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Tollerian Letters 4
Dearest Marissa,

As you already know, it gets pretty quiet up here, so I thought I’d sit and write you a letter. I never realize how lively our house is until I’m at Dianna’s. It’s a 24 hour party over there by comparison. My room mate is this mute guy who wasn’t there last time. I have my ghouls (that you need to meet) but they don’t get to stay in the same part of the house with me. Like you’ve said before, though, this is all a good thing. Time to rest, time to think. All you have to do is behave for Dianna.

That, and learn the cello. Holy shit, I got cello coming out of my ears. The stuff she wants me to master before she even considers letting me go is just crazy complicated and advanced. I practice non-stop, I have to keep healing my fingers, and I still suck huge donkey dick. Dianna caught on that it’s giving me trouble and keeps ragging on me about it. She says it doesn’t matter how fancy I am with weapons, or how fearless or physical I am, if I don’t have any culture. She’s right, of course. I sure as hell don’t want to end up as some soldier or hound who can’t string sentences together and doesn’t know what to do with his hands if they don’t have a sword in them.

I just wish she’d let me learn the contra-bass. She said it wasn’t a real instrument! She said only sycophants and boring people play bass instruments. I don’t know whether Dianna rubbed off on Chale, or whether she picked him because they thought a lot alike, but man, sometimes I swear I’m hearing him talk through her mouth. It’s a trip.

She’s cool, though. As long as things are orderly and people agree with her or know how to disagree properly, there’s no trouble. It got tense when she asked me about my future plans. She heard about my desire to be an Acolyte and she grilled me for over an hour about my beliefs. It was fucking nerve-racking. I mean, I’m used to criticism and I can handle people not agreeing with my principles, but I really, really didn’t want to spend months with Dianna if she disliked me. It would just be so disappointing and sad. Thankfully, looks like she thinks she can convince me to change my mind through tolerating my choice while showing me the alternative, so she’s being nice. (Nice, for Dianna)

I’m pretty quiet around her, and I think she thought I was a bore until recently. She said she’s been hearing people gossip about me (probably about the Nicole thing, and some other ballsy shit I did as a ghoul that people somehow still remember), which means I’m not a complete waste, in her opinion. She said people only gossip about fools and rising leaders, and I don’t seem like a fool yet. Hahaha!

So, I guess that means you can be proud of me (so far). I hope you always will be, even though I didn’t follow you into the Movement, and I broke our bond. None of that matters, because I still do follow you. You shaped who I am with your kindness and your perseverance. I know I don’t talk a lot about my past. All you need to know is that by the time I met you, I already felt old and stained by things I’d done, and it’s been so many decades since then full of bloodshed and servitude, and so many people who’d been through what I’ve been through would be so much harder and colder than I am, or would have turned into burned out shells. The fact that I still have compassion and strength is largely because of you. Thank you.

Anyway, I guess we’re visiting Dianna’s friend, the Prince of Charlotte. That’s where Laura lives. She’s Harpy again. I remember the time she goaded you into frenzying in Jenisys! I wonder what she’s like, now. I hear Charlotte is more volatile than Richmond these nights. I’ll write about anything interesting that happens, ok?

Write me back, if you want to. Tell me everything. Someone said you might get on the Committee? I hope that’s true. You totally deserve it. I’m rooting for you. Ra ra ra!

I miss you.

Your Childe,

Michael




Dear Madame Marissa,

I write to you from my house in Charlotte. Prince Beverly, a close friend of mine, and a woman whose company and counsel I have long enjoyed, rules a fine city, though its Sheriff leaves much to be desired. There is a lively debate among the court and subjects here regarding the procedures, duties, and philosophy that underpin proper Sheriffhood. Your child has become involved in this debate. Moreover, Prince Beverly herself has taken an interest in him. She and I believe it would be instructive, not to mention interesting, to see if Mister Cobb could succeed as interim Sheriff were the actual one deposed.

