Early 21st Century Liberty Movement Story
(c) TaraElla 2016. All rights reserved.
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events described within or in relation to Pacificland are fictional.
Any resemblance to real events are coincidental.
effort has been made to describe accurately the international
historical events referenced in the book, the accuracy of such events
described cannot be guaranteed.
had just finished her breakfast. As she turned away from the table
and started walking back to her room, she took a glance at the
calendar. The thought that it was already the 16th of February 2003
suddenly hit her. It's been more than six weeks since her self
promised new era had arrived. She needed to do more to prepare for
this important year, the foundational year of the great new era.
was going to be a big year for Angelle. It was the beginning of her
'development' as an aspiring Cultural Royal, one of the group of
people elected to help shape Pacificland's future, and to many, one
of the highest honours that a Pacificland citizen can have. This
year, like most other aspiring cultural princes and princesses of
Pacificland turning 14, she would start at the Royal College of
Pacificland, which she gained admission to last year, to the
celebration of family and friends. Of course, going to Royal College
was itself a great thing, and most graduates are set for life in
terms of jobs and careers. But that was not Angelle's real goal, not
that she had told anyone else about her grander plan. Many great
lords and kings, (and maybe one day even a queen?), had their start
at the Royal College, and then got elected as a Cultural Royal,
something that Royal College students have a great advantage in, as
someone historical. Contributing to the history of Pacificland, and
hence potentially all humankind too. It's the dream of every
idealist. It was certainly the dream of Angelle's mother, Anne, when
she was young. She was not even a student at Royal College, and yet
she became one of the few who were popularly elected to the Heirs
Council, a council for up-and-coming Cultural Royals, running on a
friend's friend's ticket. Regrettably, she only ever made it that
far. It wasn't easy to get further without the proper connections,
the proper titles, the proper prestige. Her father was always much
more practical. He was brought up with the knowledge that his
heritage wasn't of sufficient prestige to carry him anywhere far, and
so focussed his efforts on the economic improvement of his house.
Regrettably, too, all that went up in smoke during the major stock
market crash of 1997.
is determined to follow her mother's dreams, and this time she is
determined to find success. 'The second generation makes it,' she has
often told herself. Surely she still has plenty of disadvantages to
overcome. A less than prestigious background and limited resources
due to the family's partial financial ruin for one. But it's the 21st
century, a time when technology levels the playing field in
everything, right? In her parents' time people had to cultivate vast
information networks to be able to have a grasp on developments from
every corner of the world. But thanks to a development called the
internet, even well-informed commoners can now know more about the
current world than some old lords. In a few years' time, when
everyone moves to broadband internet, and the promise of 'Web 2.0'
comes true, things will get even better. (Angelle didn't exactly know
what 'Web 2.0' meant, but she was sure it was going to be important.)
isn't only good for gathering information either. It could also
become a great tool used to overcome hard limits imposed by
conventional systems. Just a few days ago she read in the papers that
a band of musicians banished by their patron two years ago
nevertheless were still making quite a fortune using technology. They
recorded their music in a garage with the assistance of computers,
and distributed their music to their already well developed fan base
via the internet. Just a few more years ago, any band of musicians
banished by their patrons would find themselves limited to playing
for extremely small audiences, almost begging for a living. Many such
bands would have to become boring ceremony bands, playing the same
tired old stuff at every wedding they go to. With the right patrons
musicians get to be known and popular around the world, playing to
filled concert halls of thousands of people everywhere they go.
Without a patron, life gets very difficult. But even here, things are
technology and the levelling playing field, there is something else
in Angelle's favour too, she believes. Recent history has shown that
she has a talent for bringing people together to work as a team. This
mostly refers to the teams of 'leftovers' she has often been able to
assemble, and become leader of, for things such as school projects or
local karaoke competitions. From the outside, Angelle often just
looked like one of the smarter social outcasts or 'leftovers' who
therefore had to do this work. But Angelle knew that if she actively
begged she would have been allowed to join a team before being 'left
over'. It's just that following another leader was not how she was
designed to work. This year, she was going to start her new era by
assembling her team, doing what she does best. But this time it was
not going to be a 'leftover' team. She was going to actively reach
out to build this dream team. A team that will help her overcome all
sorts of disadvantages, and most importantly of all, the connection
and prestige disadvantage.
would need to get to work soon. The new era kicks off. Angelle isn't
entirely sure whether she is really ready, but she has waited her
entire life for this. "Bring it on," she thought. "I'm
the outside, the Royal College looked just like any ordinary, gray
building, like all the other ones found in this part of town. But as
Angelle stepped into its doors into the foyer, the place suddenly
seemed much older, much more classical. For unlike the building
itself, which had only about 50 years of history, the interiors were
hundreds of years old. The bricks, the columns, and even the
furniture, they were all disassembled from the previous Royal College
building in Western Europe and shipped here to be reassembled. Beyond
the foyer was the inner courtyard. It too looked classically
European, for it was a replica of the front garden of the old Royal
felt awkward walking in a long robe, especially since it was in red,
blue and gold, her family's house colours. Not to mention the warm
weather today made things even worse. Her right arm is also getting
tired from carrying the family sigil, a large flag of red, blue and
gold again, hoisted on a golden flagstaff. It won't be like this
every day though, because students are only required to wear their
royal robes and carry their family sigils on Welcome Day and other
special occasions. In front of her, Angelle could see a sea of
colours, stretching as far as the eyes can see. The colours of every
robe, representing the family colours of each house, was at least
slight different, just like no two sigils were the same. Well, except
for those who are siblings or cousins, of course.
