The Road

[V.O. Alastor] 30

Gotta say, this wasn’t really what I expected out of M’s jug of wine. I don’t even think I got the words for this place. Nobody would fuckin believe me if I told em. A library built and hidden in Twilight by survivors of the fall of Atlantis? How many people’ve been branded whackjobs for claiming this kind of shit? But here I am in this room, exactly where I was when I went to sleep, and I damn well know my mind well enough to know when I’m dreaming. This ain’t a dream.

And it looks like I’m stuck here til my body wakes up on its own. If this body were just a psychic projection this’d be easy but like the lion said, it’s definitely physical. And if that wasn’t crystal fuckin clear before, it sure is now, I’m starving. That asshole Librarian looked at me like I was nuts for asking about a goddamn kitchen. Being alone in this place for god knows how many years did a real number on his personality, jesus. But smug bastard or not, he’s the one M meant for me to meet, and since I’m here one way or the other anyway I might as well see what there is to learn here. Seems like the answer is “a fuckin lot.”

I sure as hell hope it doesn’t take ten years, though.

Today I fixed one of those atoxi crystals that are all over the place. Took me a while just to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do with it. I broke one the other day trying to get its resonance right, hope it wasn’t anything too important. Also if M were alive I’d buy him a drink for teaching me how to split my mind because holy shit being a librarian is boring as fuck. Less boring is what I saw in that crystal, though. It’s like somebody took a video camera back in time a couple thousand years to record the kind of stuff people would kill to get their hands on now. Occult knowledge I’ve never heard of about things I barely understand. I feel kinda like somebody took the Mysteries and just dumped them into a box, and now I’m here in the box wading through it all, way over my head. But hell if I’m gonna tell that asshole I can’t keep up.

I found a crystal that’s supposed to be the memory of a great Mastigos master from right after the Fall. It’s broken to hell, though. Gonna keep at this one, I want to see what’s in there. What does somebody that enlightened learn from Pandemonium? What kind of person was one of the first guys to ever write his name in the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet? Whose footsteps am I really walking in here? Just how Fallen are we now?

p.s. really fuckin sick of bread.

Time’s sight might be worth jack shit for figuring out how much real time is passing but in here it’s been a month. Didn’t really think I’d be here this long, I keep feeling like any day now I’m gonna be right in the middle of some big breakthrough and then I’m just gonna wake up. Hasn’t happened yet, though, so I just keep on working for now.

The Librarian knows I know he’s full of shit about that door he keeps saying is corrupted. The acamoth can’t get in here, period. So what the fuck’s in that room? I think he thinks I’m gonna go open it when he’s not looking. And I’m not gonna pretend I don’t want to, there’s gotta be a reason he called attention to it. A test maybe, or something. But a demon once told me I had to learn how to deny myself what I want. Self-control’s the purview of the Warlock, right? So fuck him, I’m not gonna open that door and prove him right. Even if it might mean going home. I don’t want to fuck this up.

Not gonna lie though, I miss the girls. Keep dreaming about em but it ain’t the same. Especially Rhi, guess I didn’t really need to tell you that. But maybe when I get back I’ll have learned something about how to deserve her. Miss the city too, not used to this much silence, it’s been weird. Not looking out the window and seeing her heartbeat pulsing, all the lights and noise and people. Never realized before how empty a place would seem without people in it. The Librarian won’t let me into his head, not even to practice, so it’s just me up here all the time. And no, I’m not stupid enough to try delving into the mind of the acamoth. Real good way to put yourself on the fast track to crazy. So it’s quiet out there and quiet in here, and I feel sorta out of place in it but I think I’m getting used to it. Other shit just seems so far away.

Turns out those trials weren’t just trials, they were part of the Society of Kittiara’s philosophy about enlightenment and hubris. Been working on kind of a project, I guess, since there ain’t exactly a lot else to do with all this free time. They had ideas about morality and stuff, with five Supernal values that correspond to the Paths. For Acanthus you got courage, for us you got knowledge, the Thyrsus got compassion, Obrimos are faith and Moros are humility. I started looking at it more closely cuz I wanted to see what they had to say about ascension and living up to Awakened potential and everything, like Medraut and my daimon were talking about.

These guys said a mage isn’t supposed to use their magic to dominate others. Which is kinda funny since Pandemonium governs the whole idea of domination and power over people, but I think the Mastigos here thought it was way more important to master yourself and leave other people to their own shit. I dunno about that, some other people need their shit messed with, but this is how the Librarian talks about Mind, too. He’s been helping me focus on Mind as a self-directed arcanum, it’s been pretty different from the way M taught it. Still feels like there’s a big hole in the world without other people, though.

It’s been almost a year since I got here. Kinda can’t believe it, but Time don’t lie. Guess I’ve kept pretty busy despite the complete lack of strip joints and nightclubs here. Come on, Adrian, let’s not give C’Desith ideas, huh? Last thing you need is an Abyssal reminder of how long it’s been since you got laid. Jesus Christ why did I say that.

Today I talked to Justice. I don’t mean the guy driving around my Oneiros in a beat up old Chevy. I mean Justice, the astral Exemplar. Still remember like it was yesterday, what the Princeps said right before he died. Never gonna forget it. But what does justice even really mean? For the family it was pretty simple. Somebody fucks with you and yours, you fuck with em back one better so they learn the lesson. And I’ve had that part down pat for a long time, but I felt like there had to be more to it.

…y’know, the further I go down this rabbit hole the more I feel like I dunno when I’ll ever see the city again, but it’s not like it won’t be there when I get back. Weird, I haven’t thought about going home in a while. You just get caught up here.

Anyway, Justice really got me thinking. It said we all have a code, laws and morals we hold ourselves and the world accountable for. What differentiates a just code from an unjust one is whether you’re your own harshest judge. If you can’t be somebody who wouldn’t cross a line, then you can’t punish other people for crossing it, it don’t work like that. It said, to give somebody what they deserve you gotta learn about who they are holistically, not just how one act defines them. You can’t just ignore the good or the bad they did when you decide what they got coming to them. I wonder if Grim’s ever done any good in his life. Guess I’m gonna have to find out. If not…I think I gotta give him the opportunity to try first. Before I make my final judgment. I’m not usually much for playing fair, but when it comes to life and death for willworkers…well, M once said he’d never kill a mage unless there was no alternative. I gotta leave space for an alternative…just in case.



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