Since this is a high-level function which carries with it the potential for great risk to limb and reputation, I seek your permission, as his Sire, to allow Mister Cobb to assent to Prince Beverly’s request, if she asks him to serve Charlotte. I need not tell you how uncommon it is for an unreleased Childe to be granted such an opportunity, and in fact, it is sometimes a form of punishment to both Childe and Sire, as failure is often swift and sound. Neither need I remind you that his honor is linked with yours in all matters until he is released. On the other hand, an opportunity like this can be a rare gift, and my honor is “on the line” as well. If I did not think he stood a fine chance of performing adequately, I would not take the risk.

Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Yours,

Madame Dianna


Stunts Like This

Stunts Like This



          No more booze. No more pot. No more nothing. Gets in the way, keeps the memories buried under all that gauze and pond scum. That’s what my head’s full of, used battle dressing and pond scum.

          Have to clear my head. No more nothing.

          Keep running. Running is good. Not just for the legs and the heart and the lungs. More I run, more I remember. If I run fast enough, maybe the gauze and the muck will leak out of my ears.

          Here are the pieces, best I can fit them together. Last time I saw my Paula.

Zero the Dials



          Monday night show in a club too shitty to call a dive. What was it called? The walls. All the no-talent, post-metalcore bands in the world couldn’t hide the dinginess of the walls there with all their stupid-ass scratchy font stickers and fliers. Floor so sticky, felt like walking in a slaughterhouse, and I worked a year in one to pay for my Eldorado with the blood of ten thousand chickens, so I know what I’m saying.



          But the place was packed. On a Monday? Paula said their shows always were.

          “Music better be good,” I say.

          “They’re pretty decent!” she says, all reassuring me, except the way she says it, I get that same feeling I got earlier, like she’s trying to sell me something she knows I’ll regret buying once I give it a shake and hear loose shit rattling around in it. Which is weird, because wasn’t it her idea to come out here tonight in the first place? She’s been on my case for two weeks to see these guys. OK, fine. I’m here. Now they’re just “pretty decent”?

          So she isn’t here for the music after all. Must know someone in the band, I guess. I’d been there before, showing up to some guy’s lame gig for morale support. Clap clap, that was real cool, good job, bro. Nah, I didn’t notice any fuck-ups at all. That kind of thing. I ask her to remind me how she knows these guys, but the house music is blaring--why the fuck do we need loud music between sets? Nobody’s dancing and people want to talk. She can’t understand me over the noise. Pretty sure I yelled loud enough. Nevermind.

          We’re waiting off to one side, me with my back to a post, Paula in front of me, leaning back so I can put an arm around her from behind and rest my chin on her head. Feels nice, like that. I watch the roadies or the stage crew or whoever-the-fuck swap the opening act’s gear for the headliner’s. Good gear, too. Way good. Way expensive. The big, shiny shit you see in catalogues and shake your head over. I never heard of these guys in my life, not once. Somebody in the band has a rich daddy, guaranteed. Assholes. Playing with someone else’s money, then singing about politics and suffering like they have any authority on the subjects.

          “Zero the Dials”, they’re called? Never heard of them. Sound like a bunch of preening hipsters, if you asked me. Fuck if I care, though. I have good things going on. Had. I am--was-- starting a new job on Friday building a theater at a private school up north, and that’s respectable money while it lasts, and I have Paula in one arm, open and gentle Paula, Paula who loves me even though I make her a starving poet’s girlfriend, Paula, my Brazilian Pardo with the delicate brown skin, hazel eyes in almond shapes, and hair sun-dappled even in dim rooms. And I have a beer in one hand that looks like too much foamy piss in too small a cup, but it tastes alright. For a minute, all is right in the world. Was.

          Zero the Dials, or whatever-the-fuck, are taking forever. No surprise, there. I amuse myself calling them Zero the Douches and Zero the Queeros, and other dumbass puns, which earns me a couple of elbows to the kidneys from Paula, but she throws a few laughs in the mix, too, so it’s well worth the pain. Her laughter. It could cure my migraines, if I ever got any--it’s that soothing to me. I take inventory of the hipster ratio in the audience tonight. Pretty high, but what can you do these days? It’s an epidemic. I tell her as much, but she ignores me, or can’t hear me. She does that nod people do when they’re tired of straining to make out conversation in a noisy club and just give your mumble some approval. And her eyes are roaming around. I can’t quite see them from where I’m standing behind her, but I see her eyelashes flickering. Restless glances. She looks excited. Nervous? I should have caught on then.

