I have lived an amazing life; full of wonder and excitement, hardship and horrors, peril, providence, and the vagaries of true magic. I have lived years almost beyond reckoning, and I thought to be entering those quiet spinneys that presage the twilight groves of life, then onto those Elysian Fields my younger self may well have longed for. That is until the day I meet E. B. Shriver.
That first meeting felt like kismet, as though I had stumbled over a Mist obscured footfall, taking a stumble that jars the senses, only to look up and find something unexpected where before there was merely the mundanity of a mind looking for rest; perhaps an oubliette for an overbearing curiosity. I have since felt as though we had been destined to meet, as though it was in both our best interests, and indeed in the best interests of the Universe, of the Materium.
That of course remains to be seen, but I cannot discount the synchronous events that have led me here and I realize that Temporal Pressure has been building for a long time now. That, combined with the Novelty Potential represented in the Watching, and we have an expansion of the Materium occurring that simply cannot be ignored, for as Shriver is often heard to say, ‘Have we not all heard the Creak?’
There can be no doubt that we are in the Dvapara Yuga, Bronze Age Ascending; the Age of Aquarius; the End of Days, made evident to me at least by the fact that my stepping into the Mists are made somehow…easier. I feel an increase in exposure to the higher levels of vibration, an increase in the disturbance of the Materium, as the old Kali Yuga age fades. Such transitional times are extremely dangerous, and those elites of the Circle that know how, always attempt to take advantage; to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt; to distribute chaos, to rise even further above the peasantry and become godlike. For is that not their goal, to reach a state of godhood…become God, to become the Great Architect.
These days there is so much happening it is hard to take it all in. It has been a little under six months since I started what I thought would be my own Great Work, and so much has changed in that short term. I began with a sense of wonder, indeed anticipation, and though I fully understood that this would be a new path, I did not suspect how much this work would come to dominate the life I now lead; I have truly stepped back onto the Way of the Magi. What influence the changing of the old age and its transition into the new is having is impossible to say; only the truth of experience will tell us that, and so, for the time being at least, the metaphor of understanding must suffice. Though I say the times are hard, in some ways my Watching’s have become routine, though that should not demean them in the mind of any reader here, far from it in fact. The act of Watching is one-part simple repetition then nine-part total sensory overload: the throw and catch of the Eye back and forth through the Gate and then the Seeing of it all.
Consequently, I take my respite where and how I can. Pipe smoking has long been part of my life, from the somewhat quaint pull of a twelve-inch punch bowl Churchwarden, stuffed with the best whiskey-soaked leaf money can buy, to the full-on gold-brick hit of a hand carved hookah burning a bud of Amazonian Ayahuasca. Both have their place, and here in my library, it is the Churchwarden that rules.
Mind you, my Lady dislikes the smell of it and always comments. Nor has she warmed to the Gate either, resenting the intrusion of it on our lives. I had hoped that she might see past the gaping hole in the wall were the French windows used to be, and the shimmering gate stood in their place, but that is proving less likely as the months pass, perhaps even becoming something of a rift between us. It has, admittedly, been a good while since we have shared our lives as we used to. Much of my time is divided between the Watching’s and their transmission into the Journal, that, and my increasing involvement with activities within the Inner Sanctum. All of which means that we rarely spend much quality time together, and that is something that I really miss. She spends a good deal of the time in the garden now that spring is upon us whilst I am here, so during the day we do tend to live somewhat separate lives, but at night we are together, sharing the same bed, thankfully. Though of late we have both been tired and there is not so much intimacy forthcoming. With that last but one entry in the first volume the Baecodán caravan, what’s left of it at least, has reached its destination and I hope to see some form of resolution in the Seeing of these events soon. Once I have completed this work and the summer is here in all its glory my Lady and I will travel the world again, soak up the sun, visit places only she and we truly know. She is already making plans; she mentioned a South American trip just the other day, so there is that to look forward too.
I still do not understand the relationship between these events and my search for answer on Atlantis, but it may well be that their arrival in the Dol Vale will shed some light on this and other questions, such as why I am unable travel to this Realm as I might any other? My ability to travel the Mists and visit other Realms has not failed me before, and I had little doubt that with the aid of the Aetheric Timepiece such travel would be a breeze, at least for me. There is something amiss, I am sure of it; a misalignment of some type, an error in the apparatus perhaps, though despite my best efforts I have not been able to track it down. Now that Shriver has returned from his absence I will seek answers within the Sanctum, the library there puts mine to shame, so perhaps between us we can find an answer.
