Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Schnozzberry, Jan 26, 2017.
Personally, The Death of Polk sounds the most interesting to me. Looking forward to it!
That American Guiana color scheme doe!
I'm personally partial to What through Jungle Hides and Death of Polk.
Atop Car sounds really interesting, and not just for its spoilers.
EDIT: Thinking about it more, I'd prefer What the Jungle Hides. It would be a good formula break for you and for the TL and a whole. Plus, the chance to see what TTL's America considers "scary" and how American Guiana, of all things, becomes associated with some of those concepts is too good to pass up.
I plan on American Guiana being the only "green ensign" style flag in America's various holdings, giving it a bit of additional uniqueness, and maybe even some confusion when some don't actually recognize it as being real.
Ok, so I've figured out what I'm going to do. What the Jungle Hides will be first, and what I write for class because @LostInNewDelhi's edit clenched it for me, and I'll do The Death of Polk next when I write them just for fun.
And just as a minor aside, the faceless men I mentioned in the summary for What the Jungle Hides have made a very minor appearance already, and that previous mention should give a pretty big clue on what the faceless men represent/are inspired by. But I don't intend for them to be just a scary thing from a horror story, but rather the faceless men will be one of America's folk monsters. Fur trappers will claim to have seen them skulking around in the mountains, settlers in the west will blame footsteps in the night on them and, of course, stories will be told of how the faceless men will snatch up disobedient children. The legends will actually be seeing some of their initial bits be laid in the upcoming decade, and I'll reference them again when it becomes appropriate to show how the folktale relates to reality.
Death of Polk sounds fun, but also the hardest to write
Hello everyone! This time, I've got an update, finishing up the Title War. After this, there'll be a bit more on American politics leading up to the 1797 election before a return to the Northwest, Europe and Florida.
"It was a damned fool thing for them to fight over, no matter what they called themselves they were naught but a gilded governor... that's why I was the first amongst them crowned, I knew what I was called wasn't of the slightest value..."
--Aaron Burr, Duke of Berkeley
The failure of the First Baltimore Title Conference led to the Title War continuing, with Virginia ringing in the new year by declaring a “Nomocratic-Electoric Grand Duchy” on January 1st. The political crisis in New York over the state title escalated when impeachment measures were taken by the New York Senate against Governor Yates on January 6th. The impeachment tore apart New York’s government as pro-Yates Republicans and anti-Yates Federalists pushed against each other, splitting the neutral Confederationalists right down the middle. The New York Assembly narrowly voted to declare that they would not recognize Yates’ impeachment, causing anti-Yates Federalists and a number of Confederationalists to declare a “legitimate” Assembly on January 18th. On January 19th, the Athens Club, a Republican political club, requested that “citizens loyal to the republic” turn out and begin arming themselves. In response, the Purple Club, a monarchist political club, called out volunteers to form a “Prince’s militia.” Tensions were approaching a critical point.
On February 16th, the crisis came to an anti-climatic end when the impeachment process when the vote failed by one vote to secure the necessary majority. This close end to the impeachment crisis prevented the situation from descending into a civil war which some had feared would be the end result. New York politics would remain extremely polarized, but an agreement would be made between the two sides when, on March 25th, the state would declare itself to simply be the “State of New York.”
The New York crisis shook awake many across America to the fact that as absurd as it was, the Title War could escalate into a full-blown crisis. This led to the Second Baltimore Title Conference, assembling in June, 1794, assembling delegates from all states except for Berkshire (who turned down as such a conference was “unbecoming” of their republican beliefs) While optimism was high for the Conference, a brutal storm on July 3rd damaged both the Conference site and many of the residences of the delegates, leading to an agreement to reassemble the next year. Additionally, the states came to an agreement with each state agreeing to not change their titles until after the next Conference.
