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 Seventy Eight

The conflagrations continue to spread in the great southern empire, while the emperor continues his spittle-flecked hectoring, demanding it cease, demanding everyone obey and his order be restored. It is hard to see an end to any of this, though it will eventually as it always does. Will it be with a conciliatory gesture or an iron fist that bloodies enough people that the populace is cowed, at least momentarily? The empire appears to stand upon a precipice from which there is now no turning back.

We in the Lost Quarter, and the greater Dominion, often look upon the problems of the grand old empire with an unseemly smugness. By comparison we are so much better, we think, and certainly there are many facets of life that I would not trade with anyone in the empire. But it is also a means of avoiding acknowledging our own failures and troubles. If we are not worse than the empire, we are no better.

Those Who Went Away, who were driven from these lands into exile, have tales to tell for those who would listen. Their leaders were wise enough to recognize that, however bitter their surrender was, it was necessary for their survival, and they bartered well with their conquerors, securing land and livelihood for their people, rights that are still theirs to claim. But conquerors rarely feel it necessary to adhere to the terms of treaties they have signed and the agreements were broken almost as soon as they were signed.

Even now we claim to follow them and even now we fail to, whether through neglect, indifference or cruelty. It is our shame, the poisoned root, the lie at the heart of all that has been built in the Dominions. It touches every relation we have. How can we claim to welcome all, to treat all peoples equally, when the edifice we have constructed is built upon the conquest and subjugation of Those Who Went Away? We cannot, because we do not. We can look at no one and claim to be superior, to be kind and righteous, for we have failed and we keep on failing.

In the northern parts of the Lost Quarter there is a marker to the signing of their surrender and the terms of their exile. Here gathered Those Who Went Away with the occupying forces and came to their agreement. A small sign, faded and worn by time, is all that notes the spot where the signing occurred. It is a windswept spot, pastures stretching off in every direction, the empty road winding among them. A forgotten place where few ever bother to venture.

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