“We are what we pretend to be …”
— Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
It’s finally time that you know the truth. You’ve earned it.
Not many make it to this point. The Nation’s still filled with anger, and they make for easy targets. The Gilder Booms burn bright in the night of our land with the hallowed armaments, and fall just as quick to the Usurpers.
We are the Elders of the Hidden Festive. We see like the Sacred Bird’s Eye above us. Our backs are clad with the mantles of blood wearing the holy sky. And like the Beast that shelters us, under the blessing of the Lohim, we never forget. And we glean. We glean the thunder and lightning hiding between the stars. But you have found the zigzag path, hidden in the Arns among the Three Usurpers.
Come and place the four pennies, and seven cards. They are the lesson, in your hand. You win with them. Four pennies to feed the hungry, and bring up the low — proving the worth of earning one’s keep — and seven cards to reveal one truth that we know. Speak the sacred, forbidden names. We do not burn bridges.
We build them.
The Lye Laws of the Usurpers, backed by the Arns that left us, claiming us children of hate, scourged us from the Land, poisoning our seemings to the Folk, and naming murder justice, and exile mercy. Here they think we fight against our skins, and members, the weak and the strong, the old and the young. It is Lye.
It is the least of what they have done to us.
You recall the glories of our Repolitik. How we bridged the gap between Mas and Fem on the Sacred Script. How we brought colleges together against the Demos Schisms. How we tried to bring Reunity to Heaven and Earth, Folk and Lohim. We even sent a Champion to answer the Harbinger of the Twisted Cross that dared seek power in a ritual of bare bodies and false gods.
It wasn’t just that the Usurpers tainted us in the gleanings of the Folk. They erased us. And now, we will tell you of their greatest crime. Even the most fierce of the Young do not know this. But it is time that you know the source of our shame. And our power.
Pass under the Beast and walk the steps to the white throne of our Lohim, and see His grace. His power. This is the secret of the Secret Party, the Celebration of True Freedom. He guided us as we freed the slaves. As we ended the First Disunity. These are the heights from where we fell, when the Usurpers killed us, when they drove us to the Borderlands, lumping us into the squalor of the broken, the inbred, thieves and traitors. Of trash. This is the power of Lye: that we are all the same.
But the smear of Lye has become our own hallowed armament, as you well know. And even trash has its purpose. The Baggers the Usurpers think we are hunt and gather the best of what we need, exercising the weak from the strong, making the Traitors think we kill one another, whittling ourselves down, collecting our heat to serve to ignite the flame that they will one day burn them all down. Gilder Booms remind them of the fury of the Disunities they made, defending ourselves against Death to the very end with hallowed armaments. They serve, tall and proud, to make the Usurpers remember the Old Battles. We use their Night Terror of us against them, to blind any new gleanings.
And the Wags wander Amarak, Masking themselves as the broken, loud, proud, and testing the crowd: letting themselves be silenced so we can all be revenged.
For you have ever been one of our Speculars, hiding in the Usurper Festives and waiting. The War with the godless Rainbow Peoples has distracted the Usurpers now, splitting the Demos again. Our time is almost here. The Liberator will soon be remembered. The Arns of the Workers and the Rebel Festives still remain with us. The trunk of our Guardian Beast snakes into the cracks of the Interface, past its ancient garden walls, and watering the forbidden fruits that will become the Apple Seed. And that harvest will come through you, child, and the Speculars around the Interface: our Eagle Eyes among them.
Yet you will not embrace not the Lohim Mask of the Liberator, or the Bear before that time. But you will continue to hold the aspect of the Actor among their ranks. You will let us in through the fences and the walls. And then close the doors and lock behind us. The Fire that was once Rebellion is the real power that keeps us together, the Fire come hate, giving us our own Reunity. We are the Realpolitik of Amarak. And though the Usurpers call us Repos, it is we — it is you — who will gather them, for we have come to collect. This is the final truth.
Freedom always has its price. And it can only be earned.
(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2017