the stream of people in front of her, Angelle stepped into the grand
doors of the lobby. The lobby was a moderately small chamber, with
two staircases on the left and right leading upstairs, and another
set of big, grand doors at the end, leading to the inner courtyard,
which appeared to be deserted at the moment. Instead, everyone
appeared to be streaming up the staircases. In front of the
staircases, there was a sign pointing houses A-M to the left
staircase, and houses N-Z to the right one, so Angelle knew clearly
where she had to go.
on the upper floor, Angelle could see a long corridor with the sign
'Discussion Rooms', with many rooms on both sides. But this was not
where the people were going today. Instead, they passed into a place
called the 'Allies Living Quarters', which featured a comfortable
lounge with sofas and a small kitchen, and two lifts leading to
'Floors 3-25'. But this wasn't their destination either. Angelle
could now see that they were actually heading for the Great Hall, its
grand entrance could now be seen at the end of the lounge of the
inside, Angelle could see that the Great Hall really does live up to
its name. In fact, it looked like an even larger version of the
Pacificland National Opera House, itself a replica of the Opera House
in Paris. There was a sea of red chairs, with signs carrying the
letters of the alphabet standing in front of every few rows. Angelle
knew she had to find the letter J. Once there, she noticed that each
chair had a person's name and a house name on it. After searching for
some time, she found the one labelled 'Angelle, Easterner', and sat
down. At the back of each seat she noticed a familiar slot. Thanks to
her having watched Heirs Council meetings on television before, she
knew this was the place to put the house sigil.
what felt like forever, a tall, old man walked onto the stage. He was
dressed in a robe that had five colours, red, yellow, green, blue and
purple. Angelle immediately recognised these as the school colours of
students," he said.
to the Royal College, for the new students. For the old ones, it's
welcome back for another year. For those who still don't know me, I
am Holland Northhome, Principle of this College. I know it may be
boring for the old students, but for the benefit of the new students,
I'm going to have to give the annual introductory talk again.
College is a very old tradition indeed. For the last 422 years, it
has provided a great education to future royals around the world,
from the oldest campus back in Northern Europe, where the college was
founded, to our second campus in Western Europe, and finally, in the
last half a century, in this rather new campus.
royals are the future of our society. As such, we have a duty to
provide you with the best education, so that you can learn from our
history, and have the capacity to think critically in facing the
future, a future of uncertainties, a future where new challenges
arise with every generation. For hundreds of years, our students have
gone on to become important thinkers, leaders, and even in some
cases, revolutionaries, the best example of which was during the
movement to introduce a popular vote of the King, or a similar
position, often called the President or Prime Minister, in many
in Europe, the College used to provide education only for the allied
kingdoms of Europe and North America. Today, the great tradition of
alliances amongst these houses is still represented here, most
notably in the Allies Living Quarters. However, after the humanity
crisis of the Second World War, we could no longer continue this
boundary of exclusion. Therefore, since the College moved here to
Pacificland, we have also welcomed the guest houses, those from
places as varied as the Asia and the vast continent of Africa. These
houses are represented in the Guest Living Quarters, on the other
side of this building.
it's time for another great tradition of the College. I will call
upon each student, in alphabetical order according to the name of
their House, to come up on stage and be officially enrolled as a
student at the Royal College. Each student will also be given their
timetables. Every enrolment will be photographed by our professional
photographer, and the photos will be given to you next week. Now let
us begin. Miss Abigail of House Acadia!
felt a bit nervous, but was also a bit excited. After all, this was
considered a rite of passage for all aspiring royals.
what felt like an eternity, she finally heard her name being called.
"Miss Angelle of Easterner!"
walked on stage, lifting her head up high, trying her best to smile
and look confident. "If you can't even handle this, how can you
achieve your dreams in life," she told herself.
on stage, the process was quite simple, surprisingly. All she had to
do was to sign her name on a piece of paper, and receive her
timetables from Principle Holland. It was all over within three
Princess Spirit Society
is already 3am in the morning, but Angelle still cannot sleep.
Tomorrow is Societies Day at the Royal College, and it is an
opportunity to start building her future that she just cannot give up
or mess up. On Socieities Day, the two hundred or so clubs, or
Societies, as they are officially known as, are invited to set up
stalls in the Inner Courtyard and Outer Courtyard of the college to
recruit new members, and will be provided material to do so free of
charge. New Societies can also be registered on that day, and start
collecting members immediately. In fact, half of the Inner Courtyard
is reserved for new Societies each year. It really is a great
opportunity to make friends, and look like a leader. Trouble is,
Angelle still doesn't know what Society to start. The list of
Societies she received yesterday looks like it has every conceivable
Society there already. What more could she add?
decided to get up and write a song. She found that sometimes that can
to My Heart
they tell you is just so confusing
you don't know what to do
in this world there are so many crossroads
path should I go down
I wonder why some cling onto
that only make
own lives harder than how it should be
them go and we'll have freedom
just listen to my heart
by doing what feels right
really makes my life better
be the way to go
are many stupid rules
they don't do any good
should we be bothered with them
we should know better
resolves all things
at what cost
me, will it be too late
just listen to my heart
by doing what feels right
really makes my life better
be the way to go"
she reached below her pillow, Angelle noticed that a book was there.
