The Twenty-first Leaf

The mysterious illness which plagued me for many days has now passed though I know not from where it came and whether it will return. I owe Iona a great debt for her tender mercy and care during this time. The King has still not returned and his absence seems to have upset her more than one would expect. I know not what to make of this.

The man in my dreams has not been satisfied and his questions continue. However, in some way my release from the strange illness has given me new strength, and maybe even some amount of courage. I can avoid the dream-man for as long as I write in this book. But I now have a sense that that is not enough, for I too have questions - for this intruder. And so I will begin my own interrogation. You and I are now bound. If you treat me with contempt, you can expect the same from me. If you attempt to intimidate me, I will make every attempt to do the same to you. You, look into me eyes and answer me …..

Ghost Journal

What if all our days are but a moment, a flash of color from a far off, spent rainbow? And what if the hours that we spend within our dreams, within desire, are just the fire from a gentle afterglow? And is it not true that the storm of the soul can send a shower of love, and then beget the rainbow?

- S

The relationship of the King with his young servant Iona is well known and the subject of much speculation. It is not possible that Sorren does not know this. So then, what is he actually saying? I believe that there is no connection between the King’s visit to the mainland and his absence from his mistress. Sorren is seeing ghosts and demons where there are none, and he is inventing new reasons to justify his growing disquietude.

I am much more interested with his relationship to his inner demons that haunt him in the night and ask him questions. What could Sorren possibly know that would cause him to be thus interrogated by ghosts and inner demons? This man has no significance beyond his ability to serve his King. His real battle seems to be with himself though he does not even know this.
— M

What an utterly strange relationship it must have been for Sorren to confide in, and take comfort from, Iona, herself a servant to the King. I wonder if Sorren even thought of Iona as a servant, or possibly he thought of her as something on the order of a Queen. And when Iona gave comfort to Sorren, was she perhaps seeing herself through the eyes of Sorren? I hope that there is more to learn in these subsequent leaves, for the picture of Iona, as described in the novel King Bartholomew, has given me a very positive understanding of her particular relationship with the King, and I hope to learn more about her life together with him. M has implied, rather bluntly, that the King was in the midst of an ongoing relationship with his servant while Queen Kathryn yet lived. Sorren has not said this and the novel makes no mention of this type of relationship, and therefore I will disregard the dishonorable suggestions of M and assume that his understanding of the facts is incomplete. His suggestion even implies that his annotations were written some time after the events described by Sorren took place.

I must admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I find the slow disintegration of this man Sorren’s mind, fascinating to witness. Although Sorren sees his condition as an illness, he nevertheless, laments when it is gone, and further, even fantasizes about questioning the interlocutor to discover his motive. And yet, even in the midst of his illness he is able to see the manifestation of his illness as something else, something outside of himself, and he promises retribution. He is fully cognizant of his illness and has emerged from the dream world into a new, waking dream.

I am curating these leaves because they were entrusted to me, but I am in no way qualified to accomplish such a thing without special liberties taken. I am no psychologist. And I will never hand this book over to another person, so I am committed to do the best job that I can without academic oversight.

What is it that could so completely consume this man? The obvious answer is guilt. That is too obvious, too convenient, and too easy, and that is why I do not believe it. Sorren has until now, spoken very little about his feelings and has revealed little of his own personal story. He is a servant and it is his nature to serve. I find him to be quite noble in fact. Here now I offer speculation, for I have no training in this field.

I think it is very possible that Sorren’s ongoing and escalating hallucinations, if we may call them thus, is the product of poisoning. Consider for a moment the ink that was commonly used for book copying and annotating during the Middle Ages. Many of these types of pigments were derived from the extract of crushed insect exoskeletons. In a previous leaf it is even alluded to by Rheingold the painter. Only now do I consider seriously the possibility. Perhaps Rheingold the painter taught the esoteric art of making ink to Sorren, and the subsequent poisoning, slowly as it may have been, is beginning to intensify. It may be that the words of Sorren will become even more abstract, more phantasmagorical, than they already are as these leaves continue.

I know not what to make of the Ghost Journal he has begun. Is this poetry, or an ode to the dream world to which he is now attached? I fear that he may only be attaching himself more securely with this action, but I cannot deny that Sorren may be using this device to keep his demons at bay. That he can so effectively serve his King beneath the weight of this condition is truly amazing to me, for were this to happen in my own world, he would be forced into some form of treatment center with a doctor’s order.