Why hello there, internet people, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. Quite the contrary, I often remember that I should be updating my blog here and constantly adding new ill-formed, un-editted tripe for you all to enjoy to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, I often remember to do so right as I am about to fall asleep at night. But not this time! This time I actually have the content necessary to show a snippet of lore from my sci-fi novel series Fancy Lads, which I’m sure I’ve referenced more than a few times at this point.
Well, this time I’m going back to my old idea of the Great Biography Project because A: Writing lore and biographies is really fun and B: It’s surprisingly useful to have a few hundred years worth of fictional personal and global history in front of your face to better organize what gets said where. But enough gabbing (note: there is actually no such thing as “enough gabbing”), I present to you the very-much-condensed lore of the Battle of the Bricks and the birth of the vigilante organization named the Brickmakers.
(A side note, before we begin: I mean to devote a G.B.P. entry to the rise and fall of the Brickmakers and to the rest of the Twilight Years at large at a later date. For now, though, when you think of the Twilight Years, think of the American Gilded Age and the Roaring 20’s all rolled into one, but also worldwide. It was just a barrel of fun for everybody, as you’ll soon see.)
The Battle of the Bricks and the Birth of the Brickmakers
During, what else, the Twilight Years, there was a brick factory owned by the growing building material-supplying corporation Three Brothers Architecture. The factory sat in the small town of Neam on the rocky island nation of Unpertolist (or possibly anywhere else in the world, honestly) that was one of the first implacements of modern industry to reach the relatively rural southern coast of the nation. As construction started to pick up around the world, particularly outside of the original borders for Union City, money began to flow into Neam in once-unknown quantities. The town turned into an industrial center with the brickworks growing ever-larger and Neam even heartily adopted the name of “Claytown” that was bestowed upon it by other communities. Because this was the Twilight Years, the power those businesses wielded was immense and their power only grew further. Thus, a time, that constant, relatively easy (meaning, unlearned) work was quite enjoyable for that small community and Neam flourished. However, it was not meant to last.
If the Twilight Years were defined by the industrial and technological advances they produced, they were equally as defined by the violence that erupted between those industrial and technological giants. An ill-prepared and underfunded/undermanned unified global police force headed at the Brass Tower in Union City could do little to stem the tide of blood that erupted between the industrial powerhouses. What began as corporate espionage eventually spilled over into fighting in industrial and urban areas. As a result, the heads of the armed corporations imposed longer work hours, higher quotas, and fewer rights on their workers, usually in direct violation of labour laws. Neam was not unaffected by such choices.
Perhaps on the surface, the Three Brothers Architecture would not expect to be a powerhouse figure in the increasingly-bloody global conflict, but they quickly fell into an alliance with larger figures such as Ingred Ironworks and Thunderhead Powerhouse who want to perpetuate the violence for the greater gain of their own interests.
For a time, the populace of Neam simply tolerated the changes. The conflict was far away from their homes in rural Unpertilost and most thought, perhaps rightly so, that bricks and concrete would hardly be a new weapon to be used in the conflict. However, as it was more or less inevitable, the fighting spilled over into Unpertilost itself. While Neam never saw hostile intervention by other corporate alliances, the effect of the homes of many of Neam’s family and friends began to war on the moral of the people of the town.
An unexpected turn of occurred, however, when it came to light that the Unpertilosti people were under siege from the very same alliance that Three Brothers Architecture was itself a part of. Unpertilost had been labelled as both an untapped wellspring of wealth and a hotbed for uprisings and resistance. Three Brothers Architecture hoped to cork any rebellion from their own workers by again increasing hours and decreasing wages, making the workers essentially indentured, utterly dependent on the company to have a living wage. In a further show of power, armed guards were sent to the town to ensure that competing alliances did not interfere with operations and that rebellions would be put down.
Though the people of Neam were inflamed by this, a family of five called the Holders quickly adopted a leadership role in the town, calming the outraged workers from rising up themselves. They were to wait for the most opportune time to make their move, when they could make the largest impact possible.