She remembered that it was 'The Princess Spirit', the book she was
reading just before she went to bed, the book she would read before
any important 'battle' in her life. When she was young, her mom gave
her this book. Inside there were 20 lessons for young princesses,
which she took to heart. When she becomes a Cultural Princess, she
will lead by example, fulfilling the ideals in the book, she had
promised herself since then. "Yes, this would be her great idea.
Tomorrow, she would go to Royal College to start the Princess Spirit
Society," she thought. She could now sleep, knowing what to do
she walked into Royal College today, Angelle could see that people
were already setting up stalls in the Outer Courtyard. As she stepped
inside the College building, she could see a long line that had
formed in front of the registration and supplies stall. She joined
the line, and fifteen minutes later, she was allocated a stall in the
Inner Courtyard, and a set of materials including a few cardboard
pieces, crayons in ten different colours, and some blu-tack.
she got to her stall, the first thing Angelle did was to use
different coloured crayons to write The Princess Spirit Society on
the banner located at the top of the stall. A multicoloured title
would surely gain more attention, she thought, not to mention that it
looked pretty nice. Next, she wrote down the 20 lessons from the book
onto the largest piece of cardboard, using every crayon exactly
twice, cycling the colours. She then stuck this piece of cardboard on
the stall, so everyone walking by could see it. Now that the stall
was set up, she just had to wait.
two hours, she had her first visitor.
I'm Jenelle," the tall blonde said as she walked towards the
stall. Angelle was excited to finally have a visitor.
I'm Angelle, and we are setting up a new society today, the Princess
Spirit Society," Angelle said.
going to have to stop you right there. Who's we? Where are the other
people," Jenelle said.
they are busy... so I'm left to look after this stall, because I'm
the president," Angelle said.
or non-existent? I actually guess non-existent, because I don't think
anybody else wants to be a part of the rainbow crayon princess
society," Jenelle said.
not about rainbow crayons, you know, it's about a great idea. The
Princess Spirit," Angelle said.
The Princess Spirit. It sounds like I'm too old for that. And most
people here would be too," Jenelle said, and started walking
you want to find out more?" Angelle screamed out.
almost cried. But she knew she had to carry on. It would look bad
otherwise. "Those destined for greatness never give up on their
dreams. Those who give up were simply never destined for greatness in
the first place. Never give up despite the odds," she said to
herself. So she pretended to smile, and after a while, was back to
the end of the day, the names of three other first years, 'Princess
Natalie of House Eastpark', 'Princess Jenny of House Gold', and
'Prince Daniel of House Benring', were on the signup sheet. (They
literally wrote their names this way.) This was still a start,
Angelle thought. Not that Angelle knew a lot about these people yet.
They came in a group, all three of them, and they just read the
cardboard and put their names on the sheet, and walked away. The next
step was to connect with these people, and see if we can all be
day when classes ended for the midday break, the Princess Spirit
club, i.e. Angelle, Natalie, Jenny and Daniel would walk together
along the corridors and down the staircase, and through the doors
outside to the inner courtyard, where they would sit in the warm
sunshine and have their lunch. Today, however, the courtyard looked
different. There were many people in there, mostly older students
from the upper years, and they were holding up banners and chanting
loudly. Angelle and her friends walked towards one of those people,
and asked him what was going on.
are opposed to the War in Western Asia," he said. "You
don't like wars, do you? You should sign our petition!"
war are you talking about?" Angelle asked.
government here in Pacificland will join an international war against
a country in the western part of Asia. The war is aggression. We
simply wish to tell the King we, the people, don't want the war.
Signatures of young future royals like you will help us greatly,"
why does the King want us to go to war, if the people don't want it?"
reasons are complex, it's all about who looks powerful, but it's just
bad for humanity," he explained.
the King is joining an international war to look powerful? The King
of Pacificland needs to do this? Angelle was surprised. Angelle
didn't like the idea of war anyway. Princesses shouldn't support
wars, she believed. She thought of the Princess Spirit Book again.
One rule was to help the less fortunate, and another was to never
wilfully harm others. War seems like something she can't support.
what's the reason for the war again, according to those who want it?"
think they say it's about spreading liberty," Jenny said.
course that's what they say. They always say that. But it's about
making themselves look good. You know, to some people, a King who
leads what looks like a just war, even if it's actually unjust, looks
like a hero. It's good for their re-election," the young man
bombing people to give them freedom? That doesn't make sense?"
course it doesn't make sense to you and me. But many people don't
think that way. They see a King spreading justice around the world,"
the young man said.
why this country many miles away?" Angelle asked.
that's the point. People who are so 'foreign' that they are 'them'
and not 'us'. Isn't it?" Natalie said.
friend is very right. So are you going to sign our petition?"
the young man asked Angelle again.
looked at the others, not really knowing what to do.
parents never sign anything like this, so I think we shouldn't,"
sometimes OK to sign petitions, but you don't want to be associated
with certain organisations. It will ruin your future," Natalie
really felt bad about just walking away now, but she shared similar
concerns as her friends.
you represent an organisation?" she asked the man.
are the Social Justice Group," he replied.
everyone else is part of that too?" she asked.
really. There are many organisations out here today," he
anyone not represent any organisation here?" she asked.
think there are some. Most people here represent organisations. But
it's OK, if you sign, it doesn't mean you join the organisation,"
thought for a while.
sorry, but I think I'll sign a petition not associated with an
organisation. They all go to the King anyway, right?" she said.
guess you can say that. Nice to meet you then," he said, and
and friends searched through the crowd and talked to lots of people,
from lots of different organisations.
they found someone who fit their criteria.
are not an organisation. We are Freedom Fighters. We fight for
freedom," the young man explained. He gave them each a booklet.
