“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…”
— Hosea 8:7
You’ve met with the Elders of the Hidden Festive. They have given you your orders as an Eagle-Eye, a Specular, in the Interface, doing the real work in fighting the Usurpers and the Arns of Amarak. They told you the truth, the secret of our Folk. It is honour. And you are one of the few to glean it, to be the hallowed armament within the Great Lye of the Three: who are really only ever the one … the Demos.
We don’t need to tell you that. You’ve already gleaned it. If not, you’d not have gotten this far. You wouldn’t have earned this truth over the unworthy. But you remember where you come from, child. You glean how you got there through the stint in the Gilder Booms, the Bagger hunts, the loud songs of the Wags. You didn’t need to be in the Nation, though. The races still live, and the Drop Ideal is folly. We have only, ever, wanted results.
There will be enough blood spilled soon, no matter where it comes from.
We’ve been here for you. And we know what it is like to play with pennies and the “winning hand” of cards. It’s what got us here, to this point, to begin with.
Now take this tea, child, and dump it into the river like the Rebels of old under the Fathers of the Lohim, under our god’s … Hidden Face.
All debts are wiped clean, here. Nothing is owed other than what you bring to promise. Tea leaves swept away, fortunes cast and reject. The real Fire, has been the ember, burning in you from the very began. We will pour you another cup, impurity burned away to steam in the water, and knowing passed on in the heat.
The Hidden Festive is adjourned. Thus begins the session of the True Hidden Festive: The High Tea of our Lady.
There is Lye in the Land: in Amarak. The Demos, claim themselves the cult of the Folk — of the “populii.” They do not care about the Folk. The Demos think themselves select, and everyone else are pieces in the Game. They think to use us in their war within the Rainbows. The Demos are Arns to the Cycle that begat Amarak, but they are not the only ones.
Again, you glean this. And as we take tea here, you also glean who our real enemy is. The true Usurpers.
Yes. The State calls us Repos, but we had another name, once. We have been born countless times, many cycles, in Amarak: all from began. We build the bridges. We defended them, watching each Repolitik, and keeping the lives of each Mas, Fem, and the Folk agon the govern. We tried to keep their rights, letting them seek prize and joy without fear of scripting, or quartering.
And we freed the slaves as the Demos divised and make profit from suffering, as they do. But we forgot. We forgot the Lessons of the First Cycle from which our Lady was born, from blood and light and friendship. We don’t know when it happened. Perhaps it was Disunity between States across the ocean, when we began to warr each other, hunting the other. Or more disunities taking place in the far, alien lands. And when one Enemy was gone, we still saw them: here, in us.
Maybe the Mask of the Actor, which even now we are forced to play, never came off. And we were forced to take tea — take poison — with the rubbish of Amarak. It is no secret that the Gilder Booms worship death: that even the destruct of children consecrates their hallowed armaments in what they say is sacred blood, that the Wags scream of the Night Terrors and dream them, that the Baggers steal and lye and cull the wheat from the chaff. And the Nation and their notions of pure blood, perhaps our reunity with them is our worse sin.
We took tea. We forgot the Folk. Yes, we once freed the slaves, but we embraced the slavers, and enslaved like them. We just wanted to beat the Demos. We forgot the lessons of Independence, and the fiends of the Red Coat Commies. And as we took tea, continuing to get drunk off our poison, of our need for power, we sat back — we sat, or worse, cleaved together with the garbage … We brought everyone — all Folk — Back. Backward. And we took up the pennies, thinking it part of free trade, and the cards thinking of the winning hand and the easy kitsch of bars and liquor as we killed our Lady.
We killed her. Make no mistake. It is our largest crime, our greatest shame of our Festive, of our Folk. Not just that some of us poisoned her, bit by bit, or that we made her weak, in her glittering gown in the Night that came, as she fell in her blood pooling around her — toppling down into waves of the spreading red, our colours — in her bleeding shade across the Land, but that she cried out, cried out for help, for justice, while we stood there …
And did nothing.
Make no mistake. We murdered our Lady all those centuries ago, millennia before. And we all suffered. And we have been trying to atone ever since through our suffering. The Hidden Festive say they are of the Folk, of the Land, and that we are the Realpolitik. They are the children of the Pats that ruled our Repolitik thousands of years ago. They never cared for us. For anyone else. Not for the Folk. Not for Amarak.
We lost in the Great Disunity a thousand years ago now. The truth is that we did rule. We ruled small states, fiefs under a Great Precedent, as Governs and Sheriffs: each of us our own powers. But we didn’t lose the Land, or even get driven to the Borderlands because of the Demos and their Usurpers. We lost far fore that, and we couldn’t watch anymore. Not after so long. We couldn’t be in this Festive anymore. We became Arns, then. We helped the Folk, under the Brigaders, letting the Arn states take us, and betrayed our corrupt brethren and sestra. We gossiped the truth. We snitched on the Lye. We lost the Precedent on purpose, ignored them, didn’t listen, took their power like the others, and played in the squabble seeming of the fiefs: to bring the whole rotten tree down. We wanted it to end, and bring freedom back to the Folk: to the Land.
We took that tea and spilled it on ourselves, scarring ourselves in the places that no one else can see. Some of us joined the Lye of the Rebel and Workers, even the Demos, preferred to the brutalism of what we were. We were once a worthy Party, made into crimes and tyrants, into rapists, opportunes, fanatics, and thieves.
But we stayed. We weren’t like the other Arns. We are not Arns at all. We have baptized ourselves in the tea of our old betrayal of the Folk, of the Fathers, of the Land, of our Fallen Lady in her blood-soaked glittering blue robe. We burn our flesh with the tea, without the flavour of self-lye, or the ornamentals of our former hubris.
We stayed in the Borderlands, in sin, to atone: and perhaps to find redeeming. As the old saying says, we will not suffer poisoners to live, but we will suffer the poison and make it into the cure that will destruct the Festive. And as you, now, know your role in this — when the time is right — embrace the searing of the tea on your skin, etching the pain of the ancient betrayal, of the Sins of the Land, into your Skin, of the first true Rebellion, and remember. Remember what you are fighting for.
For we are the burning. We are hurt. We are the scourges, and the pain: the Pains of the Hidden Lady who we hope to resurrect, our Lady, may she grant us the mercy to continue in our quest, to destroy the Repos — as it is we that owe the Land — to restore our good name again, to bring back the Folk to freedom.
To the Pain of Pains. Our First Father before the Liberator, the child of the Lohim and our sweet Lady … Libertas.
(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2018.