“Simply put in layman’s terms: Science is the pursuit of Truth. This pursuit is not blind, but informed through hypothesis and theory, trial and error, variance and proof. Neither is it effortless- in this pursuit, you must overcome many obstacles and setbacks. Therefore it must be courageous, this pursuit of ours, fearless even, for wherever this pursuit takes us, we must go, even if the path leads where angels fear to tread.
When you set out on this journey into the unknown, always remember – you are surrounded by ignorance, savagery and fanaticism. You live in a society where everyone thinks he/she knows about everything in the whole universe. If you find yourself among those intellectual idiots, then being good and humble may give rise to doubts in your mind about your own ideas. So, you must first learn to distinguish between real and shallow intellect. Then, as a self- preservation tactic, you need to let your pretense of arrogance grow as big as a Dinosaur, so that the fake intellectuals start to realize their true inferiority in front of you.
You must hiss at people who intend to undermine your individuality with their false pride and intellectual stupidity. You must frighten them away, lest they should do you harm. Act like you have a lot of venom inside you, but never inject them into anyone.
Do not listen to a single soul, but your own inner voice. Foster your will and make it as wild as possible. Dive deep into the mysterious fathoms of the universe and accomplish your purpose by hook or by crook, even if it means going down to the bottom of the ocean to meet your doom.”
Professor Craven Nathaniel Stirge, Esquire at a lecture to the General Assembly of Alienists, University of Syracuse, New York, 1856
I spoke those words. Delivered them to thundering applause. I was so magnificently confident back then. So steadfast in my belief that the sciences would banish the darkness of ignorance and that humanity would cease being such a rapacious mass of heathens and discover the truth.
A thing can be true and still be desperate folly, however.
The truth is that I am not on an expedition. This is no jolly search for academic knowledge. Quite the contrary, if anything I have discovered that the ancient tales of Old Ones and dark powers, of horrible creatures that populate mankind’s darkest nightmares, of superstitious religious allegory of heaven and hell, of fanciful legends of magical beings and artifacts – they are all quite real. Not fancy, but fact.
The samurai has acquired a cursed sword. The Valkyrie has a brother than can freely move about the time continuum. My assistant is beholden to a fiend from hell and the Angel of Death – as am I. The newest arrival has a broadsheet from six months in the future. And I am currently in possession of a sword that came straight out of a Lewis Carrol novel. And we are all on a grand quest to put an end to the Machiavellian machinations of one Randall Flagg to bring about the apocalypse well ahead of its ordained schedule. After we hand over the last piece of a key that he needs to do so, of course.
And I fully intend to have a tea party with my dead (dreaming?) sister when this whole sordid affair is over.
These are not wild imaginings. These are cold, hard facts. These statements, as preposterous as they may seem, are true. A wise man once said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Of course I realize this all sounds like the ravings of a madman. But this is of no consequence to me. I shall persevere nonetheless on my course to oblivion.
But first, I must find a place for a certain pale mask in my collection. It must have an honored place, for I traveled far with the one to whom it was bequeathed. I had hoped he would see this grand adventure together with me to the end. Sadly he met an untimely demise.
On that note, I must also pen a letter to his nearest relations and inform them of his passing. Mauled by a grizzly bear, as I recall. Which is profoundly less unsettling then the truth of how he met his end, but there are truths best left hidden. There are a great many I shall take to my grave, which I fear may be sooner rather than later.
Now where is that infernal horned brute when I need another cup of coffee?