I was shopping in one of those Antiquarian bookshops, hoping to score some old pulp magazines. I’m not sure how I found it, I was just walking by the section on occult and arcane religions, when for whatever reason, a book from the bottom of a pile seemed to catch my eye. Many of the books were on thick wooden shelves, however the overflow, like much of the place, was simply stacked into heaps and placed hodgepodge everywhere. For whatever reason, I started moving books, to see more clearly the book which called to me. The letters were bizarre, in a script that I have never seen, almost runic; well, there wasn’t anything almost runic about it, it was definitely hand-written in runes that were definitely not Germanic, Nordic, nor Celtic; but besides the mysterious text, the inside was illustrated, also by hand, with strange beasts the likes I had only seen in my nightmares! Laughing hyenas which walked upright on two legs, like a man, yellow demons armed with bizarre instruments of war the likes I had never seen and couldn’t place culturally, the more I flipped through the pages, the more intrigued that I became. What kind of fantasy was this?
I’m not sure why I carried it up to the front and purchased it. I mean, I collect old books, but this was definitely beyond my means, paying for it set me back quit a bit, forcing me to live off of soup and little else for the next few weeks, all for some book which I couldn’t even read!
The cover was constructed of dyed leather, stained a lustrous blackish-red, and stretched across what I assume to be some high quality wood. It opened upon three tiny, silver hinges, and the title of the book was foiled in silver as well, mixed with some kind of gemstones which I have never been able to properly identify.
The paper inside is thicker then I’ve ever seen before, almost like that stuff that the trendy magazines use, but without the glossy finish? And the ink was strange too, in the light I noticed that it seemed to glitter, as if some sort of stone had been ground down extremely finely and mixed in with the ink itself.
I needn’t tell you that this book mystified me! It appeared to be ancient, yet it was just too polished, and too perfect. I tried to find a copyright date, but was unable to find one. Surely this was a hoax of some kind, but why?
While flipping through its pages, a slip of paper fell out into my lap. This was written in English, and it stated that this book was obtained and brought to shore by a Nantucket whaling ship called the Despot Pride. Apparently they spotted a ship a few hundred miles off the coast of Cuba, at first they thought that it was an Asian junk of some kind, but nobody could identify the style. Moving into investigate, they discovered that the men on board were not Asian, but almost gypsyish. The boat was too small for ocean travel, it took all of their efforts to keep the small ship afloat, the Despot Pride quickly arrived to their aid, pulling the little junk out of the water and giving the brown gypsy people a ride to the coast.
They reported that the gypsy junk was colorfully painted, the carpenter inspected the little ship and said that he couldn’t identify the timbers used to make her hull. The instructions that the gypsy captain gave to the Nantucketters was odd as well, they requested not to be taken to Cuba, but to some nameless patch of water between Florida, Cuba, and Bermuda, which the whalers did. Upon leaving, the gypsy junk presented the captain of the Pride with the book.
Needless to say that nobody ever reported the Junk again. The only thing left from this experience is this book that I purchased hundreds of years later. I was at a loss, but then it occurred to me that the Captain (or who ever wrote this history) stated that the gypsies spoke English. Could it be that the tome was written in English as well? Now, my grandfather and I would spend our Sundays doing Cryptograms. Just out of curiosity I decided to try and decode the bizarre runes by finding single letter words, and from there, I was able to begin translating the codes into a readable form of English. This worked after a few weeks of sticking to it. I admit now that I became obsessed, but I believe that I am finally making some headway.
Apparently, this book was written in 563, but not of this world, at least I don’t think so. The places described in the first few paragraphs describe no place that I am familiar with, and a few of the illustrations contain maps that are not matching with any known coasts.
I believe that this text was written in a dimension called Oerth, a world much like our own, however one which, if my theory is correct, could be bleeding off our magic to their own plane. I think that the gypsies were from this dimension and accidentally slipped into our own and became temporarily lost.
This book appears to describe humanoids, written by a man who chose to live among them, I will attempt to translate the runes into modern letters, but this process is slow. I only hope that the quality of the posts to come will make up for the lack of quantity.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
- Chapter I: The Goblin
- New Project to begin soon
- Reversing as Story Element
- Medusa Cactus
- Low Level Adventures & Monster Treasure
- Villisca Axe Murder
- Exploring Specialized Fighting Styles
- Plants, Dangerous: Fear Weed
- Societies and Factions in the D&D World
- Different Fighting Styles for Different Classes
- Thief Skills for the Masses
- More 2e Love
- RPG Blog Carnival: Conventions, Ren Fairs, Carniva...
- Books as Treasure
- ▼ August 2009 (14)