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Deal 983: Something may be falling

It really was the best of times. Peace had been the order of the day for as long as anyone could remember. And there was nothing that could change that.

Except.

People see things. But they don’t always see the whole of things. And that can lead to trouble.

As it appears we are heading now.

There are many stories of what was seen. Stories that contain some grains of truth, to be sure.

But what do I know really?

I’m just like you, caught up in the rising tide of events, watching the world get stranger.

And that chicken just won’t shut up.

Everywhere she goes, she just has to stick her neck in and peck out another story. Sometimes she even agrees with what she’s said before. Always, she is spreading fear.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of the sky.

Fear of the fox.

Fear of the wolf.

Even fear of Old Mac.

And because people are afraid, they call for prudent responses just in case she is right.

Or maybe it is just a rain storm.

And like a rain storm, perhaps it will blow over and our peace will return.

I’m not as afraid as most.

What I fear, is the fear itself.

And I fear it won’t end well.

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Deal 951: Tipped

“Step right up ladies and gentlemen and see here with your own blind eyes one of the wonders of the world!”

The barker was in fine form, gathering the crowd and getting ready to blow the tip.

“I speak, of course, of the amazing feats of strength and daring performed by our very own March of the Shadows. Being more than mere mortal, the Marquis does the improbable, speaks of the impossible, hypnotizes with wonders unimagined, and will even rhyme the unrhymable.”

The pitch was a little erudite for the usual crowd, but still it did catch one’s attention.

“Just inside this tent, for a small consideration, all things promised will be delivered.”

I stepped forward with the throng at my back …

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Deal 926: Yes there’s a cape

The suit hung there like a threat, looming in my closet, daring me to put it back on.

Without it, I can pass as normal as anyone you might find on the street. And the anonymity it grants is welcome.

With it, I am always seen as something more. More than normal. Far more visible. Unable to leap a building without being noticed.

I might be the last remaining (well, aside from a few prisoners stored in an unlikely way) of my kind. But I can fit in here, where I’m not all that different at a glance. Of course, under careful scrutiny I’m sure I reveal my nature in many small ways. Fortunately my friends and adopted family generally remain blind to things they know can’t be true. My biggest challenge has always been an unwillingness to stand by in the face of injustice. I didn’t join any official authority, at first due to fears that authority would not take my origins well, and later because I reached a compromise.

The suit looming in the closet.

Wearing it I can be outrageously, impossibly, and even notoriously inhuman. People only see the suit, and the powers, and are blind to the man inside it. They accept the feats of strength, the ability to solve crimes and mitigate disasters in a simple and direct way that is unavailable to the authorities. They overlook what could easily be taken as the actions of a lone madman vigilante. My duty is, after all, my own self-made prison.

That is the price I willingly pay to bring hope to others.

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Deal 921: Orange is the new Ninja

Orange is the color of carrots, the color of Dutch royalty, the color of many sweet citrus, and the color of traffic cones and highway safety. Orange is a county in at least two states. Orange is a state of mind.

Will was an Orange. At least, that was the claim of a persistent family legend that traced their origins to the house of William III of England. Of course, such a claim is officially impossible as King Billy had died without issue. Of course, when considering the households of royalty, there is little that is truly impossible. So the family story, although unlikely, had resulted in at least one child named Will or Mary in every generation since.

In the present world, this made for little more than an amusing fable.

But events have a way of conspiring to thrust the subjects of amusing fables into action.

The troubles were going to be short lived. That is what they always say when troubles start. No one plans a decade long war, at least not openly. No, they plan a grand invasion, a quick overthrow, or a decisive battle followed swiftly by an unconditional surrender.

For a foot soldier, it is well known that there is little more permanent than a temporary military action. Of course, sometimes the permanence is made apparent by the short life expectancy of the soldier. Usually it is the fatalistic admission that the one swift decisive battle is just as much a legend as the story of Will being descended from royalty. Will didn’t believe either one.

But he did know that he had skills that could be useful, and if applied could shorten what was looking to become a long entanglement. So he transferred to a unit that worked less openly, and used methods that were effective despite being deemed “unsporting”.

Little is known about the work Will and his team performed. But it is reasonably sure that the sudden deaths of several of the royal family were not a simple accident, but had been arranged. Arranged bravely by Will and others working silently under cover of dusk to place poisons where they be the most effective. Actions that did indeed shorten the conflict.

The odd fact that the poison they favored was bright orange was just another coincidence, and perhaps one day will become the stuff of legends.