The Third Baltimore Title Conference assembled in June, 1795, and saw delegates from every state, as well as Director of the State John Adams, Prince Gilbert, Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and former Director James Madison. Curiously, despite the majority of states with contentious titles, only two people who actually held monarchist titles were at the conference, “Electoric Grand Duke” Henry I Lee of Virginia and Duke Aaron I Burr of Berkeley, as the remainder of the monarchist states were led by regencies rather than any monarchist position. For three months the Conference debated, and, in contrast to the two previous conferences, a compromise was actually produced in the form of an amendment to the Constitution which would establish a governing body to “register and approve” titles and thus making them required to be respected outside of the state they were given. The proposed amendment managed to do what was seemingly impossible and had support between not only the majority of the states, but Federalists and Republicans in Congress as the Title War had grown into an increasing embarrassment for all Americans regardless of political leaning or state of origin.
Alongside the amendment was an agreement between the states on their titles where each state agreed to the titles they would adopt under the new amendment beforehand, which led to the states shifting to the titles that, for the most part, would serve as the final title in use for the states until the Interregnum. The agreement also formalized the title of Prince Gilbert to being that of “First Prince” as his position of monarch of the United States made him the “First Prince among Equals.”
The titles which emerged from the Third Baltimore Title Conference were:
(Offices included for reference, states are in order of entry into the Union)
South Carolina: Electorate, led by an Elector and a Governor
Georgia: Duchy, led by a Duke and a Governor
North Carolina: Duchy, led by a Duke and a Governor
Pennsylvania: Free Duchy, led by a Duke and a Governor
Delaware: Nomocracy, led by a Nomocrat of the State and a Nomocrat of the People
New Hampshire: Regent-Republic, led by a Regent and a Governor
Maryland: Duchy, led by a Duke
Virginia: Electoric Duchy, led by an Elected Duke and a Governor
Massachusetts: Electoric Duchy, led by an Elected Duke and a Governor
New York: State, led by a Governor
Connecticut: Republic, led by a President
Hudson: Republic, led by a Governor and President of the State
Berkshire: Free Republic, led by the Executive Council of Berkshire
Franklin: Margravate, led by a Marquis
Vermont: Republican March, led by a Presidential Council
Maine: Republic, led by a Governor
Lenape: Republic, led by a President and a Governor
Berkeley: Duchy, led by a Duke
Kentucky: Margravate, led by a Governor
Transocconee: Republican March, led by a Governor
Guiana: Principality, led by a Prince
The proposed amendment saw near unanimous support from the Republicans and Federalists when it was proposed to Congress, but Confederationalist opposition managed to keep the amendment from passing in 1795. In 1797, the amendment proved a critical point in the 1797 Directoral elections, finally passing in 1798 with only a few minor modifications, and on May 16th, 1799, Franklin became the fifteenth state to ratify the amendment, making it the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. And with the 4th Amendment, the TItle War came to a close.
The 4th Amendment solved the matter of titles (as well as coats of arms) by establishing the United States College of Arms and Titles whose purpose was to register and confirm the various titles and arms of the states as well as those given to individuals. While titles and arms could still be given without confirmation by the College, no entity within the United States was obligated to recognize them if they were unconfirmed. Additionally, the 4th Amendment also guaranteed that all states were of equal stature on legal terms, irregardless of what title they adopted, and when it became necessary for the states to be given some kind of order (for a ceremony or other such affair), the order should be in the order the states joined the Union.
William Barton, the designer of the Federal Coat of Arms, was appointed President of the College. For the first few years, the College would confirm the titles of the states that each had already agreed upon in 1795 as well as their coats of arms/seals, as well as the few noble titles that were created during the early days. Notably, only one title was rejected during the College’s first decade of existence. When the “Republic” of Rumson attempted to declare its head President, the College rejected it. Rumson would in turn reject the authority of the College, noting that they were a “sovereign and independent” republic and they were therefore not obligated to ratify their title with the College. Despite the minor affair, the college proved to be one of America’s least controversial institutions, in large part due to William Barton who kept the College out of any controversies and kept the College broadly free from corruption.
