The forming of cliques among the twelve Colors of the Round Table was a rarity, and when it did happen it was mostly
an illusion. Gossip and rumor were rife among the twelve Colors and their Families. Things were invented and facts were twisted in accordance with the notion that an
interesting lie is better than a dull truth. The stories that evolved from rumor and speculation were usually based on the current Conductor’s tastes and whims.
Which colors to use, and how, were decisions made by the Conductor (prompted by hints and subtle suggestions from the Knights and Ladies.), and what the Conductor decided was what
created the events in the lives of the Colors.
Thus it was that the so-called Rapt Pack had become a popular topic of
conversation among many members of the twelve Families. The Rapt Pack consisted of Sir Red, Sir Orange, Lady Violet, Lady Lime, and one other Color who, although not a member
of the Round Table, was greatly admired and celebrated, the beautiful Lady Cobalt, sister of Lady Blue. These Colors were favorites of the present Conductor, who used them in
many and various ways, mostly with results that pleased almost everyone.
This Conductor had a penchant for the hard-hitting Colors. He wanted
the Projects to have a particular kind of warmth, and the Colors of the Rapt Pack provided much of what he needed to achieve the desired effect. Numerous other Colors were of
course put to work on the same Projects, but it was the Rapt Pack and their close relatives who carried most of the load.
All of the Colors in the Kingdom of Color had been around forever and worked
with thousands of Conductors, who came and left quickly, so they were accustomed to the fact that all Conductors had their favorites, whom they used over and over, apparently in an
attempt to fathom the meaning of what happens when these Colors are working together. If a Conductor wanted to use obscure Colors that was his privilege too. During the
14th century there was a Conductor who had done his Projects using only Lady Kumquat-Young, Sir Grizzlitongue, Lady Cattail-Floss and Sir Flounderwart. Lady Trufflesauce had
also played a role. The Colors were all very much used to the idea that anything could happen, and that all Conductors had different realities and thus different notions
about how to conduct the Projects.
Their lives were filled with whim and impetuosity. Now and then, Colors
that had been around for centuries appeared to vanish. And occasionally new Colors were born. All twelve Families had to deal with new additions, mostly Colors doomed
to a life of obscurity. Sometimes the Colors asked themselves why the species of the Conductors was so interested in bringing forth new Colors, many of them lame or retarded,
only to exist as unknowns, with little work and few hopes.
The Colors generally approved the human inclination to experiment. It
gave them pleasant, and sometimes not so pleasant, surprises to look forward to, and the variety needed by every living thing, especially those beings who were the world’s
only hope, the Colors and the Conductors.
So the Rapt Pack, in itself, was not anything very unusual. They were
together a lot these Colors, and apparently enjoyed each other’s company. The gossip about Lady Violet, Lady Lime and Lady Cobalt engaging in lesbian orgies had no shock
value, as all the Colors had become blasé and jaded about such things, having seen plenty during the millennia they had been around. Most Conductors, too, accepted this
gossip, true or not, as part of the work. Some Conductors went out of their way to stir things up among the Colors, especially for the purpose of eventually achieving a sense
of passion in the Projects. Some of the Conductors were almost as worldly-wise and anarchic as the Colors, and those who lived in the present realized that after centuries of
repression and prudery now almost everything was permitted. Humans were still repulsed by ugliness, and some were negatively stimulated by obscenities, but for the most part,
people were more open-minded, as well as more jaded, than they ever had been.
This situation was both a problem and an opportunity for the Colors and the
Conductors. Although the human species had become inundated with information, and become generally confused as a result, people were still searching and in more and more
places. For this reason, the Colors and the Conductors held out hope that they could save the world. It was a matter of showing people a rare truth they could
understand. The Kingdom of Color was always in a state of flux, which according to some, was part of the process of experimentation that would eventually lead to the
salvation of life on Earth. The Conductor had risen, and in an upbeat manner, greeted everyone individually, as he always did. “I’ve been hearing quite a bit about
the ‘Rapt Pack’”, he said, smiling merrily. “Yes, I know these five Knights and Ladies have been getting a lot of work recently. Let me just say
that when these five are working together in a certain way, they produce a unique scent or flavor that I find irresistible. And they will be given major roles again in the
giant mural we are about to begin. But all of you will be featured. You and many members of your Families will have important roles to play. Sir Caperoot, for example.” The Conductor grinned, and there was a round of chuckles at mention of this unusual story.
