Many of us can’t precisely remember where we were at that particular instant when The Call came. I know I can’t and I’ve asked around from some of the others too, their responses are same as mine. At that time, we didn’t even know it for what it was, The Call. We just heard it, at our different locations, doing the different things we do in our different daily lives and felt that pull. It was simple yet coded, seemingly empty but loaded and heard by many but connected with by only a few. Those few who did got up, subconsciously girded their loins and waited for further directives. The rest to whom The Call had no meaning, they went back to their normal lives and everything was forgotten.
Much later, we found out that The Call had originated from The Herd Master. You should meet him; I was amazed when I finally did. Slightly rotund, moderately bearded and of an endearing amiability that hides his genius. The Herd Master is the reason we all came together, he is the head of this clan.
A week or so after the first call, he sent out a sequel with a specific message instructing us to journey to the place of the Spur, where we were to initiate ‘first contact’. Time was settled upon and we all agreed to come, though not one knew the other, not their strengths, not their characters, not what they looked like, not what they liked or disliked. Only The Herd Master knew what our inquisitive minds wished to know, but he remained resolutely silent.
Finally the day of arrived. We, The Chosen, assembled at the agreed spot; huddling round a blazing fire in the heart of the Great Plains, thrilled to be part of the selected few. I arrived last, much to my chagrin, as the black spirited steed I rode was uneasy and restless at the unfamiliar terrain we found ourselves in. I apologized profusely but my discomfiture soon melted as the others waved my apology away and welcomed me like a long lost brother even though we were strangers to each other.
The first gathering was to be introductory – a testing of the waters and sizing up fellow chosen ones – but such was the enthusiasm that we soon found ourselves discussing an invention brought by one of us. I can picture him now, the inventor, tall and ebonite, with long legs and a long and winded form of speaking. The amazing features of the invention were praised, while hitherto unrecognized faults were pinpointed with suggestions for improvements from sterling minded people. We bantered and played until the full moon couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer and came to join our party. There was some eating to do and roasted wild grouse never tasted so good, washed down with crystal clear chilly stream water.
Before we left for our different realms, The Herd Master, who had been silent and ponderous all along got up, cleared his throat and began to address us. We all grew quiet, even the coyotes, crickets and owls seemed to be interested in what he had to say, such was the silence of the night.
“I’m sure you all are wondering why we’re gathered here tonight. Well, no need to wonder further, just listen carefully. At some point in your lives, you all must have heard about the Ancient scrolls of the forgotten Seas. What you might not have heard about is the prophecy of those scrolls.
The prophecy foretells of a period of darkness, where deprivation will ravage the world under the rule of Lord Illitracus. Sons of men will be attacked and their powers of reasoning taken from them. Valiants will be turned into mindless minions, an army of soulless beings to be known as The Horde, kept only to pander to all the dark and twisted whims of Illitracus”.
He paused and looked around, taking in the expressions on our faces.
“The scrolls predict a bleak future, a time of great hardship. But there is hope and that hope that lies in you all. For there would rise, an army of extraordinarily brave humans, led by a visionary and capable of fighting the scourge that would threaten to take over the world and steep it in darkness. You, are that army and you have been chosen for your uniqueness. Together, you’re that potent weapon that will strike at the very core of evil and restore light to the world”.
He paused again, and finished in a solemn manner.
“I do not promise that it will be easy but the salvation of the world lies in your hands”.
His carefully chosen words lit my inner fires and awakened my spirit. I could tell it did same for the others; fueling our thirst for the enemy’s blood and by the time we were set for departure, every single one of us had voluntarily taken an oath to battle the evil Lord Illitracus regardless of the cost.
So here we are today, an assemblage of men and women of different characters and powers. A collection of different experiences, brought together by The Herd Master to fight the good fight, united by our love for humanity. We are The Chosen, a group of brilliant individuals drawn together to form an awesome and unstoppable team buoyed by the magic of synergy, focused on saving the world.
Brethren of the Mainland Book Café are ready to restore the dying art of reading to its former place of glory amongst the sons of men. We are ready to bring reading back into vogue, that light may once again shine on beclouded minds. We are ready, under the guidance of The Herd Master, to restore the love of books to the hearts of men that evil may have no space to reside in them. Our task is simple: to keep the Sons of men enlightened, that they may never become slaves to the manipulations of Lord Illitracus.
May the gods be with us.