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  • Ken Lange

This is a chapter of The Wanderer Awakens that was cut


This is mostly the rough draft of a prologue that just wasn't needed in the book but I thought you guys might enjoy it anyway.

A side note I'm getting feedback that people want it in the book... So it might not be cut after all... we'll see.

Though I walk amongst you, I am not one of you. My name is Viktor Engel Warden, and I am a vassal of the Mystick Courts of Comus in New Orleans, LA. I began my service to the courts out of obligation to Hustahli, or The Great One, as he was once known to the Choctaw. He came to me long ago as I lay dying alone in the dark, healing my wounds and saving my life. I swore a blood oath to serve those under his protection until my debt was repaid.

‘Truth’ as defined by Shaffer 1828:

1. Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies.

2. True state of facts or things. The duty of a court of justice is to discover the truth. Witnesses are sworn to declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

3. Conformity of words to thoughts, which is called moral truth.

4. Veracity; purity from falsehood; practice of speaking truth; habitual disposition to speak truth; as when we say, a man is a man of truth.

5. Correct opinion.

6. Fidelity; constancy.’

The word truth is probably the third most abused word in the English language. The first is love and the second is friend. Let me drive the point home by asking you a few simple questions. Do you honestly love everyone you say it to? For instance, you might say love you at the end of a call, or you might taste a new food that brings you joy and you say, “I love this,” but do you? It’s true you might, but more often than not, the person is someone you like and the food is just something you enjoyed.

Most people call everyone they know a friend. No one is that lucky. True friends are hard to come by. Most of the people whose names you know are at the most acquaintances, and if you think about it really hard you might find that you have only one or two real friends.

Truth is in the same category. People are always harping about how they want to know the truth, and that anything less than full disclosure is somehow an offense. That is a fairy tale, a lie perpetuated by the white knight in shining armor myths. Children are told that the forces of good will always triumph over darkness.

The truth is, sometimes good people die, and the bad guy wins the day. A knight with gleaming armor is a man who has never been tested in the heat of battle.

I believe that humans tell themselves these things to feel better about their lives. They desperately want to believe everyone is a friend and their love knows no bounds. Moreover, they believe they are entitled to the truth, and I honestly don’t know why.

The truth, the unyielding reality of the word, is scary as hell. They really don’t want to know what their governments do behind closed doors. Mankind doesn’t want to know that some are tortured or even killed in the name of public safety.

Men such as myself are not evil, not at all, but we are monsters. We stand between the light and the darkness to shield those under our protection. We have no hope of salvation, and our continued existence is an affront to God. But we are absolutely necessary.

The stark reality is that the truth is frightening, and given a choice between what is true and what is fantasy, humans almost always choose fantasy. Take the city I live in, or any city for that matter, and realize that horrible crimes happen daily. Yet people go on with their lives like nothing has happened. Someone screams in the middle of the night and you pass it off as a TV turned up too loud, or perhaps your imagination.

It’s because of this conscious choice to ignore the terrible things that happen all around them that people like me are necessary. For those who cry out in fear when the darkness comes, I’m their best and sometimes only defense against the things that can go literally unseen. Do you still want to know the truth? You should keep in mind that knowing the truth of a thing can’t be undone.

The Mystic Courts of Comus, and people like myself, do the unthinkable to keep everyone safe from things that they shouldn’t need to know about. There are creatures out there that walk, slither, glide, and otherwise transport themselves through our world that are so hideous that knowing about them would cause some to lose the tenuous grip on reality that we all hold so dear.

Not all of them want to do you harm, but many do. My kind work in unison to keep those around us in the dark, so to speak. We lie to the public openly and with some regularity. A few who are burdened with the knowledge of the frightening truth, either by it being thrust upon them by some act of violence or are conditioned to accept the reality that monsters do exist, are recruited by private organizations like Warden Global or the Mystick Courts of Comus, and the best are recruited by both.

My company, Warden Industries, provides protection. We will take a job if I believe that your cause is a just one, and as the sole owner of the firm I make that call. I have been duped a few times, but my clients didn't live long enough to regret it. What can I say? I have a very strict don’t fuck with me policy.

You might ask what qualifies me to make such judgment calls. All I can say is that I do the very best I can and go from there. I am more or less what the ancients called a warrior priest, a man of conviction and power, with the might to back it up.

It is my belief that if you run headlong into the darkness, sooner or later you are going to run head first into a brick wall. According to one of Newton's laws, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it can't be a real surprise for all those things that go bump in the night to find something that bumps back. I have made it my job to be the brick wall. I know it's a fairly lofty goal, but so far I have done all right making sure that the boogie man doesn’t take you while you sleep.

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