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“And besides, we don't need to be prospectors. Think about it, man. God! - why are we Waltzers always so blind to the possibilities before us?”
   — Fraser Burdon on the Gold Rush



Fraser Burdon was a natural stepper and one of the founding members of the Knights of Discorporea.[1][2]

Appearance

Fraser was described as tall and skinny.[1]

The Long Utopia

The Chartists demonstration

William Edward Kilburn - View of the Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common - Google Art Project

View of the Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common by William Edward Kilburn

In April 1848, Fraser was on a mission for his country. Recruited for his ability to Waltz by Oswald Hackett, they had to infiltrate the Chartists demonstration on Kennington Common and use their ability to take care of ringleaders and troublemakers.[1]

The Chartists demonstration happened on April 10. So the day of the demonstration, Fraser infiltrated the march and set off to work. The plan consisted of approaching a troublemaker, that the constables would point out, stepwise, come back to London, grab the target, bring him widdershins and go back to the crowd.

The crowd had among ten thousand agitators and as he was standing next to a double-up Scotsman spilling his guts, he noticed another man standing next to another agitator puking and waved his hand at him.

Fraser said his was a Scotsman, to what the other man replied that his was French. After a brief chat, Fraser went back to work and Waltzed.

That night, Oswald told Fraser they had an appointment with royalty.

An appointment with royalty

Oswald gathered his men at Charing Cross where they boarded a landau for Windsor.[2]

They were eight men in total, all Waltzers. Oswald discouraged introductions and chitchat arguing that the least they knew about each others, the safer they'll be.

Fraser introduced himself to the fellow he had seen in the widdershins forest earlier, his name wasLuis Valienté. Both talked briefly as they boarded the carriage and Fraser told him how he met Oswald in Cambridge. They got into their coachs with Oswald and didn't have another occasion to talk.

At Windsor, they were lead through multiple corridors by servants then to a staiway that lead underground. All the servants, who were surrounding them, were all big, powerful men with plenty of room for weapons under their loose jackets.

Oswald told them they were privileged to be where the royal family held their most private meetings. Luis, feeling uncomfortable, said he was half-tempted to Waltz out of the place but Fraser told him you couldn't Waltz underground unless if there was a cave or a cellar widdershins of deiseal.

The Knights of Discoporea

“Call us your Knights, sir. The Knights of Discorporea!”
   — Oswald Hackett


Finally they arrived in a bigger room where there was already a group of men. One of them was named only 'Mr Radcliffe' but Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, and Albert, the Royal Consort were among them.

Oswald explained how their ability worked to the Prince and about his family history. Having caught Albert's interest, he declared that he should call them his Knights of Discorporea and that they were at his service.

Albert replied that he discussed it with the Queen and accepted Oswald's offer. After a short speech, welcomed by a round of applause, Albert called for refreshments and snacks. He then put his arm around Oswald's shoulders and started to talk about their next mission.

Fraser told Luis that the Queen didn't seem to approve of them and pointed to an open doorway where she was looking at them from.

New Orleans and the Undergroung Rail Road

August 1852, Oswald, Luis and Fraser found themselves in the heat of New Orleans, where the largest slave market in America was.[3]

They strolled through the streets towards their lodgings with their luggage. Oswald led them to a bawdy house full of young women where they met with the madam of the house.

The madam took them to her office where, behind a secret panel, was an entirely enclosed room. The three Englishmen entered the room while she closed the door behind them.

Once the door was shut, they Waltzed widdershins. West of their position, stood a battered army field tent where clothes had been left to dry on the spine.

The trio approached the tent and where welcomed by Simon, a runaway slave that Oswald has met before, and Abel, his grandfather.

Oswald reassured the two runaways that the plan was still in place. They had to board the River Goddess to Memphis and change again and again until they reached their destination.

Fraser was quite surprised at Simon's accent, which sounded quite educated, and asked him about it. Simon proceeded to tell them about his childhood and how he came to become a runaway slave.

After hearing Simon's story, Oswald took Fraser and Luis outside to discuss about tactics but drifted on how Simon was, in Fraser's opinion, raised above his station. Oswald didn't approve of this phrasing but they got interrupted by Simon as Oswald was lecturing Fraser.

When Oswald left Fraser and Luis behind, Fraser told him about his idea to make a profit out of the Gold Rush : study a man's claim and then Waltz widdershins to find the same gold seam untouched. Luis told him he would think about it and the pair went back to the tent where Oswald was reading one of Prince Albert's speech about slavery to Abel.

Rich

After their adventure with Simon and Abel, Fraser and Luis became rich after piggybacking the efforts of another chap's five years of prospecting in California.[4] Fraser invested his money in armaments, a growing industry after the war in Crimea, while Luis invested in steam engines.

An European war

In spring 1871, Oswald contacted Luis and Fraser for a mission in Berlin, Germany.[4]

He tasked them to take separate trips and visit several locations like government buildings and royal residences. A few weeks later, the three of them were summoned to Windsor once again.

The three Waltzers met once again at Charing Cross, just like in April 1848.[5] This time only Mr Radcliffe and a few servants, all men again, were there to meet them in a drawing room deep in the bowels of the castle.

Radcliffe told them about their mission in Berlin and asked them to go with him to the archive downstairs. Oswald started but Fraser grabbed his arm, refusing Radcliffe's invitation.

Radcliffe mocked Fraser, saying a famous gold-miner like him surely wouldn't be scared of finding himself shut in but failed to get the response he wanted from him. Radcliffe then gave up and listened to their reports in the drawing room.

When they finished reporting to him, Radcliffe asked if they guessed why they ordered such a mission. Oswald said that they wanted to strike at Bismarck himself and Radcliffe barely flinched at that. He argued that it was in order to prevent an European war.