Also, here is a map of the USA and the titles adopted. I figured it would be nice for those who like maps, but it also shows how the country is politically divided:
After that last update, there is one question that I know everyone wanted answered: Does Rumson have a flag?
The answer is yes, and here it is:
It's very simple, just blue and buff because I quite frankly couldn't imagine a small town having the material to make a complex flag, or for that matter very many flags. The "Republic" likely only has an odd few flags that only get flouted occasionally, just like Rumson's "independence."
Also I made a meme about Rumson's declaring a President instead of going to sleep. This is what I do at 3 in the morning folks.
Spoiler: Rumson Meme
Also also, I've been working on my story for class, and one thing that I had a bit of a hard time figuring out a way to easily convey that it was a work of alternate history without having irrelevant exposition or defocusing the story. I came up with a solution that ties the monsters to the idea of it being an alternate history with this line:
"...Delaurence wrote how at some time in our past creation departed from God's plan and they were the souls of those who were supposed to have been born..."
It's one of three beliefs on what the faceless men are that the main character runs through in conversation right before he gives his own beliefs. I'm not going to say it's the canon explanation for them ITTL as I don't believe in the supernatural myself (aside from what being a Protestant entails) and I want the faceless men to simply be a piece of folklore that springs from relatively common fears ITTL. However, I do want to know what you all think about the idea of the faceless men being the spirits of those who were born IOTL, but not ITTL. Do you all think it's too hokey of an idea? And do you all think having someone in the Death of a Republic universe come up with that idea is too ASB or silly? I know TTL has had a lot of absurd stuff, but I do actually want to keep it reigned in some as well and don't want this to be too much.
Heh-hey, it only took a month, but I am done with my short story! I know what I've got here doesn't seem long enough to warrant such a length of time, and doesn't quite match how I described it, but I functionally rewrote the story after finishing it the first time. But, without further ado, here is what What the Jungle Hides turned into: The Faceless Men
Camp 18 was the most secure prison in the Empire thanks to the hundred miles of Guianese jungle separating it from the free-towns in the North, and the continual vigilance of its guards. In the Camp Commander’s decade in command of the camp, not a prisoner who escaped the camp managed to make through the hundred miles of jungle to the free-towns, which made the Commander quite proud. It made Camp 18 one of the few that was deemed safe enough to receive political prisoners rather than the normal riff-raff and other such undesirables that were sent to the other Guianese camps. The night before however, a man had been captured on the edge of the Camp, a man who hadn’t come from the Camp, and if someone could make it to the Camp from the outside, then someone could make it out as well.
And that, more than anything else disturbed the Commander.
As the Commander marched to the prison cell where the man was held, his steps betrayed his steel-calm outwards appearance, each one taken at a tempo just a moment faster than normal. Entering into the cell, the Commander took his seat at the small metal table that sat in its center. Slumped in his chair across from him sat the man, matted black hair, sunken eyes and skeletal features, all plagued by shadow in the flickering light of the lantern’s flame. Blood, still wet enough to glisten coated the left side of his face; his men had been too rough on the man for which the Commander would reprimand them later.
Seconds, then minutes passed with only the sounds of breathing and a shuffle from the door guard filling the void. Finally, the Commander spoke.
“What is your name?”
“Jacob. Jacob Green.” Green’s voice was quiet and raspy, but confident. To the Commander, it sounded like Green had been gargling glass.
“Mr. Green, we are a hundred miles from any place you have any reason to be. What in God’s name are you doing here?
“I was hunting the City of Demons.
It was all the Commander could do to avoid bursting out in laughter. The City of Demons was a myth, a story born from the ravings of an explorer who had ventured into the jungles of Guiana and returned to New York stark, raving mad.
“Mr. Green, you can’t honestly expect me to believe that.”
