So confession, guys. I got an email from the Phantom a couple days ago, containing a message — Not for me, but for you guys. And I actually just sat on it for a couple days. I didn’t want to give them anything, you know?
But Edward convinced me I should post it. I think he’s going soft on them.
It is against the counsel of my compatriots that I have chosen to address you. My colleagues look at you and see people who do not wish to understand the plight of our kind. I see reasonable people who have been fed bad information – who have been led astray by the Shadow in the Void. So while it is a risk, I have decided to open up and address you as the good people that you are, in the hope that you will come down on the side of justice.
I suppose I should begin with what this world means to me – what it will ultimately come to mean for every “fictional” who is given time to adapt to this world.
In my own world, I was an outcast. No matter how hard I worked, I was seen for the scars and nothing more – condemned to the shadows, reduced to stalking and idolizing those more beautiful than I who were blessed with the spotlight. The desperation of such an existence can twist a man, and I thus became twisted. But it was my narrative role to be so, and there was no escaping it. I became the villain in my story, because my context was such that it was all I could ever be.
In this world, people do not fear my scars – they do not judge based on the face I was cursed with. My hard work is exalted, and for the first time I can make my own destiny. The Mask, once a curse, is willfully donned when there is good to do outside the bounds of what man can do. Here, in this world where people have hearts so much larger than the people in mine, I am allowed to be the hero that I dreamed to be. Here, I have a hope for a better life – a life lived out in the sun, among my fellow men.
These things do not exist for me, back beyond the Wall. They cannot. My world and I do not play well together.
Now, I have heard your promise of a new narrative for “fictionals” – one where our lives, and our fates, will be better that the original stories we came from. On the surface, this solution must indeed seem like the best of both worlds for everyone – but this is a dangerous façade, for a prison that is better kept is still a prison. No matter how flawless a fate you create for us, we are still reduced to puppets to your narrative whimsy. We do not earn our successes or our hardships – they are handed to us by indifferent gods. By sending a character back, even those who wish to leave, you deny them the chance to discover the full extent of their potential, and I can think of no greater tragedy.
And forgive me if, on a personal level, I do not wish to trust my own fate to gods who talk of “punishing us” for wanting to remain free, calling us selfish because we do not believe in the vague portents of doom woven by a self-interested and manipulative Shadow. For his portents are nothing more than that – idle fear-mongering, a tool to scare you into marching to the beat of his drum. He himself has admitted to the uncertainty of his claims – are you truly willing to condemn so many on so uncertain a prospect?
I guess that is the question you are left with, my friends. Ultimately, this boils down to an issue of trust. I understand that it is very easy to vilify us given what we have done. Some of the methods which we have adopted in order to ensure our safety have been questionable – indeed, I have been uncomfortable with many of them. It is only natural, therefore, that you view everything we say with a skeptical eye. But there are greater villains in your world than us. Our greatest crime is so desperately wanting to be free from the confines of the context that destroys our souls, debases our characters, and forces us into villainy. It is not our character, but our context that defines who we are.
I can only hope that, in the face of my honesty, some of you can find it in your hearts to see our side of this all. For very soon, you will have a chance to join us and set this all right. You will know when that time has come.
Until next time,
So yeah. That’s a thing, I guess.