Yes, I know that was a bit dramatic: opening the huge and curiosity-inducing tome known as the Ostium Sagas and then leaving you there with nothing further. But it wasn’t intended to be dramatic or cliffhangerry, it was just the right place to stop, honestly. I’d been going on for some time and this was a good and natural stopping point.
And that’s because there was a bunch of writing on the inside cover and facing page of the book. Actual writing with a pen by whoever had been reading this book and had it in their possession, presumably. They’d chosen to do this; for a strong reason.
There’s more of the same writing on the next couple of pages and then there’s two blank pages, left and right, and after that are actual printed words. No copyright information or date explaining how or when this book was published, just a printed page with the title of INTRODUCTION, yes, the one one I mentioned earlier in my “Introintroduction.” That is the introduction by the author of this book. But now I’m going to read aloud what the former owner of this book wrote in blue ink starting on the inside cover. They did not give a title or date but just started writing and this is what they wrote:
To whomever has discovered this unique tome, understand that I am almost certain it is the only one of its kind in the entire universe. Yes, the universe. If you are of or are familiar with the Ostium Network, then you understand that I speak the truth. If you know not of the secret town of Ostium nor the Ostium Network, then I think it prudent you return this tome from whence you found it and never think on it again. What lies within these pages is not for you nor will you fully comprehend its words and meanings. To try to learn and understand when you are not fully trained can lead to severe damage. To you, to your loved ones and friends, and to the very world you live, no matter the time in existence nor the location within the universe. You know not of these utterances and stories and do best to avoid them.
For those who are trained and think yourselves ready and prepared for what lies within these forthcoming pages, also know that you are not ready. You are not prepared. Nevertheless, I will, to the best of my abilities, get you ready and prepared. So read closely and carefully at the words I am about to scribble down before you truly begin your reading of the Ostium Sagas.
You must be wondering how this seemingly miraculous book came into my possession, and that in itself is quite the tale to tell, and I have nowhere else to tell it but here. For my story and the stories within are to be kept hidden and secret from those in charge and control of the Ostium Network, most especially Him at the very top of the Rock. You know whom I speak of. If they were to discover these words, it would lead to far worse destruction than has already been both conducted and permitted. All irreversible. So do your very best to keep this tome and its sacred words between you and me and the few you trust utmost. Only then will the many lives that have been sacrificed and wasted in the name of the Ostium Network not have been foolishly and pointlessly snuffed out in vain.
You will understand then why I will not identify myself, with the crucial need for the aforementioned secrecy.
I came across this tome in the year 1756 of the common calendar. Yes, I am sure you must find this quite shocking, and I do not mean to be dramatic, but it is very important you, dear reader, understand the scope and ramifications of this very special book. I came across it during my third excursion to Ostium and through the door to the middle of the eighteenth century in a small church located within the mountains of the Pyrenees where the countries of Spain and France are joined. Why I was in that region on that date will not be explained here for it may simply provide more evidence to discern my identity which I will not grant, especially, Heaven forbid, if the Ostium Sagas were to somehow end up under the scrutiny of the wrong eyes.
I had been traveling with a small group of people from France into Spain and maintaining my incognito status as a storyteller of the times and not a person from the 22nd century. One of our group spotted the church and wished to travel there to pray for our continued safety and wellness on our journey. We were all in agreement on this and made a speedy sojourn to the ancient looking church. It appeared to have seen better days, barely standing the ravages of time and weather. But, nevertheless, it still remained standing and was therefore still a functional place of worship. We each knelt on the rough, worn pews and prayed, and as heads were bowed, I took my opportunity to study the insides of this derelict building. I couldn’t help marveling at its age. How many sights and changes and upheavals had this minor house of god paid witness to? The renaissance? The Black Plague? The Hundred Years War? The Moorish conquest of Spain? Had Charlemagne the Great stopped and prayed here, just as my compatriots were right now, almost a thousand years ago?
Prayers were soon over but we all elected to rest for a while and eat. I chose to investigate the church further and it soon became clear there was no one else here and the place had likely not seen a visitor in some time. Other than the pews, it seemed everything had been either damaged or ransacked or both to some degree. A priest had not given a sermon here in who knew how long. And any item of value or worth was long gone. Nevertheless, I was still curious, to be walking in a relic such as this place was. I searched the cupboards and storage chests, but there was nothing whole; what remained was broken and in pieces. And yet in one particular storage chest, after examining a piece of broken pottery that bore the colorful depiction of the resurrection, or at least a small part of it, I dropped it back in the chest and noticed a hollow sound. Deeper than one would expect for a solidly built article of furniture. I then proceeded to remove all the broken articles within the chest and examine its floor further. I pushed on each corner and then on the left side, and the right elevated a little, leaving a space wide enough to get my fingers around. Before lifting, I looked about me to make sure I was not being observed. Then I lifted the false bottom of the chest and beneath found the book you now hold in your hands. It had not seen the light of day in some time. Covered with dust and grime and neglect. And yet when I cleared the dirt from the soiled cover and was finally able to read the two words that had revealed themselves to me . . . OSTIUM SAGAS . . . my jaw literally dropped. Of all the possible permutations of time and space and reality, to come across this particular word on the cover of a hidden book here of all places. It seemed impossible. Unconscionable. And yet, here it was. Of course, I was fully aware of the word’s existence before the creation of the Network or that very special town. So I began looking through its pages and as I began to read the author’s words in their introduction, I soon had my suspicions confirmed. Just as you will when you start reading this incredible text.
I secreted the book upon my person and closed the chest. When asked by my compatriots if I had found anything of interest, I said other than a handful of broken items that were probably once quite beautiful and perhaps even valuable, there was nothing of any use to anyone. We continued on our journey and I completed my mission for the Ostium Network and then eventually returned to the town of Ostium. There I hid the book under the mattress of the bed in one of the rooms behind door number one. Then a week later, at the behest of a favor from a good friend I trusted who was working the Inception Chamber, I was able to get back to the town and retrieve that book and return to the Ostium Network without the bigwigs being any the wiser.
And then I read this incredible book from cover to cover; a little of it each night before I went to bed. And then I read it again. And again. And again. Each time I learned and discovered something new and fascinating that I had missed during the previous reading. And how I wish I could share my thoughts and theories with whomever is reading these words at this moment, but alas, much like the ghosts who visited one Jacob Marley, my time grows short, as does my space in the opening pages of this very special book.
Therefore, I leave you with these final words. This is a book of people’s lives who were thought lost, and explained away as acceptable casualties. Yet these people continued on and lived their lives, and kept going. As far as I know, no lives have been lost in the keeping of this book. And it remains of the utmost importance, nay, it is tantamount, that this book continues to end up in the right hands, with the right people, and that the stories of these unique people’s lives continue to be told and shared. Only in that way will this all not have been done in vain.