Orphic Phantasia

13: A Scientific Investigation

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“Would you care to join us?” he asked. He sounded like someone straight out of a medieval play too, although the use of antiquated language had become something of a fashion among those outside the Cities. Perhaps, Chris thought, to spite them. City language was simple and dull.

“That depends on the mission,” he replied, unable to help himself adding, “and the reward.” It was what his heroes would say. He even added a little of their swagger to his pose, a flick of his hair.

Behind him, Lysander stifled his laughter. Chris dug his hands into his pockets and tried not to blush. At least it was too dark to have it all on film. He hoped.

“Ah, Goodfellow, dear boy,” said Angelo, “I was just looking for you. I have found my uncle’s diary. Come hither and take a gander, why don’t you? And you gentlemen are welcome too, of course. The more the merrier!”

Chris caught Lance’s eye and shrugged. They had survived fifteen minutes inside the Scar, so another five wasn’t going to hurt. “Who’s this uncle of yours?” he asked as Angelo led the way.

“A rather unpredictable fellow who disappeared three months ago,” Angelo replied. “This fine house was his abode, which he visited regularly.”

He led them to a ground floor study. A pair of candles burned on the desk, illuminating empty shelves. Their books lay scattered across the floor, covered in a thin film of grey ash. Chris knelt and performed a quick scan. The Lady couldn’t be sure, but she figured the ash had only settled a few months ago. That put it around the time Angelo’s uncle vanished — and Chris Shaw did not believe in coincidences.

“Forget the books, dude,” Lance tugged at Chris’s coat collar, “what about the crazy shiz on the walls? Did your uncle do this, Ange?”

“So it would seem.”

‘Let Theia Fall’. Chris nodded his understanding. The line was often found among the ruins the Foundation had studied. He noticed the other lines from the verse, too, though not nearly as repeated. The Foundation called it ‘the Adagio for Erebus’. It was a mantra of madness — and confirmation that this was well outside Chris’s jurisdiction. The Foundation had special agents for studying sites associated with the Erebus phenomenon.

“Here,” said Angelo, placing a leather-bound book onto the desk. “This is my uncle’s diary. It contains accounts of his life and treasured photographs.”

“Quaint,” said Chris, giving it a quick reading with his pen. It couldn’t tell him much outside of material composition and possible age, but every little helped.

“We Foleys treasure our memories,” said Angelo with a proud smile.

Chris pocketed his pen. “It’s about thirty-three years old, if that helps?”

“It does not,” said Angelo, “but I thank you anyway.”

The Foley family is filled with characters!