A Shattered Mind

Date: 07/24/2013 at 02:19
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: A Shattered Mind

For several months, the madness of the shadow-wreathed man who had fallen from the sky and whom the Shadowsnakes had dubbed "the ex-Codex", or "Cody," continued. He demonstrated an eerie ability to leap into or out of shadows, moving about the city, and neither lock nor bar could hold him.

Even when the Shadowsnakes did manage to locate the man, his words meant little. He spoke brokenly. Sometimes he blurted facts, encyclopedia-like, often unrelated to the conversation at hand. Sometimes he seemed chillingly sane, telling them he had something very important to relate before losing his train of thought. Most of the time, however, he was simply confused, babbling about darkness, shadows, and a rainbow lady. When pressed, he simply retreated into himself, humming a strange, unfamiliar song repeatedly.

The coterie of serpents tried desperately to make some sense of what the man said, but found they could derive little meaning from his broken sentences. The rainbow lady was Eris, perhaps, but what did he mean when he spoke of the Litany of Obedience? Daemian, a Shadowsnake who called herself the "Dark Scholar," made it her project to keep track of the man and his utterances, intent on cracking the strange code of his insanity.

Eventually, the Shadowsnakes decided they had only one option: take the man to an expert in madness and the mind. They considered and discarded Creville Asylum; as Ysvour, their irreverant fence, said, "They couldn't treat their way out of a paper bag." Roam suggested Ezekial, the mysterious scholar of the Occultists. Fortunately, Shadow Matrix Jarrod Lucoster had worked closely with Occultists in the past and knew what inquiries to make, and a meeting with Ezekial was soon arranged.

The odd, blue-furred Occultist looked fascinated as soon as he laid eyes upon the shadow-wreathed man in the garden of Epicurus. Alongside several Occultists, including their Demiurge, Amunet Viatrix, he investigated the man, swiftly coming to the puzzling conclusion that he seemed to have no name. "Or, rather," Ezekial mused, "he has many, which is the same as having none."

When the Shadowsnakes inquired as to his meaning, the Occultist explained. There was a core identity within the man: "a real person around whom this strange composite creature was grown." Around it was caked layer upon layer of knowledge, information, and trauma, as well as the sheer isolation of four centuries of imprisonment within the crystal. When Ezekial absently complimented Eris on Her masterful work, the man twitched and began to babble about "a woman in a dress of many colours," and "a kiss of heat and light, and a cold dark." Clearly, they concluded, he recognised the name.

Most surprisingly, as Ezekial worked on the man, "Cody" began to hum the unfamiliar song again. To everyone's shock, Ezekial stepped back. "What reason would a compendium have to be familiar with 'The Queen and the Fool?'" he queried. The song the man was humming was an old Ashtani folk song, familiar to Ezekial-- thousands of years old as he was-- but not to the modern Ashtani.

Intrigued, Ezekial asked the Shadowsnakes for another month to work on "Cody." Corr and Sidai argued against it, believing the Occultists merely wanted to take his knowledge for their own, while Jarrod and Xith argued for allowing it. At last, Ezekial persuaded them, agreeing to keep his research in public and out of whatever mysterious hidey-hole he usually frequented.

Thus freed to work on the project, the Occultist spent another month working on "Cody" before reporting back. The man was originally from another time, he concluded, brought forward to reside in the Shadow Codex by Eris when She created it. His memory was clouded by trauma and the vast knowledge of the Codex. Jarrod inquired into a cure, but unfortunately Ezekial did not yet have one. He suggested that the Shadowsnakes should try to learn more about the man's identity, for if they had his name, they could try to use it to reawaken his consciousness and free it of the cobwebs of madness.

Unfortunately, the man seemed traumatised by their continued efforts at interviewing him, and they learned little, save that he had been in a war of some sort and that remembering it brought him pain. They could do nothing but wait for the strange scholar to suggest a cure, and in Aeguary of 631, he did so, gathering Occultists and Shadowsnakes alike together in a windowless tower in Ashtan's restored palace.

The cure, he told them, would be difficult and dangerous. It would be hands-on, and it would place them in very real and personal risk.

The Shadowsnakes, he said, would be travelling into the twisted, mad mind of the man who had been the Shadow Codex.

Penned by My hand on the 18th of Aeguary, in the year 631 AF.