          One or two hipsters meet my eye, and I make them look away with my patented the-fuck-you-looking-at stare. Paula doesn’t notice it. She hates when I pick fights with the hipsters, even if they picked one with me first. If I were honest--and when am I ever honest with anyone but her?--I’d have to say she kind of is one herself, in her own way. But not deep down where it counts. Deep down she’s real. Not even that far down, either.

          I usually lose the story, here. Memories all jumbled and coated in that pond scum. Whatever those assholes did to me, it clings.

          Forget you ever met us.

          Run faster.

          Empty cup. I left her for a minute.

          I have no more beer, just an empty plastic cup in my hand, and that’s the worst, because what the hell do you do with an empty cup and no trash can in sight? Can’t drop it. Paula hates that. So I hold it like an idiot until my urge to take a leak and buy us a new round overcomes my desire to stand there with my girl in my arms. I kiss her curly, fuzzy head and say I’ll be right back. I don’t think she hears me. I walk off to find the john and a waste bin, but I look back just before she’s out of sight. It’s a habit I had in any public place with her. Look back before you’re gone, scope out the scene. Best way to know which d-bag is eying your girl while you’re not there. Maybe it makes me an asshole, but if I’d done more of it that night, she’d still be here. I'd have noticed the signs.

Pretty People



          Losing the thread again. Run, run, run. Remember.

          I don’t remember if anyone was checking her out, but I remember her looking around, searching for someone. So what, right? She’s outgoing, people like her. We can’t take ten steps without running into someone she knows from somewhere, men and women. Probably she thinks she’ll find a friend. Big deal. Except that it was a big deal, because I see her eyes. From halfway across the club, I see her eyes twitching around, all nervous and needy. Hungry eyes. It’s the look tweakers get when they know they’re coming down for a hard landing, a real bad landing, a crash landing in a remote jungle crawling with neon snakes and bug-infested swamps, and there’s nothing to bring them back up until their dealer returns their calls.

          Shit. If Paula was on anything, I’d know. I can recognize the signs from ten miles back, and she didn’t have any before tonight. Just distracted a lot, lately, and that ain’t a sign, right? Yeah, dumb-ass, it is. It was a goddamn sign, and you missed it.

          Always gets jumbled at this part. Have to run faster, baste my brain in endorphins like its a turkey. Think. Think. Think.

          I’m walking away. Maybe I’m walking back. I’ve got beer--I’m walking back. I’m pushing through a crowd of kids in hoodies. I can’t put it out of my mind, the way she looked. Those eyes of hers. Or was I clueless? Am I just remembering myself all bothered and upset when really I didn’t have half a clue and was thinking about how good it feels to have an empty bladder and two full cups of beer? No, I picked up on something. My hackles are raised. Paula, Paula, Paula. What’s the deal, Paula? I didn’t want to be that guy, that jealous guy, blowing every little thing up until it’s a Thing. We hardly ever fight, but when we do, it’s about that--my jealousy, or what she calls it, my “mood”. I promised to tone it down some, and I meant it. But that night, in my gauzy memories, I’m toning it back up. Sometimes you don’t make something a Thing. Sometimes it already is one. Bullshit of one type or another is going on, guaranteed.

          Is this when I saw them?

          Forget you ever met us.

          The blonde and her two square-jawed playboy friends.

          Forget you ever met us.

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Tollerian Letters 3
My Youngest One,

Dianna tells me you seem to be taking full advantage of the stability and the sobriety of Richmond. She goes on to say that a crippling fear has taken root in you, and that she intends to wrench it free. You should feel honored to be the object of her attention, even if said attention is more a condemnation of me as a sire and prince than as any real familial fondness. All the same, do not disappoint her.