“Maybe you don’t believe me, but I know it’s real because I’ve seen it!” Voice rising in pitch and intensity, Green sputtered and coughed as his body was too damaged to maintain the fervor. Speaking more quietly, Green continued:
“I’ve walked it’s streets, I’ve seen its people, those faceless demons which have long plagued our empire!”
“Faceless demons? Mr. Green, that just a child’s story told to keep children from misbehaving.” Green’s eyes roved across the Commander’s face before he spoke.
“Commander, I suppose then you must not have been raised in America.”
“I was born in Petrograd, my family came to America when I was a boy. Why does that matter Mr. Green?”
“No man raised anywhere within the American Empire would believe the Faceless are a mere child’s story. They’re a spector that has long haunted our nation. Emperor Gilbert believed they were some secretive clan of normal men, the great Paranormalist Delaurence wrote how at some time in our past creation departed from God's plan and they were the souls of those who were supposed to have been born. But it was the assassin Francis Wilkie who, during his infamous trial, described what they are; the Faceless are demons in a compact with those who wish to tear down our Empire!”
As Green continued his tirade, he rose from his slumped position, half-rising from his chair. The door guard rushed forward in defense of the Commander until the Commander gave a halting gesture to the guard. Never breaking his gaze from Green, the Commander began to process the situation. It was madness, obviously. And yet, there was a nagging doubt in the back of the Commander’s mind. Green’s conviction could just be the product of insanity, the same as it had been for the explorer who first claimed to have seen the City of Demons, but in his time as Commander of Camp 18, night sentries had claimed to see demons on the rare occasion. Green might just be mad, but perhaps in his madness, he had seen something and believed it to be something else.
And, of course, the Commander had to find out how an unarmed man managed to cross around a hundred miles of Guianese jungle.
“Mr. Green, let us back up a little. How did you come to Guiana?”
Mortar shells screamed across the fields of Peking. Private Jacob Green marched forward with his column, bayonet affixed and rifle firing. Abruptly, Qing artillery roared to life, scattering the American column as round after round pounded the field. Green ran for a crater, jumping inside just as a nearby round scattered white-hot shrapnel in the position he had been a second before.
“Damned Celestials. They didn’t fight anything like this at Taku!” Green growled, mostly to himself, but as he turned to survey the crater, there was another man. A man who had nothing but smooth skin instead of a face.
Green’s alarmed shout was drowned out by the scream of a mortar shell dropping directly into the crater.
Private Jacob Green opened his eyes to the sounds of the injured. Attempting to lift his head, the world pulsed and blurred as pain wracked his head. Closing his eyes, Green listened to his environment. He was in a hospital. Footsteps approached, and a nurse began to tend to him, asking questions that Green couldn’t understand. The world was a haze of sounds, intertwining with his memories. A man without a face? It was impossible. But, he knew what he had seen.
The nurse’s voice finally cut through the haze;
“Private, can you hear me?”
“Yes.” Green’s throat was raw and dry, and his response came out as more of a croak.
“That’s good. I’m going to get Doctor Agnew, he wanted to know when you awoke.”
And with that, Green was alone again with his thoughts.
“How are you feeling today, Private? Any problem with faces today?” Doctor Agnew had proven quite patient with Green. He had seen a lot of men go through shell-shock and no doubt the Doctor assumed Green was just another shell-shocked man.
“Good doc. No problems today.” That was a lie. The man who had been put in the bed directly across from him the day before was a Faceless man.
“Glad to hear Private.” The Doctor began to take Green’s blood pressure, quietly muttering to himself as he did. After finishing with his tests, the Doctor turned to Green.
“Well Jacob, you’re well on the way to being the picture of full health. And, today we got a good bit of news for you; once you’ve recovered you won’t be going back out to the battlefield, you’ll be going home. We have won.”
