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The Abyss: Origins of a story

Updated: May 25

Behind Walktall Part 1 - Re-education Camps

All story stands on the shoulders of reality. Inspired, incited from pen to paper by the revelations of a world stranger than anything fathomed alone. We as humans exist within reality and without the ability to expand beyond it. All imaginings are underpinned in it and so as storytellers we imagine derivations of other tales and ultimately nested in concepts rooting back in our world. Walktall is no different and I believe its inspirations are worth a short conversation.

Origins of a story, the impact of re-education camps on novella Walktall
China and the reducation of its Uyghur Muslims

Walktall is rooted in its parent tale, Ascendant: Saga of Valor, but it is far more closely tied to the ethnocide occurring in modern-day China. As I type these letters thousands of Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are undergoing the evils of the Chinese Communist Party’s re-education camps. The goal? Only the CCP can know the answer for sure but surely the erasure of these people's identities is a part of it.

For those who have alpha and beta-tested Walktall, it is painfully clear that the erasure and reshaping of Mute is the goal of the antagonists—though for what purpose I will leave to your discovery. The ends are met by a brutal methodology, many of which are real techniques used today. Deprivation is the polearm of erasure of the weapon with loss of sleep, time, and needs as its spearhead. Reshaping comes with the battering abuse of short-term memory, praise, and pain.

I was shocked, at the time of writing this, how little attention our news media was putting on the subject of the CCP re-education camps. I was floored by how many eyes glazed over at the mention of these horrific blights and what little so many people know about them. With a title like “re-education,” it doesn’t sound too bad. Like a remedial class. Couldn’t be farther from the truth and since it was such a “hush-hush” subject, this evil was not getting the attention it deserved.

Thus, I set out to write a first-person perspective on the subject and was shocked by what I found. I consider myself a well-read person but when you live in an insulated country it is

Origins of a story, the impact of the gulags on novella Walktall
gazing from the gulags

easy to be out of touch with reality. Diving into articles, psychology, and testimony, I was awed by what the survivors endured. Their stories shook me to my bones and dared me to do them justice in this tale. Walktall sees very real techniques used within it to break the spirit of the children. From endless marching, and recitation, to turning the children's trust to those who have done them harm, all the methodology is tested by the time.

Dark and dreary as this all seems it made the light at the tunnel all the brighter. Why? Because every survivor had one thing in common—that which made them heroes among men: In an ocean of lies they managed to hold a drop of truth. If you’ve ever been in any body of water then you know how insane that is and yet they did it. Which, in an age where truth seems dependent on the day, the speaker, or the agenda, it is heartening to know that the Truth can reclaim Good and Beauty. My light at the end of the tunnel? Writing a character after the heart of each one of these survivors.

There is a phrase Nietzsche is famous for saying: “. . .If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes back. . .” It is my belief that when confronted with the darkness a person finds out what they are made of.

That's it for now in this 3 Part Series of Walktall Origins.

Please see below for links to further information on re-education camps.

Have questions or want to chat? You can reach out to me at

Live long, and May the Force be with you!

Izaic Y

P.S. That saying is purposefully wrong ;)

(This is a Jordan Peterson interview with North Korean survivor Yeonmi Park. Whatever your opinion on J.P. this is a must-listen-to hear from a survivor of a regime most like Walktall and Ascendant)



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