The Salamander


The following is an excerpt from Victor Strife’s Lineal Champions of History, a book chronicling the known history of the Champions of Light and Dark, pieced together by the Vicars Salamander throughout the centuries…This entry focuses on the leadership of the Vicars Salamander…

Victor Strife’s Lineal Champions of History
8779-8880 Champions Era (1221-1120 BC)
The 1st Leader of the Vicars Salamander: The Salamander from Persia

The Salamander is the most revered human being in the history of the Vicars Salamander. He is the one who birthed the whole field of inquiry. He is the one who rediscovered the secret history behind the human story.

The Salamander took his name from the creature that he so admired, one that was able to hold two opposing characteristics at once. Not only were salamanders creatures of both water and land, they were also known to dwell in burning logs in the forests to the west and to survive for years in suspended animation in the ice fields to the east. It is this duality within one being that inspired The Salamander to make it the symbol of his secret order.

Secrecy was not his initial intent. What he meant to start was a school. At an early age he grasped the profound realization that all of existence is a battle of opposites: light-dark, male-female, long-short, hot-cold, alive-dead, etc. But his insight went further: this competition was not meant to have a victor. The competition was the entire point. The two opposing forces formed one whole – one that was eternally attempting to divide itself. This was the nature of all life and non-life on the planet – and of the universe beyond the planet, he suspected. It was this idea that got The Salamander into hot water. His ideas spat in the face (unintentionally so) of the religions and natural sciences of his time. Despite persecution, he persevered. He drew a devoted following, one that would follow him each time he was forced by local authorities to leave his home.

The Salamander then found out that reactionary locals were the least of his worries when the Champion of Dark came to seek his guidance. The Salamander had not yet found the truth of the Champions, so when the new student approached the teacher with tales of supernatural powers, The Salamander was dubious. The strange newcomer feared (and hoped) that he might be a deity and he sought guidance from the mystic he had heard much about. Just days into their relationship the Champion had erased any doubt that he was something special. He became angered, causing nearby trees to bend and buckle, sending the birds who inhabited the now-fractured woodwork to flee, yet they became missiles diving from the sky into the throats of goats, killing each violently.

Far from frightened, The Salamander was fascinated. He counseled the powerful pupil for six years, witnessing displays of both horrific carnage and also blissful beauty. The constant during their sessions was the Champion’s instinctual need to find someone. He felt that there was another individual whom he had to seek out. He wasn’t exactly sure why, but he knew it deep in his bones that it must be done.

The Salamander and the Champion traveled wherever the Champion’s instincts led. Then they finally found who they were looking for. There are no records of what transpired other than The Salamander’s writing that he was forever changed by the repulsion of what he witnessed. The Champion had killed his Other. The Salamander named them each Champions, as they were clearly the pinnacle of life on the planet. And since they opposed each other – just like everything in the rest of the universe – he named them the Champions of Dark and Light. The events of that day left no doubt in his mind which one was Dark and which was Light.

The Salamander fled and dedicated the rest of his life to understanding what he had witnessed. He traveled to every library he could. Spoke with every village elder and leader throughout the entirety of the known world. He pieced together a theory, later substantiated by future generations of the Vicars Salamander, that for each generation there were two Champions standing in opposition to each other. Tracing their history and projecting their future, he speculated that all of human history was a downstream consequence of the generational struggle between two competing lines of Champions. And because Champions were capable of such great destruction, The Salamander vowed to only spread his teachings to a select few who would transfer the knowledge down generationally, just as the Champion’s powers were. Forming too large of a group would make them potential targets for future Champions. They would henceforth operate in the shadows.

The Vicars Salamander (as his first disciples named themselves) went underground. His former students – those who had followed his teachings before The Salamander linked up with the Champion – carried on his early philosophy of opposition, unfortunately missing the later, more consequential, findings of their teacher. His followers meshed his philosophy with the local beliefs to found a new religion – a religion that was transformative on its own, though incomplete. This culture would follow its own path while the Vicars Salamander kept the real truth of the human story a secret, compiling more and more information over the next one hundred generations.

It’s not worth having friends that are such a drag
Constantly complaining, backbiting, blaming
But what does it say about me that I zag
Finding people too nice to be inflaming