It was as if an elephant had been lifted from Green’s shoulders. He had survived a direct blast from an artillery shell which had shredded the man he shared the crater with. Nothing scared him more than the prospect of returning to the fighting. And, as the Doctor had been saying, it was no doubt that fear that was leading him to see the Faceless men.
The Faceless men were everywhere in New York. Doctor Agnew had convinced Green that the Faceless was a trick of the mind, but seeing them here - and in so many numbers. It couldn’t just be a trick of his mind. They wore normal clothes. They walked like normal men. Other people saw them as normal men. But, somehow, Green saw them differently. As he walked towards his home, most of the Faceless seemed to just be watching the crowds, surveying the people with an eyeless sight.
His family greeted him when he arrived. His mother had grown grey, his brother Adam had become a labourer, working to provide for his family in both their father and Jacob’s absence. His youngest brother Victor had gone from a baby to a scared toddler who avoided Jacob. Readjusting to home life would take time, but Jacob could do it.
That was, until he looked out the window and saw it. Staring out from the apartment across the street and a floor higher was a Faceless man. Watching his family - him in the sanctity of their home. They would follow him everywhere.
Jacob Green, bookkeeper, saw some men as possessing no face for twelve years. It was a fact that not a single soul other than him knew as it would doubtlessly get him thrown into an asylum. He nearly had when he returned home from China, his obsession in finding out information on the Faceless men of legend during the first year of his return had led some to conclude he had gone mad in China. However, Green had overcome the initial disgust and shock of seeing the faceless, and his obsession with finding out more about them. For a decade, he had led a fairly successful life. He became a laborer for a trading company, and managed to work his way all the way up to bookkeeping some of the company’s most important records. The money he made provided for his now often ill mother and had ensured his brother Victor had the opportunity to receive a proper education.
One day, all of that ended. After purchasing the newspaper from a faceless shopkeep, Green read an article on the explorer who had recently returned from Guiana, Martin Segreto. Segreto claimed to have seen a city inhabited solely by Faceless men in the depths of Guiana’s jungle. Suddenly,something turned over in Green’s mind. He had always felt he survived the artillery attack for a reason, that God had spared him for a purpose. No doubt it was something to do with the Faceless men, but in every book and story Green had read on them the Faceless men appeared and disappeared at random. But now, Green knew where they came from.
God had spared him for a reason, and now Jacob Green knew exactly what it was: he had to destroy the City of Demons.
When the French first settled Guiana, they called it Enfer Vert, the Green Hell. Despite having walked less than a mile into the jungle, Jacob Green couldn’t agree more. The heat and humidity of Guiana had been harsh in Cayenne, but here in the jungle it felt as if the heat was clawing at him, draining his strength with every step. Bird calls and the rustle of leaves permeated the jungle, never going silent from Green’s presence as might have happened in a forest back home. He was alone, and even the wildlife wouldn’t acknowledge his existence.
Daytime in the jungle was dark, but when night fell, Green was plunged into an inky abyss. Had it not been for his compass and flashlight, Green would have been lost, stumbling around in the darkness, but thanks to those, he was able to keep heading south towards the City. Nature however seemed out to punish Green as with no warning, the dark night sky opened up and rain flooded down upon him. His flashlight cut out, leaving Green in the wet and dark. Taking shelter under a bush, Green decided to attempt to rest through the storm.
As light began to creep back into the sky and the rain began to slacken, Green began to hear a new sound. That of speech. Staying low, Green moved towards the voices.
“მე გეტყვით იოსებს, ეს გეგმა არ იმუშავებს!” the voice was frantic and low in pitch, but in a language Green did not understand.
“გიორგი, გიორგი, გიორგი. რამდენჯერ მე უნდა გითხრათ, არ არის თუ არა წარმატების მიღწევა. ეს არის გზავნილის გაგზავნა.” a second voice, higher in pitch responded. The tone was condescending and authoritative. When Green creeped close enough, he saw the origin of the voices; two Faceless men wearing ragged green-grey uniforms were hacking their way through the jungle. Trying to move get a better look, Green slid in the mud and let out a yelp as his head rammed into a tree.
