CHAPTER 15 – II
When Aricame opened up his front door he was greeted by a ruggedly handsome older gentleman with a strong jaw, high cheekbones, and medium length salt and pepper hair. Next to him stood the gorgeous female version of the same man – features softened, yet no less powerful. She must have been fifty years his junior. Perhaps she was his granddaughter.
“My name is Victor. This is my daughter, Victoria.”
‘Oh!’, thought Aricame.
“I assume you have been expecting us. We have much to discuss,” Victoria said, sidestepping into the abode.
What followed was a weeks’ long crash course on the secret history of human existence. Carenf had taught Aricame much about who he was and what challenges likely awaited him. He was taught about his long lineage, though there were many holes and he had many questions. His mother had clearly been withholding information from him, dispensing morsels in bite-size pieces. Did she not trust him with such knowledge? Even though Carenf divided the world into Light and Dark, and made it clear to which side they belonged, Aricame always felt as though there was some secrecy around this. What was being kept from him?
Additionally, there was the unanswered question of ‘why?’ To the extent that his mother filled him in on the details of who/what they were, conversations seldom went beyond their own experience and into the larger scheme of things. Why did these opposing lines of superhumans exist in the first place? What purpose did they serve? And who were these mysterious people, led by Victor Strife, who knew so much about them?
Aricame finally got some answers. The Vicars Salamander first organized nearly four thousand years ago (though smaller factions had existed for millennia before them) and it is believed that Zoroaster founded this iteration of the organization (before some of his associates foolishly defected to start their own religion in his name). The VS have been dedicated to the study of the superhumans ever since. Many differing stories exist explaining how and why these Champions among us came into being, but no one is certain. The VS began as a curiosity, then became a phenomenon, then became persecuted, then became underground, then became forgotten, then became resurrected, then became nurtured, and then finally simply sustained. Throughout the centuries they worked to collect lost documents, regain forgotten wisdom, and propagate their studies, all the while keeping to the shadows to avoid the ire of whichever religious or political leader was in power.
Leading the charge in these lessons was Victoria. She may have been much (much) younger than her father, but she was clearly wise beyond her years. Victor, perhaps lacking the energy for these long sessions, largely sat back and oversaw, lending his gravitas to the proceedings.
Knowledge forgotten may never return
Future lives darkened when the books burn
Among the most remarkable achievements rendered
Making sure these achievements are remembered