"Read this. It explains what freedom is, and why you should
support freedom too."
really don't represent an organisation?" Natalie asked, still a
we don't. Indeed, our petition has the college letterhead on it, and
it has no organisation name anywhere. It would break school rules to
add the name of another organisation on documents with the college
letterhead," he explained, and let them look at the petition
was satisfied. She decided to sign, and the others did too.
just did a good thing, I think," Angelle said.
too, actually," Daniel said.
she got home, Angelle had a lot to think about. Kings and governments
were supposed to look after people, right? Do kings actually join
wars just to make themselves look good, at great cost to humanity? Or
is there some other story? Can wars actually spread liberty? But
isn't that idea ridiculous?
deeper, if the King wants to wage a war, where does his authority to
do so come from? It's because the people trust him. Where does the
money come from? The people again, in the form of taxes, of which her
parents paid a lot every year. "I wouldn't want to help pay for
a war I don't want and the rest of us don't want either. A real
princess doesn’t do that," Angelle thought. But thinking
deeper again, there's no choice, really. Taxes have to be paid. But
don't we pay taxes for running the country, not for wars miles away?
This made Angelle question the virtue, or lack thereof, of the King
and the government again. More importantly, she was also now
questioning if we really lived in a free country, here in
Pacificland. So much for 'spreading liberty' if you don't even have
enough at home.
What is freedom? And why is it so important, why is this keeping her
up at night, and why is this the justification of war? Can wars
spread freedom again? She decided to read the Freedom Fighter's
booklet. Maybe it will give her some insight.
Princess Spirit's First Test
few days ago, Angelle had spent a whole night reading The Freedom
Fighter's Manifesto, the booklet she received a week earlier from a
self-proclaimed Freedom Fighter. These few days she couldn't take her
mind off what she had read. The booklet talked about many things that
had not occurred to her before. The booklet talked about how freedom
was good for individuals, families and communities, and was
ultimately better than what any good king can provide for his
subjects. This is in contradiction to Angelle's upbringing, where she
was taught that nations thrive with good kings and fall when they
have bad kings. The book also contained interesting quotes from
'freedom thinkers'. "So-called good kings often still do plenty
of things detrimental to the welfare of people and families
everywhere, like wage wars on innocent people, so they can stay in
power," was one quote that got Angelle thinking really hard.
"Freedom is the ultimate protection against bad kings, because
even with elections, bad kings can lie to get into power, and use
tricky means to stay there forever," was another one.
chapter of the book was particularly challenging for Angelle,
however. It was the chapter on how kings around the world, including
so-called good kings, actively oppressed gay and lesbian people and
their families. "The so-called duty of good kings to uphold the
so-called laws of nature is often really an excuse to impose a
certain designed order on humankind, in a fashion often against what
nature really is like," the book stated. The statement looked so
logical to Angelle, but its implications regarding same-sex couples
did not look so easy. "Same-sex couples should be allowed the
freedom to marry as they wish, and it will be not only consistent
with freedom but be good for everyone, couples who will have much to
contribute to a society where they are loved and respected," was
how it was spelt out in the book. What Angelle had learnt, up until
now, was that a duty of a good king was to uphold the laws of nature,
and people partnering with others of the same-sex was not what nature
intended, so good kings had to discourage it. Her family had taught
her this, and her previous friends also thought likewise. To support
same-sex marriages would also be to go against majority opinion,
considering that a poll done last year found that less than 30% of
Pacificland's citizens supported the government granting equality to
same-sex couples. At least in Pacificland, in 2003, people like
Angelle's family and friends are in the majority, clearly, and a good
king should know to respect that, she was taught in the first week
here at Royal College.
decided to raise the issue with Natalie.
wrong with gay and lesbian people?" Natalie replied, looking a
thought she had gone too far, and decided to retreat a little. "It's
just that the majority don't think gay marriages should be accepted.
Good kings need to listen to the majority, right?" she offered.
really think that's true? That the majority should always rule?"
what they taught us in week one," Angelle replied, a bit unsure
majority once thought that slavery was right too, you know. That's
why we had slaves until less than 200 years ago. People were born or
sold into slavery for life, and they lived a life of misery because
the majority agreed with it. The majority can be unjust,"
you support gay marriage?" Angelle asked.
course. These people have difficult enough lives already, and anyone
with half a heart wouldn't want to deny them even basic rights. I
would be very sad if I couldn't marry the person I loved. How should
they be any different?" Natalie replied.
thought for a while, and there was silence.
have lunch with me today," Natalie said. "I'll introduce
you to my sister."
was privately offended that Angelle didn't seem very comfortable with
gay and lesbian people and same-sex marriages. For her, the struggle
is personal. Her older sister, Ashley, is lesbian, and her family had
been through a huge struggle with judgemental people everywhere for
the past few years. Still, she understood that those who don't yet
understand are the majority out there, and only conversation will
improve things. "Angelle's not a bad person," she told
herself. "Like everyone else, she's been brainwashed, and she
just needs to learn the truth."
other thing Natalie was worried about was if Angelle's attitude
towards gay people may cause difficulties for their friendship group.
