It’s a strange time we live in, friend.
Perhaps the strangest, though I guess any person with a bit of perspective would warn you that most people have felt the same in their own age.
William Shakespeare said:
“Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.”
In the play it’s a bit of a joke, right? A cosmic comeuppance, you might say. To me, it’s no joke. Something happened, some shift in the essential barriers that separate truth and fiction and then, I was born; I walked out of the pages of the penny dreadfuls and into real life – I smelled air for the first time, I stubbed a toe and felt pain, real pain, for the first time.
I wasn’t the only one – there were many of us, so many of us, walking the streets of London, disoriented and terrified. Fortunately, there wasn’t a one of us that didn’t have friends in this new world… they were the ones what imagined us, after all. It took time for society to adjust, though – we were called subhuman, demonic, all of the things outsiders hear.
Eventually we won our acceptance, probably faster than any oppressed group I can think of (though be careful where you walk, if you know what I mean). The funny thing – it was just beginning. First the Dreamlands spat us all out on the streets of London, but it wasn’t their last trick – soon after this they began to rub against the ordinary world, even merge with it in places.
These days, when a boat comes into port it may be from Neverland or from Kadath’s moon. No one really understands how a boat sails from someplace imaginary, drops into London and buys some pork and genuine French berets, then sails right back into the imaginary world, but it happens each and every day.
There was another trick, too – even the Ordinaries have turned a bit Imaginary over the years as the Dreamlands enter their waking thoughts and actions until the factories and airships of Clockwork begin to take real form in the world around us, making it a bit more fantastic than it used to be. Maybe it’s a push and pull – as we become more real, they become stranger, and then we meet in the middle.
It’s a hopeful time, friend. The world is changing faster and largely for the better. There are problems, though – turns out people imagine bad things as well as good. Ever had your purse or wallet stolen in London? I can tell you Moriarty got some of the take. Sleepwalking and looking pale? Well, I’d put up some garlic and wear silver, just in case Dracula’s stopping by.
The fact is, the bad ones of us are too much for the Ordinaries to handle, and that’s why we formed the Oddfellows. Working hand in hand with the British Crown, we aim to keep things on that road to progress I may have already mentioned. It’s a bit like an adventurer’s club except that we deal with things far more terrifying than climbing mountains and crossing deserts – we take the fight to the things no one else can fight. If you want someone to kick Nyarlhotep’s retinue out of your summer estate or if you want your favorite sister back from Mr. Hyde, you talk to us.
Society is changing, friend, and we’re at the forefront – we’re the spearhead at the front of the entire society, human and otherwise. Though the politicians and industrialists wish otherwise, we’re the ones who will choose the face of the century to come. Imaginaries, Dreamers, even the Ordinaries… the Oddfellows represent them all. Come to think of it, we represent you, too, though we might want you to act in a bit more of an official capacity.
So, I guess what I’m saying is – care to join in? There’s plenty of room for new recruits.