From Chapter: Lester Rothschild
Once, when he was asked which timeframe he would have liked to be born in, he'd answered the industrial revolution. He envisioned a dirty, baroque harbor in London’s southern wharf, or in Rotterdam, the largest seaport of the northern empire. He wished for the age of civilization that had been darker than the chiaroscuros portraying it. He wanted to see the drops of silent valor edging the jawlines of hardened men working in the factories, the steel mills, and refineries. Black gold advancing to its stature as the most prized commodity. Back when the world’s culture was earthly, physical, and raw with manpower and flashes of superhuman strength.
He was then called by Osman Rey; a new myth for modern man, a man who had to face the disasters of a virtual, moral, and ideological mind. Lester was seventeen then, and ready to go to college in northern California. He’d not really understood his words. Most of what Osman said was elusive and non-descriptive, yet they always had an odd, certain meaning in due time. After all these years, he still remembered them.
Walking out of the lavish hotel and into the night, his movements revealed a calculated debonair. He recalled how his parents had died when he was young in a small plane crash off the coast of Gibraltar. They had been persecuted by an arms dealer for exposing his human trafficking portfolio to the authorities. Lester chuckled. People could think that was the story, right? At least, he liked to think so. Real life was never so distinguished anyway.
He'd come to reason in an orphanage one day. At the beginning he’d thought it was the normal thing, to be around thirty children in one big house. Then he read the stories; the great novels from long-dead writers and other contemporary wolves; learned from brilliant entrepreneurs and rockstar engineers by virtue of the Internet. His mind expanded by observing the people around him. And that’s when he knew, and it couldn't have hit him harder than if he was the one to have died in that plane crash; we are alone. He was alone. It’s only what we do for ourselves that truly defines our own nature.
He'd said those exact words when he was twelve, in front of an adoption tribunal where abandoned kids were being evaluated by prospective parents. Out of all the wide-eyed, speechless adults, Osman Rey had smiled at him from the corner, his eyes hidden behind circular sunglasses—which Lester would later learn—were blind.
“Do you know what is the curious thing about courage, my boy?” Osman had said to a young Lester on their way to a new life in an affluent Calladria suburb. He had shaken his head. “Even though we have been born without wings, it is true that we have flown.”
He would teach him of Apollo.
He would introduce him to the story of Prometheus.
—Alexander Helas •