A brief history of New Boston from 15-17 p.B.,
Octavian’s Principate Era, In Four Parts
by Cosmo Scriven
I’m certain you’ve heard of post-Burden Histograde Amnesia or “washing”. The phenomenon that impacted many of us who lived through the Burden, made it hard to remember certain things? Well in the event there are attendants of this exhibition who are afflicted by such a condition, I’ve been employed by Childs Gallery to provide a brief yet comprehensive history concerning the content of the work. This particular historian finds it hard to believe that any person, no matter the ailment, could forget the 900-day train wreck that was Octavian the Pale’s stewardship of New Boston, yet I digress.
Impressively, Childs Gallery has been able to track down enough of artist Mr. P.J. Endres Jr.’s work from this time period to give some insight to the rise and fall of Octavian and his cohorts. In the interest of transparency I feel it is my duty to acknowledge to the attendants of this exhibition that I personally have no love of the arts, and so my commentary will be focused solely on the historical aspects of the work. It is my hope however, that a conflation of Mr. Endres’ pictures and my first hand account will provide the modern (or forgetful) citizens of New Boston with a glimpse into one of its more bizarre episodes.
The King Is Dead! The King Is Dead!
The cries celebrating the death of the Tyrant King Ocampo lasted for weeks after the Battle of the Copley Endgame, where he fell in battle against united revolutionary parties. With liberators Jacob Coffin and Abigail Daedalus dead and vanished respectively, the disparate groups of survivors that remained in the deteriorating New Boston were rudderless. The impressionable remains of the United American League’s “Scalping” Seventh Regiment, who fought so hard to unshackle their home in the Cephalophoric War, were simply tired of the fight. Now, almost 15 years since the Collapse of history known as THE BURDEN, it seemed the scales would finally be in their favor. The universe had provided them a post-apocalyptic playground, free of Orwellian tyrants, know-it-all role models, or pesky moral codes. Forever descendants of the Seventh in their hearts, their rivals would provide them with a new mantle during the coming months, THE LOST BOYS.
In C#NQUER, a small handful of the three dozen or so lost boys set their sights on NEW BOSTON. Of particular note, present is Crispin Contra (Fig. 3) who was, at this time, unbeknownst to the much larger role he would play over the coming years. A trusted friend and confidante of Octavian, Contra was free to do as he pleased, likely seeking out whatever whim he fancied. Like the assassin Lord Monmouth (Fig. 2) many of the lost boys would develop a near obsessive appetite for the increasingly rare substance: sugar. Endres has given us a glimpse into their wild hunt for pastries.
The Miraculous Victory of Octavian the Pale
New Boston’s need for leadership was briefly answered by the Hamiltonians, the strongest of the many tribes who had formed after Ocampo’s defeat, thanks largely in part to Gurn the Colossus of Winthrop (Fig. 16). If the lost boys aimed to conquer Boston, it was only at the Hamiltonian’s permission, or death. Atop tank treads and flanked with their prized tigers Kaiser and Cuddles (Figs. 1, 11), Helena and Archibald Hamiltonian (Figs. 2, 3) hosted an open contest against the champion Colossus, a display of their power and influence. Doused with paint, as was the custom for challengers, only one faced Gurn that day, the prudish D.G. Armstrong, who was now going by a much different name... OCTAVIAN THE PALE (Fig. 18). Armstrong had led the “Scalping” Seventh Regiment for the United American League (U.A.L.) during the War and had become something of a folk icon for having at one point recovered Ocampo’s head from the Ishmaelian Society (before losing it to the Whigs.)
The logistics of the actual fight remain unclear, only that Octavian was triumphant. His disciples claimed it was a hard earned victory replete with brute strength and sharp wits, akin only to the biblical David and Goliath. Others have claimed Lord Monmouth (Fig. 26) was instructed to shoot the Colossus dead before the fight began.
It was in the endorphin rich aftermath of this miraculous achievement that Octavian would, with a simple promise, solidify both his rise and fall.
