Next chapter for Fantasium: The Freemen. Previous chapter can be accessed thru here:
I saw people who were disillusioned by the World they live in, and were deeply wanting things to change for the better. However, none of them ever want to do what would truly be necessary to make those changes real. They want the change, but they don’t want to take any risks towards that end. They want the World to change for the better, but to have others take the risks and then let them know about the changes once the changes have happened.
I know those things, from personal experience. I was one of those people, once upon a time. I know that most people are too afraid to do what they know, deep down inside themselves, what they need to do make the real change in the World from the way things are right now. They are too afraid to make that leap, because it means they will have to lose things they hold dear.
They will have to send their loved ones onto the streets, begging for their next meals because they quit their jobs and so had to sell their homes and other possessions. They will have to face getting shot at by police officers for going full-on “I wanna truly be free” mode, and risk leaving their loved ones alone or, worse, in a prison cell for the rest of their lives. They will have to fight the Good fight all on their lonesome, and in the end their efforts are likely to be in vain.
If all of these people were to have a means of coming together, and coming unto their true power as conscious, living beings, then real change will become nothing short of reality and Good can triumph over Evil once and for all. I eventually decided that I would become the man who would catalyze that coming together of such people as myself.
I was always an “odd one out.” By five years old, I had already realized the folly of such things as money and government.
I knew there was no logical need for humans to use money when every other animal on Eyaye can get by just fine without it. I knew that all money does is prevent people from reaching their full potentials, prevent some people even from keeping themselves alive if they cannot pay for their own food or water, and also prevent people from exercising their own moral compass in life as they are forced to work jobs they hate in order just to keep themselves alive.
I knew there was no logical reason to partake in the systems of government, such as voting and paying taxes. Like money, all government ever does is prevent people from attaining their fullest potentials as truly creative individuals. No matter who people vote for, tyranny is always the result. This is true regardless of which party one votes for, and regardless of which government presides over any given nation on Eyaye.
By age seven, I was pondering on the nature of Space and Time – and Reality and Truth in general. I figured Time should pass by for each person differently, such that, from my perception of the “present,” my parents might, at that instant, perceive themselves days, weeks, months, or even years ahead, or behind, me and my specific “present.” I figured our Universe should take the shape of a “ball,” where every point in Space lies on the surface of that “ball” and, within three dimensions, there would be no way to reach the “core” of it.
Having gotten nowhere in these things with my family or friends (whenever I even had friends), I chose swiftly to keep those thoughts to myself. I had no real choice as a child and teenager but to participate as need be. The problem with that was when I graduated from grade school and wanted to start trying to exercise my own, true freedom.
‘But, how are you gonna make money? Acquire yourself a house? Start your own family?!’ I would be told, or at least implied at. I had no real idea on what I wanted to do for a career, and not only that I never was especially adept at one or two select disciplines available in most Archivist-run cities and countries. All I had to really go on was a little feeling deep inside me that whispered I should stay away from the System as much as possible, even if it means I have to become homeless and beg and scrape and worry for my next potential meal. I had to search near and far for the Truth, even if it killed me.
In the end, I took a deep breath, sucked-up my worries of bewilderment, or disappointment, or even ridicule, and, once I was personally ready, finally did set out to do what I somehow knew I had to do.
An old saying goes something to the tune of: ‘Ask questions, and answers will come.’ I took that to heart as I graduated, and when I did those answers definitely did come. They came, and they never stopped coming; at one point, I was so swamped by it that I almost wasn’t sure what planet I was on anymore.
I recovered, though, and not long after that I went on a “Spiritual Journey” that ended in my (re)discovering the ruins that once were named the “Peregrine Academy.”
There, I found Akei and Aguyu. The place itself was being overrun by jungle, and slowly falling apart as a result, but these two little girls were laid down on granite slabs as if they were just taking a short nap.
My presence awoke them, and since then they’ve practically clung to me like dust to glass without even an inkling of leaving me be anytime soon. They always call me “Headmaster,” even though I want no such title (and I always tell them not to call me that).
I had them tell me everything about themselves, and everything they knew about this place, what happened to it, what happened to them, and anything else they may know. It took them a month, but I came to know the whole story as it pertains to this Academy and what has happened to the World prior, and since, the Peregrine’s mysterious disappearance.
