At first she was just scribbles in the margins of an old and tattered field journal. A piece of literature that had long ago been stripped of any and all useful knowledge by undergrads and curious peasants.

It was by sheer chance that I found it within the university library, sitting benign and unassuming amongst all of the other Progenitor flavored archeology textbooks. It was by far not the prettiest or the best written, but I found it fascinating. The author was a long dead student of the dark time before the founding of Isyr and his methodology was poor at best. Even by my then amateur standards. His penmanship was even worse, the scrawling and occasionally jumbled text was often difficult to read.

At that young age I had to squint to make out most of his words. I have since memorized it. I no longer see his mind on paper, but instead a crude version of my own.

But her words were marvelously clear. It was as if they were etched into the margins of his science with a ruby red laser. At the time I was under the impression that they were notes left by another reckless student relatively recently.

How wrong I was.

I found the interplay between his old, out dated science and her wit to be disarming. So I used my student credits for that week to check out the journal.

In those early days, before the madness and her cruel mind took me away from my life I was studying an altogether different science. I wanted to be a pioneer in pathology like so many of my peers. The plague was just getting warmed up and it fascinated me. It's ability to render flesh into strange abominations capable of so much more than humanity in its sum was capable of. Maybe I could have cured it with some amazing vaccine.

I brought it to my dorm and immediately devoted an evening to its study. At one point I was rendered unconscious by my own weak mind. In the ether of sleep I remember dreaming of it, although the details escaped me. I remember waking in a sweat, drool smudging the author's insights on the mythological Progenitor Admiral Tuccia and his homosexuality.

That evening bled into the rest of the week. That week bled into the remainder of the month. It was an intellectual blitz of obsession. Even during fascinating lectures and live demonstrations of the terrors the plague was capable of squeezing out of flesh I thought about the journal and its weight, sitting in my messenger bag. I fantasized about how it was only three and a quarter hours until study hour or how the end of the day was only six and three tenths hours away.

In retrospect I should have returned it immediately. But I was far from home, lonely and the notes of the disembodied woman known only as "A" pulled on my libido and my intellectual vanity. The long dead field archaeologist soon became the lame, but endearing friend who had introduced us.

Because of her little insights and quips on that long dead author's science and theorems in her enigmatic longhand I began to grow physically excited to the academic stink of old paper, leather and glue.

The smell of the aging field journal in which I had found her beauty became like a drug to me. It enabled the beginning of my academic suicide. My love for pathology bled from me like I was a stuck pig, replaced by the enigmatic Progenitors, the islands from which they ruled the world, their disappearance and my beautifully gifted "A."

During the first week of the second month I grew brazen enough to study it during my regularly scheduled classes, as I was nearing the end of the impressively dense tome and could not contain my urges. I earned the public and embarrassing scowl of my virology and biochemistry professors respectively.

But they were mere flies in the muck that was my previous life. The university which I attended dropped away and became little more than routine.

It was during one of those classes, I don't have the mind to recall which, that I finished the journal. I felt exhausted and mentally drained. There was an annoying buzz in the background. In retrospect I believe it was an infuriated professor, as I could feel the eyes of hundreds boring into my crumpled form, hunched over my half desk.

It was then that I saw it. Her last words on the subject of the Progenitors, our long dead field archaeologist friend and his unfounded beliefs.

"Hanz, you really must read his thoughts on their theology.

I was aghast. I could feel the blood drain from my face. Were these notes for me? Was there another Hanz?

I immediately departed the lecture hall. With it the remnants on my expensive pathology education dissolved.

I knew what I had to do.


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