by Vadim Kokielov
One day remained until the revolt. I was in the middle of a fatal dilemma. The resolution of this event decided my future. Now, in writing of it, I cannot help but to think in conditions, and among the thousands of questions whose torment my heart feels each day, the question "Wherefore didst I not act differently?" strikes the harshest. Indeed, wherefore had I not? My choice appeared to be of two paths, but was in truth of three! If I had only seen the narrow road before, the way which we, in our hypocrisy, ignore, until consequence finds us, when we yell bitterly, "Wherefore?!" I might have remained with the Hammers, at the end, but would that have brought me the happiness I sought and permitted me to speak the thoughts my tongue longed to speak?
The ancient Hammer texts taught that the core of faith, nobility, honor, and other virtues, is willingness to work and control of desires. All my life I had worked for the Hammers. Their strength was in their wisdom, accumulated over centuries of belief. The Order was as a part of me as I was a part of it. But their great weakness was their rigidity. It had not been an issue until the final generation. The youth of this last generation was not made of rigid and firm, yet warm, stone, but of malleable and flexible, yet cold, metal. Interested far more in politics and greed than in honest virtue, the Hammers' children were prepared to destroy all connections with Hammers to exercise these evils. The class division between the wise but rigid old men of the Order and the mischievous but open young reformers was visible long before the separatists began to gain momentum. Of course, the Hammers themselves are to blame for the existence of separatists. The separatists came about only when the Hammers relaxed their meticulous religious instruction, leaving their posterity to take in their own direction.
The separatists, also known as Mechanists, were, in the long run, not better than the Hammers. Although they gained momentum within the Order with amazing speed, attracting almost every youth, their idiocy was revealed quickly after their emergence as a new Order. The Mechanist leader, Karras, would make mistakes. He was my associate at the time of my tale, and a mark of a somber history of an ill friendship. Although Karras's respect for me was immense, partly for my intelligence, his views were unlike mine. My knowledge of his inner mind was limited, and while on the surface he appeared ready to lead this movement to light, his true intentions were hidden behind his eyes. When he spoke to me, I sensed a darkness in his expression. This darkness was not in any tangible part of his image. It was an element of his speech; his voice mocked me and any who spoke to him.
As I discovered many moons aft, I was a dissident to both faiths. The Hammers appeared weak to me from my youth, but my wisdom cautioned me against believing in Karras. I could not await the crumbling of the Hammers in silence, but I could not fully embrace the sin of Karras's movement, even when circumstances forced me to group myself with him. Few Hammers, as the Order stood at that time, did not fall clearly into either the Hammer camp or the Mechanist camp. However, I was not alone in my universally cynical beliefs. Two others, companions of mine whom I shall not name, were among the youth that superficially followed the movement; still, they were as sure of their own selves as none besides. One of them was a woman. The other was a man, much like myself. They still live, I suspect, and I hope that life is providing for them better than for me. My male friend was exceptional in his reasoning abilities. His life was interesting in itself, and when it was padded with his clear thoughts and precise points, he made as good a case for separation as he made for confirmation. My female friend was different from both of us; her boldness prompted her to express herself, and her conscience recognized no moral boundaries. To her, the faith was what she made it to be. She was the kind to yell "Fire" to force fools to save themselves from a more distant, yet far bigger, evil. Many a time I'd discussed with both of them, if only for raw amusement, the possibility of forming our own philosophical "order". I was reluctant to leave the Mechanist movement, however, for in my mind I trusted Karras's goals as they appeared to me. It was only later, to my grief, that I discovered how I had misjudged Karras.
I never discovered whether the Hammers knew of Karras's plans, nor did it concern me. If they were, then they certainly did not show it. It was, of course, as always, plausible that they were hatching a diabolical plot to destroy Karras on the eve of the insurrection. Nevertheless, it was unlikely - the Hammers feared public hypocrisy with adamancy. Knowing that a good half of their followers were ready to separate, they could not permit themselves to thrust a blade through Karras's chest without causing a major scandal.
