6 out of 7 days in a week, Cham is a regular at the Karaoke Machine at T4 (Tiyaning Tatum Turo Turo), belting out songs while in the cups. Everyone swears that Cham has always been a regular fixture of the neighborhood, he’s lived there all his life and hasn’t held a regular job in years.
Everything they say is True and it is all a Lie.
Lester was the child of a middle class couple, born to anonymity and cursed to languish in it. Nothing about him stood out. He wasn’t smart, strong or handsome. He was just plain. Ordinary.
He didn’t bother to go to college because the tuition fee would break the bank, so he instead went for a vocational course. Mixology under the TESDA initiative. After two years, he graduated with a degree and applied for a job, he was immediately accepted. He would’ve gotten famous if he didn’t slip that bottle during a competition, people said he flipped the bottle correctly, but Cham was just too slow. Humiliated, he left and was never seen. He wandered for days and found himself at T4. The kindly old spinster took Cham in and gave him odds and ends jobs. One day he’d be fixing roofs, other days he’d be taking out the garbage. Weeks passed, and Cham sunk into a state of depression, drinking to inebriated excess, he picked up Karaoke Machine’s songbook and started to flip the pages.
First he heard notes, as he flipped through the pages, notes became melodies, and when he could no longer hold in his pain, he Sang. And then he saw musical scales and melodies, and in each note, he sees a face, some he recognize, some he never saw before. The melody would play for each note, from the Intro of the song to the chorus and refrain, some would have mixed melodies and strange counterpoints. As he reached and touched the notes as he saw them, he lived the lives of the people, he saw their highest peaks and their lowest ebbs.
He broke down when he saw his own parents. He saw how they became desperate when Cham disappeared, how they moved from door to door looking for their lost son. When his father was killed by a runaway jeep and his mother died of a broken heart. He knew it was all true. He Broke.
An old woman came by and told him. “I can help you. But there is a price. Fate is not a kind lady. They will live, but they will forget you. And you must not try to contact them in any way. Or the consequences will be dire.” Cham nodded. “Very well, come with me.” She led Cham through a strange door into a room with two pedestals. Each Pedestal held a book, one was a musty old tome and the other was fresh and new. The old woman told Cham.
Cham walked forward and chose the musty old tome. “Write your name.” He stood at the pedestal and his hand picked up the quill, and wrote. “Cham.”
“This is who you are now, the book of Fate has given you a new life and a new purpose. For now, stay where you are and learn, I will come back for you when the Time is right.” The old woman closed the other book, and took it with her through a door that wasn’t there before. Cham looked at his name returned the way he came.
Just in time to finish his song.
Tasyo – The conspiracy theorist, sees the unseen hands manipulating everything from the Shadows, just kooky enough to keep Cham interested in keeping him around. Takes social justice very seriously. Soft spot for a certain Cita. Can see into the Spirit Realm.
Callileach – His Time sight alerted him to this anomaly, she is here and yet, she’s not supposed to be HERE. A good woman to have in a fight, given everyone around them are useless in any kind of combat situation. Her secrets are hers to keep. Unless it affects everyone negatively. But the 8-ball says not yet.
Pastillan – Their tech genius, if he can be found. Half of the time, he’s somewhere else, and when he’s there, he’s behind a computer screen. Hangs around with one of the BM’s old men harem, Professor Dimagiba quite often.
Mumbaki – Altar Boy. Cham likes him, for he is without pretense from the Ilustrado society. Reminds Cham of an old man trying to get pesky children off his lawn, Quiapo church. Quite Ironic that they are now using Quiapo Church as a base of operations. A little too fixated with Angels.
Alunsina – BM “Babaeng Mataray, Maldita, etc…”. Bears to be watched, she intrudes in people’s minds a little too liberally. Needs to be trolled to keep her on her toes and out of Cham’s businesses. Admittedly, one of the few people in the group with fashion sense. Cham considers it strange that despite her looks, she attracts Old Men and seem to be happy in maintaining a Harem of Old Men.