The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 16 : Victory Has Its Ransom
The Philosopher walked a thousand miles before households with the black flag and circled A became a rare sight. The vast stretch of area under the influence of anarchy was bordered by only two sides: one carrying the red banner, the other carrying the blue banner. There were three divisions that cut up the world, with the only colors that mattered being red, blue, and black. These were the colors that humanity bled during the battles that raged on and on between the Anarchist Armies working in cooperation with local groups against the Armies of both the Communists and the Capitalists. Hammurabi had to pull the Eighth and Third Babylonian Armies out of Southern Egypt, giving the Ethiopians a momentary break in the pillaging and slavery. Solon had to retreat the Fourth Greek Army fighting the Sardinian Independence Forces and withdraw the Second Greek Army occupying an unruly and riotous Italy. Everywhere, the armies of emperors were mobilizing against the armies of Anarchists.
Villages were more divided than ever. The amount of evidence required to convict someone of being a Communist or a Capitalist was being reduced day by day, with this being mostly a method used in feuds between families rather than actual political activists. In some places, it became a social sin to even mention the word property, because one could be easily accused of either wanting to love it or hate it as an institution, and if anyone had even heard the suspect talking about "property," this alone has been enough to obtain executions by courts. Conversations focused more and more on whatever was popular, or beautiful, or weird, or ugly, or peculiar, or outstanding, or horrifying, but when it came to questions of right and wrong, people spoke less and less. It was only in Anarchia, the two-thousand mile stretch of anarchy touching the Mediterranean, that these conversations kept up. But instead of ending in murderous hatred between factions, the talks concluded with simply live and let live. For the Anarchists, it was infinitely more acceptable in social circles to be absolutely different from everyone else compared to making someone feel bad about who they are.
War was what everyone thought about. The names of Emma and Benjamin were cursed in their native homelands, as the names of Hammurabi and Solon were made into jokes in Anarchia. Pan was declared a traitor by the Communist Party of Greece, and Roz was declared coward by the Babylonian Officer Corps. But there was one person who escaped the gossip and the speeches and the declarations and the manifestos: the Philosopher. The mad rush for Truth by power-hungry emperors had turned into a mad rush to crush an independent uprising by those whose only motive was 'freedom.' There was no more talk with merchants about bargaining over the value of what the Philosopher guarded, there was only talk with generals about destroying where the Philosopher had been. As the madness built up between loud speakers and bold actors, the Philosopher slipped away to the side, quiet and unheard, careful and cautious, with a quiet smile, thinking alone to himself, "...now would be the perfect time to do something really clever -- my only hope is that I reach that opportunity before someone who doesn't believe in Truth."