I am one of the 2 developers of Sky Alchemist - yes we are a really tiny indie games company. I was mainly working on the game's UI stuff, which was quite fun, because we did everything in a really beautiful Steampunk theme. Before I became a Software Developer I graduated from History. Im quite into 19th century literature. So, making a Steampunk game and doing the historical research for it was really like a dream coming true.
From the Sky Archives
Chapter 1, Part 2
I remember myself being pushed in front of the visitors. The strange ladies are dressed very odd, not at all like my mother and the women in our division. One lady is tall and dark and I am dazzled by the golden buttons and the strange signs gleaming on her dress. The lady looks old and young at the same time; her hair is grey, but her skin is fair and smooth. The young lady looks rosy and wears a grey dress with less gold on it. When she strokes my hair I catch her smell - like a flower, but I sniff something else: hot and burnt, it makes my nose itch. I am excited and also a bit anxious. Something important is going to happen. The young lady opens a big black leather bag and pulls out a set of paper cards. She lays out a row of pictures on the floor in front of me. Strange animals I have never seen before are printed on the cards. There are ladies and gentlemen in foreign, dark clothes and colourful flowers I never saw in our grimy alley.
She takes a big watch out of her pocket and bids me to sort the pictures into pairs of two. “Look”, she says, “ like this: the baby girl goes together with the baby boy”. I try to figure out which pictures belong together, but I do not know other animals than Shakeel, our goat, the rats and mice that live under the floor of our cube, and some flies and spiders. And the guinea pigs we in better times ate on the feasts of one of our Gods. The only flowers I know are the yellow ones that grow in the cracks of the Frame. The young lady looks at her watch and says “stop”. Both ladies talk, the old one seems angry. Mother looks sad. My belly aches. The young lady takes a new set of cards out of her black leather bag. This time it is a puzzle game. She shows me an image and I have to put together the cards until they show the image. It is fun and I can do it easily. The young lady looks at her watch and smiles.
The dark lady now talks with Aunt Precious. I feel happy. I have done well. Then I hear my brother’s name: “Urf”.
When I am allowed to leave the room, Mother calls for Urf. He is smaller than me and I think I am smarter than him, because I can read a little and write my name.
When the door closes behind Urf I press my face against the worm-eaten wood and peep through a crack. My face is hot and I feel my heart hammer in my chest. The old lady looks at Urf through a round looking glass and beckons him to come closer. When he is standing in front of her, she grabs his head with her big hands,pulls his mouth open and examines his teeth. Perhaps with boys teeth are more important, I think.
I am waiting for the picture cards and the puzzle game to appear. I am worried that Urf will not do well in the test, since boys are not as smart as girls, and Mother is saying that it is not fit for boys to go to school. But there are no cards and no puzzle game. The young lady says: “take off your clothes, boy”. When he has reluctantly undressed, they press his arms and legs, look at his feet, and he must walk up and down in front of them. “You can dress again, boy”, says the rosy lady. And suddenly she sounds not nice at all. When he is allowed to leave the room, Urf is crying. The last thing I see is a crop of shell money gliding into Aunt Precious’s purse.
This night my twin brother and I held each other tightly. The next morning they came for Urf. Back then I was not told where they brought him, but since then I have figured out that Mother must have sold Urf to the Outfields. When the men took him away, I would not let go of his shirt. Mother and father had to drag me away forcibly and tie me to the hook in the wall where in better times our goat was locked to. Without that I would have run after my brother right to the slave ships.
Some days later - I was still in a stupor - the Big Sisters came and took me to the Alchemy Ward. When I finally recovered from my shock I was a ward of the Alchemy College. My new name was Ljón.