It was, then, one day until the revolt. I gathered my room key into my shoulder bag and left my quarters, which I had occupied while contemplating the above. I walked through the corridors into a large hall with a high ceiling. The hall was decorated with hammers (Ed. Note: One of the many symbols of the Hammers was the sacred hammer, which stood for the tool provided in ancient times by their Master Builder), depictions of holy men, and other such artifacts. Each had a history attached to it - history that the Hammers carefully gathered and filed. Preservation was one of the better aspects of their culture. The ceiling in the hallway was nearly ten man-heights away from my head, and the tile floor reflected my image as I walked along it. Each crack split my face into several parts, and each part was a different color in the four-color pattern. I was used to walking down this hall; I had done so since childhood. The temple in which we lived was a majestic work of art, built atop an ancient worshipping ground of a much older and much more primitive sect. It would be hard to part with it.
I exited the grand hall and continued down a series of narrow, well-lit corridors to reach the quarters of my female companion. I had not seen her since a week before - she returned from a neighboring city yesterday, where she served her duty as a negotiator of the Builder. "Missionaries" like her were the old men's (Ed. Note: This term is used repeatedly by the author to refer to the conservatives) last, desperate attempt at saving their Order. Karras promised that women of the Mechanist Order would have as much opportunity as men. Opportunity is relative to the sum of rights, however. If men's rights were reduced to the level of women's, his promise would still be fulfilled.
I entered her room. On the wall sat a familiar symbol of the Hammers: a banner with the image of crossed hammers, engulfed in a frame. These items were issued liberally to all members of the Order. Now, however, an anomaly was easily visible across its fabric surface. On its I noticed a large tear, a tear which to me appeared to have the shape of a dagger, although I cannot claim that it was more than my imagination. It was within her habits to destroy items that symbolized worthlessness to her, but I could not believe that she would blatantly destroy the Hammer symbol. I knew her reason for destroying the symbol all too well. The Hammers had wronged her by attempting to force the muscle of her heart. She had wanted to allow her antipathy for the Hammers to surface for very long, but she should not have taken the risk. Destruction of religious artifacts was treated as heresy, and heresy was treated as a major sin. Life in Cragscleft Prison, a containment facility near our temple, would not be pleasant for a woman bearing the Hammer symbol.
I shifted my gaze to her. She was regarding me with great interest, a hint of smugness across her face. Her shape matched that of any average woman her age, but fate made her such that the composition of her image overwhelmed the same in all other women I have seen in my life. Her blue eyes reflected my image, pointed directly at my own, not wavering for a second; her dark brown hair fell across her shoulders and onto the uniform she wore. I stood for a moment, speechless from her elegance as well as such obvious heresy. Finally, I found the tongue in my mouth. "Thou art unwise to defy the Master Forgers so openly. 'Twould be a shame if thou wert caught and removed from the Separation, for thy actions are important to the mediation of Karras's spirit. His ear is more open to thy voice than to that of his egotistic companion, Vilnia, and, by the Builder, thy words are worthier than hers." I managed to utter. "What matter is it of thine what I think of doing with my possessions? No senile sage of the Hammers yet stands to challenge me!" she yelled crisply in response, inciting a feeling of immediate resignation within me, as she often could with such intonation. She was attempting to tell me that I had no right to interfere with her hatred. I had little choice but to accede.
Therefore, without expecting much result, I answered, "Thou wouldst be wise to be prudent at least."
"Prudence stems from danger; I see no danger I could not defeat," she replied, again with deliberate acuteness.
"Shalt join me in my search for our companion?" I inquired, seeking to incite her to speak. I had, as a matter of coincidence, planned to seek my companion when I left her room.
"Yes, I shalt. Press not," she responded. I looked about the room once more. Her room was different from her neighbors' in the marked absence of artifacts and specie. In their place was literature of the oldest and most respected authors, within the Order and without it. Our brethren listened to, yet never seemed to hear, the preaching of their masters. In passing their rooms I saw scars of sin worth not one but many scarlet letters: beds in entropy, crumpled uniforms near the doorstep, or the clothes of some harlot in dark contrast with the uniform of a young Hammer. The old men knew of this, but their own troubles prevented them from concerning themselves with the sin of their children. The Hammers loosened their hold on the minds of their posterity, attempting to control matters outside their religious sect that had become uncontrollable. As it was, they not only failed to secure their present, but also created a certain doom in their future.
"Come, hastily," she spoke, breaking my ponderance. We exited the room. Yet another of her remarkable qualities was her inflicted authority. It was not her concern whether I was actually prepared to leave with her - merely that she had issued the command and that I would be wise to obey. She was quick in her speech. There were few commands she issued which I could defy. I do not know whether she believed that I was unaware of this. The truth was that each of her assertive commands engendered in me an eager desire to fulfill it, rather than merely a feeling of obligation.