“იოსებ, გესმის ეს?” the first voice said, a rising note ending it.
“დიახ. ვინმემ მოგვატყუა.” the second voice growled his response as the two began to move towards Green. Green tried to get back up and flee, but the world spun and the two Faceless men were able to catch up to him, both wielding rifles.
“Don’t move” the second voice spoke with a heavy accent Green couldn’t place. “You’re coming with us.” And so, Green was a prisoner of the Faceless men. The two men would take him south over the next few days, but on the third day, the two of them separated. The smaller of the Faceless men, who, as far as Green could tell, was called Iosebi, guarded him while the taller departed. Iosebi turned his back on Green, allowing him to strike the Faceless man with a rock. Crimson blood sprayed over Green, as the Faceless man crumpled. Striking him several more times to ensure he wouldn’t rise again, Green stole the Faceless man’s gun and slipped back into the jungle. His bearing did change however, he know proceeded in the same direction as the taller Faceless man had.
After only half an hour of travel, Green came upon what he had been searching for, the City of Demons. It was smaller than he expected, but wholly unhuman in construction. Great spires, black as pitch yet gleaming arose into the sky higher than any building Green had ever seen before. The streets were earth, and yet of a sort of bluish-yellow coloration. And the houses were small things, seemingly made of wood and yet the planks curved into the corners where they came together. The more Green observed the City, the more it seemed as if it was a dream manifest. Or, perhaps a nightmare for the city was also teeming with Faceless men and not a single human walked the streets.
Green would wait for nightfall on the outskirts before attempting to enter the city. As he entered the city, the whole environment around him continued to manifest in distorted manners. The city seemed to flow from form to form. Briefly, it almost seemed as if the city had become perfectly normal, no spires, plain earthen streets and ramshackle wooden huts. But, in the blink of an eye the city returned to as it had been. Peering into the house closest to him, the inside was dimly lit by lamplight revealing the presence of two sleeping Faceless men. Green began to reach up to the window, preparing to sneak inside when a voice called out from behind him.
“Ey, what do you think you’re doing?” Whirling around, for just a moment Green saw a normal man, confusion scrawled on his face and a lantern in hand. But, after that moment, a Faceless man stood before Green, lantern still in hand. Green ran from the man, back towards the jungle. The man was faster however, and he grabbed at Green. Green fired Iosebi’s gun at the man and he dropped. Despite this, Green wouldn’t stop running that night, fleeing deep into the jungle.
The Commander sat back, thinking on the story Green had just told him.
“Well Mr. Green, that is quite the story. Normally, I would dismiss this as nothing but the fevered ideas born of madness.” The Commander leaned onto the table, closing the gap between the two men before continuing.
“I have had a lot of men go mad in this camp. Guiana is cruel and my men are crueler. That tends to drive folk insane, and I have seen madness enough to know that you are mad Mr. Green.” Green opened his mouth to protest but the Commander cut him off.
“However! Just because you are mad does not mean you haven’t seen something that could potentially be very, very dangerous. Do you think you could find your way back to this ‘City of Demons’ Mr. Green?”
“Potentially commander, there were a few landmarks that I might be able to use to return to the city. And commander, I am not mad! I know what I say sounds mad, but it is the truth!”
“I don’t doubt that you are telling what you believe to be the truth Mr. Green. But, I do not believe in demons, or spirits or faceless monsters.” The Commander rose from his seat, and began pacing alongside the table. “Mr. Green, I believe that you are simply suffering from dementia praecox or some similar such disease of the mind. You are seeing normal people, seemingly at random, as these Faceless men. That affliction of the mind has driven you on a fool’s quest here to Guiana. And yet, despite your madness - or perhaps because of it, I think you may have seen something that is actually out there. A group of escapees, terrorists seeking to attack this Camp or some other force. And I intend to have you guide my men to the City so they can crush this group before it becomes a threat.”