It quickly became evident that the Holders and the people of Neam wouldn’t have to wait long to find their opportunity.
An enormous order for building materials came into Neam to help build enormous fortifications around the other industrial assets of Three Brothers’ fellow alliance members. With the fighting beginning to move more northerly in Unpertilost, the Holders saw the chance to strike a blow against their employers.
The order for 40,000 bricks was completed in record time, but the shipment never reached the Terrekan capital of Varengarde. Weeks after the shipment was due, the guards, who had been taken from Neam to protect more vulnerable assets elsewhere in Unpertilost were brought back to investigate the problem.
On the dawn of the 17th of September, the head of the Holder family, Roderick Holder is cited to have said to his invigorated workers-turned-revolutionaries, “They’ll get their shipment, yes they well. They’ll get all forty-thousand of their bricks. We’ll give ‘em to ‘em personally.”
The truth of Roderick’s statement quickly became undeniable to the guards sent to Neam as thousands of bricks were hurled by hundreds of trained and practiced arms from the catwalks, windows, and roofs of the brick factory. The factory had turned itself into a factory and vowed to be immovable and thus striking a blow to Three Brothers from the inside. This skirmish was immortalized with the name Battle of the Bricks and would be a shining example of the tenacity and strength of everyday people for decades to come.
The first wave of guards were quickly repulsed and were even chased into the countryside, tracked down the roads that the people of Neam knew better than anybody. Only one guard was allowed to escape, so that he could spread the message of the Holders and the strong, enraged people at their backs.
Although they expected no direct intervention, the people of Neam decided to use their only telegraph, which itself was almost totally outdated in the quickly-advancing age of the telephone, to contact the nearest city. The obsolete nature and isolated location of Neam made contact with anything beyond the closet city virtually impossible, but they urged the magistrate of the city to send messages to all other powerful political leaders on Arn that the time for the people to fight back against the terror caused by the corporate alliances was ripe, if only the political powers of the world would help the people stand up.
As determined as they were however, the Holders knew that they couldn’t stand against the full-strength response that would certainly be sent after them. Thus, the people of Neam made the decision to sabotage the factory and set the entire town alight and escape to Tyael, the Unpertilosti capitol. However, before they could enact their plan, a force greater than even the Holders could have predicted arrived and it was thought that another Battle of the Bricks was on Neam’s hands.
However, when the guards came forward with their guns holstered and their swords sheathed, the whole of the Neam community came forward to embrace them. Well and tired of the mindless corporate in-fighting that would eventually characterize and notarize the Twilight Years all across Arn, the guards brought forward a message, hand-written by the King of Unpertilost himself. He had received the Holder’s message and their cry for resistance and was more than happy to accept the people of Neam into the capitol. Even further, he was so moved by the townspeople’s skill of using whatever their wits and ingenuity to overcome a much more technologically advanced enemy that he promised to allocate resources and manpower to give the Holders a fighting chance to save Unpertilost from the raging fires of the Twilight Years.
The guards who assisted the people of Neam elected to stay behind and man the town, allowing the people to escape to Tyael safely. Roderick Holder’s prediction about the strong-armed response was apt, as none of the guards who sided with Neam survived the counterattack. The rebellion was still very much alive, however, and Tyael is where the people of Neam found that their fiery spirit was not only accepted, but fanned.
It was decided that before the audience with the King of Unpertilost took place, the people of Neam would need a fitting name for their organization of vigilante protectors. Eventually, “Brickmakers” was decided on, paying homage to their roots of the Neam brick factory and also to their status as just regular people.
Already virtually cultural heroes at that point, the people of Neam entered Tyael to praise and applause. They had struck the first blow of many against the seemingly endless tide of violence swallowed up all of Arn and now that they were amongst powerful and numerous friends, they wouldn’t be slowing down anytime soon.