We proceeded through the hallway, several sectors down to our male friend's room. The maze of corridors within the Hammer living establishment was unusually obfuscated, and for a moment I lost her. As I approached the junction where I would need to turn, I glanced behind me and saw emptiness. A wave of fear and desperation swept me. I could not explain this reaction. It could have been from real fear for her, but was most probably from my somewhat worrisome nature; I sincerely doubt anyone who has gone through these hallways as many times in his life as she could lose themselves within. I retraced my steps, calling her name. At last, upon retiring to the last entrance of a room, I discovered her talking to a middle-aged Hammer about matters of which I had no knowledge. I had patiently waited for her then, but my patience wore thin as she continued her chat, striving to ignore my presence.
"Knowst not the times are turbulent? Thou askst for misfortune!" I tried scolding her when she finally parted from the older man.
"My response now differs not from my response but minutes ago. It is not thy affair with whom I speak," she answered, and proceeded to lead to our friend's quarters. I followed her in silence, incredulous at her equanimity.
"Ah, 'tis you, my dear companions!" I heard the voice of my friend as I approached his habitation. He was looking at us through a small window. "Enter. I had only now finished the reading of an ancient scripture."
I continued approaching the door. "Truly? What was the name?" she asked, already standing at the step. "I cannot remember for certain, but what is name in the light of the content! Didst know that it was mutual love that drove our Order to its greatness? Now it doth fall apart. I remember, when I was but a lad, the Hammer scholars taught the craft of human emotion, and of respect, and of the Master Builder's true words. 'Tis but greed and the self that are taught these days. Do the Hammers teach it? Nay, 'tis the truculent world, each time luring with its honey, but striking with its venom."
"Greed is a stain on conscience. It is a fact of life I shall accept, but to which I shall not indulge," she commented.
"Surely," he agreed.
"May I intrude? Hast thought upon the Separation?" I cut in. "It approaches. If it were that I knew whence we must act-"
"We must needs speak to thee of the Separation, friend," he uttered.
"We mustn't speak here. Let us leave," she recommended, to which I replied, "I have no objection."
"Then it is settled," spoke he.
"Come along to the exit. We shall take a carriage to the heart of the City. Therein we can speak in peace."
I was dubious. Such precautions were unusual, and I was led to believe that my companions were less of fear of the Hammers and more of the Mechanists and Karras. I was one of Karras's close advisors, and if I should disagree with him, it would most certainly leave me powerless to balance the more radical of his intentions - intentions he had done his best to mask from us, yet never quite succeeded in covering them in their entirety. They had a concern, and I felt it in my veins - through that bond which none but the closest friends share.
With this decision we left the Hammerite complex in one of the numerous carriages. As I climbed onto the decorated carriage, the horse unnaturally kicked, as if sensing that its faithful services will no longer be valued when Karras broke the Hammer traditions with machinery (Ed. Note: From what I could gather, the Mechanists were obsessed with steel and machinery. Their technology was superior to that of the Hammers. This seems to be characteristic of most youth in our times, for they embrace technology, only to leave behind several basic human emotions and skills). I clearly marked this occurrence in my memory, for the horse in question had never before raised a limb when it saw me. It was an old horse, and devoted to its cause. It had served its load of years for the Hammers, and in that sense shared my burdens. It was worn by now; many a time some corrupt youth had overloaded its back to the brink. After many years of carrying large weights, it was no longer as upright and stately as when it began, but rather a weakling, incapable of lifting anything but whatever was left of its dignity.
