Corrupted friends

He was asked to come to the temple to record their beliefs, to ensure their truth would be remembered and shared.

The temple was small. Few people lived there, surviving off their own labour, off gifts of food from the nearby villages. They taught him, showed him things, darkened his mind because sometimes truths are unexpected.

And people came to him, too. He made friends amongst the devotees and supplicants who stayed on the temple grounds. He was considered wise. This was flattering and worrying: while they thought his advice was good and sensible, advice and knowledge change people.

The change was clear to him: some nights, after hours of writing, he woke from his nightmares screaming.

They asked him to leave. His notes were incomplete, but his approach to the Elder Ones, he was told, was warped and twisted. In turn, he was warping and twisting others.

With his few belongings — the clothes he came in, writing implements, his notes — he made his way to the closest town.

Writing the manuscript came easily. This was no longer a project to merely record someone else’s truth, but would be a warning to the world.

Just as he’d made friends of the devotees, he now made friends in the town. One described himself as a printer, setting text not in solid blocks, but to individual bits of cast letters, moveable as needed between locations on a page of typeset text, and reusable between pages. This reduced the time and resources needed to typeset a book so considerably as to be somewhat miraculous.

But the printer needed advice as well — people saw this ability to easily create typeset text as a tool of corruption, allowing foreigners and slaves to share knowledge in their own written vernacular, on topics not appropriate to be shared.

The printer was afraid, because it was true.

So he told his printer friend not to worry. He, a writer of manuscripts, and he, a printer of books, would together make plans.

Print was a tool of corruption. So too shall his book be.

He still sometimes woke at night, screaming.