The Scribe at the Straights of GizalterThe scribe, having been driven by the thirst for knowledge encouraged by a dearth of scrolls, set out to explore hitherto unresolved mysteries rumored to be of substantial origin. After a long journey through the flatlands punctuated by ascents and descents, he arrived in a land then known as Gelazallee.
Upon inquiring of the learned ones who sat in earnest at the council of the elders, one who saw much begat to him
"Yowza, the truth one seeks may be as the dust at the sea's bottom. For should one persist, perhaps more is revealed before the extruding waves."
Puzzling upon this for a fortnight, maybe more, he then consulted the brethren of the learned council, by relationship not really that close but close enough to hope to make heads or tails out of it.
"Where goeth this these brethren what have enunciated?"
he spake as the sun broke morning wind.
For the brethren who had just really awakened, fog lifting from the muddle of the night made the path thick with sphagnum. Mumbling with the breath of dawn they managed to blurt out,
"Ever shall one journey to the Straights of Gizalter. For upon the face obscured in darkness one can behold something pretty interesting. Have you seen my shoes?"
Shortly deterred by the quest for shoes he thence recovered, thanked the brethren with applomb and relish and set out for the Straights of Gizalter. He traveled for many a measure of time and distance and eventually came to the land of his destination and rested for a while.
Facing the morning and now hungry after the long journey, he made to nourish himself on the slightly leavened bread, heavily populated with ants. Brushing aside the vermin and with lowly vocalized curses he finished his meal and surveyed the situation.
Little was noteworthy except for what appeared to be a trail of small rocks placed at irregular intervals and leading into a canyon in the distance. There being no other landmarks, signposts, omens or information booths to go by, he decided to investigate the rock trail. Following the trail for some time he eventually discovered that it led to the mouth of a cave, large enough to walk freely about but quickly turning corners so as to obscure any clear view of its depths.
Upon entering the cave, he looked askance to the west, east, forward, reverse and top. Unfortunately, not having covered the bottom, after two steps he discovered the remains of a large slug between the toes. Shaking his foot decidedly in a different direction and with a muffled curse he proceeded diligently. Finding a torch propped against the wall of the cave around a corner, he stood perplexedly for a while then took it in hand and lit it as well as could be expected.
With the dimly lit torch he observed the darkness gingerly. Deeper he moved into the gloom, stubbing a toe more than once on the way in and muttering a curse or two at each opportunity. Thinking in the silence that he heard something nearby he turned, then turned again and ran smack into the wall of the cave, his nose contacting the rock with vigor. Muttering extra curses he came away and was taken aback as the flames proclaimed an inscription upon the wall. As he squinted fitfully to ascertain the content of the inscription, a breeze quenched the flame of the torch and plunged him back into darkness. He uttered series of related curses and stumbled back to the light at the opening of the cave, stubbing a toe more than once on the way out, prompting yet more curses.
His toes now growing with the multitude of stubbings, he resolved to get to the bottom of all this and relit the torch. Working his way back to the depths of the cave with yet more stubbings and curses, he again set eyeballs upon the inscription. It came to dawn after much staring in the dimness that a single word was carved into the rock boldly, Times Roman, all caps, 80 point at least, and it read
So perplexed was he that he stood with gaze fixed for what seemed like eons, epochs and eras. The word burned itself into his brain matter like a piece of bread stuck in a toaster with the popper-upper jammed and smoke billowing out and stinking up to high heaven. So transfixed was he that he took no notice of anything else. Then just as suddenly was he shaken from his revelry by a booming voice, so loud as to be heard from here to Jebabba saying,
"Who's down there?"
He turneth and turneth twice to see nothing but the darkness and in a reaction prompted by a state approaching dillenima he burst forth asunder,
Then a sudden massive trudging of boots rapidly closing in and echoing from all directions escalated his fear to near panic. He began running back to the mouth of the cave stubbing yet more of many and the same toes as before. Breaking into the daylight he tore back through the canyon at a gallop and into the open country of the flatlands, lips flapping in the breeze, never looking back except a few dozen times to catch a glimpse of what foe was hot on his heels.
Finally coming to the water's edge and out of breath he halted. Looking fore and aft for some moments and seeing that the coast was clear, with some order returning to the chaos of his mind he slowly began to comprehend that indeed there was no immediate danger to be confronted. After some time of heavy breathing he sat at the waters edge and cooled his heels to compensate the recent compounded toe adventures.
With gaze fixed to the horizontal, out of the corner of his eye he realized that he was not entirely alone, for in the not too distant distance lo and behold mingled who else but the Pharageeans, having a good laugh. True to form, the popping of corks and the hooting and howling like banshees when on well into the night. In time it grew more clear that the subject of the laughter was none other than his own personal self and that perhaps the entire cave deal had been an elaborate setup at his expense.
Would that his rage could have boiled over and spilled the beans at this point, but his attention was then swayed ever stronger to the contemplation of the inscription upon the wall of the cave,
Something about the inscription roused shades of a memory, so vague though that it might be buried in the collective conscious and certainly very difficult to unearth. This served only to renew his resolve to apprehend the truth.
Meanwhile, clams with heightened awareness of feet immersed began to eagerly anticipate toe possibilities.