“I have to admit,” the Conductor continued, “I’m a
little curious about the Rapt Pack. Sir Red, you are one of the Packs. What do you have to say about it?”
Sir Red rose from his chair and saluted the Conductor. “Sir,
none of us chose to be a part of any group. It just happened, and if I may say so, it was you who created the Rapt Pack. And with good reason, I believe. Lady
Violet claims that when we are working together she hears a beautiful kind of music coming from somewhere – the sea or the sky, I believe she said. Let us not forget
that our purpose is to save the world, and whatever takes us in that direction should not only be accepted, but glorified as well.”
“You are an eloquent spokesColor for the Rapt Pack, Sir Red,”
the Conductor said with approval. “But let us hear from someone who is not a part of it. What do you think, Sir Green?”
Some of the gossip about the Rapt Pack included rumors that Sir Green was
suffering from envy, a human emotion not associated with the Colors, especially Sir Green, one of the wisest and most self-possessed of them all, as well as one of the most
ubiquitous, thus not likely to feel left out. The cause of Sir Green’s envy, if it did exist, probably had to do with Lady Violet, a very close and long-time friend,
one for whom Sir Green would do almost anything. For Lady Violet to be part of a clique that excluded him was a disturbing fact of life.
Sir Green, having risen and saluted the Conductor, began by saying that he
was certainly not going to argue with any decisions the Conductor might make. However, he would like to express an opinion about the Rapt Pack and the upcoming
mural. “At one of our recent meetings we talked about how this mural should teach the human race to recognize the wisdom of the heart. The heart is a big thing, or
should be, and to portray it fully there should be as much variety as possible, with all the Families working together harmoniously to make a beautiful and irresistible path for
the eye to follow to the heart. For this you will need a lot more than the Rapt Pack.”
“Thank you, Sir Green, for your wise observations. You are
absolutely right. All of our resources must be employed in this Project. The human race will only be sufficiently impressed by something that leaves nothing out.
There are some things, of course, that must be emphasized more than others.” The Conductor stopped for a moment to ponder his next words. “It is always
necessary to be selective. There is the art of discrimination to consider. What we must do is include everything necessary to achieve our goal, making people change the
way they think about the world and about themselves. This will require a sensational combination of elements, moving and powerful enough that people will be persuaded to act
contrary to their habits.” And having said his piece, the Conductor reseated himself.
Sir Orange now stood and looked around the Table. “I have never
been especially fond of groups. You all know me as something of an anarchist. I have no choice in the matter of the Rapt Pack. As you know, Sir Red and I have
always been close friends, and I could say that I have always felt close to Lady Violet, Lady Lime and Lady Cobalt as well. But the point is, I feel very close to all of you,
and in fact I would welcome all of the Colors in all of the Families into the Rapt Pack. That would be my wish.
Because I believe that all the Colors deserve not only their moments of
ecstasy but also moments of recognition and admiration. If this were to happen then perhaps the miracle would occur, the miracle that would give us the strength and
inspiration to save the world.”
Sir Red began clapping and whistling. It was unusual for the Colors of
the Round Table to applaud each other, but on this occasion they were moved to do so. Even Sir Purple and Sir Cadmium expressed their approval of Sir Orange’s speech,
rapping on the Table with their goblets. As for the Conductor, he stood and shouted, “Bravo!”, then sat down, wearing an enigmatic and thoughtful smile. An
idea had begun to form in his mind, an idea having to do with the depiction of Paradise.