?” the man shouts to his fellowmen.
“We want change!” all others cry in response. “We want change! We want change!”
At that very moment, a young man about 20 years of age accidentally falls from his spot in the tower and lands outside the pile. He finds himself outside the curved wall after rolling on the ground and crashing through a big poorly patched hole in the wall. Rising up, he dusts himself off and is about to go back to his station when the first ray of sunlight exposes him to the horizon that the old man saw. No. He is not a child who would grope in fear for being alone and astray. He marvels at what he sees. He is encapsulated with all its possibilities. Now he thinks, “Why not?”
The Sentinels head towards him.
“We want change! We want change! We want change!”