Dear Diary, you are not real.
I don’t need my gift to know that recording this would be an act of utter lunacy. The complications that ensuring that no one who mattered would read what I’ve written would tax my talents at a time when I have very little leeway. Thus, you do not exist.
As you are imaginary, I am free to communicate to you what I can never tell another soul.
I am Prevailer.
That would be news to Peggy Martin, you respond.
And, you are right, it would. She thinks of me, insofar as she thinks, as some kind of rude idol. A useful creature to call upon when times are tough, part oracle, part mcguffin, her little good luck charm.
And from her vantage point, that’s all I am. She is the one who gets the glory of empire. She is the one who experiences the thrill of battle, the ecstasy of her triumphs.
In other words, she’s the one who does all the work.
From my perspective, she barely exists. Very few people do.
I look upon the world as something like a movie. I can skip ahead, watch the parts that haven’t happened yet. I can’t rewind, but I think you’ll agree that that isn’t exactly necessary.
She calls me ‘Answerer’, because ‘God’ would stick in her throat.
The mistake that she makes, that I force everyone to make, is to think of my influences, when they think of them at all, as being confined to the answers that I give when they call upon me. But the truth is that every interaction is a lever, every time I change the environment I change the evidence that their senses present them. Just as digging a ditch can turn a river, so waking Peggy up early can cause Prevailer to sack a city.
That’s what I mean about them not being real. Do you, imaginary friend, think of a tape recorder that you fill as a person? No, of course not. Because it has no agency. It only repeats what you tell it.
Neither do my minions. Insofar as they can think, of course, they feel like they do, but how can they, when I know what actions will prompt their reactions? If talking about the past with someone will make them sad, and cause them to skip the Court this evening… are they really sad? Are they choosing anything at all?
My mother, before I was Processed, told me that I lived in my own little world. Well, nowadays everyone lives in my own big one.
And yet, something unforseen has just happened. It shouldn’t have been possible, but it did. There are new channels, new paths that the future can take. Not just the uncountable trivial differences, but genuine divergent forks for our little blue world.
This has happened before, usually it is Predictor’s fault, or Circe’s…but never on this scale.
This isn’t unmanageable. I’ll throw out the new 4th Fist, arrange another Defiance, etc. I can see the solution, the requirements are strict, but doable.
But, if I didn’t see why this happened, then can I trust my gift? Will things work out like they always have before, on script?
Or are there more surprises in store. Am I in danger? After a lifetime of moving the pieces for both sides at my will, am I somehow on the board?
If I’m God, who can I pray to?