A whole new reality was opened up to me, even far more than it was when I first arrived at the Academy. Akei and Aguyu are Angels (their wings gave that away) – beings asserted not to exist by the Archivists and their ilk. Specifically, Akei is a “Valkyrie of the Light” and Aguyu is a “Valkyrie of the Dark”; a “Valkyrie” is just a “level” of Angel, one step up from “Fae” (the lowest level) and one step down from “Archangel” (the highest level). The levels are achieved through persistent accomplishment of one’s “life-work.” Each level reached comes with a set of wings and a suite of new powers, with Fae having no wings and limited abilities, Valkyries with one pair of wings and semi-immortality (and enhanced powers over Fae), and Archangels gaining two pairs, immortality, and nearly godlike capabilities.
Akei and Aguyu have been close friends practically since birth, and from their behaviour one would’ve thought they were twin sisters. Back in the day, they were apparently charged with selecting and protecting the Academy’s “Headmaster.” This Headmaster was supposed to be a human with “unique potential,” as they’ve told me, and that I was the most striking example of that in anyone they’ve met so far.
With all this knowledge and wisdom I’d collected, I decided that it was then time to put it all to good use.
I learned how to “Sun-graze” (acquiring bodily energy directly from sunlight instead of indirectly via food), thus proving such a practise was, indeed, possible. I steeped myself in as many martial-arts techniques as I could get my hands on, including the “fantastical” aspects like Astral Projection (temporarily separating one’s metaphysical self from the physical body) and the “Iron Jacket” (making one’s body invulnerable to any and all kinds of damage or harm) thus also proving their validity in practise.
It’s all about state of mind: If you believe strongly enough that you can do anything, then in time you will be able to do anything. However, if you believe strongly enough that you’re powerless and that what’s possible is only what you’re told by others is possible then that’s all you’ll ever see about the World and all you’ll ever achieve in your life.
The Archivists want everyone in the latter state of mind. They want everyone believing the World around them is solid and real, obeys set laws of reality, and that anything that may lie outside these strict, physical bounds is asserted outright as absolutely impossible. They want everyone to accept as gospel whatever indoctrination the Archivists give them to accept without question, and as such anyone who dares try to “think outside the box” is henceforth labeled a “Rabble-rouser” and shunned from all society forever.
It’s because the Archivists themselves live within a perception of Reality about the size of a postage stamp, that they wish all this upon us; because their perceptions are so narrow, in order ever to be able to rule over us they need to shove us into a perceptual box that, in comparison to their own box, is about the size of a postage stamp.
Akei and Aguyu told me of a time prior to the Peregrine’s disappearance, when her “Watchers” ensured Good prevailed on Eyaye. The Apothecarian, the Wild Child, the Merry-maker, and many others…. Now, there’s only ruinous imitation – the Pharmacy, the Entertainers, the Circus. The Pharmacy keeps people ill for profit, the Entertainers keep people hypnotized for profit, and the Circus keeps people poor for profit.
“Counter-mimicry” is the term Akei used, quoting the Peregrine herself. She also explained how such a term was originally a defining trait of Lady Dark and her various subordinates.
“Counter-mimicry…. “Mimicry,” in that the Dark tries to reproduce what the Light possess innately; “counter,” in that the Dark is always the inversion of Light.
As helpful as Akei is in helping me learn so much of what I’ve acquired, knowledge-wise, it was certain things Aguyu had mentioned that eventually spurred me into some sort of action.
“I feel so heavy…,” was one of the first things she said upon waking up from her hibernation. At that time, I still didn’t know very much and so her words didn’t really register with me. As time passed, and I awakened my True self ever more, I began to feel the same kind of heaviness in me. I came to understand it as the sheer force of Darkness coating Eyaye, a Darkness so dense I wondered whether the Underworld had actually surfaced. Something big and bad was preparing itself, and in the dispersion of the Watchers after the Peregrine’s absence it would probably have to be I who works to assemble a team of “light-fighters” to try and stand against this Darkness.
The Peregrine Academy is virtually perfect for such a cause, as it possesses five levels of classrooms and dormatories (that need serious fixing up), an outdoor field (overrun by the jungle) for outdoor-type stuff, and secret “crypts” capable of hiding many people in case of extreme emergency. There’s also Akei and Aguyu, the only two beings who chose to stay behind here in the hope of seeing a renaissance in this place. It also helps that very few even know of this Academy’s existence anymore.