I did like the news about her priceless furniture being destroyed, however. More of that--that is amusing.

Here, domestic affairs are returning slowly to normalcy. Claire ran back to Banhart’s arms shortly after you went away. No doubt emboldened by his tenacious possession of such a rare beauty, he decided to try his hand at verbally sparring with me in Elysium, as if somehow her sparing him a passing interest suggests that I do not have supremacy in my own city. I proceeded, in full view of those gathered, including our heroine, to methodically dismantle not only his feeble, wrong-headed arguments, but also his much-professed neutrality and affectations of wisdom and good breeding. I may have, in Grace’s words, “Laid it on a bit thick”, but it was satisfying to watch his pride deflate. You’ll find him a diminished man in my presence, henceforth. Claire, to her credit, embarrassed by his weakness, returned to me--which is to say, to us.

You will be pleased to learn that justice has been done, insofar as justice can be done when such misfortune strikes. Madame Heinemanne made good on her promise to “clean house”, and there is no one left alive who so much as smirked at the news of an upstanding fledgling childe of the princes being brutalized. Though it was a small knot of rotten wood in otherwise healthy lumber, she is a woman who understand thoroughness and went to impressive lengths to rid her covenant of those in power who should have been aware of the rot in their midst.

I do hope what you suffered will not too permanently taint your impression of the First Estate. They are still recovering from the staggering blow I dealt them when you were a ghoul, and Kindred of true Quality are not easy to find. Stephanie and I are working on building an Estate worth its name, one that will manage the affairs as only the Invictus can. When you think of the Invictus, think of Stephanie Heinemanne and Dianna.

And now I must close by regrettably informing you that visiting Richmond will be impossible this year for me. But you will tell me all about it, n’est pas?

Your Loving Father-Sire,

Chale


Agata
Baligród Square

           “What are you doing, you little brat? Think that’s funny, do you?”

          The strange man wrenches your arm and shouts at you. His eyes are frightening. You see a bearded chin, spit-launching lips, the teeth of a villager. He’s holding a sharp hoe. You’ve done something terrible, broken some grown-up law, but you can’t figure out which one it was. All you were doing was hopping over cracks in the asphalt-paved square at the center of Baligród. You are five years old. This is your earliest living memory.

           “Let her go! What’s the matter with you?”

          Uncle has returned, a covered grocery basket in his hand. He pulls you to his side, away from the stranger. Keep your eyes down. See their feet facing off against each other. The soft leather of Uncle’s shoes, the coarse twine of the man’s sandals. See the cracks in Baligród square.

           “You let her stomp on my father’s gravestone?”

           “She was playing! My God! Shouting at a little girl, like that.”

           “Trodding on the dead is playing, now? It’s always the same with you szlachta. We commoners catch the bullets and you szlachta don’t even have the decency to keep off our dead!”

           “You’re raving mad! A crazed Jew!”

           “I’ll show you a crazed Jew, you piece-of-shit traitor!”

          The grocery basket knocks against skull, loosing jars of preserve. They smash open on the square. See broken glass in a pulpy ooze. Smell sugar, smell apricots, smell blackcurrant. Smell blood. Uncle is lying on his back, red ooze spilling from a crack in his head. His eyes and mouth are three big Os. The stranger is gone. He left his hoe on the asphalt. People have gathered. Hear them muttering.

           “They’re Grzymała-Szczuka. She’s a Szczuka girl.”

          Szczuka Szczuka Szczuka. Your name buzzes in the air like flies around a plate. Uncle gawks at the sky in surprise. Szczuka Szczuka.

          This was the day you learned to fear strangers. It was also the day you learned you had inherited a legacy of hate.


Portait by Zhang Jingna


Wild Woman

          No. Your earliest living memory was something else.

