- "Give us liberty, or give us death!"
- ―Children of the Torch
|Children of the Torch|
|Motto:||Give us liberty or give us death|
|Headquarters:||Liberty Island, New York|
|Location(s):||New York City|
|Allies:||Federal Republic of Libeteria|
The Statue of Liberty was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, and built by Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer, as a gift to the United States from the people of France, in honor of nearly 100 years of American liberty and freedom. Bartholdi designed the massive 150-foot statue to convey a great deal of symbolism- her crown with seven points represents and golden torch represent enlightenment across all seven seas and seven continents; her tablet justice; her flowing robes peace. The statue was shipped to the United States in 1885 and completed one year later, constructed on Bedloe’s Island, which would later become known as Liberty Island. At the base of the statue, on a bronze plaque, was engraved Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a monument to the ideals of enlightened republicanism, but it soon became reinvented as a symbol of immigration, as the massive statue on Liberty Island became the first glimpse that immigrants sailing to New York Harbor saw of America. The Statue of Liberty became the symbol of America itself, with millions flocking yearly to see her in person.
October 23, 2077 began like any other day. Liberty Island was besieged by tourists of all kinds, from local children on school field trips to visitors both domestic and international looking to gaze on the visage of Lady Liberty. As the day began, it would soon turn out that October 23, 2077 would not be a day like any other. Instead, it would go down as the day that everything changed. At roughly 9:42 AM nuclear catastrophe took place.
There was little warning, and as such, the few hundred visitors to the statue had very little opportunity to find safety in the nuclear fallout shelters beneath Liberty Island. By and large, it was children who were saved, their adult guardians sacrificing themselves to ensure that the children were safely sent into the shelters.
Founding of the Order
The Statue of Liberty, one of the most obvious signs of America, was targeted by the Chinese, but whatever the truth may be, the state was not completely devastated. Some say that the statue was targeted by a Chinese missile launched from a submarine, and that it was a few lines of code that caused a simple programming error and the missile to veer slightly off course. Others say it was targeted by a Chinese bomber, but at the last moment the bombardier chose not to hit the statue directly because he was moved by what he saw. Others claim that the goddess of the statue used her powers to avoid annihilation. Whatever the truth may be, the Statue of Liberty escaped complete destruction, and instead only heavy damage- she was knocked over, lost her arm, and part of her head.
The survivors in the shelters below were not immediately able to leave, but within the year, the older ones could make sojourns to the surface to gather survival supplies, uncontaminated or only slightly contaminated food, and survey the devastation that the falling bombs caused. It became safer and safer to make expeditions out of the fallout bunkers beneath the island as the years went on and the radiation in the air, land, and sea dissipated, and by 2090, it became possible for those living in the shelters beneath the island to make their way above ground safely.
The world the survivors were greeted by was the only world most the survivors knew. Most were children at the time of the Great War, averaging between 8 and 15 years old, and had either grown up or spent almost half of their lives in the fallout shelters. Their knowledge and understanding of the Pre-War world was minimal. The survivors came to believe that the Statue of Liberty had magical powers, and had protected them from the Great War. She sacrificed herself to give them the ability to live in the new world. By worshiping her, and eventually, rebuilding her, they would be able to turn the Post-War world into a utopia.
Over the next hundred years or so, the Children of the Torch slowly began rebuilding Liberty Island. Their progress was moved slow due to their relatively small size- visitors to Liberty Island were rare, and when they did sail to the island, even fewer stayed to join the small religious group- and very limited resources. By the end of the 22nd century, the Children of the Torch made some headway, repairing the base of the Statue of Liberty and retrieving her head torch from the nearby waters of New York Harbor, but the task in front of them seemed impossible without additional help.
Around the same time, a charismatic man from nearby Governor’s Island named Jay Talbert offered the Children of the Torch a proposition. He had ambitions of unifying all of old New York City into a single, powerful nation rather than a collection of small settlements dotting the area. The leaders of his native Governor’s Island and of the nearby Ellis Island had entered into a pact form a new nation, and he was extending the same offer to the people of Liberty Island. After some debate, the Children of the Torch agreed to Talbert’s proposition, in return for caps and manpower to help raise the Statue of Liberty. In 2198, Liberty Island became a part of the newly formed Federal Republic of Libeteria, and the Children of the Torch officially became citizens of the new nation.
