My misspent youth in the catacombs is useful after all, haha! We came down to Dunsany by a new route. The packs were difficult this time as we brought more than usual. There were places we had to drag them behind us while squeezing through tight passages. I should be well stocked now. The drip spring is still flowing and collects into a shallow pool in the far cavern. With buckets for collection, there is even enough to bathe in. I think I could hold out down here for a month now, or longer.
Tobias knew right where to lead me. ‘Father’s study’, he told me. That made me laugh. Father! That madman was nobody’s father. He did not even know his own son! One entire wall is filled with journals written in his own hand. A quick look and I see there are 241. I wonder, how did he continue to get all these books down here? He could not have written these all before he went underground. Were there still supporters on the surface? The only other alternative is for it to be the work of thieves.
Tobias has left me alone so that he might organize the stores we brought and prepare us something to eat. That leaves me more time to get to work.
There has to be answers in here.
February 15th. Evening.
I let my pocketwatch run down, stupid! There is no telling night or day in this place. I will assume it is the usual time for supper and set it for six. Tobias left some food out but I don’t know where he went. No matter. There is still much work for me to do.
Joseph wrote their names. Astonishing! They were brought here, every one! I had wrongly assumed that there would be generations of them who had always inhabited the caverns. But Tobias, he was like me, a novice. How else would he know the rudiments of the Calculus or sing the chorals we sang together? Thomas. Levi. Nefertiti. Their names were here in the beginning, and Tobias too. It’s impossible! Yet it is! I have confronted him, and he does not deny it. Still, he will not talk about the Church. He becomes strange and emotional as if the words will not come. “Moonwall would have left us all to die.” That is all he would say. FATHER MOONWALL? Yes. Father Moonwall. WHAT????
So, he is in on this too. He never said one word to me about my family, ever.
Why did he not tell me these things?
He is reading Father’s writing and will find what you overlooked, but your arrogance astounds me. Were these tomes ever written for us to know? This world is no more than a bleeding sieve that sifts and sorts kings and courts. Thomas, I fear you. I fear you even more than our mad blind sisters. Is it an audience you demand now? How quickly you forget when we were a congress of equals. Will you hold me close in discourse as the intimacy of darkness demands, so I might know how easily you can kill me?
Before me is an adversary and a jug of wine, which do you think I would rather turn my face towards? Long have I kept my cup hidden up ragged patched sleeves while we dwelled in this night. Fate too bleeds and distorts. The wine is joyous, choose again the wind, the sun, the scent of flowers. Will I send this to you and allow you to know my heart? Seek not the joys of your grim sports, let us know the world again.
I will not say this to you. I consign it to the flame and listen for the whispers of my brothers.
Spurgan watched as Thomas appeared lost in thought. Contemplating the complexity of Father’s dream no doubt. Spurgan did not want to interrupt his meditations but he had been told to alert him at once.
He placed his hand upon Thomas’s shoulder, leaned close and whispered into his ear.
Thomas remained as still as a statue for a moment. “Alert the others,” he said without moving. “Make sure he remains safe and undisturbed. But bring me Tobias.”
Joseph’s thoughts go from one idea from the other. A deep thinker? Yes. But where is the reason? There is no focus, no path which logic can follow. His writing is deranged. A house without foundation! New world order this, frenobiological distortion that. You can’t just juxtapose facts to justify them. This is all just… self delusional HAND WAVING. What a nonsensical waste of paper! How can a man as educated as a doctor fall into the trap of calling this a proof?
And what the hell is geobiotransmorgifabrication?
I’ve asked Tobias to bring me paper so that I can make notes. So many cross-references to other books in his library, and words I do not know. I need to keep track. It appears Joseph was fluent in Latin also, some of his notes I will not be able to understand without translation. It looks like more than just medical terminology. I need a Latin dictionary. There has to be one down here somewhere. Why couldn’t he have used Greek like the rest of us do?
February 17th. Monday.
Damn it all! My watch is still on six o’clock! It has not run at all since I set it last. Now I have no way of telling what time it is except for the passage of meals. This is the third breakfast I have had, so I know it is Monday.
Sir Sir Whatever does not seem so crazy anymore.
Tobias told me I need to sleep but there is no time if I am going to get through all these tomes. Last night I found Spurgan and Ishmael named in the journals. How many were there? How did they keep coming? They had abandoned the surface by this time. Where does the food come from?
I need Tobias to find me some twine and clips so I hang my notes so that I can see them. I don’t know where he is today. He is so quiet that I barely notice when he is here. I took a walk around but all I found were his clothes, neatly folded. All of them. He better not be reverting on me.