          You’re three, maybe four years old. You’ve wandered away from the dwór, the manor, away from the eyes of your cousins. You’re lying on your back by a stooping tree. A bug is tickling your ankle, but you don’t care. Hold still. Don’t breathe. An Apollo butterfly has landed on your cheek. She slowly wafts her wings over your eyes. Wings thinner than snow flakes. Thinner than the skin on milk. Chalk white, frosted with silver. Black spots, like someone painted on her. Red spots. Even to your young eyes, the red spots look exactly like droplets of blood. They even gleam white.

          Hold still. Hold still.

          Something moves in the grass. The butterfly flutters away. Lift your head. Look.

          A lynx, in full profile, its head turned away. See its tail float. See its ears swivel. Whiskers bristling out as if feeling at the air. There is no lynx. Now there’s a woman, crouching. Where did the lynx go? Where did the woman come from?

          She stands up. She is not szlachta. She is almost naked. Her clothes are like chamoix bags and strips of paper. Her hair is like goat pelt. She seems old like Grandma, but when she turns her face, you see she is old like Mama. So dirty! Your cousins are calling for you. The wild woman smells the air and looks straight at you.

          Hold still. Don’t breathe.

          She runs away. Your cousins find you and lead you back to the dwór. They think you were lost, and they will not listen to your story about the lynx who turned into a dirty woman. They tell you never to speak to strangers.

          "Strangers hate us!"


Grzymała dwór

          Everyone lives in the dwór. There is nothing older than the dwór. Even the Bieszczady mountain range from which it juts like an outcrop seems young and fresh by comparison. Tall and square, rags of gray paint clinging here and there to its rain-darkened timber. It looks like the molt-off skin some living manor left behind, like the lizard molt your brother showed you, half-eaten. Its portico is a horse skull, missing teeth.

          The road winds down to Baligród, a town you never visit. Papa and Grandpa go. When they go, they bring rifles. One day you are playing Fairy Princess on the road. A brown bear lumbers by, paying you no mind. Hold still. Watch its huge rump waddle away. Go back to playing.

          Another day, you are playing Queen of the Nile on the road. A man comes hiking towards the dwór.

          Run and hide.

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Glenn Solis
Childhood - Ukraine

          He was born to a penniless young woman in Soviet Ukraine, a decade before the dissolution of the Union. Daria was her name. No real family, not the kind that counted. She sang for a living in what passed for a nightclub in those days. Six nice outfits to get her through the work week, three pairs of shoes. Decent girl, kind to strangers, but never amounting to anything. Born in the wrong time, wrong place, worst of all, born with the wrong voice. A little on the shrieky side.

     Thought her luck had finally turned when she met an American ex-pat named Shawn. They settled down, had Glenn. Shawn was sweet, he was adventurous. He had money. Turns out, the money wasn’t technically his, and whatever sweetness he possessed didn’t make up for the half-dozen or so shady schemes he had going on at any one time, the kind of schemes with consequences. Three thugs knocking the groceries out of her arms and demanding their money back--those kinds of consequences. A brick through the bedroom window for a wake-up call. Those kinds of consequences.

     So she took the infant Glenn and left. It was easy--the leaving part, at least. Shawn would hit the road for a few days at a time on business, or to lay low for a while when one of his schemes went bad, so he wasn’t around to stop her. For a couple years, she lived on the good graces of friends and strangers. Back then, the economy was still strong. People were generous. Shawn came looking once or twice for his runaway family, but Daria didn’t take him back, and, Glenn would later piece together, the guy didn’t really want a family to begin with. So that solved that.



Childhood - USA

     Getting to America was the hard part. Political asylum. Mother and child ended up in New York, living for a time with his uncle Kyle--his father’s brother. Long story. Kyle was the stable brother, the one with responsibilities, with a real job. He took them both in, but he was married, so that arrangement was doomed. Daria found them a room with a Serbian family, who let them stay even when she couldn’t pay. Soon enough, Daria got back on her feet, working unglamorous jobs here and there, ruining her already shaky voice with cigarettes. She put Glenn in school.

