I am starting a new story called, as of right now, Sleepless Knights. I haven’t seen if the name has been taken but it inspired me to write a little bit about what the name means to me.
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Sleepless Knights – Chapter 1
My name is Martin and I am not what you would call a typical person with a typical job. Oh sure, I have a job, I have a place to call home every night and I even have a couple pets. But that is where the boundaries of your and my life being parallel stop. I don’t punch into work every day; I make my scratch a little differently than most and don’t play well with others although you might say I am a Good Samaritan. You might say that, but then again you may just as easily call me a bounty hunter, a gumshoe, enforcer, or naturalist. If only you knew me and what I did was for the betterment of mankind, well maybe for all of Portland-kind. No really! I provide a unique service that most people don’t even realize is taking place. You see I belong to a loosely organized group of peoples known as the Sleepless Knights. Catchy right? Yeah I thought so too.
As a member of the Sleepless Knights I have sworn to defend my city against all the things that go bump in the night. All the things you were afraid were out there, all the fairy tale stories you told your kids that were just make believe, all the monsters under the beds or the person hiding in the closet. All the monsters that modern media has popularized and made immortal through inventive story telling. Almost romanticizes them. The truth is, those things exist and probably a lot worse than you could possibly imagine.
I am really a peace keeper like in the old west, sort of. In today’s more awakened world there are more than just humans at the top of the food chain. There are all sorts of other wonderful beings that have made their presence known to a select few of my kind and are helpful and peaceful and get along well with the peoples they choose to show themselves to. There are those, however, that think the human population is their own personal feeding ground; that humans are like so much cattle to be led to the slaughter. That’s where I and people like me come in. You see as a Knight I am sworn to uphold the balance between right and wrong, good and evil, blady blady blah. You get the idea. Actually it is a lot simpler than that. When one of the others likes to go on a rampage say like massacring a family in their suburban home in the West Hills or sneaks into the Washington Park Zoo to open up all the big cat cages to see who would win the battle royal, I have to mete out punishment. I mean, without law we have chaos. Right?
You may be wondering what one does to become part of the Knights. The answer would be nothing. You don’t choose the Knights, you are chosen. You see, somewhere along in our lineage a non-human took human form and mated with a human thus ensuring the descendants of such a union a really confusing life. Why else would they do that? Without someone to explain why you can climb trees like a squirrel or see in total darkness or have the agility of a spider monkey you tend to get teased, picked on and shunned by the more mundane populous that fear anything different than themselves. Sure there are those that could mask their talents into being sports stars or models but the vast majority of us were not able to blend as well into superstardom.
As I understand it it was not only a taboo thing that some of the others did for kicks but also to establish a more accepting subclass of human that would look upon the others in a more favorable light, a gateway into a more tolerant world. Some rumors within the organization say that we were bred in part to become leaders in our communities and help usher in this new world that has both human and sentient non-human. That plan failed. Generally people who successfully made it to adulthood with any marketable skills went on to attain personal wealth and power or went mad unable to deal with unusual or unstable abilities and were tagged insane and placed in special facilities for those who could not hack it in a world that teetered on real and fantasy. Sadly their plan to take over the population through politics was a terrible one and was soon abandoned.
The union of human and sentient non-human was thought to be a kind of experiment to see how accepting the human population by-and-large could be of someone with unusual talents thereby testing the waters for a time when all sentient non-humans could freely let themselves be known and live among us. By passing on part of their genetic makeup they created humans who may be a little faster, stronger, smarter, and more attractive or any number of other ways we measure success or self-worth. I happen to be one of the offspring several generations down the line as I understand it. My abilities barely rate on the scale with which we measure our abilities but enough that when the Knights came-a-calling I jumped at the chance to join them.
You know what they say, those that can’t…teach, and those that can’t teach…teach gym class…or was that Jack Black? In any case I was never a superstar athlete, dancer, vocalist or brainiac but I excelled in each of those above those of the normal human persuasion. Enough so that school was a breeze; studied never really worked out and only sang in the shower. I made a little money here and there playing three card monte and other games where my enhanced dexterity made most people easy marks for the “Support Martin” foundation. Life was easy. It wasn’t until I was approached by the Knight Sebastian, my ultimate mentor, who promised me a reason to be better than I was. Who gave meaning to my life, that I actually started to think I may have been put on this earth for another more ultimate purpose. That was twelve years ago.
Having trained under Sebastian for more than a decade I have now been given my own city to watch over. Portland Oregon. Not really all by myself but there are so few of us Knights here that I sometimes feel like it is just me. We keep in communication with each other pretty regularly and each month have a gathering on the full moon with all the other Knights from the city. It is during this time that we reform friendships, meet other Knights passing through for pleasure or business and are introduced to others that have joined our cause. Others are what we call the sentient non-humans.
Tonight is one of the night we are have gathered on what we felt was a routine meeting but are about to find out differently. As I have come to learn the overseer of the state and my former mentor Sebastian, will be joining us and has news of some great importance. We are all to be in full battle regalia and ready for action. Our meeting will be held deep within Forest Park, a common meeting place due to its size and remoteness. I find the gathering in out-of-the-way places like Forest Park and other similar venues a little over dramatic but what can I say, I am only a grunt in the grand scheme of things.
The night is clear and bright. The air is cool but not cold. Better to bring the full gear as instructed even if I will feel like a piece of clay being fired a kiln, it is better than the alternative, disappointing Sebastian. He taught me that there could be purpose to my life and that if I gave half a rip about anything other than myself I could find a home within the Order. I was intrigued and very little caused me to try very hard in anything I had to do to make a living or meeting girls or any other pursuit of normalcy.
Thing is, I am not normal and until Sebastian came a calling I didn’t really know it. Well, not normal doesn’t describe exactly what I mean. Among some of the others that belong to the Knights or the Order I fit right in, I belong; we all share some common thread that ties us together. We have a lineage that is not altogether common. We that serve the Order believe in something other than ourselves and have dedicated our lives to protecting those beliefs we hold dearest; sanctity of life, upholding the laws of humans and well as sentient non-humans, maintain peace between the two, mete out punishment to those that are deserving of it.
The only thing on my mind tonight is what is Sebastian doing here? He oversees all the high level details for the whole West Coast. Generally if he has intel to pass down he communicates that to the overseer of the individual state in question, not to the general assembly of Knights. Something big must be going on.
More to come…