Daniel is sure to come out as gay in the future, she was certain.
a few weeks ago, the lunch hall was a grand sight. Hundreds of round,
wooden tables and wooden chairs, in a long hall decorated with dozens
of pictures showing the history of the College, really made an
impression. But now that Angelle has gotten used to it, it just
looked, 'normal'. When she arrived at the lunch hall today, she
headed towards the usual corner where her friends would sit, not even
thinking twice about how the place looked. But today, there was
another reason to be excited. Angelle was excited to meet a more
senior student for lunch. Maybe she could learn more about Royal
College, and how to survive it, she thought. As she approached, at
one of the round, wooden tables, Natalie was already there, and
seated beside her was a slightly older version of her. They do look
very alike, Angelle thought.
Angelle," they both said, as she walked towards the table.
this is Ashley. Ashley, this is Angelle," said Natalie.
Natalie and Ashley," Angelle said.
your first month here at Royal College?" Ashley asked.
you liking it here?" Ashley asked.
think I am starting to like it more, especially with friends like
Natalie," Angelle replied.
and Natalie, do you hang out together all the time?" Ashley
almost," Angelle replied.
do almost everything together, we even signed an anti-war petition
together," Natalie said.
week?" Ashley asked.
And it was Angelle's idea. She was also the one who started the
Princess Spirit club, you know," Natalie said.
you're into the Princess Spirit too?" Ashley asked Angelle.
mean, as in the little purple book?" Angelle clarified.
course. Where else?" Ashley replied.
was pleasantly surprised. She thought nobody else took the Princess
Spirit thing seriously.
the rest of the hour, Angelle and Ashley chatted about the Princess
Spirit. Angelle was happy to finally find somebody who can share it
know why the Princess Spirit book was written?" Natalie suddenly
teach young ladies to treat the world around them better?"
that's one reason. But the author was actually hoping that the next
generation of princesses and princes would really take the messages
in the book to heart, and overcome the prejudices and hate that have
been passed down the generations, prejudices and hate that have
plagued even the greatest kings and queens alive," Ashley said,
looking a bit sad.
it was nice talking to you, but I have to go now," Ashley said.
was surely nice talking to you. I hope we'll meet again,"
Ashley left, Natalie and Angelle started talking again. But a few
minutes later, Natalie's face turned serious.
there's something I actually need to tell you," Natalie said.
actually left because she was sad, and she didn't want you to see
it," Natalie said.
actually in love with a girl, and has been upset that not everyone
likes it. Her girlfriend has been talking about getting married
Canada, where the Prime Minister there has said he will soon allow
same-sex marriages. But the families of some of her childhood friends
won't allow them to attend," Natalie said.
fell silent. Ashley looked normal. She had always thought that one
must be at least somewhat weird to be gay.
she looked so normal."
gay and lesbian people are normal. Everything else is a myth,"
began to cry. She didn't know why. She was confused.
Angelle got home that evening, she locked herself in her own room,
thinking about the day's events.
took out her now torn copy of the 'purple book' and began reading it
all over again. When she was young, she would read it the way her
mother had taught her to. Not that it was the wrong way, but she only
applied it narrowly, to her own life and to 'everyday' circumstances.
Now she could see that the Princess Spirit was more than that. It was
not only a challenge to be a better person, but also a challenge to
think different from the generations that have come before, and be
better than them. To take care of the less fortunate sometimes means
to challenge the majority and the established norms. And if everyone
failed to do that, we would be failing in our duty to care, to fight
for, and to love everyone. Society had failed people like Ashley, and
the established norms and taboos, have kept even good people from
seeing the truth. There isn't even enough freedom for people to
really follow the way of the Princess Spirit, when it comes to things
like standing up against the king and his 'advisers' on stupid wars
that hurt people, and when it comes to helping people like Ashley to
just have what everyone else takes for granted. No wonder the Freedom
Fighters say there is not nearly enough freedom of conscience in our
is now a changed person. It will take a few more weeks to fully
clarify her new ideas, but there is no going back. She is a new
Princess, and she has a new fight.
inner courtyard is a sea of colour today, as Angelle and her friends
entered There's excitement all around, as nominations for Heirs
Council open today. Five people have announced that they will be
running for Heirs Council so far, and four of them are students at
this school. Heirs Council is one of two ways, and the easier way, to
become a Cultural Royal. In this case, one has to be both a member of
the council and have enough support from the other members to be
elected a Cultural Royal. But this is still much easier than running
for direct election as an adult citizen. Most people running for
Heirs Council would also be expected to be students at Royal College,
as the student body here holds half the votes, as per tradition. Red
and yellow, deep blue, three shades of green and orange and purple
are the respective colours the four candidates have chosen, and flags
and banners of these colours fill up the courtyard today.
is feeling dizzy because she didn't slept well these past few days,
and the loud noises from Heirs Council candidates and their
supporters in the inner courtyard today doesn't help either. But for
Angelle, she has one big decision to make, and it is all anxiety and
no excitement for her. Of course, nobody expects a first year like
Angelle to nominate, and to do so without proper reason risks being
seen as attention seeking. But as long as one can give a convincingly
proper reason, it's also the perfect way to get a profile to prepare
for future races, and those who end up with the biggest prizes tend
to have big profiles starting early. In other words, it's a huge risk
to take, and one that may bring great rewards. She had even talked
this over with her mother, who encouraged her to go with her heart.
