Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Obscure

While fame impedes and constricts, obscurity wraps about a man like a mist; obscurity is dark, ample, and free; obscurity lets the mind take its way unimpeded. Over the obscure man is poured the merciful suffusion of darkness. None knows where he goes or comes. He may seek the truth and speak it; he alone is free; he alone is truthful, he alone is at peace...
by Virginia Woolf

There may be three or perhaps only five scholars and connivers who have achieved true Obscurity. Free from oversight, devoid of any restrictions, they relish their intellectual and personal autonomy. They walk through the halls of academia unnoticed and unacknowledged. Their watch everyone, observe everything, always quietly keeping to themselves and not getting involved. They are patient in their plotting and deeply resentful of their co-conspirators. It is disconcerting to know that one is not alone after all, that they each share their subtle anonymity with others, no matter how few in number.

Years they have wasted, each attempting to thwart the other, to derail the plans or machinations of their fellows...but always at a safe distance and under completely deniable circumstances. They have falsified records, hidden evidence, planted rumors like seeds sent forth on the wind, always working diligently from behind the scenes, uncredited and unsuspected.

No one noticed the deaths of their fallen colleagues. Even among themselves they remained only vaguely conversant with the rude outlines of one another's efforts, more an inferred presence than anything verifiable. They only started to pay attention when they realized that there were other players operating under other rules, others who were intruding upon the dawdling game among academics. The Unseen were very jealous of their position, the Murkim were apprehensive of their reputation, the Perdu would suffer no challenge to their prestige. No one noticed how one obscure academic after another met an untimely, unfortunate end. At least not until one of them attempted to speak out for fear of their life...

But who would listen to such a story? Who would care? Who could they turn to?

Perhaps a group of player characters...

Source of Inspiration: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, which you can read about at Wikipedia, or actually read the thing yourself for free via Project Gutenberg Australia, or purchase a copy via Amazon or watch the movie with Tilda Swinton...

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