Thomas paused with his pen hovering above the blank page until a splattering drip startled him into writing:
The Children of Dunsany have not been idle these past months. We have been fashioning a court— one that is worthy of a nation. We hew and we buff these rough caverns into polished halls more befitting our cultured tastes. Pride is evident in everything I see, from the fine, ornate finishings to the acquired plush furnishings; I hear it in the spontaneous burst of song to which we all succomb. But most importantly I feel it.
Happiness is the purpose of being, taught the son of Nicomachus. A truer law has never been. We are the very embodiment of eudaimonia. Of course, Father understood it was not a happiness of the flesh but a happiness of the spirit that must be the ultimate goal— a goal that can only be achieved when one is fulfilling their role without complaint. Such a system requires a leader. The people will love the leader. There is no democracy in Utopia.
Leviticus and Mortimer have taken to securing our perimeters. They have found the others— the ones that father made before us. They are pitiful and wretched and deserving of our sympathy. So we will isolate and care for them as it is the moral obligation of those among us of superior intellect and abilities to lead the weak.
I have been studying Father’s writings. Leviticus and Mortimer have discovered that the Younger has secluded himself and is studying the sacred texts. Good. Soon he will understand we share a common goal; we both wish to locate the final volume, the one which was written first and delineates the unified theory of everything.
In the end, however, he must further realize that only the strongest and only the fittest will survive. When it is done they will have pity on those they crushed to achieve greatness. There will be a New World Order and who better to lead than the very children of that world’s architect?
Thomas looked up at the sound of the latch. “He has come,” said Spurgan, who stepped to the side.
Thomas smiled. “Tobias, come in.”
Emerson was right— Tobias makes a damn fine cup of coffee. I could really use that right now. He has not come back and I had to make my own breakfast. The Gangplank must be in shambles without me. Kaylee is smart enough to carry on, and keep Emerson from taking all the cash out of the till. He would be ruined without us. I wonder how cold it is up there today?
I’m starting to find patterns. There is more here than just the rantings of a lunatic. There is a singular symmetry about it. I see it now, his dream of a better world. What a romantic I was believing that order could be found in our history. The church and its hierarchy? So medieval! Joseph truly thought beyond himself, as great men must. How tragic that so few could understand his greatness
((Uh, oh… he drank the Koolaid…))
i got a baaaaaad feeling about this….
I will call this day five as know not the true date. The more I read the more recognize his brilliance. Some of it makes perfect sense. There are patterns in Grandfather’s writing— grandfather! When did I start thinking of that madman as grandfather? He was close, so very close, but everyone turned against him. Pizzaro, just a brother then, and Kadmus, another of the brothers. Moonwall. Who was Martha? And Ezra, that must be Ezra Crumb! It’s all here, the betrayal, the persecution, and how he sought refuge in the caverns beneath the city.
I wish that I could have seen it all like Tobias did. How I want to hear it in his words! Where is he today? I know he was here because there is cold food left out on the board, and the pitcher is filled with fresh water. I checked his room. His clothes have not been touched from where he left them. He could have said something.
I am running out of candles. I know I brought enough to last for more than a week, even if I was to stay up all night. I have lost track of time completely. How did Joseph mark the passing of the days? Perhaps by noting the level on the glass of wicklamp? I have found nothing here that would mark the passage of time, but there must be something. I will ration my candles more cautiously so I can finish my survey. I am nearly to the end of the journals.
Tobias tells me he is worried. That he recognizes the look in my eye. I was relieved to see that he had dressed before bringing me my meal, but his chatter is foolish. He even wanted to give me a shave like he said he used to do for grandfather.
Sir Sir Turdly must want me back upstairs. I wonder what it is like to be old. Time does not matter here. Does time matter at all? Tobias, you were inadvertently gifted with the longevity that men have searched long for, yet you do not spend the coin you have been given, just as I have been wasting my gifts on drunkards. When we return there will be much to make up for.
I am nearing the end of my readings. All the answers will be here. He is building to something. The key will be in the last few pages.
Emerson drums his fingers on the bar of the Gangplank…
Sir Sir Whatly?
I cannot believe this. It is missing! I looked everywhere. I had Tobias look everywhere. There should be a 242nd volume – one that was written first but meant to be read last. It is the key that holds it all together. Blast this darkness! How can I even search properly in this?
Thomas? No, Thomas does not come up to this level. I wonder if old Rummycrummy would know… YES. Of COURSE he would. Crumb knows everything. The cunning old bastard! It’s all an act, yes, and he has fooled everyone, but I see it all now. He’s a cagey one, and it has earned him the keys of the city. I bet he knows exactly what he is doing!
I have a plan… He won’t hold out on me again!