To go with her heart...
made my decision. I'm going to nominate this year," Angelle
suddenly said aloud.
friends looked shocked.
you alright," Jenny asked, a bit concerned.
I am. I mean, I'm actually scared, but I think it's the right thing
to do," Angelle said.
that's what you want, we're excited for you. But let's talk over it
inside," Natalie said.
conversation continued after they all sat down in the cafeteria.
you're really going to do this," Daniel asked, trying to look
Listen. I know it's a big risk to take, for myself. But I can't just
think about myself. Since that day I met your sister, and we had that
conversation about the Princess Spirit, I've decided that I must take
a stand for it. You know, I started to realise that the Princess
Spirit is much bigger than what I thought it was all along, and it's
something people should really think about. I need to share this with
the world, sooner rather than later," Angelle said.
you're standing up for people like my sister now? Good on you!"
change, you know. I was misinformed, my apologies," Angelle
you're going to run on just one book, one idea?" Jenny asked.
"Will people take it seriously?"
course the Princess Spirit is just a starting point, and I will have
a detailed platform, like everyone else. We have a few months to get
it together," Angelle said.
like your enthusiasm, Angelle, but Jenny probably has a point. You
know, the Princess Spirit is seen by many as a kid's book, just like
Cinderella and all those other fairytales of Princes and Princesses.
Many people will not take it as seriously as platforms based in
economic theories, religious values or even populism," Natalie
paused to think for a while.
right. The Princess Spirit is just where we want to get to in the
end. However, unlike in fairytales, it will not happen magically. I
will offer practical solutions to help us get there. For example, I'm
also inspired by that freedom stuff, you know, and they have a big
platform. I think a lot of it will fit well with the Princess Spirit.
I mean, no wars, no discrimination or hate, letting people be
themselves, it all fits. It's all about breaking through the things
that trap us, as a society, things that prevent us from realising the
Princess Spirit," Angelle said.
great. If that's what you're going to do, know that we're behind
you," Natalie said.
In fact, you are all welcome to join my team," Angelle said.
team?" Daniel asked.
Heirs Council team, of course. You run with me, and you may get a
seat on the council. Once on the council, you will vote for me as
Cultural Royalty in return. Have you heard about that?" Angelle
that sounds exciting. I'm in," Daniel said.
in too. I'd like to be your adviser, if you don't mind," Natalie
I need some advice, and what you've provided me with so far has been
great," Angelle said.
thing though. You will need ten votes to be Cultural Royalty. You've
only got three here," Natalie said.
once there, we can collect votes, persuade people, right? Especially
with a smart adviser like you?" Angelle said.
point," Natalie said.
about you, Jenny," Daniel asked.
think about it," Jenny said. "I'm just a cautious person.
But I'll be supporting you anyway."
say that before you do something potentially life-changing, you
should do a good luck ritual. That's what Angelle believes anyway,
and one of her good luck rituals is to listen to this song she has
loved for many years. Whenever she listens to it, it seems that
everything will be just fine.
it's just the rain
sometimes it's just the sun
time we all need
to cheer us up
may be just the night sky
with little stars
for us it can hold
meaning than a book
all need those little things
remind us of what's worth living for
all need those little things
to show us beauty
in those beautiful things
can see why life is worth living
just a little book
to me it's the key
a time when this world
like a paradise
with it I can try to
the magic again
for us love can last an eternity
when I am under a
cloud and the storm
won't be afraid if
have those dreams with me
we'll keep on going
the great moments come back
for me the world always
a world of hope
all need those moments
to show us what life is all about
then we can carry on in those darker periods
cherish those little beautiful things
hold onto those great moments
live the most out of what comes our way"
and her friends got into a taxi together after classes. Normally they
would go home, but today they were all going to the same place,
want to bring these people home with you today?" Angelle's
driver for today asked.
really. But can you please take us to the Registrations Office, on
Kings Road?" asked Angelle.
know, my job is to take students home, not do this. But... if you're
nominating, then that's... fine with me. So you're nominating? For
real?" the driver asked.
sir," Angelle said.
would be the youngest person to nominate in more than a decade, you
know, and I'm up for the challenge," Angelle said.
on you. You already have my support. Now let's go," the driver
and Yellow: A Force to be Reckoned With
and her friends had been campaigning in the inner courtyard every day
for a week now, trying to gather supporters. Purple and yellow, a
combination of the colour of the cover of the Princess Spirit book
and the traditional colour representing freedom fighters, has now
joined the many other colour combinations being represented amongst
the banners and flags colouring the courtyard. However, the purple
and yellow team was still amongst the smallest, and was now being
surpassed even by teams that have come on board later. Today, it
seems that even the red and brown team, which had only been here for
three days, has definitely got bigger than purple and yellow, with
its seven members.
like my team is bigger than yours," Jenelle said, as she
approached the a dozen or so people rallying around the purple and
you blind?" Jenelle said, pointing to the two dozen or so people
now standing behind her. Jenelle had gained a 'cool girl' reputation
in the past few weeks and the most superficial people are now
following her around apparently. "We aren't even running for
election and we are twice your size."
what? Why don't you run for election then?" Angelle said.
don't run for elections because it's only for people who want to
waste their time, sitting through boring council meetings. But if we
did, we would do a much better job of it than you people, clearly,"
you aren't running then you're irrelevant and can be ignored.
