The chant spread through the crowd like a virus. My name, repeating, again and again like a drumbeat, thudding into the ground, the trees, the atmosphere.
I was loved. I was wanted. This was power, in its rawest form and it was everything I had been craving since my first meeting with Moaka. Everything he had promised me and more.
Moaka Knight. Mysterious Moaka. He sought me out at one of my small gatherings, telling tales of the Son in Splendour, regaling the gathered with the story of the ascension.
That had been my first feeling of elation, when they all stood after I had finished and gave me such a stirring round of applause I could hear it for days. I would close my eyes when I sat alone in the days following, just letting that experience flow over me, into me, filling me with rapture.
Moaka had come to find me after my speech. He told me he’d been very impressed, in his accent. Every single of his words was a tiny packet of applause. ‘You could do well, friend. I ask that you listen to me. Meet me for a drink. 7th and Lexington, there is a bar.’ He smiled, teeth gleaming in the winter sun. ‘I think you will find it to your liking.’
I hadn’t thought twice. Moaka had disappeared shortly after our conversation, but I went to the bar to meet him. Allardyce.
I walked inside, into the smokey atmosphere. Moaka was waiting at a booth. He waved me over with a slender hand, leaving trails in the haze.
‘Friend, you came.’ His words trailed, deep bass tones lazily picking their way through the air to their recipient. ‘I did think that you may not choose to, but here you are. And here I am.’ He smiled at me, a smile that spread right across his face.
Three hours passed after that. Three hours, fifteen drinks and we’d edged closer to each other. He was close enough to touch, to whisper in my ear. He told me how I could be great, his words weaving a web of futures that I could live. Adored. Loved. Or even worshipped.
Six months. That was all it took. Moaka working behind the scenes, me as the voicebox, the mouthpiece, the song of rebellion. The Son in Splendour, calling Moaka and me to his right and left hands, joining us in wonder.
Which brought me to the crowd. This rapture, all of them calling me, naming me.
‘Algernon. Algernon. Algernon.’
This was exultation.
This was home.
The Idiot in Tin Foil