Oswald replied that it was quite a step up, even compared to when they sent the Knights in Sebastopol during the siege. Burdon, smiling, told Radcliffe he couldn't be serious since such an act would destabilize Europe even faster. Radcliffe said it was the will of the Queen but Fraser dared him to bring her and have her say it in person.

Radcliffe then insisted again that they should go to the archive so he could explain the operation better with maps and reports. The Waltzers still didn't move and Radcliffe told them that the Prime Minister was waiting for them downstairs. Fraser laugh at this and said he didn't believe that Lord John Russell was waiting for the likes of them downstairs. Oswald admitted it was unlikely and started to ask for clarifications but got cut off by Fraser who declared this meeting over.

At this, Radcliffe gave an order to his 'servants' and they all grabbed the Waltzers and knocked them out.

Trapped in the vault

When they woke up, they were in the vault, all tied up in armchairs with heavy iron chains at the wrists and ankles. Each with a solder at his back.

Oswald was furious but still inquired about his companions. Fraser, oddly, seemed to be at ease. Oswald asked Radcliffe what he was up to.

Radcliffe replied that during the years since their first meetings, they have been experimenting and practising on how to take down Waltzers. He pursued by saying that they were tolerated because of Prince Albert but since now he was dead, the Queen, who found them repulsive, wanted them gone.

He always found the Waltzers suspiscious and accused them of using their ability to get rich, like Fraser with his fake gold mine in California and Luis and his Great Elusivo act. Since they were among the first to present themselves, they would have the privilege to be the first to be taken down.

Fraser asked on whom did they practice. Radcliffe answered that they had scientists from the Royal Society test whomever they could find by stressing them. Less than one in a thousand showed signs of the ability but most of them didn't know about it and came right back in the arms of the soldiers.

The ones they manage to catch were brought to the basement under the Royal Society where they practised vivisection on them. This confession filled Oswald with anger.

Radcliffe admitted that the government wanted to get rid of all the Waltzers and planned to conduct a similar programme in the colonies once Britain was cleansed of them.

After his speech, he was interrupted by Fraser who expressed doubts about the success of his plans. Then Burdon turned to Luis and Oswald and told them to step widdershins. Oswald reminded him that it was impossible since they were in a cellar. Fraser counted to three and they all Waltzed.

Oswald found himself, without his shackles and his chair, in another hole in the ground lit by candles with Luis. Fraser nowhere to be found. As they realized they were in a mine and how long it must have taken to plan that, Fraser reappeared with a blade where blood was dripping.

He told them that he went back and killed Radcliffe. Then, they all realized that their families were in danger so they decided to Waltz back from a safe place where run away with their families and live in hiding from the government's assassins.

The Fund

“And then among'em will arise the new sort, us - Homo sapiens transversus.”
   — Oswald Hackett


In October 1895, Oswald send an invitation to Luis and Fraser so they could have lunch together at the Drunken Clam.[6]

Oswald, over the years, had fattened up and lost all his hair. Now he could only stand with the help of a cane. On the table, in front of him, Darwin's Origin of Species and H.G. Wells's The Time Machine.

When Luis arrived, they started by introducing themselves under their new names. Oswald was now known as Richard Foyle, Fraser as Woodrow Boyd and Luis as John Smith. Oswald laughed at the lack of originality of Luis's name.

Oswald asked his two companions if they told their children about their past. Luis replied that he did but his son Robert wanted to keep the family name. Fraser said he'd condemn him but one of his sons made the same choice.

The oysters arrived and they started to eat. After Fraser tried an oyster and didn't find it to his liking, he tapped the Origin of Species and asked about it. Oswald told them that it was this book that prompted him to gather them together.

Luis pointed out that Darwin's book has been published thirty years ago so why meet up now? Oswald then told him the answer was in Wells's novel. He gave them a brief summary about how, in the novel, mankind changed over the millenias to end up completely different from the modern stock. Then went back to talk about the Origin of Species where it was described that pigeons were bred for certain traits.

Luis didn't get it at first but Fraser was faster to understand, Oswald wanted to cross-breed their children. Luis was shocked when he understood by Oswald reassured him by saying what he had in mind was more like arranged marriages and that rich families and royalty were already doing that kind of thing.

Oswald proposed to create a Fund that would be handled by banks and would keep a list of all their families. When two young people were of marriageable age, they would receive a letter from the Fund saying they would receive money if they were to consider a liaison and additional money if they were to produce a child but still could walk off if they wanted to.

Luis asked how much money Oswald had in mind and recoiled when Oswald declared he wanted to make it a thousand pounds. Oswald replied that, while the three of them had enough money to establish a healthy fund, he found other families of Waltzers. He produced a piece of paper hidden in The Time Machine where were written the names Blakeney, Burdon, Hackett, Orgill, Tallis, Tallyman and Valienté.

In the end, Oswald managed to convince his companions and the Fund was created. Within decades of its creation, there was already an increase of natural steppers in the population.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Long Utopia - Chapter 17
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Long Utopia - Chapter 18
  3. The Long Utopia - Chapter 20
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Long Utopia - Chapter 23
  5. The Long Utopia - Chapter 24
  6. The Long Utopia - Chapter 34

Site Navigation

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Knights of Discorporea
Knights of Discorporea: Fraser Burdon  •  Oswald Hackett  •  Luis Valienté
[v · e · ?]
Natural Steppers
Natural Steppers: Percy Blakeney  •  Fraser Burdon  •  George  •  Oswald Hackett  •  Henry  •  Sally Linsay  •  Kitty Montecute  •  Jared Orgill  •  Patrick  •  Rich  •  Franklin Tallyman  •  The Passover  •  Joshua Valienté  •  Luis Valienté  •  Maria Valienté  •  Wally

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