Presently we began our drive towards the city. The hills were a barren sight; the fields were worked by poor men who could not afford to live in the city itself. The nobility within the city would not permit the poorest classes far past the gate; it had been arranged previously with the Hammers that the City had more than its fair share of "drunks", and it was decreed that the gates were to be guarded fiercely by day and night. In reality, these "drunks" were nothing more than men who were tired of working their entire life away in misery. In times past, the Hammers would not have permitted such hurt to the human life, but no longer - the youth, which had taken control of the "diplomatic" division of the Hammer affairs, arranged for the Hammers outside the city to silently police the poor mongrels as they made the food on which the City relied. Beyond the hills was the forest where lived the mystic Pagans. The new Hammer doctrines taught that the Pagans were dangerous enemies of the Hammers, and indeed, the entire race. Still, my literacy led me to believe that the Hammers were not of this state of mind in the beginning. The Pagans were to the Hammers as the Hammers were to the Mechanists. In my time, they lived in a secluded forest, within residences more primitive than I could fancy to imagine, and with no refined culture save for a zealous belief in a god the Hammers named the Trickster. According to Hammer legend, the Trickster was a vile adversary. The Trickster did not believe in technology. If the legends are truthful, the Trickster was defeated by the Order of the Hammer centuries ago, when they "didst rise to the Light of the Holy Master Builder". Yet the Pagans possessed, in many ways, an advantage over the Hammers. Their spirits were free, unbound by strict faith. They called the Trickster differently; in their ranks he was known as the Woodsie Lord. They might have been crude, but they were not inhuman. They were warm and welcoming to the simplest items in nature. They seemed to recognize a man's basic humanity when they saw him. Not surprisingly, the Hammers believed that the Pagans sought to restore the primitive days in humanity's history, and thus they were considered the vilest of all heretics. I had heard of periodic arrests of Pagans for these reasons, and had actually met one man of that faith. They were transporting him to Cragscleft Prison, and made a pit stop therein. At one moment, I caught his eye as I walked through the penitentiary. Within it I saw a mixture of capitulation, furor, pleading, and even kindness. I do not know wherefore he chose to be audacious and speak to me at that moment. He was surely in a very dire state of mind. His language was primitive when compared against our own, but I understood what he uttered. I saw a tear linger on his eyelid, grow, and fall to the floor.
"Friend. Brings my wife breadsie," he said to me. "Eats is scarce."
At that moment, I shed from my mind every myth fed to me by the Hammerites about these poor people, and saw the unfortunate truth of their cursed plight. I inquired further and discovered the whereabouts of his wife. I thought of delivering the goods myself, but found it unpleasant to even contemplate going into the forest. For this reason I bribed a city boy with a fair amount of money, and ordered him to bring the bread, and many other foods, to the Pagan village. I asked him to return and report, yet he never did. To this day I do not know if the Pagans received my provisions.
I returned from my memories. We were approaching the City's gates. I capitalize only because the municipality had no name, or if it did, the name was lost as the centuries passed. All who lived within it called it "City". We arrived at the gate. The guard exited his mini-tower and arduously examined our identification scrolls. When I asked him why he was going through this procedure, he replied that it was by order of Karras. This alarmed me. I looked at my friends in puzzlement.
"Be not surprised. He hath spread checkpoints much as this one amongst the City's institutions. He wishes not for interruptions in his rise to power," my male companion spoke. The last sentence of his quote sounded unusually sharp. The guard had finished looking at our papers and permitted our carriage to enter. My male friend drove the horses forward into the City. It was then that I looked upon my female companion for the first time since we left the temple. She was focused on the horses, it seemed - not taking her eyes off them. Her bright blue pupils reflected the light of the sun as we moved forth through the narrow streets, past the affluent shops and the luscious houses of the Dayport nobility; past the Hammerite temple and the busy market place. Her image was of deep thought. I had seen her like this before. She was usually sociable, at least with certain men, but at times she would grow deeply thoughtful. I surmised that she was forming an opinion of one of our many associates. Her opinions were always perspicuous and correct, it seemed; rarely did she err in judgment of other people. This was another of her amazing qualities.
