Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jogging With Roussel 4

Father Ujalrex was running his left hand along the excellently tooled leather book spines of the rectory library searching for a commentary on the Zoroastrian Gathas when his hand brushed something sharp and cold. It turned out to be a book he had never seen before, An Avestan spellbook  of obvious rarity, translated in a facing page edition by a eunuch-scribe from the court of Sultan Husayn of Persia with an accompanying folio of translations of certain spells by none other than Guillaume-Antoine Olivier and Jean Guillaume Bruguière, who were the scientists sent by the Directoire to resume relations with Iran against the Empire of Russia in 1796. The scientists, however, had only translated one spell apiece, each spell relating only to their field of study. For Guillaume-Antoine, it was a spell for attaining visions by the use of a rare snail, his expertise being gastropods. For Jean Guillaume, it was a spell to create a pestilence, for he was an entomologist. The book itself seemed to have been owned by Napoleon at one point, for it bore his initials, N.B., but also the initials M.C., those of Martial Canterel! The sharp, cold, point, Father Ujalrex discovered, was from a tiny ornamental dagger studded with jewels used, it seemed, as a bookmark which had somehow over the years worked its way out through the spine. Father Ujalrex ran his eyes over the text of Guillaume-Antoine Olivier's translation and realized it was more than a spell for visions, but of a visionary immortality based on mental preparations based in the learning of the spell combined with the specific toxin of the "Jafrahika", or black cone snail sometimes called, 'the licentious woman', an extinct species related to the Conus marmoreus according to Dr. Olivier in his copious notes within the folio.

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