Part One, The Prelude
Into the crumbling city they call Aeolicopolis entered a strange man. He had been to many cities and many lands, but he had also been kicked out of many cities and many lands, for he preached the coming times! By the word of foxes and lions he was homo sacer. But the residents of Aeoclicopolis ignored the man. Something else had caught their attention. The sounds of anger bubbling into a lion’s roar attracted the cityfolk, just as moths to a light. The surprised stranger followed the hollers to the market. A mob surrounded a beaten and bloodied poet.
“My people, my people,” the artisan shouted, tears welling in his eyes, “what wrong have I done? My poetry is but a medium for my word! Oh my people, wake up! Our city is dying! Look around you! Our once great city is now a harem for the rancourius! Robbers and prostitutes rule our streets. Yea, our pity dictates that justice is painless so we ignore the criminal, the vagabond, and the devil. Our homes fall apart! Inward we have turned! We trust no one to repair our abodes, not even ourselves!
Our dedications to the ancestors crumble. ‘Evil they were’ sayest thee but what is the present without the past? They wished only for a future. Dost thou wish for a future? Oh people, would ye have our children forget their parents?
We live as if we wish to die! Oh my people, my people! I beg for you to see!”
The crowd shouted back at the cowering poet, “Thy art offends us, wretch’d thespian! Thou wishest for us to be awake. Nay love the consolation of the blanket and pillow we do! What warmth there is in our bed! He who wisheth to be cold belongeth not with us.”
The crowd started again to beat the poor poet. With quick thinking, the strange man overturned a fruit stand and dumped its contents. The smell of sweets enticed the herd. As the mob rushed to fill their stomachs, the strange man slipped past and helped the poet to his feet. He carried the crippled sonneteer far from the marketplace to a small bridge overlooking a canal. The strange man set the poet down and sat alongside the bloodied man.
“Thou hast saved me but why? Nay for fame it was for not. An obstacle to fame I would be. What worse than a poet for building fame now? Nay for gold it was not either. Though thy stature be noble, thou art dressed as a sage. Shiny things of the world thou hast no attachment. Who art thou strange man? Who art thou?”
The strange man spoke softly. A wondering pneuma am I. Walk among men I do but man I am not.
“Ah! Much mystery lies behind your speech, Peitho! Verily thou art a poet like myself!”
The man turned to him and spoke. Indeed! We are related! I am Faustus! I know everything and nothing! I have walked the infinite path here and back! Every plane I have seen, every time I have seen. I have walked from the past, to the present, to the future, and back. Indeed I have seen the future. Thou tellest of the present times, I tell thee of the coming times!
The poet interrupted and spoke with shakey word, “O’ Faustus! Moved my heart thou hast! Oh please teach me of the coming times, my master! Awaken the people we must!”
Faustus laughed. I urge thee to slow down, dear poet. Much to admire in your excitement there is, but I have said nothing yet! Allow me to give thy first lesson.
“Awaken the people” thou sayest. Though beaten bloody thou actest as a battered woman! My dear poet, I love you! Thou art my brother! But many brothers have I! I am related to all the painters, I am related to all the woodcarvers, I am related to all the sculptors, I am related to all philosophers, I am related to all statesmen, I am related to all creators of the world! Related to the crowd I am not. I loveth not the crowd, for the creator who intermingles with them sets himself as an object of destruction, just as spilled fruit. Yea if an equal chastises another hear the crowd recoil, “who art thou to judge?”. Experienced this harsh fact thou hast! But if he sets himself above, hear them now say “we will do as thou wilt”. If thou hast business with the crowd let it be as commander and not equal. The crowd alone produceth nothing, it needeth a commander.
Verily thou hast a gift from the divine. What art thou but none other than a demigod, creator? So I tell thee claim thy godhood! Willeth thy rule. So, in search of the crowd I am not. Where are my brothers? Where are the creators? It is only they who can understand the coming times and rule!
The poet stood up, “Faustus my master! I can show you where the other artists lay! We have taken refuge at a pub not far from here! First, will thou tell me of the coming times?”
Faustus smiled and put his hand on the poet’s shoulder. I came not for the poet only but for my brothers! Patience, eager-one.
And so the master and his first disciple made their way to the artists’ hideout.
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