A winnable war had arisen from the ashes of inevitable defeat.
In each of the forty-three years after the skirmish had started, the North had been on the losing side. What was once a vast and far-reaching country, spanning time zones and continents, ten years ago had been forced to fold back onto its capitol. In the following decade the city would be under constant Southern siege. Few people believed the stalemate could be resolved.
But now, there was hope.
Like every other day, Southern bombs had laid waste to huge chunks of the capitol. Bombs that not once since the war had started had failed to explode. But after the dust had settled the inhabitants came across a shell stuck in the ground. Unexploded. Harmless. Impotent.
News soon spread across the city and lured thousands to the spot. Among them the five-year-old who fearlessly climbed the bomb, posed for pictures and would become the poster girl for the new wave of optimism.
Southern technology had always been far superior to Northern machinery. But the dud in the ground fed hope that the South was running out of reliable cogs and bolts. Insurgents who’d had trouble recruiting new blood, now were inundated with youngsters joining up to fight. And songs about a change in fortunes could be heard in the dark of night.
They reached the ears of the Southern forces surrounding the city as well. But the songs did not strike fear in their hearts. Everything was going according to plan.
A plan so simple it was sheer genius.
The South had knowingly smuggled the dud among the bombs. Had intentionally given the North hope of a winnable war.
For forty-three years, the South had tried to break their walls.
Now they’d break their spirits.
The walls would follow.
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