The pages of the first volume are bursting with such a wealth of knowledge that I am not at all sure it could have been achieved any other way; my Lady’s gift of the Journals has proven to be one the most useful and indeed most precious I have ever received and I thank her daily for them. However, I did not really understand what was happening back then and on reflection, my first entries were…naïve in their delivery. It took a good while for me to adjust, to find my stride, to remanifest that artistic talent I was known for long ago, and leafing back through these pages it’s easy to see the progress.
Through the narration of the witch, Bakar, I have been witness to the suffering of the folk of as the Army of the Eighth Clade consumed the Vale and all who stood against it. It was a glorious feeling to watch those same beleaguered peoples rally and fight back, if only as precursor to the greater battle to come, and the Lord Bahn entry left me astonished; the likeness of this person was so close to that of the being I had witnessed in the Seeing as to be a near perfect rendition. Not only that, but the profusion of sigils and pictograms that fill the rest of the page must surely mark him as a creature of significant importance in the narrative. What part will he play in this Way? What part, for that matter, in my own Great Work?
Then the entry with the Dark Fey. The sense I gained of these fell creatures from my Watching’s is one of utter contempt. No, not contempt, more a rapacious attention perhaps; everything they see they deem their own…and most of that as prey. These so-called Dark Fey are nothing of the kind, they bear no similarity to Fey here or in any other Realm I have walked; they are something else entirely, something I have never encountered before, and as such they bear a good deal more scrutiny, if indeed they still exist.
Then there is Néit and the young lad Ximo…the principal subjects of my Observations. Well, it is plain the young lad is in way over his head. It sounds as though his service into this Clann Caevàl was probably all there was between him and a young death, but with their protection now gone, and his being in the company of a Fey who is seemingly hell bent on his own destruction, I really fear he will not survive long. There is however, a good deal of pictographic input in that entry, but does that carry any significance for his mortality? I cannot say at this point…. And adding to that, I am becoming increasingly aware of Néit’s presence during the Watching’s. Admittedly, this Néit entry has a certain…torridness about it, at least I’m sure that is how a modern mind might perceive it. However, I can assure the reader that the Fey lord’s intentions were deathly cold, with not the least hint of passion. It is interesting to note that we see an intensification of the sigils there, the eye motif being particularly striking.
Then the Zaindari…no words, sigils or pictograms, just the resolute gaze from under a heavy brow; a resolve so unshakable that even the Journal gives colour to the eyes….
And again, another entry with the old witch, Bakar, who, despite his murder at the hands of Zigor, had obviously been tasked with seeing the venture through. He was an excellent Teller, and had done well to keep the crew’s spirits up, however, I was beginning to think he might have just that one purpose. Then he proves his worth suddenly, putting not only the Koed-Caller to some distress but from what I recall, he may have killed some of the War Party in the process. I don’t know what arcana these Naguali use yet, as I get little sense of it in my Seeing, but this Koed magic is held in high respect, a respect potent enough to warrant his presence, and he certainly saved the day against the Koed-Caller.
God’s Teeth! I saw what she did…and yet somehow, for the life of me, I cannot recall her face; she actually shielded herself from my Sight! Did she know I was watching and so block me, or was it some passive ward that kept her hidden? It is impossible to know from a vantage so removed from that far Realm, but whoever she is, she is a creature to be feared; the last of the crew did well to escape. And despite their escape, due entirely to Bakar’s power, Zigor still decides throttles him out of fear of a curse laid upon him by some spirit of the Greenwild — The Hag of the Woods. Though from what I could see and feel he probably had consumption, or Tuberculosis, as they call it now.
These folk are hard, and in many ways, brutal people; suffering and death seems to be much a part of their present as it was a part of our past. Thinking back to my own past I know I shared many of their attitudes towards the threat of danger and death that they seem to face constantly, and I sympathise wholly with their reactions. However, that is not say I envy them, far from it in fact; it took this world a long time to gain at least a veneer of civilization after the last catastrophe, and I for one have no desire to revisit those terrible times.
Shriver and I both share that concern for the coming times and it is well that are meeting has proved to be so opportune; he definitely nudged me off the Way I was treading onto this other. That has led me here, standing in my library, looking into the Aetheric Gate with a catcher’s mitt on one hand and a long-stemmed pipe in the other, the pleasant odour of cherry tobacco and cedar wood gracing my nostrils.
There is a silent pop that I feel in my diaphragm rather than hear in my ears, the Eye of Morodin shoots out of the Gate into my waiting mitt and the Gate closes with a silent snap. I tuck the still warm Churchwarden into the pocket of my waistcoat and place the Eye on its stand.
With these paragraphs being the last page in the first Volume, I take my seat at the Workbench, fetch a new volume from the Evermore Chest, open it at the first, clean page, breath in deeply, find my centre, my assemblage point, ‘side slip’ into the Mist, as though stepping between the layers of a mirror, and lay a shimmering hand on the Eye of Morodin once again.