The Long Tomorrow

The library stands on a hill, overlooking the remnants of a town that was once called Aylenmyr. I believe, though have found little to confirm my suspicions, that the town was named for the dried-up lake that lies to the south, but it hardly matters. There is so much I do not know.

Though the buildings of Alyenmyr wear the scars of their dereliction, the library stands untouched by the ages passed. For this, at least I am grateful. The library has proved an invaluable source, helping, if not to fill, then at least to thin, many of the gaps in my understanding of the last days of Kalathen.

There is little doubt that I suffer under the same ailment of memory to which every citizen of the empire ultimately succumbed; however, the disease, as such it is, has not progressed to its terminal stage. In fact, I am almost certain that the effects of it are, at this very moment, being reversed. I know not why, but I begin to remember, in fragments, the time before. The face of my maker is strong in my mind. Perhaps it was he who found the egress of my mental faculties, but if this is so, then why did he not use the cure on himself?

I have often wondered if it is because I am not human, but belong instead to that species of automata created to serve humanity. But this, I reason, cannot be so, for my mind is as biological as that of any human and, besides myself, there were none of my kind left alive when the humans perished.

For five years I have been in Aylenmyr. Before that time I searched the world in vain, hoping to find another with whom I might converse about my most singular source of consternation. As the years passed, however, and I found none living apart from myself. I grew acutely aware of my own mortality, and so, when finding none alive in Terusil, in Gathena, or across all the lands of Enderling, I settled here in Aylenmyr to complete my work.

Thus did I conclude that I would devote my life, what remained of it, to one purpose alone. One day, I determined, there would again be people to walk this world of ours. No longer would the buildings lie derelict or the valleys silent. As my master had built me, I would learn the secrets of creation.

How then to begin my task.

I went back through every word of every book I had read throughout my travels, searching my biomechanical memory banks for references to the creation of automata, yet nothing could I find. I went through the library of Aylenmyr and, though multitudinous in its collection of valuable and obscure resource books, it held nothing of the knowledge for which I desperately sought.

The wisdom of Kalathen, that almighty power to design and create life, had been lost forever. And once resigned, I began my own research.

First I would need organic tissue, though naturally, I had no human tissue to work with. I have encountered few primate species south of the Allada river. So I resolved that my new creations would be born, not of mankind’s closest ancestors but of the Canine species, their loyal friend.

My early experiments were all disasters, for, without the kinds of advanced genetic manipulations which were, for the time being, beyond my capabilities, there was little hope in teaching the animals much more than basic commands.

I proceeded to draw on what biological texts I had and began a new line of experimentation. I worried, at first, that I would be forced to travel far afield to find the appropriate equipment for gene editing. But once again, this small and secluded town proved itself of great merit, for beneath the library was a laboratory, the dimensions, and capabilities of which were vast and beyond measurement.