“Commander, I don’t think you understand! They are not human, they are far more dangerous than you expect. I was an utter fool for thinking I could fight them -” Green’s retort was cut short as he collapsed onto the table, wracked by a coughing fit.
“I do not care about your protestations Mr. Green. In the interests of preserving the security of this Camp and thus the Empire, you will be departing as soon as you have recovered your health. In the meantime, you will be treated as a guest. I will make arrangements for you to receive food, a place to rest and any medical attention you may need. Good day Mr. Green”
And with that the Commander turned towards the cell door, intending on making his exit. However, the lantern suddenly snuffed out, plunging the cell into darkness. Immediately, the sounds of a struggle could be heard in the far end of the room.
“Guard, a light!” the Commander shouted as he fumbled for his matchbook. Finally grasping it, the Commander struck the match, intending to restart the lantern so as to see what the commotion was.
In the dim light of the match, a figure could be seen looming over a flailing Jacob Green. Shaded arms grasped around Green’s throat, firmly stuck as Green struck at them to no avail. The match’s light too extinguished rapidly, giving the Commander no more than a second’s glimpse of the situation for him to act on. Rushing forward, the Commander intended to push the figure off of him, only to stumble off of the chair in which he had been seated seconds before. With a solid bang, the Commander’s head struck the table and the darkness of the room was swallowed by the even inkier darkness of unconsciousness.
The Commander awoke to the light of a lantern and the Camp’s medic over him. Sitting up as much as the medic would allow, the Commander saw Green laying on the ground motionless.
“Dead?” the Commander asked.
“Yessir. He was dead when we found you sir, and I have to assume the door guard for this room is dead as well.” The medic replied, not missing a beat as he continued to bandage the Commander’s head.
“What do you mean by assume?”
“He is missing sir. Nobody saw him leave, but he can’t be found anywhere on the Camp grounds.” The Commander frowned.
“I would have said he was responsible if it weren’t for...” The Commander trailed off.
“If it weren’t for what sir?”
The Commander didn’t respond. He knew the guard wasn’t responsible as in the brief glimpse of the figure who killed Green, the figure was facing the Commander, allowing him to see the figure’s face. And what stared back at him was naught but perfectly smooth skin.
Eldritch horror time.
That was amazing. Terrifying and truly Lovecraftian. Will there be any future references to Faceless Men? It seems to be quite the piece of Imperial American culture. Or is it more of a passing conspiracy theory like fairies or the earth being hollow?
What if the "Faceless Men" aren't just an unnatural "tribe" of humanity? What if it's a force that could take possession of a person? Hence why Green saw a normal person for a moment before he saw a Faceless Man. The door guard was a normal man but was taken over by the Faceless and took out Green to silence him.
Is this faceless thing canon, or some in universe book or something?
Maybe it could be a movie down the line? I like the idea of TTL's America having fun legends like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed but also faceless horrors that come getcha if you're too curious about things beyond your station.
And the Faceless could be used in one of the many breakaway states as a metaphor for one of America's less-than-democratic governments somewhere along the line.
If it wouldn't be giving too much away, could we get a Wikibox for the Marquis de Lafayette? Which in TTL is First Prince Gilbert I.
Thank you, I'm glad the horror came through because I've never written anything like it before. Kinda worried on that to be honest.
So, the Faceless Men are canon to the timeline as a folk monster, and at least at first they come from the paranoia surrounding the New Legion and other republican groups, including the mythical Brotherhood of the Fasces. As mentioned in the story, the would-be assassin of Governor Thomas Mifflin, and the very much successful assassin of his wife, Sarah Mifflin, Francis Wilkie, claims the Republicans are allied with demons during his trial which not only causes a scandal for the Republican Party, but it also gets stories circulating through the country of demons and other creatures assisting Republicans or tormenting Americans. Couple in a somewhat delayed and changed Second Great Awakening, and the myth-mill really gets going. One such story, born of frontier fears and New Legionnaires romping around the Northwest is that of a family recently moved into the Northwest which is attacked by a creature. That creature, of course, being a Faceless Man, giving the creature their big debut.
