Content Warning: Oppression
"At one time—as I learned—the king of the city had been betrayed by his closest advisor, who had through his treachery allowed a neighboring army to penetrate uncontested into the very heart of the palace. The invaders had been routed and sent fleeing from the city, but only at great cost of life and destruction of property, and the king himself had only narrowly escaped death. Since then, he had built the encircling wall I had seen from above, and had shut the gates, decreeing that no one would enter or leave the city, upon pain of death, so fearful was he that treachery might one day bring about his downfall.
"Nonetheless, a few brave souls still defied him, creeping in and out of the city by night, and this is how they accomplished such a feat without discovery: one among them, a very learned individual, had long studied the flight and anatomy of the birds and other winged creatures and had learned how to construct wings that would carry a man up into the sky. Others, being enchanted by the idea of soaring among the clouds, and desperate for some glimpse of the world beyond their walls, copied these designs and built wings of their own. Scaling up the cliffs under cover of night, they would leap with their wings into the very wind, which carried them far away, often even to distant countries—though none so far or so lofty as the one who had designed the wings at first.
"After some time in the city, I gained the friendship of this Aviator, who at long last, after much entreating, agreed to take me aloft one night. Well I remember that first thrill of fear and excitement in my bones as we climbed the side of the mountain in the chill midnight, carrying the various parts of our crafted bird’s wings. The half-moon shone down on us, and our dark silhouettes stretched far down the mountain as we assembled the wings, which the Aviator had designed specially to carry two bodies instead of one. With the Aviator in the position of pilot to guide and manipulate our craft while I rode behind as a mere passenger, we waited for just the right shift in the winds to carry us up. My heart was in my mouth as the Aviator cried out, ‘Now!’ and we leapt from the heights out into nothingness.