To Future Citizens

To Future Citizens, or to whom it may concern:

I’m sorry.

Like every generation before ours, we’ve failed you.

It seems every decade or so there’s a new movement, a new fight. At first it was a war. Then it became a siege. And now, I fear, we are merely children shouting in frustration at those in power. With each decade and every new fight, it seems we never left the playgrounds where we skinned our knees and fought imaginary battles. The sandboxes and forts where we pretended to love, to hate, and, when the sun set, left it all behind to go home.

More and more, with each passing fad, the doubt at the back of my mind grows and I wonder, “Was there ever really a war?” Like the monsters that hid in my closet, were those wars nothing more than figments of my imagination? Silly things that I should have put away along with my other childish things? There were real wars. Wars where bombs were dropped and the quick became the dead. Real wars changed the land physically, politically, and socially. But the wars I fought left no such evidence. What remains of the wars I fought are scars that only I can see.

I did fight, didn’t I? I can’t be sure because I see the same headlines now that I saw then, back when I felt more than nothing. The scars are there. They’ve healed over now, but when I look in the mirror I can see them, and at times, I can almost remember those moments of passion, when I thought to change the world. But nostalgia passes more and more quickly each morning.

I remember there being others. People who could get angry. Shouts that would deafen the pundits and cries that would awaken the people. I would watch them on TV, or follow them online, and I would nod my head, and move on to the next, but I can’t remember what happened next.¬†There are new others now. I wonder what happened to the old ones. They probably died or retired. They seem to have faded away like distant notes in a chorus.

If I did fight, what has changed? I think the words have changed. Not just the slang, but the words they use to describe the next great war. Did I fight to change the words? No… if I fought, I fought to change the world, but the world hasn’t changed. There is still hunger, still pain, still sickness, still inequality… Everything I thought I fought against still remains, so what did I change?

In middle school, I would often pick up my brother from the elementary school. I would walk the same hallways I did when I thought the teachers giants. And as I did would realize with each step how small the school was, how normal the teachers were. I would see others, taking the paths I had taken, and could only see them as children-and this was when I was still but a child as well! And as I would leave, my brother in tow, I could only think of how little it had changed. It had not changed since I attended. It did not change while I attended. And as we walked the short distance home, I felt the first bit of fear that I now know all too well, It would not change for anyone.

Or rather, I could not change it. I was too terrified to change it and after a time I had grown so fond of it, I could not care to change it.

I did not fight-how could I fight? When others marched, I watched. When others wrote, I read. When others spoke, I only ever listened. I did not fight in any wars, I played make believe with those around me. We slayed imaginary dragons, saving imaginary princes and princesses, but when all was said an done, we would all go running home when called.

And now I have been playing pretend for so long, I have forgotten what it really means to feel. Or maybe, I have finally begun to see the reality around me, and because it is so far removed from what I dreamed, I am left with despair. This is not the world I dreamed of when I was younger, it was not the world I pretended to fight for. This is the world I both earned and was given.

This world hasn’t changed because I didn’t seek to change it. Or rather, what I sought to change was some flight of fancy I conjured up because deep in my heart I knew I could never change the world; I was too scared. And now I have put away childish things only to discover that I know nothing else.

So I am sorry.

We didn’t fail you. I failed you.

I didn’t fight.

Broken Things

“What of this one?”

“Ah, sir, you have a fine eye, but you would not want this one- it is broken and not even the finest artisans have been able to repair it.”

“Then why do you keep it?”

“It is little more than a decoration for my shop. A trifle amusement for an old pair of eyes… Let me show you another item I think you’ll enjoy-”

The shop was a small, cramped place filled curios from floor to ceiling. Shelves and displays littered the space with nick-knacks and baubles, trinkets and charms. Fires from gas lamps filled the shop with a flickering orange glow that matched the setting sun outside. Long shadows from the windows cast themselves across the two figures who stood before a seated humanoid automaton.

One of the figures, the merchant, was two sizes too big for the clothing he wore, outdated fashion from a more prosperous time. Like his shop, the merchant had seen better days, but the time had not dulled his eyes. The merchant’s eyes were sharp and clear. He studied the other figure from behind a fake smile while sweat began to form atop his balding head.

The other figure, tall by comparison to the squat merchant, lowered the hood on his long, threadbare cloak revealing a volume of tangled and matted hair that covered every inch of his head and face. He kneeled before the construct and took the thing’s right hand, studying the palm closely.

The merchant watched for a time until he cleared his throat and wiped at his forehead with a dainty handkerchief. “Sir,” he started to say slowly.

“How much?” The voice came from the kneeling figure who had not bothered to look up at the merchant.

The merchant began to smile and waved an arm at the other goods spread throughout the shop, “Sir, I must say there are other-”

“How much.”

It wasn’t a question so much as a command and the merchant took a step backward with an eyebrow raised at the sudden shift in tone. “Ah…” the merchant began again, but with a glance from the figure before him, he swallowed and discarded the act. “It’s a piece of junk, but the materials are good. You don’t strike me as an idiot and probably see something I don’t. I don’t want any trouble though, so… 60 gold Kenari.”

The kneeling figure paused while he considered the offer before finally nodding. He stood and turned to the merchant holding out small sapphire, about the size of a fig, produce from beneath his cloak. “One sapphire, worth about twice that much. No questions asked. You forget I was here.”

The merchant to his credit didn’t bat an eye. He took the sapphire and after a moment’s study while held to a flame waved his hand. “Fine. It’s yours. I’m glad I’ll be able to forget about you and your stench.” The merchant wrapped the sapphire in his handkerchief and slipped it back into a pocket before continuing. “Though I don’t know how you’ll get that thing out, it took 6 men the size of-”

While the merchant had been talking, the figure had been fumbling with something beneath his cloak. The merchant had been interrupted by the figure suddenly pulling forth a small metal sphere and placing it into a mated slot at the center of the construct’s chest. As he did, rivulets of light poured forth from the sphere across the chest of the automaton, guided by unseen paths on the thing’s body.

The merchant glanced frantically between the glowing construct and the kneeling man, his face a mixture of fear and anger. “What have you done!? I demand that you tell me.”

The man stood and watched as the lines of not just light, but energy, coursed over, around, and through the body of the construct. A small hum could be heard as the light began to grow brighter. The man then turned to the merchant, dark eyes that seemed to smile stared from within the mess of hair. “I woke him up.”

Yet Another Site Redesign

Ok, so if you’ve been following my website any at all, you’ll have noticed something interesting. The Ancient Tome is no longer my personal portfolio. Now http://digitalwordsmith.net is my portfolio and The Ancient Tome is now my personal website/blog. So I installed wordpress on here and I hope to be blogging soon. I’m ¬†hopefully going to be able to customize the site and work on developing a wordpress theme and then see about plugins. As far as my other site goes, I will not be using an established content management system, rather I intend to keep developing my own. (Note that I am using the term ‘Content Management System’ in its loosest sense.)

Anyway, thanks for visiting and I look forward to posting more content as my site progresses.