The big step for me, in trying to recruit members to this “cause,” was in finding a way to find recruits worthy of the “cause” itself. I decided first to send Akei out to the three City-States and pick out promising individuals, the idea being that she’d converse with them and if they felt like moving over she’d then transport them back here where I could give them whatever training they desire. But, it went dismally slow (with only two recruits over the course of two years).
My next decision was to send Aguyu out to find any secret Archivist hangouts she could find, and try to rescue any disenfranchised individuals there and if they wanted to become a recuit she’d then transport them back here (same as before). Three more recruits were acquired in that year, but, perhaps more importantly, it made us known to the Archivists due to our “affecting” their “human supplies.” Soon after, our cause, the “Freemen,” was being uttered by the Archivists in collective disgust – even placing a bounty on us for anyone who could tell the Archivists anything about us.
No one would really know anything, though….
Aguyu’s “mission” has actually given me invaluable insight into the hidden workings of the Archivists and their monolithic machine of manipulation. They seize children from parents caught up in their tyrannical Peace-keepers institution (mainly, it’s the children of impoverished or mentally unsound parents), and from there the children are sent to one of many “penthouses” to be used as slave labour, sexual perversions of their masters, or even the barbaric human sacrifice role. Regardless, these poor kids are rarely, if ever, seen again alive.
Every once in a while, an “insider” has a change in heart; these people are easily noticeable in the Media as those individuals who are suddenly deluged with damning accusations primarily by random nobodies who seem to just come out of the woodwork. Predominantly, these accusations are of things that happened ten to twenty years ago but the “victims” were, as it’s claimed, “too afraid to say anything at the time.”
Indeed, that’s true in a way; at the time, they’re “saying something” would mean their immediate death; once the other insiders give them safe quarter, though, then they’re able to speak out – with, I presume, some coaxing into coming out as well.
Five recruits so far is a workable start. Three boys, and two girls.
M. I. Arregz was my first recruit. Back then, he was an aspiring poet and songwriter wandering the streets of Hullwick, east of Hullheach, playing songs for food money.
Thiere, who now calls herself the “Warrioress,” was picked up in Arathaesson, the southern-most town of the so-called “Femdom,” where she had her family torn apart by her mother who was too drawn into what the Empress there was selling to all women in that land. Her father, while he could, taught her as much as he knew about swordsmanship and told her someone would need to find a way to do something about the Empress and “Her” tyranny. His last gift to her was an authentic Golden Guard suit, which she wears almost all the time.
Raac and Raghul were the first “lost children” to be recruited; twin brothers not older than twelve, their names implied they were probably taken from the Good Kings’ land. Having no leads on their original family, Aguyu brought them back here where they have since eagerly taken to my special training sessions.
Finally, there’s the girl we call simply “Princess”; she was a secret sex slave for one of the ruling Free Kings, and like the twins she had no known family to go back to. She didn’t even have a name, that she could remember (she was called “Ishkaniz” by her owner, which is, let’s say, extremely demeaning); her “high-maintenance” behaviour once at the Academy earned her the nickname “Princess” – by Aguyu, no less.
Very recently, M. I. Arregz has been looking for like-minded musicians to form a band with and start “touring.” So far, only one other has accepted his invitation: A young man named Galen. Galen’s a drummer, which is an interesting mix with Arregz’s violin and enchanting vocals. They’re managing to pull off that combination, though.
My own nickname, “R.E.,” was given to me by Arregz, from my real name’s initials. “R.E.” also is the abbreviation for the phrase “Rayas Eviz,” which is the mantra of Lady Light: “Let there be Light.” Now, those initials are being associated with myself and my “Freemen” initiative; in Archivist-owned lands, this is accompanied by loathing and adversarial mentalities.
Other freedom-fighting groups have recognized the Freemen as well, even though none of them will join us outright; that’s alright, as some of them are not as amiable compared to others….
In the place of the ancient Watchers, We Freemen are slowly fixing up to be a worthy opponent to the Forces of Darkness. At some point, our numbers will be sorely needed if we’re ever to have a future worth living in.