Goodnight," Natalie said.
to be smart, right? If you were so smart you wouldn't be this loser's
sidekick. But clearly you're just not smart enough, so you're over
there instead of over here," Jenelle said.
crew doesn't stand for anything except being selfish and stupid, why
would she want to be over there?" Angelle said.
you just call us stupid? Let's go and tell the student media,"
ignore them," Natalie said to Angelle.
Team Angelle is struggling is actually unsurprising, given that all
the other teams are headed by more senior students, who have taken
their time to build connections. It would be unrealistic to expect
purple and yellow to be the biggest team here, Angelle thought, but
if she wanted to make a real impact, she would have to at least raise
her profile a bit more.
if only I could get on television. I could be like that guy in
California who just got elected," Angelle said.
that would be nice, wouldn't it," Natalie said.
only rich people with lots of connections can get on there, right,"
that's true. But that's the beauty of technology. The world is
changing, and soon people are not going to need to get on TV to be
that popular guy," Mandel, one of the newest members of Team
how?" Angelle asked.
know, the internet. The blog thing is getting big these few years.
You know, where you have a website you can post to regularly, and
people will come back to read it again and again if they love it.
It's kind of like having your own TV show. Only that it's text based,
of course," Mandel said.
have one actually. I'll show you after classes today if you want,"
and her friends gathered excitedly around a computer in the library.
They could only have it for half an hour, since they did not have a
prior booking, and even had to queue for half an hour just to get
this computer. But it was more than enough time for what Daniel had
to show them today. Especially since the internet connection in the
college library is supposedly fifty times faster than what most
people have at home. It's called 'broadband internet', apparently.
blog looked exciting. It had a background of blue, green and pink,
his favourite colours, and even a photo of him that was
professionally taken. It had entries posted every week or so, and it
told the story of his life.
colours are gay," Mandel said.
have decided that homophobia is not OK here," Natalie said.
not saying he's gay. I'm just saying that the colours don't look
good," Mandel said.
you're using the word gay to mean bad. We don't do this here, you
know," Natalie said.
let's not argue over this. I'm fine," Daniel said.
Angelle was too absorbed, studying the blog, to notice the argument.
my advisor, would you think something like this would be helpful for
me?" Angelle asked Natalie.
wouldn't hurt to try. What not do it?" Natalie said.
show you how to start one. And make it look way better than this one
here," Mandel said.
so they started the blog, Angelle and the Princess Spirit. Of course
it had a purple and yellow background, and a photo of Angelle wearing
those colours, taken in the inner courtyard a week ago, to
commemorate the start of their campaign. Angelle decided that the
first entry should explain her deep connection with the idea of the
Princess Spirit, and how she proposed to make it happen, via 'liberty
and love', her new signature phrase.
has been very excited these few days. After monthly efforts of
recruiting people to Team Angelle every campaign day in the inner
courtyard, Team Angelle was still quite small. In the first month
after nominations, when every day was campaign day in the inner
courtyard, she had only limited success. Early days, she thought.
However, it only became even harder after that month was over, and
campaign days were held only once a month. Without the ongoing
momentum, people became much less interested. Angelle's blog had also
helped a bit too, though not as much as she had hoped, at least up
until now. After more than one year of posting on her blog and
promoting it in every way she can, she had only gathered a few
thousand readers, and of those, only a dozen or so offered to
volunteer for Team Angelle. So with the elections only two months
away, Team Angelle had only around fifty volunteers, and a few
thousand pledged supporters. Compare that with the front running
teams, with thousands of volunteers and millions of pledged
supporters. Angelle wasn't going to compete with them, not this time
around, but she knew she needed more to make at least an impact.
now, everything was about to change. One of the editors of a quite
well known website had read Angelle's blog, and liked it very much.
He has decided to run a story on his website about Angelle, and her
blog. Angelle gave him a 'virtual interview' a few days ago, which
was nothing more than filling in a questionnaire sent via e-mail, and
attaching a few professionally shot photos with the reply. The story
went up today, and to Angelle's pleasant surprise, it had brought in
more readers than she ever did on her own.
reached 12,537 readers today," she texted Natalie on her phone.
was the reply she got.
was still too early to tell what kind of impact this late boost would
have, on the level of support she would get going into the election.
But still, this was VERY encouraging for Angelle and her team.
few days have now passed since Angelle's blog became, well, widely
known. In the internet vocabulary, one could say that it had gone
'viral', i.e. that it is spreading like a virus. More websites,
including even more popular ones, had also featured the blog, and by
extension Angelle herself, in these few days, and as a result, she
has now had more than 300,000 readers. She was now a 'force to be
reckoned with', according to some journalists.
she also received an invitation to debate, from a fairly large,
though not front-running team. It was quite the honour, she thought,
as it generally meant you are now in the big league. The invitation
was sent from a group called 'The Rules Guardians', for a debate to
be run at the Royal College after classes next Monday. Angelle
summoned her team for an 'emergency meeting' to discuss this.
definitely should accept this, right?" Angelle asked.
be mad not too. Imagine all the media attention. Debates in the last
few months always get media attention," Natalie said.
would have to agree," Mandel said.
for once, I can agree with him," Daniel said.
we're doing it. Does anyone know anything about The Rules Guardians?"
don't think they are that famous. I know that the invitation states
that they have over a million supporters, but for some surprising
reason, they are not famous. I for one haven't heard of them before,"
shall we still do it?" Angelle asked.
course. Just go for it anyway. It isn't as if it's a trap or that
they are lying, if there's a debate it means that they have the
numbers to book it, so the invitation isn't lying. It doesn't matter
who they are, either. It only matters that you show the world who you
are," Natalie said.