     It wasn’t the toughest neighborhood. Wasn’t Disneyland, either. There was no avoiding it--eventually the older kids on the block would pit you in a fight against someone roughly your size, and you had to show what you were made of. Take a punch or two, give some back. End up rolling on the sidewalk with your shirt over your head and your knee in the other kid’s crotch, and it was over. Then you could hold your head up high at school, give somebody lip if they deserved it, and the worst that might happen is a little beat-down. Back then kids weren’t walking around packing heat. Those days were coming.

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Tollerian Letters 2
Dearest Marissa,

I find myself thinking of you as I sit in the observatory, surrounded by princely documents and missives that threaten to drown me. But I am spared, finding shelter and dry land in thoughts of my beloved who sojourns in Richmond. How infuriating that the telescope in this room, elaborate and expensive as it is, cannot bring me an image of my love, and that the uncounted star maps and zodiac charts papering the walls here bear no indication of you, nor can they shrink the distance between us nor the time until your return.

Marissa, my visits have been woefully brief and impersonal. Please accept my apology if I have seemed reserved or in any way less than ecstatic during our encounters in Her Grace’s abode. You must know by now how challenging it is for me to balance my public demeanor with the personal self I reveal only in private, which is to say, only to you and our beloved Chale. I know that this duality of mine must hurt you. Forgive me. But please understand that I have been under some pressure from Her Grace not to overly stimulate you with lengthy visits; it was her opinion--a well-reasoned one, I hasten to add--that such visits might interfere with your carefully prepared education. Still, in retrospect, I could have shown more of what I was feeling--which was acute relief to be in your presence again.

The city still finds its feet. A praxis change is sometimes perfectly seamless and untroubled, sometimes a protracted, bloody affair. This one is bloodless but characterized by kinks that need ironing. You might feel rather neglected were you here during this transition, considering how much of Chale’s time is spent away from home. From what I understand, being prince tonight is a demanding juggling act. He complains that the Experiment, while virtuous, is so sweeping and radical that he cannot extend it to cover the other covenants in an unadulterated form without a full-scale rebellion that would need to be crushed with total war, and would result in losing the power base of at least two covenants. The natural solution is to partition the city so that the most radical laws are limited to Nicole’s Regency, which he has greatly expanded, and where the seat of power resides--court and the main elysium and such; and, furthermore, to have a separate set of more general and less revolutionary laws operating in the rest of the city, but this is like ruling two cities rather than one. To complicated the juggling act, he is seen as too close to the Circle and the Order by both his own covenant and the two more conservative covenants.

This is not to say that his praxis is failing or weak. On the contrary, he is noted for his ability to keep several competing parties happy and occupied in pleasing him if they cannot please each other. More often than not, it is simply easier to agree with Chale than to fight him.

You and I understand this perfectly, n’est pas?

Something else you have missed, fortunately, was several months of fighting between us, which is thankfully over, now. The reasons are mostly political, and entirely silly. This time, I must admit, I was the unreasonable party. Shhh!

Let me tell you, Marissa, being Daeva can be exhausting. Chale is right when he says that I need to work on my self-control, which is hilarious considering the source of the advice. But he is right, and he seldom lets his curse get in the way of what he wants to achieve--in fact, he leverages his curse to achieve precisely what he wants. I, too often, present myself as whiny and stubborn. It is so difficult to keep this tendency in check. He says it is because of my youth, and because I am too accustomed to being in charge of my domain and my own faculties. Being Daeva is losing some control of oneself, and realizing this fact means taking back control. One of many paradoxes in our lives.

I wonder how you are doing. You seemed to be more comfortable the last time I visited than in the early months. I hope Her Grace has not been too harsh, and that you have warmed up to her. She is pleasant company in her more private moods, and she is always a fount of wisdom to rival any bishop or heirophant. I must say, I am envious of you right now! You can make it up to me by telling me everything there is to tell.

Now I fear I must return to my duties. I seal this letter with a kiss, and send it with my deepest love. I await your return, praying that it is not delayed.

With Love,

Claire

PS We have to conspire about how to pry Arianna away from Chale.


