Okay, let me explain the title right from the get go, because that’s probably what you’re most confused about at the moment. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of other questions about the name and who the hell I am, but let me just clear up that one detail right from the beginning.
It’s called an “Introintroduction” because once I’ve given this . . . my introintroduction, there’s going to be an actual introduction at some point in another person’s words but in my voice and I couldn’t very well just start reading that person’s words aloud and expect the listener to understand what the the hell is going on without explaining myself a bit first. And because when I do get to reading that person’s words, the first section is literally called the “Introduction,” I had to come up with something decent and witty to call it, and after thinking on it for a bloody long time, and when my head started to really hurt, I decided why bother complicating things further. Why not just make it easy and obvious and I came up with a completely new word that I’m not sure anyone has actually ever used before . . . hence “Introintroduction.”
Okay, now to answer your next question: who the hell am I? Well, if you don’t recognize my scintillating British accent and aren’t familiar with Ostium or the the Ostium Network, well then, I’m not really sure how you came across these recordings; or if you know of my earlier recordings or the Enigmatic Mysteries of the Unknown, or Jake’s Ostium recordings, or even mum’s for that matter. Anyway, enough waffling on, I’ll just do a quick self intro. My name’s Steve Chase. Monica Chase is my mum and Jake Fisher in addition to being my mate is . . . well, he’s Jake Bloody Fisher. Trust me. He’s the apparent lynchpin to this whole Ostium Network thing, though none of us – including himself – fully understand how yet. You see Ostium is a very strange town where there are no people and lots of doors, and those doors take you to different places in space and time, so long as you do it in the right order. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out the Ostium recordings of one Jake Fisher. Everything will make more sense then if you’re still confused. And so the Ostium Network is the creator of the town of Ostium and it’s what was once the city of Gibraltar and is now its own island in another dimension. I know, it’s a lot to take in. Again, check out the recordings and I won’t say everything will make sense, but you’ll at least understand things a lot better. And so the Ostium Network is where I’m currently residing with a fantastic AI named Zhang and a sorceress of the Circe, named Thyra, and for her story you’ll want to check her recordings. They’re even helping her get her magical abilities back, somehow. Yeah, I know, pretty cushty isn’t it?
So what does that have to do with the price of bread? Well, give me a bloody minute and I’ll explain it to you. You see I found a book, a very special book by the looks of it, called the Ostium Sagas.
Pause for dramatic emphasis. And . . . dum, dum, dummmm.
It was on a random day at a random time after a very satisfying lunch that I began another jaunt through the Ostium Network. Being the city of Gibraltar, I don’t need to convey the fact that this is a very big place, especially for one person to be searching . . . door by door . . .
Did you see what I did there?
About the doors?
A blatant Ostium reference?
Well, if you didn’t, sod you then!
Anyway, I was searching through one of the residential sections, going through the houses. Not looking for anything specific necessarily, but lots of belongings had been left and none of these people would be returning anytime soon to claim them. And one of the houses led me to the basement after I’d thoroughly checked every other room in the abode. My house doesn’t have a basement, but some of these apparently do, like this one. So I was definitely a little curious and excited to see what I would find. And then was promptly disappointed to discover shelving racks with lots of boxes of old clothes and knick knacks and personal items that were all pretty mundane. But as I said, I had to be thorough. To be a hundred percent sure I didn’t miss anything. So it meant taking every box off the shelves and going through them all one by one. I decided I’d put them all back up once I’d gone through all of them. If I’d put each one back up immediately after going through it I definitely wouldn’t have noticed the slightly different looking spot on the wall.
It was an ordinary looking wall, as wall standards go, with shelving covering it up. But in one spot down low to the ground over on the far left was a lighter spot. The color looked the same – the color of the paint on the wall that is – but this one spot looked just a little bit lighter. Again, I wouldn’t have noticed it at all if I hadn’t taken down all the boxes and seen it completely bare. So then I went to investigate. Up close it was really hard to see if there was any difference but this one spot. I actually had to walk back to the place I’d been in before just to make sure I was looking in the right place, and then retrace my steps. That’s how minor the difference was. I couldn’t help reaching out and touching it. My balance was off as I crouched down to do this and I felt myself falling forward and my hand pressed on the wall in that one spot . . . and pushed into it. Apparently, I’d found a hidden panel. There was a clunking sound of something unlocking behind me. I turned around and didn’t see anything different. Of course, the floor was covered in boxes. So I started putting them all back on the shelves as quickly as I could and then I saw the part of the floor that was now sticking up. A square panel that definitely hadn’t been visible before.
I carefully lifted it up and a piece of the floor came away to reveal a wooden box beneath. The box came out of the hole in the floor and I couldn’t help letting out a sigh of relief when I saw there wasn’t a lock on the box. And then I asked Zhang, the AI, if they knew anything about this, and they said they were completely unaware of the existence of this book and of the hidden mechanism in the wall, or the panel in the floor. They told me about the person who lived in the house, who was a cleaner for the Ostium Network. So nothing special then. What was this person doing with this box? And more importantly, what the hell was in the box?
And because there was no locking mechanism, I didn’t waste any time finding out. I took a deep breath and then lifted up the lid [CREAKING SOUND]. Okay, that hadn’t been done in a while apparently. And inside was this big old book. How exciting! I wrapped my hands around it and lifted the book out of the box. It was really big and bloody heavy. And really thick too. There must’ve been thousands of pages. I couldn’t see if there was anything on the cover because it was all covered with dust. Another deep breath and some strong blowing later and the room was now pretty dusty but I could see the thick dark brown leather cover. And two words scorched into it: OSTIUM SAGAS. In big black capital letters. I ran my finger over the words and could feel the roughness and scarring that had been caused when it had been singed into the former animal’s flesh.
Then I opened the cover [LEATHER CREAKING SOUND].