Of course, more stories are written and the connection to Republicans becomes more common. A New Legion cell is raided, only to find the entire cell was Faceless Men. Travelers are attacked by Faceless Men, soldiers in forts tell how whole armies of Faceless Men can stream out of the woods to attack, only to disappear into a dark mist. And their appearance changes a little as well, they are described as wearing the Republican colors, or perhaps their entire bodies are colored so, say white head, black hands, red feet for the full tricolor, or something similar. In some ways, they could almost be akin to what @HonestAbe1809 mentioned, people with a force taking over them. That force being Republicanism (or more accurately, the fictional version of Republicanism that allied with demons, worships Satan, or any such nonsense).
However, to go with what @LostInNewDelhi said though, I like the idea of the Faceless Men being involved in fears involving the government as well. So, I've decided the Faceless Men are somewhat less than just paranoia about Republicans, but representative of paranoia Americans feel in general. Thus, as Americans become less scared of Republicans romping around in the woods, and more afraid of their government as it becomes increasingly authoritarian, stories about Faceless Men abducting people in their homes, off the streets, etc. become common instead.
TLDR, they will definitely come back as a folk myth. I'll talk about them more when I do culture and folk stories.
Political cartoons portraying secret police as the mythical Faceless Men would be a pretty good piece. I'mma gonna yank this for later.
Maybe. It might be giving a bit away, and while I tend to do that a lot, I'm going to have to double check some stuff and make sure it doesn't give away anything I'm keeping an actual secret.
Stories about how the people on the other side aren't really people but are secretly horrible monstrosities in disguise seem to be a no-brainer. As is the Evil Force behind the Faceless Men shifting from Republican rebels to the Government as the Republicans create their own breakaway countries and the Government becomes more and more oppressive. It's modern-day fears about the Men in Black but with an interesting religious element from said Second Great Awakening. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how you work with this in the future. Heck, OTL images of Slenderman could be used since there's no way the agents of the Imperial American Secret Police aren't going around in nice suits.
You're definitely right on the portrayal as monsters being a logical outcome, and I could actually see it being virtually pushed as truth in order to try and create as much distance between the US Americans and the peoples in the breakaway states who were Americans often less than a generation before.
Also, I think your comparisons to the Men in Black and Slenderman work really well, and at least the later versions of the Faceless Men would probably be portrayed as a mix of the two.
For example, an opener for a movie or TV show on them could have two men in suits knocking on someone's front door being show from the back, keeping the perspective as a bit of talking through the door goes on. The two men imply some kind of legal action and/or force will be taken if the person doesn't open the door. Cut to the perspective of the person behind the door who then opens it to reveal two faceless men.
Cool. I do wonder if their name should be different, though. I'm thinking about American folk vocabulary, and you got stuff like greenbacks, redbacks for the independent-Texas currency, tumbleweeds, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, lot of flippant-sounding compound words. And then you got all the names associated with characters in tall tales. The way the legend's been described, it seems like it will arise first in the Northwest territory, with Imperial settlers having run-ins with New Legion holdouts. In that case, might be interesting for the Faceless to start off with a set of regionally-based threatening-but-very-slightly-campy names first (Slatejaws? Marble-Pates? Ghosts-of-no-Man? Wisps-of-no-Soul?), and then the Faceless becomes their main name in urban society under the influence of works like What The Jungle Hides. It then predominates in academic studies of folklore for its pan-regional uniformity, but some maverick scholars insist pedantically on the "authentic" name of their choice.
"Years aplenty to the Emperor Jack, Citizen. Oh, you don't remember him? Must be before your time..."
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