I shifted my gaze to my male friend. He, too, had had quite an interesting life. He was born within this City, and there he was raised, under the watch of two honest souls in a whirlpool of duplicity. Those who gave him life were murdered when he had lived a mere twenty years, and he was left an orphan with no protector. For his unadulterated integrity, so well known to me even now, the Hammers decided to accept him into their fold when he approached them, after he demonstrated that his parents had taught him enough that the Hammers would will to select him as a novice. I met him but a decade ago. He was twenty-seven years of age then. His mannerisms were unlike those of hers, but his philosophies stood taller than some of hers. It was he who pressed the point of individualism into our minds. He molded his theories and beliefs into words as carefully as any I have seen. The Hammers recognized him duly, and as long as the old men were ruling the order, they were quite content with his readings, as well as hers and mine. My female companion was born within the Order, although her mother was but a poor wretch found drunk on a street and thrown in the Hammer prison to be executed after she gave birth. She was raised in the Hammerite ranks. I know little of her early life, for she does not often confide in me. Legend quoth that at one time her face was as bright as day at any time. The pain of life seemed to have ruined this innocence, if it indeed existed, and was not merely a product of an overly cheerful observer's retelling. As I had noted before, she was forced to marry earlier than her heart, and it, as it was sure to, shifted her point of view. She ceased selling her innermost thoughts freely to others, and I still believe that only by standing on the verge between boldness and diffidence could any man hope to capture her heart. Her heart was a steel trap, one that opened wide and shut forcefully, trapping any unfortunate insect who threatened her beliefs. The marriage was ended after two years, in part with the aid of the weakening Hammerites, and she was set free. The man whose jaws were torn from her skin valued his reputation over a vengeance, and he simply dissociated himself from her. She was in luck; the youth of the time no longer believed in the sanctity of the bonds of marriage. I did not have to deduce for long to comprehend that her husband was the scornful aristocrat laying the full weight of his obese body against the pure and guiltless stair to ascend to higher levels. I know not whether he was an adulterer, or if his sin against her was, mayhap, less treacherous. Regardless of the nature of his commission, it led her to demand the Hammers to separate her away from him. My companion was never weak, but this "pragmatic" marriage fueled the flame that would burn in her for quite a time.
Many years have passed since this incident, and she refused to detail it to me. I still do not know how she discovered that her husband had transgressed. Her associates told me that he treated her as decently as a man should his wife, if only to maintain the illusion of unfaltering devotion in the eyes of his superiors and in her own deep blue eyes, bright tunnels that seemed never to end if viewed at the correct angle. Perhaps it was her extraordinary sense of truth that revealed her husband's intent to her. She had divorced him, and immediately afterward she darkened. She sequestered herself from her comrades, feverishly contemplating the mistake of loveless marriage. No one delivered her from the stern, angry discourse that she had taken since the divorce until she met my male companion.
When they met, there was immediately a spark of understanding between them. It should be no secret that they were intellectually the same. He had been eager to find a spouse at that time, and had been prospecting to speak with the elder Hammers on the subject, but as their friendship began to strengthen, he realized that no wife could exceed her integrity and intelligence. As he recalled to me: "'Twas true, indeed, that I wished my heart 'gainst hers, yet rejection came swiftly. Her wounds bled profusely unto me, and 'neath her scathed soul lay a yearning for understanding. I knew that I needed to select between two loves. I trust I made the correct decision." Soon after this incident, he knew another woman, and they were wed. I readily admit that they made a good family, but he never forsook his true friend's love for him. The bond of friendship between them continued to tighten through the annals of time. Soon, it was impossible to offend one without offending the other. I will safely presume that the consequences of events to follow caused each of them great pain. My guilt will never leave me, for I was, largely, responsible for these events. But I must remain at the proper point in the narrative.
I was born in the Order. The Hammers strove to teach me through their discipline, and I strove to teach myself through their literature. When I came of age, I found that my morals greatly exceeded my peers', and because of that, I failed to find a friend wherever I sought one. A year and another year I spent working for the Hammerites within the city, enjoying my solitude and never concerning myself with the issues of my generation. I enjoyed the company of some of them whom I name "old men," for their wisdom and their sentience. However, my solitude did not escape their notice. One of my senior companions advised me that I request a transfer to a more useful position - one where I would be more certain to interact with members of my own age. I responded that I did not wish to move so. In spite, he requested the transfer for me, and I was angered by such behavior. It is a remarkable foolhardiness of youth in their belief that they are, even in the slightest sense, wiser than their predecessors. They realize the value of their predecessors' words only when they are slapped with its reality. My illusion was equally unjustified. In response to this transfer demand, then, I was moved to the temple where I had once lived as a child - outside of the city. For a time, I continued living in solitude, but it was not long before I saw the old man's truth when I encountered my companions.
