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Chapter Two: The Jacobite Rebellion
So Lilith delivered Claudia's two children, one whom Claudia had named Jacob, and the other to whom Claudia had given no name, because she had been ignorant of his existence. Lilith, profoundly misanthropic and afraid of the outside world to such an extent that she preferred not to think of its existence, did three things: first, she murdered Claudia. Secondly, she deigned to give no name to the second child, and brought him up in a world of pronouns. Thirdly, she told the children who she raised as hers (and in the false belief that they were hers biologically - not that she gave them a thorough understanding of biology, preferring to omit the sperm part entirely from her lessons) that there was no such thing as the outside world; that the island was all there was.
Douglas Adams philosophised on the psyche of such indoctrinated people: that they would develop an extreme xenophobia. The nameless Boy, however, did not feel particular love for his Island mother, and thus did not grow up to share her hatred of the outside, but instead developed a curiosity for it, as a better life than she had given him. Jacob, on the other hand, closer to Lilith, believed her and distrusted people, although, having grown up away from them, he did not share her overt misanthropy.
Growing up, the nameless Boy, whose particular desire to differ from his mother led him into a state of mind that would in millennia to come become known as Gothic, (and such he became known later by the moniker The Man In Black), found himself attuned to the Island as its previous residents had been; such so that he was able to deign from foreign objects details of their source. For the Island was such a place of reflection of its residents that it would give electromagnetically carried impressions of the thoughts of the makers of an object to the mind of one, such as the Boy in Black, who both touched the object and carried a genetic, Island-brought-forth aptitude for such divination. This was how he became able, though he did not know how, as a child to understand the ancient game that washed up on the Island's shore.
Millennia later, the force known as Gan would serve up this idea to another of its 20th century facilitators in the form of Shadows, or Dust, which attracted to objects of intelligent creation. This facilitator's name was Philip Pullman.
Jacob was not devoid of any particular gift through his own lifelong proximity to the island, however, as he, over time spent on the Island, attained the gift of prescience: being able to anticipate events even if they were to happen long in the future. As we have seen, one day the Boy came across men on the island, men whom, as Lilith later told her two adopted (or forcibly taken) sons, were members of their biological mother’s tribe. The Boy in Black saw a truer heritage than Lilith’s, one he could feel a sense of belonging with, and, encouraged by a vision of his mother, he went to live with them.
The Island, as I have discussed, was a place upon which sentient life would be reflected against its source, and thus sometimes imprints of those who had died on it would be left behind as part of the island, when they had died fearing for the safety of their loved ones still on it. Claudia was one such person, whose type would later become known as “the Whispers”. And such it was that the Boy in Black separated from Jacob and Lilith. In the interim years, partly through everything that had happened around his brother's departure, Jacob became more cynical of Lilith’s motives, and came to develop a more optimistic view of human nature than the one she had espoused.
When the Man in Black, for such he was now, tried to leave the island, Lilith, in her despair at the defection of her favourite “son”, initiated a final purge of his people, which resulted in her murder by him and his murder/manslaughter by Jacob. However, Jacob chose to throw his brother into the light at the source of the island, that was a part of the source reaction of the island, and this action created something that would prove catastrophic.
It created, infused with the Whisperly essence of the Man in Black, an energy which reflected the negative self-judgements of the island-dwellers, and proceeded to destroy any inhabitant whose self-judgement found themselves overly wanting, i.e. undeserving of life. If their self-reproach outweighed their survival instinct when facing this thing, which came to be called the Monster, then it would kill them. Its negativity was created by a combination of the manner of the Man in Black’s demise and the proximity of his demise to the heart of the reaction which gave the Island its ability to reflect sentience.
Shortly after the death of his brother, Jacob became aware of two things: his own growing curiosity about the outside world, and that something which appeared to be his brother was walking around the jungle, destroying. Jacob did not become fully aware of this until another accident brought a shipload of Ancient Egyptians, some two millennia or so ago, to the Island, and the Man in Black, in his smoke form, proceeded to slaughter several of those among them. Jacob then intervened, and the monster showed itself as apparently his brother. With Jacob’s help, and growing empathy, the survivors of that attack made their way back home, where their experience of the Monster contributed to their and their society’s belief in Anubis, the judger of the dead.
Jacob wanted not just to protect the island now, but also to explore the world, much as the formerly xenophobic Krikkitmen of whom Douglas Adams wrote came to desire sporting ties with the Universe, despite their previous genocidal policy towards it. He came to a decision: the Man in Black, as he now was, must be killed. Since he could not do it himself as per Lilith’s spells, he resolved to find someone in the world across the sea who wanted both things: the island’s protection above his or her own greed, and to kill the man who now threatened so much.
Since the Man in Black’s sentience was now dependent on the electromagnetically charged smoke of which he was a part, he could not penetrate the electromagnetic forces that the old generations had weaved around the island and thus gain the outside world, for, if he tried, as he did, the dually positive charges would repel each other, and he would be forced inward, away from the barrier, even from the inlet made by the old ones for their own convenience at the angle of 300 to 330 degrees, for the electromagnetism bordering this gap was too close and too strong to be ineffective against a creature made of the same stuff in such a way.
Having come to this decision, Jacob approached the Man in Black and purported to make a bet with him: he, Jacob, would bring people to the island from across the sea, and the Man in Black would judge them, and, if he could find a way to corrupt these people, he could persuade them to destroy the electromagnetic forces he could not touch, and thus escape the island.
Jacob believed, however, that people were not so corruptible as to fall for this, and thus he told his brother that the latter was wrong, purporting to simply sit back content with island life and watch his newly smoked-up brother fail again and again to secure his own release. Jacob wanted the Man in Black to believe that he, Jacob, thought the Man in Black’s escape impossible, whereas, in reality, Jacob began, by bringing these people to the island, the long process of recruiting a like-minded candidate to destroy the Man in Black and keep the island safe. Thus Jacob did the following:
- Using the old people’s element-manipulation science, utilisable only to long-term island dwellers, he made it so that only those he invited (by passing on a faint trace of the electromagnetic effects he had received in large quantity from his long years on the Island) would be able, once they had had the accident the old spells dictated they must have in order to reach the Island, to bypass the magnetism and fall ashore (their accidents Jacob could, through prescience, foresee, but not be certain enough of to take preventative measures against). Those who had not been invited would simply drift in the ocean, like any other survivors of crashes at sea. Jacob's invites were those few who were like him, and thus might prove, independently, to want what he wanted: the Man in Black's destruction, and the Island's protection. "Like him" meant with the same sense of deep empathy even in the face of deep isolation (isolation being in Jacob's case largely physical, in their case largely metaphorical).
This worked for a while: for eighteen hundred years Jacob brought people to the island, and the Man in Black, as the smoke monster, would be allowed to attempt their corruption.
However, there was another snag to be overcome...
Coming Soon - Chapter Three: An Other Life, Brother