Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Nine

The grippe is neither the first nor the last of the dread lords to walk the earth; they are as many and various as people themselves. Some, like the grippe, are insidious, assuming many guises, while others are bold conquerors, heralding their awful intentions with calamitous thunder. Their only commonality, beyond their terrible power, is that they are nameless and inchoate. And so we name them, because in doing so they become mortal things, something we can grasp and hold and fight against and perhaps ultimately vanquish.

Let me now name the dread lords who have visited their depredations upon the Lost Quarter. There is the grippe, of course, reborn again. I shall not belabour the matter by discussing him further, for we are all sadly intimately familiar with him at this moment.

He has many cousins though, among them the English Sweats and the Fevers. While both sound like mediocre British invasion period psychedelic bands, I can assure you they were anything but in their time. Both have vanished from the dominions of the world, yet we cannot assume they are vanquished. They may be simply biding their time, gathering their strength, until the time is right.

There is the French Rot as well, once the scourge of dancehalls and parlours of houses of ill repute. It, along with the Pox, which so decimated Those Who Went Away in the years before Those Who Came arrived in the Lost Quarter in great numbers, have been kept at bay by great walls. These magnificent constructions, built over many decades and at great sacrifice, have, so far managed to keep the dread lords at bay. So much so that we have almost forgotten how destructive they truly were and dismiss the need for the walls entirely. Yet the dread lords remain, undefeated, waiting for their time to come again.

The wind is familiar to all inhabitants of the Lost Quarter, a constant companion, that, like an angry, overstaying in-law, sometimes howls and moans and knocks things about. Because of that there are several dread lords who have tried to conceal themselves in its voluminous folds to cross the borderlands into the Quarter and unleash calamity. Those Who Went Away called them by many names, but I will not utter those here. Among Those Who Came they are known as the Tempests, furies who seek vengeance upon the inhabitants of the Quarter through blizzard, tornadoes and other storms.

It is to our eternal benefit that the dread lords are uncooperative by nature. They seek only glory for themselves and utter domination of all they can lay their hands to. They will never share dominion over the Lost Quarter, preferring that all be thwarted if they cannot rule alone. As foolish as we humans are, we understand the strength that comes from bonds. We will always come together (eventually, and only at the very last moment when all else seems lost) to defeat whatever of the dread lords should rise up next.

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