Tollerian Letters 1
Dear Marissa,

I write this from the gazebo in Lake Clara Meer. It is a luminously gorgeous day, almost noon, the surface of the water blazing white, catching the sun and giving it to me selflessly. I am reminded of your sprightly energy and your bright smile. Waterfowl take flight and cry with jubilee, and I’m reminded of your laughter.

We servants so rarely get to appreciate a sunlit scene such as this, and when we do, we are so often drowsy or dizzy. But, my sweetheart, do not mistake me: the night has its own beauty without which I would shrivel up like primroses banished from the cool, protective shade. Perhaps that is why I hide here in this gazebo even as I admire the sunny lake!

Onward to business. I have spoken to our love and regnant, and he informs me that his time is limited these nights, what with trying to whip the Movement into shape. (Back with the Carthians after a century! It can hardly be believed.) Consequently, I have been given the privilege of tutoring you in certain disciplines which both he and I know. Soon we will begin lessons.

I also hope to take you on a day picnic not long from now. Does that not sound thrilling?

With Love,

Claire


K 20: Apostasy [Final Entry]
"Apostasy shall be rejected by all faithful. Those who have known and accepted the true faith and then subsequently come to reject it as untrue shall face the greatest punishment."

I've read these words innumerable times. In my Creation Rite, how long ago? she asked me what I thought the worst sin was, and why. I skipped over Amaranth. I quoted the apostasy passage, and compared it to Amaranth. Strange answer but well supported, she said.

The worst sin.

Was the crone right? My subconscious dislike for Simeon chipping through? Azariah probably thinks I was testing him, throwing it out there to see if he'd bite. Breathe the word apostasy in reference to Simeon and see what happens.

Truth is

Truth is, it just came out. I didn't say it, it said itself.

It's what any devout Sanctified should think when they hear someone might be having second thoughts. Isn't it? Yes.

But it came out, with the wrong people listening and Azariah so fragile these nights, it came out, a thought become sound, a current become waves, become a real and solid thing, sprouting wings, gone halfway through the city by now, mutating as it hops from host to host, and I haven't even gotten home yet.

Why did I say that out loud?

Am I tired? Am I sick? Was someone boring at me with some discipline I can't even put a name to? Revelation?

Inevitably, he'll come after me.

He'll take it as a death threat and start to plot. But it's Azariah's disappointment that worries me. Death will come one night and I'll be sent to judgment, whether at some hunter's hand or Simeon's or Azariah's himself. But while I'm here, despair does not come from the threat of assassination, but from failing the church.

Failing the church is the only real death.

(Well. That and apostasy.)

So we do not despair. We do not fail. We do the appropriate penance of the appropriate severity, and we guard our thoughts and our tongue, and work our asses off as we always have, and soon this mistake, like all the others, passes into obscurity, remembered only by one or two who bring it up just to remind you that they remember.

[Diary ends here]


K: Narratives
Eagle Scout, Beguiling Jewel, Bright Eyes

I have an important project for you all.

We've learned of around twenty-five hunters operating in the city in five small cells, probably independent of each other. Three of them are loosely organized and poorly funded. These we'll clean up soon enough. But two cells are serious. Militant, driven, armed, and organized. Here's where it gets interesting.

One of the cells is an Aryan biker gang. They go by the name of the White Watchdogs. We don't know who leads them, but their names are Clyde Dixon, Pat Sconson, Willy Atkinson, Jenny Burkotz, Pete Hillard, and Emily Parks. They operate out of South Row and Butcher's Block. They're affiliated with First Aryan Church of Centerville, but we don't yet know where any of them live.

The other cell go by the name of Jessop’s Few. They are: Jessop Aknam, Debne Slatum, Mojiq Masne, and Danriq Fuller, at least. They're seen in the Southwestern side of Carcosa, in and around Little Ethiopia, connected to the African Baptist Episcopal Zion Church.

Both groups are smart enough not to discuss anything in public.

Here's where you come in. Edward, you're in charge of this operation. The goal is to turn these two against each other, which shouldn't be too hard, and possibly to get them imprisoned. We'll begin with rumors and propaganda. Bring Canny Mouse and Timothy in on this; their familiarity with the churches in Carcosa will be useful.