Life under the Federal Republic of Libeteria
The naivety of the Children of the Torch quickly became apparent in the early years of the federal republic. They inadvertently agreed to give up one of their lone ferry boat, forcing them to attempt to repair another and rely on rafts and rowboats. They inadvertently agreed to allow the federal republic to resettle individuals from other islands on Liberty Island. They inadvertently agreed to assist in the republic’s effort to resettle and farm the north shore of Shaolin, forcing a small group of members to leave Liberty Island for the island to the south. This led to discontent among the Children of the Torch towards Libeteria.
Of course, the relationship did not completely hurt the group. The small religion enjoyed a massive boom in followers as they gained influence in the fledgling nation. The worship base formerly consisted mainly of the people on Liberty Island, plus a handful on Ellis Island. In the years after the formation of Libeteria, individuals all across the ruins of New York City became followers of the religion.
Though the religion experienced a boom initially, many of those that professed to worship Lady Liberty strayed and moved on with their lives. Many misunderstood the tenets of the religion, and where state and religion cross. Such people believed that if they claimed to be members of the Children of the Torch, laws prohibiting various things would not be applicable to them, as such laws would be violating their religious beliefs. As the Libeterian police demonstrated, such was not the case, and the spread of the fad religion quickly stopped.
In 2263, The Machinists unleashed a robot army across New York in an attempt to conquer the area. Early in the AM hours of July 4th- the Libeterian holiday of “Liberty Day” and a holy day to the Children of the Torch- a lone individual began climbing the Statue of Liberty. He got about halfway up before sensor alarms alerted people, and he reached the statue’s head by the time security forces arrived on the scene. After negotiations that went nowhere, a lone sniper shot and killed the man. As his dead body hung from the ropes he climbed up on, explosives on his person went off, blasting a gash in Lady Liberty’s face from her right eye to her nose.
Since the failed Machinist invasion of New York, things have been business as usual for the Children of the Torch. The gash in the Statue of Liberty’s face has mostly been repaired, and efforts to re-raise her have begun anew.
At their core, the Children of the Torch believe in a world of liberty and freedom, where all people are free to do follow their dreams without impeding on the ability of others to follow their respective dreams. That is to say, they believe that people should be free to do whatever they want as long as it does not have a negative consequence on another individual. They believe that no individual has the right to tell another what they can or cannot do, so long as those actions do not have a harmful impact on others.
Culture & Practices
Adherents of the religion refer to themselves as ‘Torch Bearers’, in reference to the gigantic torch that the Statue of Liberty holds in her hand. In the early days, many tried to differentiate themselves from the other people of New York Harbor by donning green robes and crowns, like their goddess, but such fashion choices are far and few in-between today. Instead, the Children of the Torch commonly identify their religion by wearing small pins somewhere on their person in the shape of a torch.
The Children of the Torch do not have an officially recognized hierarchy. Older, wiser, more learned members of the group are looked upon as de facto leaders, but all members are considered of equal stature.
The group recognizes a single holiday, Liberty Day, which is celebrated on July 4th. Thanks to their connections with the government of Libeteria and their contributions to it when it first was founded, the entire nation celebrates the holiday- much to the consternation of the East Coast Catholic Church.
The Children of the Torch have a contentious relationship with the Federal Republic of Libeteria, the government that purchased Liberty Island years ago. Seeing how industrious and prosperous the residents of the other harbor island were, the Children of the Torch agreed to enter into a pact with the ambitious and charismatic Jay Talbert, in exchange for enough caps and workers to repair and rebuild their precious statue of lady liberty. The leaders at the time were somewhat shortsighted and did not take into account how submitting themselves to an outsider government would make them subject to various laws and policies that they might not agree with. In the years since, as the bureaucracy that is the Federal Republic of Libeteria has grown, and more and more legislation has passed, the Children have bristled at the various laws restricting the freedoms of others, most notably chems. While drugs and their trade have been a problem for the government of Libeteria, the Children of the Torch believe that the use of such substances is completely up to the individual, and that nobody has the right to deny them that right.
The East Coast Catholic Church has labeled the Children of the Torch dangerous, citing the group as an organization that will “lead individuals down a path of false hope.” Because the Children are so deeply entrenched on Liberty Island, and as such, the Federal Republic of Libeteria, they dare not condemn the group more harshly for fear of alienating the government of the federal republic. According to conspiracy theorists, in 2263, Pope David authorized the terror attack on the Statue of Liberty in 2263 that was officially blamed on The Machinists. They cite the means of attack- a lone individual scaling the statue rather than a machine- and supposedly secret meetings between the members of the federal republic and high ranking priests years earlier.