From the day we met, I sensed a tension between her and myself. Whereas he and I identified immediately and readily in friendship, she was wary of my substance. I was a spectator, forced out into the cold away from her heart. I dared not inquire for a reason, and only after many years would I discover wherefore she was so bitter. I spent much time with my new companions, and I observed her carefully. She presumed to judge me, for the quality of her character as previously described, and I nearly felt the razor of her eye tearing through my flesh into my heart and my mind. He was much more amiable in that respect, hiding his thoughts of me well, although I suspect that he had done analyses of his own. At first, she often insisted to talk to him in private, as if I was an odd egg, or the subject matter was so sensitive that we could not discuss it openly. Gradually, she opened the door to her mind. The door to her heart she always kept under lock and key - until the Mechanist movement. On the opposite pole, I easily opened my heart and let her capture it. I suspect she was not aware of it in the beginning. She learned my habits inside and out. Each time I misacted in the slightest manner, she would catch me on it and serve retribution when the time was correct. She was not mocking me, indeed - I suspect it was a part of her character.
"Love" is a difficult word to define. The Hammer doctrine included love for the Builder, but few words were written by the orthodox elements of the faith regarding love between our sexes, or even on our friendships. Still, I read sufficiently on the matter to know what it stood for. My love for her was strange and new. It was her closed heart that fascinated me most. I wished that I might glance at it only once - only for curiosity. It did not come to pass. I shall regret that for the remainder of my life, which I envision to be quite short. I was not one to approach with boldness, or to push a blade into the skin. My choice of restraint was moderated. I awaited an opportunity to present my thoughts. It never came.
The road came to a close. He stopped the coach and we climbed out. The surroundings were, to speak properly, a direct contrast from the luxuries of our temple. Peasants of all sorts walked about. From each walk it was possible to see its proprietor's mood. Some walked with speed; others with vigor, and yet others blundered about, as if unwilling to return to wherever they aimed to go. One man moved along with stealth, skulking through the crowd. I saw darkness in his narrow eyes. Surely, he was a thief of some sort, attempting to lose himself in the crowd or to steal the belongings of the men among who he walked. We began walking away from the stable, and I initiated our discussion.
"Wherefore hast thou called me to such distances?"
"There is trouble afoot," he said. "Karras's plots have turned diabolical, and his purpose is no longer pure. It is tainted by the influence of greed. I have heard the Master Forgers converse, and I am led to suspect they know of Karras. We must sever ourselves from this movement. I value our acquaintance over our luxury," he replied. He was not looking at me, but rather at the movement of peasants.
"I talk not of luxury when I talk of Karras. My warning to the old ones hath been sent, as I have spoken to former associates. The Order of the Hammer hath little future left within it. Karras hath done altogether much for us. We are among his favorite disciples. Surely we cannot abandon him now; 'twould be disloyalty. I have known the pair of you for many a year, yet not ever hast thou or thou thought of breaking the bonds that form our interdependence. Was it from respect, or from love? I am inclined for the former. A parent can love his child yet lack even the slightest respect for him. A fighter can hate his enemy for the death of his brethren, yet respect and revere his achievements. Overlook not the breeding of our bond with Karras. We have come this far. Wherefore hast thou not questioned my motives prior to this? Thou didst strike me with thy concern as a tiger strikes its prey." My singular pronoun was clearly aimed at her.
"Thou art foolish and ignorant if thinkst that Karras hath a noble heart. Karras spoke to me today, and revealed his devilish plans. He wishes to kill key enemies of the Hammer order once and for all! That must not be permitted to pass. It is not enough that we should flee. We must needs arrest his hand while it has yet to drench itself in blood," she replied. Her eyes were fixed and narrowed on me, and she won the stare. I averted my gaze.
"Thou canst clearly see that we must not remain idle. Karras appears a saint, but hides within a darkness which none can identify," he began, this time looking in my direction. "Hast thou not read, with thine own eyes, the stories of failed heresy, in the Hammer texts? It cannot lead to good. Karras is entirely too clever, but he lacketh wisdom. If he proceeds to kill and spread his influence and strength over this City, he will-"
"If that were to happen," I interrupted rashly, "then Karras would bring some order to the chaotic penny-snitching upper classes and the desolate underclasses."
"Thou art not the most tactful usually, but now thou hast broken the line!" she yelled. Her voice was filled with fury.
"Wait a moment. Moderate thyselves," he intruded. I was not easily thrown off balance, unlike our female acquaintance, but I was denied the gift of pacification. Each time it appeared that I would step into an argument with her, my male acquaintance ensured that we remained constructive. This was not to imply he was without a temper. Yet his anger was never without purpose. In this he was similar to my own father.
I suppose that now would be as good a time as any to write of my heritage. I was not born to a harlot.
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