The narrative I want constructed has two layers. In the inner layer, the Aryans consider everyone their enemy, Kindred and non-white human alike, and are selling out minorities to their new moneyed and powerful friends (Us, though this should be obscure, a message meant only for the Zionists, not for public consumption.) On the flip-side, the Zionists suspect the Aryans are backed by us, and they're getting itchy to do something about it.

The outer layer of the narrative is that the Aryans are... well, Aryans, and they've been trying to bring back human slavery. The Zionists are US-hating, white-hating terrorists.

Jessie is running the physical and infiltration side of this operation. We stick to propaganda for now. Layla is using her position as Evening Programming Manager at the station to insert a filler piece about the rise of racially-charged terrorist militias in Carcosa. She's to be treated as one of us. Her domitor is gone and I've taken her. (Krista, take a deep breath. I know you.)

Julie, my suggestion is that you do any flyering that needs to happen in Little Ethiopia, for obvious reasons. Attached is a document I've cooked up. Otherwise do as Edward devises. Krista, don't forget, you're gorgeous. This makes you stand out. Think about that, OK? Delegate. Make someone else show his/her face if that'll serve the plan better.

Start now. Hit the streets, the Internet, whatever. Get the messages out. We'll touch base soon.

--Stargazer

___________________________

"Here's something you won't hear on the news. Those White Pride Christians who tear around Butcher's Block on Harleys? They're trying to bring black slavery. For real. Already tried to sell a couple of black hookers in Little Ethiopia, really truly sell them. Their master plan is to fund a war against everything that's not pure, and that means everything. I guess they have new friends with a lot of money and a lot of interest in slavery. I heard one of them, Emily, saying sometimes you have to make a deal with devils if you wanna fight with the angels."

"Stay outta Africa. That neighborhood’s getting a little ‘iffy’ for whites. My nephew goes to a church there, he says behind the scenes something serious is going down. They’re like a straight-up terrorist cell, down with the USA and all that. Apparently they have enough weapons stockpiled to start World War III and win. They’re getting jumpy about launching Phase One before the Feds catch on, and they wanna make an example out of Neo Nazis. Remind me why I’m still living in this shithole of a city?”


Brother, Sister, Child of Africa
Are You Sick and Tired Enough Yet?



What is Zionism to the Children of Africa and Ancient Israel?

Zionism is self-determination and the ENDLESS pursuit of a sovereign homeland.

Zionism is an escape from the exile of the GHETTO, the exile of DISCRIMINATION.

Zionism is a rejection of the diaspora that SEPARATES one Child of Africa from another.

Zionism is an ASCENT to a place where individual and national GROWTH can happen.

Zionism is a return to THE LORD GOD.

But isn’t Zionism for Jews?ContinuedCollapse )


K 19: Favor
[Call Begins]

K: Hello?

S: Hello, Kenneth.

K: I…know that voice. Madam Bavardi?

S: Please, we’re familiar enough for first names now, don’t you think?

K: I wouldn’t presume.

S: Really? You manage to be rather presumptuous typically.

K: [Laughter] Wow, Madam Groom calling me on the phone. And I was just there last weekend… To what do I owe this rare pleasure, Selena?

S: Down, boy.

K: [Laughter] What can I do for you?

S: I can’t just make a social call?

K: You certainly can. But I get the feeling the imbalance in our relationship is about to experience an adjustment.

S: Mm?

K: You know that feeling you get when you watch someone smoking a cigar and the ash is getting longer and longer and you know its about to fall?

S: It appears I’m not as interested in staring at cigars as you are.

K: Ah, well, nevermind.

S: Right, then. You’re not incorrect. I have a little too much on my plate these nights, and since I’ve been so generous with you these past three years, imparting my wisdom, favoring you with witty conversation, and, let’s not forget, introducing you to several prime morsels that I know you relished…

K: Uh oh. This is gonna be big.

S: …It would only be fair if you returned the favor. ContinueCollapse )


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