“Follow me and live forever.”
Both meant and taken as a literal promise, it sounds like something out of fairy tale, I know. Forever the appropriator, Octavian rehashed a speech he had given some ten years earlier,
“We are no longer Bostonians! We are no Americans! Forget your old denominations! Be absolved of their weight.
Let us be fused together on the smoldering heap of the past. Today we are baptized in paint as Children of the Burden!
Follow me and live forever!”
As a historian, it is my duty to remain as unbiased and as removed as possible from the content of my work, though as a Bostonian please indulge a brief interjection: Octavian sucks.
The Assassination of Crispin Contra
If it were up to me, and as a historian it is, Everett Whipple (Fig. 5) is as much to blame for the 900 days of antics by Octavian (fig. 4) and his lost boys. New Boston’s pressing real world needs were usurped by a need to play games and search for pastries, which was destructive behavior though not necessarily malicious. Like a bear at a picnic. Then things really turned sour.
Whipple had helped Octavian climb the celebrity ladder since the Cephalophoric War, where they had forged the Miracle of the Fisherman’s Flag to gain clout. The ‘eternal youth guarantee’ was simply the latest lie in a long history of cons pulled off by Octavian and Whipple. Whipple was cunning but not without a conscience. Historians agree that Whipple, racked with guilt for his part in the many lies, had been looking for a reason to oust his eternal-youth-radiating friend Octavian for some time.
And then it happened. Crispin Contra (Fig. 12) sprouted a single gray hair.
The group careened into hysterics. How long had they been lied to? Were they all still susceptible to aging or just some? There were whispers of mutiny. Octavian attempted to squelch the panic by calling a picnic to answer all questions concerning the gray hair, of which Endres has depicted the results.
The arrow used to assassinate Contra was whittled from Jacob Coffin’s humerus (supposedly), and possessed magical qualities. It was this death that divided the lost boys. Octavian had doubled down on his right to be their leader, while Whipple had found his martyr and rallying cry, “FOR CONTRA!”
The L#ST B#YS
Everett Whipple and the Gray Hair Revolt
On the morning of September 8th,16-p.B., Octavian the Pale (Fig. 10) and his remaining disciples met Everett Whipple (Fig. 11) and his mutineers on the ruined battlefield of the Broken Shell. They called themselves St. Crispin’s Mortals, a name adopted for their renewed awareness of their own mortality. Octavian and Whipple’s disintegrating friendship played out on the largest scale. Once united in merriment, Endres shows the lost boys’ collective last hurrah and mutual self-destruction. In the opening moments of the fray, Whipple is able to embarrass Octavian with a paintbrush to the face, baptized in copper. Rallied under the symbol of the single gray hair, St. Crispin’s Mortals are adorned with patina copper war paint; Octavian and his followers sport blood red.
The scene is the opening moments of farewell mayhem, characterized by a smattering of vignettes. Faithful servants of Octavian, Lord Monmouth (Fig. 26), Ulysses Scrimshaw (Fig. 22), and Irva Krella (Fig. 28), now all his enemies. The madman James Edgar Kurtz (Fig. 12), rejected by both sides for violent unpredictability, managed to escape his imprisonment and the clash. I don’t think Kurtz quite ‘gets’ the war paint idea. The mega powered Z (Fig. 14), intervenes with her terrifying abilities, come for payment on a broken truce. The lost boys have gone from playing war to realizing it.
And so ends the brief, yet not brief enough, 900-day rule of Octavian the Pale.
The mangled and disgraced Octavian survived the battle, though could not show his copper covered face in New Boston again. Those who survived the Gray Hair Revolt went to great lengths to forget their time with the lost boys. Some would go on to great destinies, some would be content simply with venturing away from Octavian’s influence. Strangely, in the Spring of 17-p.B., Everett Whipple, the leader of St. Crispin’s Mortals, went missing too…
And just as the lost boys immortality came to an end, so does our time together. I hope you have enjoyed learning (or remembering) the rise and fall of Octavian, and the folly of truth.