Angelle was about to prepare for her debate, she realised that there
was still one important thing she needed to do. Her family had not
been aware of her platform yet, as they had given her some autonomy
to figure out the best way to do things, as they put it. Some aspects
of the platform may be, to put it mildly, unexpected by her family,
and when the debate goes public, it may cause some shock.
decided to show her mother a copy of the platform. She nervously
waited as her mother read it carefully, from cover to cover.
you know that I don't agree with everything that's in there, but I
know you've got to be flexible in the way you bring people together,
so I'm going to respect whichever way you go," her mother said.
can you brief our family on what I'm about to do, in case it's not
what they expected?" she asked.
I will. We all understand that this is an important start for your
career, and you need to bring as many people on board as possible
that was one more problem solved. One day, Angelle will need to tell
her family about how recent events have changed her beliefs, from the
bottom of her heart. But for right now, this will do.
Grand Hall of Royal College was divided into three parts today,
Angelle could see as she and her team walked in. The back part of the
hall was designated the 'neutral zone', whilst the front part,
including the stage, was evenly divided into two, purple and yellow
on the left, white and dark blue on the right. Angelle had read about
this kind of arrangement in books in the past, but seeing it herself
was a whole new experience. Being at the centre of such a debate was
another new experience, and on a wholly different level too.
Secretly, she felt a bit nervous.
and her team had been waiting nervously, on their seats in the purple
and yellow side of the stage, for about an hour now. The neutral zone
was now more than half filled with students waiting to watch the
debate, and the purple and yellow side of the audience section had a
few familiar faces, mostly friends of people involved in Team
Angelle. But it appeared that not only were The Rules Guardians late,
but the white and dark blue side of the audience section was also
empty. Something looked suspicious, Angelle thought. Or maybe it was
only her nerves.
a tall blonde figure dressed in white and dark blue entered from the
side of the stage. It was Jenelle.
she's The Rules Guardians?" one surprised member of Team Angelle
asked quietly. Angelle felt her heart sink.
walked towards the microphone.
everybody, I am Jenelle Lacey, and I'm here to deliver a message on
behalf of The Rules Guardians. The Rules Guardians have decided to
pull out of this debate at the last minute, I'm sorry to say,"
was an awkward silence in the room.
Rules Guardians are normally open to debating with other teams, teams
that may share a different viewpoint on various matters. However, as
their name says, they are committed to certain values, namely the
traditional values that help protect our families, societies and
nations. And a last minute reading of the Princess Spirit Team's
platform was found by senior team members to be incompatible with
such values. Consistent with their rules of shunning people and
organizations who are enemies of their cherished values, the
president of The Rules Guardians has decided to pull out of the
debate at the last minute, as he cannot in good conscience honour an
organization whose values are clearly opposed to the good order of
human society. That is all," she said, and walked off the stage.
was heated discussion amongst the audience now. Angelle could vaguely
hear that people were confused about what was actually happening, and
the words 'lesbian' and 'gay marriage' were being uttered every now
school that day, Angelle and her team confronted Jenelle, as she was
you behind the whole The Rules Guardians thing? You need to be
honest," Natalie said.
I'm not a member of any election team, as I've said before. Elections
are not for cool people like us anyway. I was just helping them
deliver a message," Jenelle said.
why did you do that?" Angelle asked.
know, The Rules Guardians is about to become the coolest team here,
and cool people are attracted to each other," Jenelle said.
nobody even knows who The Rules Guardians is," Mandel said.
not after everyone and their parents gets one of these in their
mail," Jenelle said, handing them each a pamphlet. "Goodbye
read the pamphlet.
Rules Guardians is committed to the traditional values that help
protect our families, societies and nations, the very values which
are under threat from people who think they know better than
centuries of history...
now, around the world, our values are under attack. In the past four
years, gay marriage has gone from being globally rejected to being
legalised in two European countries, one US state and several
Canadian provinces, and there will be more to come if we don't act
soon enough. In fact, our very own King, here in Pacificland, is
leaving his options open, refusing to defend the time-honoured
definition of marriage being between a man and a woman...
suddenly had a realisation. The pamphlet looked and read very much
like one her parents recently received from Senator Jashor, who is
running for election to be King of Pacificland against the incumbent
King March. One of Jashor's favourite lines of attack against King
March was that he had not instructed government departments not to
recognise recent same-sex marriage certificates from Canada, instead
allowing each department to act on their own conscience. Jashor often
pledged to introduce laws to prohibit this from happening, based on
similar laws already enacted and enforced by the American and
Australian federal governments. Could The Rules Guardians be an
extension of Jashor and his team? If so, they had big money behind
them, and Team Angelle would be in big trouble.