Chapter IX.

22 Feb

Dawn rose, sending a cascade of multicolored light over all of Gath.

Who in the city did not know that this was to be a decisive day, one in which great forces were to clash? Tension had reached a historical maximum. Decisions of grave importance were impending and everyone recognized that.

Paena, not returning home, stayed in the attic of Endo all that night. Both of them talked till morning arrived, neither of them calm enough to sleep at all. Events that had no precedents were in the offing.

The future of the Velvet movement was at stake, but also the fate of all psychography. The direction of society and the future of the human mind were going to be determined, one way or another. Was the bubble of optimism stemming from the Velvet series about to burst and die out?

By daybreak, Preservers had assembled in ordered ranks in all sections of Gath: the Avernal, Academic, Butterweed, Riverine, Wicket, Guayule, Canthus, Mucroe, Thalamic, Istle, Guenors, Civic, Zigan, Shank, and Charque districts, as well as in the Rockeries and the Steameries. Supporters and partisans from the wealthiest to the poorest areas formed into units set to parade down Principium Boulevard, from one end of the capital to the other. The farthest extremes of Gath society were represented, all the many varieties of interest making up the Preservation Party. Every person who had mobilized looked forward to displaying the party banners of purple and yellow. Signs and posters with emblems and slogans on them were ready to be carried. This was to be an unending parade, marching to communicate a message of concord and stability to all the citizenry.

Men, women, and children were arrayed in their holiday best. One could see clothes of every conceivable hue. Rich capes, gowns, wraps, and mantillas protected the females from the cool morning dew of the city. Pride hung over every member of the assembled army of Preservers. The parade was meant to be a sober, serious manifestation of principle. Thousands upon thousands assembled to express their love for conservative stability.

Marching bands, distributed about the long cavalcade of citizens, started to play patriotic, traditional hymns and songs.

A deep impression on the voting public was the aim of all the activity. These people wanted everyone who saw them to learn of their certainty of being the victorious political party.

But other, opposed forces existed and were also in motion.

All through the night, units of the Velvet Association had been keeping vigil at scattered sites, mainly homes. Inns, shops, and recreation clubs were also popular assembly points. What was the overall strategic plan of action to oppose and hinder the scheduled parade? Only a very few select leaders knew that for sure. Brage Sucre, the formal president of the Velvet movement, remained all night in the office of his publishing company. Effective leadership fell to Tado Foleg, who was outside marshalling the forces under his command.

Tado roamed about throughout Gath, haranguing small crowds of supporters. His message was one of certain success for the Velvet cause. Something of historical importance was coming, the construction of a telepathic planetary society modelled on the Velvet books. They would witness momentous events as the day progressed. Every single member and supporter must stand prepared to prove themselves faithful to the movement’s promise, shouted the short little man named Tado.

Paena, preparing breakfast for herself, Endo, Bran, and Poin, made an informed guess to them. “At some point, I fear that Tado is going to proclaim himself the Deliverer of all Horae. If not today, then in some future point of time. He will calibrate his rise to how much success he has on this particular day. But his private dream is to anticipate Raxis Absum in the novellae in every way possible, by any means he can invent or think up. There are no limits to his grasping imagination, none at all.”

Endo stepped close to her, stopping only a span away.

“By the end of today, we shall know what the outcome is to be and who can be crowned the victor,” he psychographer averred from his heart.

The group of four finished eating, then climbed down to street level and walked to Skyline Avenue in order to find out how events were progressing.


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