Where are we?

28 December 2015

As I have mentioned, I will post everything here from here on out. Not just chapters in The War. I will make sure you can tell the difference.

~

A Synopsis of the Current Situation

THE WAR continues despite sporadic installments. Perhaps it would be a good time (for me too) to review our story and reorient ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and temporally. A synopsis is in order then, and a review of characters; who they are, where they are, where they have been, and where they are going. For without them, where would be our past, present, and future? We must begin, therefore…

In the beginning, our young man Sam is selected in desperation by Gent and then asked to participate in a new way as a “soldier” in the war effort. We do not know much about the war itself; what it is about specifically. Previous to his acceptance, Sam, we may assume, though the story likewise does not say so, resupplied military outposts such as to the one Gent is attached in some way. We may imagine it. Or, just as good, Sam merely meets Gent. Gent may have known him (it seems so) and being of the same “cause” in one way, is more officially enlisted in to it now in another way. As it turns out, a letter must be delivered (Gent thinks as much) but it is left to Sam (unfortunately) to determine to whom it should be delivered, or rather, to whom it can be trusted (at least) and not stolen or otherwise “lost” (at worst). We can deduce, therefore, that Gent has determined that Sam can be trusted. Either way, Sam has it from here forward.

It may likewise be held as true that if carried properly the letter is a “living thing,” in a sense, as Sam surely is; on his way somewhere and not yet met his end. If lost, the letter becomes a terrible thing. Sam likewise. We think Sam thinks so. For he spends a fair amount of time just carrying it around with him. And staying out of sight (as much as possible) while trying to discover where it should be taken. In the first book, Sam meets a silent, thin man. A man “like a picket fence”, he says, who catches Sam falling from a tree at night before slipping in to a silver moonlit river. Sam meets Remmi that night at her farm house. She has no children and has been abandoned by her husband. Mistaking Sam for her husband, she takes him in and feeds him. Sam spends the night sleeping under a table by the fireplace. She gives Sam her husband’s shoes. Sam leaves in the morning and crosses the river by a tree which has fallen over it. The thin man releases the tree with his ax and the tree is washed down the river.

Sam travels north to another farm. A disturbing noise follows him, and in pursuing it, he is struck unconscious. An old man finds him; he owns the farm. He nurses Sam back to health. Sam repays the old man by helping him through the harvest season.

In the second book, Sam becomes friends with the old man’s neighbor, Bethany, and another neighbor James. The old man is killed by the dogs of James’s brother Silas. Or Silas becomes James after nearly drowning. Sam inherits the farm after the old man’s death and Sam gives his inheritance to Bethany and James.

Sam heads north again wearing an overcoat that belonged to the old man. During a storm on a rocky peninsula Sam builds a shelter from stones and barrel staves found in a pile there. He enters the structure and uses the last of his matches to make a fire. He shares his remaining food with a stranger ‘lovich who has seen his fire from his home. In the morning the stranger leaves ahead of him. Sam pursues him to go to his home but breaks his leg on the pile of stones and is alone again and stranded. Sam is carried off by a kind of spirit and delivered to an abandoned church in the forest. Sam collapses by a fire outside the church. He is discovered by the church sexton named Richard. He was a self-appointed preacher to the Indians who helped him build the church. Richard was discovered a fraud and the church was closed because of it. Richard remains as its nameless sexton and decorates it with icons. The church was named after a Saint William the Archer. Sam had received burns to one arm in the fire, so Sexton takes care of Sam until he regains consciousness. His leg is no longer broken. If it ever was, one cannot tell.

Three or four men approach the church at night carrying lanterns. It is believed that one of them is ‘lovich. They have come from an enemy labor camp. They were sent to capture the man that ‘lovich had described to the camp commander Aut’Ponfekt; the man ‘lovich met on the peninsula. Sexton orders Sam to hide. Sam escapes outside and dons the overcoat. He is pursued by one of the men. The man cannot find him. The two men remaining in the church beat Richard and take him as a prisoner along with Sam’s pack. Each of the men are visited by a flying creature who observes them. Sam is carried away by it. At least there is no trace of him. This is the end of the second book.

In the third book, which has just begun, we meet Richard’s wife Gertrude and her invalid father named Edward. Gertrude decides to go after her husband who has been gone to the church a few days longer than unusual. Her husband has a weak heart. She cannot send their son after him because he has gone off to fight some time ago. She cannot leave her father alone, so she straps him on to a sled with provisions and sets out pulling the sled by a rope across her shoulders for a journey to reach the church. They make camp for the night on a river bank. It is the time between the seasons — the desperate struggle of winter’s end with spring’s beginning.

There were other chapters and characters written about, some of which still take their place in the future. How so? They were (and remain) glimpses of the future relative to where we are now (on a river bank). As insights and discoveries often present themselves, these chapters merely drift by out of order and their characters within them, some washing up on the shores of our present. They have been minor so far, such as the two sisters Sicilia, the blind girl, and Agail who cares for her. And Andros who throws Sam to safety from their coal ship wrecked on the rocks of the Island of Devils. That is where Sam meets the two sisters. We suspect Andros did not survive the devils after the raid of the ship. But hopefully there is more, somewhere, about how Andros met Sam in the first place. And then how Andros must have seen it, as a better thing, to sacrifice himself that his friend might live. Then, too, there is Mewshack, a sort of “fool for Christ” who it seems may save the whole world, for all we know, by noticing a single stitch of paper within all the mud and muck of a prison camp. And saving it. There must be more to these.

But for now, we make camp on a river bank…

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