First off, I’m surprised the author doesn’t have a note here. That was a bloody big dramatic moment and then the author keeps going on like it’s all perfectly normal and there’s going to be a completely down to earth and reasonable solution to this crazy series of events. Who knows? Maybe he talks about it in his section at the end of the saga.
Anyway, I’m not really shocked by this at all, because first, if you’ve been following the narrative and you know what you’re reading or I suppose listening to in this case, then you can sort of see where it’s leading to. Second, I’ve worked for the Ostium Network and I know what a complete bunch of wankers they are. And three, I’ve had pretty much this same situation literally happen to me that made me forget almost everything about myself, and it took me literally years to get back to any semblance of normalcy and then a whole weird series of events to find mum and rejoin the Ostium Network again.
So while I won’t say things went the same way for me, since our Ostium Saga chronicler sounds like he got stuck in the eleventh century and presumably – and might I add hopefully – just died of old age, I will say things did look pretty dire there for me for a bit and I’ll end this rant by saying I at least know how he feels.
After all the dust settled and I made very sure there wasn’t any kind of door there that I could go through, I just sat on the ground, did my best not to panic, and wondered what the hell I was going to do now?
The sun set and it got dark and soon I couldn’t see anything in front of my face. Feeling depressed and helpless, my cheeks now wet with tears, I laid down and fell into an exhausted sleep.
I woke with the dawn and as soon as I could see well enough again, I searched the entire abandoned church, scrutinizing every square inch of it for anything that might be related in some obscure and/or bizarre way to getting me back to Ostium. At first I assumed that something had just gone wrong; something bad had happened, but it was repairable. I just needed to figure it out and then I’d be able to get back to my time in the very distant future. I went through every door I could find in the church, each way, just to be sure. Then I came back to the chamber and lifted up the fallen door, leaning it against the wall; willing it to reattach itself. Of course, it did not. But I tried opening and closing it multiple times to see if it would have any effect. None. I even tried dragging it over to another doorway and leaning it against the opening, almost giving it up as an act of stupidity, but then tried anyway, just to be sure, only to be intensely and regretfully disappointed.
So I sat there, glumly moping and feeling sorry for myself, as the hours ticked by across the day and into the night once more and then to the witching hour when a crazy thought occurred to me. Back in our intense and extensive training at the Ostium Network we studied all the sources in all forms of media involving time travel and a few of them came to mind now.
But to do this I needed to write something. And to do that I needed some form of parchment and ink to write with. I already possessed a writing implement. But before any of that I needed to make a fire as I was in almost complete darkness. There was some light coming through from the outside thanks to the moon. Even though I was deep within the church, the sparse rafters above were letting in some moonlight. Fortunately I had what I needed on my person and after some time had a small fire going. I scrounged around and collected some wood to make it a bigger fire, and then found a large piece of wood to use as a torch. Then I began the hunt for some sort of parchment. This took me considerably longer, but I did eventually find an old, slim religious text. I searched it for a blank page, but there was none. Unlike the distant future where paper is plentiful, in this time – as in my own also – paper is a rare resource in the eleventh century, and when it is acquired, every spare bit of space is used. So I found a page where there was less writing and proceeded to rub it in the dirty, gritty floor to obscure the words. It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but it would have to do. Now I needed ink. I had already been thinking about this and searched the floor for a rock or stone with a serrated edge. With the rundown state of the church, this did not take long. With sharp edge exposed, I drew it across the back of my hand, cutting into the flesh and feeling inevitable pain. I dropped the rock and waited for the blood to run, then took my writing implement, dipped it into my fresh blood, and began writing on the parchment in the language of my own time.
It didn’t take long to write the quick message, which was good because I didn’t want to leave this wound exposed to the elements any longer than I had to. I folded up the parchment, then wrote another quick note on the outside, then wrapped it all in apiece of cloth. Then I dug a hole at least a foot deep into the broken ground of the church right where the Ostium door had originally stood and buried it, making sure to cover it fully and pack it down solidly. Then I waited for the impossible to happen.
And nothing happened. I waited and waited while nothing continued to happen and began to come to some form of acceptance of my new reality I had been thrust into. I do not know at which point I began to cry again. Eventually I drifted off to sleep on the hard ground once again.
As morning sunlight began streaming into the ruins of the church on this third day of my occupancy, I was brought back to waking with a happiness for just a moment, and then, upon seeing where I was, the events of the previous few days and nights came back to me like a thunderclap.
I pulled myself together, holding my wrapped hand which hurt considerably, and began making my way back to the town I had jokingly called home for a while and would now have to do so for a lot longer.
On the way I thought about what I was to do next.
Upon my arrival in the town, I knew.