Blood and Jazz
PEOPLE OF DVIRHIM!
Your beloved Emperor, Fyodor Medivich I—he who by the might and mercy of Moradin is Lord of Frost and Steel, Count of Mountain and Hill, Grand Duke to the Duergar, Warden of the Great Tundra, King of the Deep, and Sovereign of Gazadhim—has declared that all who associate themselves with the revolution will be executed for treason. He has called for all law-abiding citizens to reaffirm the oaths of their Dvirhimmish birthright, and to uphold the order of the ruling family and aristocracy of your great nation. And he has promised gold for information leading to the capture or death of major rebel leaders.
In other words, he is so out of touch with all of your suffering that he genuinely believes that GOLD—and barely enough gold to get you through three winters, at that—will tempt you to destroy your families, friends, and neighbors! Gold, the very thing that oppresses you, will be your reward! Gold, the currency of a system that gives less pay for more work with every technological or magical advancement that ought to IMPROVE your lives, as the aristocracy work day and night to cheapen your hard labor! Is this the order you’d uphold? Is this the man you’d bow to, die for, call your Emperor?
Every winter has been worse than the last one for as long as you can remember. Every winter, you’ve witnessed children in your communities die of starvation. Every winter, you’ve witnessed desperate friends become criminals to survive, only to be beaten by your Emperor’s enforcers and put to the pillory or the gallows. Every winter, you wonder if this winter you could be forced to become a criminal yourself. And every winter, whole villages are destroyed by ravenous red and white dragons who easily overwhelm your starving village guards—guards so hungry that it’s a miracle they can stand upright and wield a weapon at all.
This will not stop. This won’t ever, ever stop, not as long as your oppressors control the means of production and the Mediviches stay secure in their mountain fortress. The recent technological and magical revolution of industry isn’t here to help you, it is here to kill you. Your oppressors see your free will, your need to rest, and your need to be paid and fed as a disease—already, your jobs are being lost to constructs and undead, wherever the type of work permits it, and once they can take over ALL work your usefulness will be at an end. You can risk death in the revolution today, or face certain death tomorrow. House Medivich’s words are ‘The Mountain cannot bow’, but I’ll tell you now, the only true Mountain is the great brotherhood of Dvirhim’s peasantry, and House Medivich will see that brotherhood bow if it can—bow right down to a block for a beheading.
But there is another force that won’t ever, ever stop, brothers, and that is the eternal song of freedom. The song that I sing will teach you how to govern yourselves as equals. It will teach you how to strike off your chains. It will teach you to be vigilant against tyranny for the foreseeable future. It will enliven your soul and enrich your life. The song’s called jazz, brothers, and it’s all yours for the taking.
In return for this song, I do not ask for vows of fealty. I do not ask for wealth or property. I do not ask for the lives of children. I do not ask for the lives of young men and women, though I will certainly accept any help they offer. I do not ask you to follow any prescribed course of action that I dictate, save for one.
All I ask…
…all I need…
…is for you to listen.