The Twenty-third Leaf

I see things, some things, more clearly now, at least I believe that I do. But in all honesty I am unsure of some of the most certain things in life. The events of last night will take me time to understand, if ever. What is clear to me is that I collapsed into a complete and absolute sleep from which I was utterly removed from this world. But now that I am returned, and in my retreat, I can see it: there is another, and another.

And when I was awakened back to this life I find that it too is mysterious. The King has returned, but something has changed, something within him, or about him …. And perhaps even more significant, although I cannot say, the King has brought with him another. A man of numbers.

- Sorren

It is clear that Sorren is communicating with someone, or some thing that is outside of his limited ability to describe. No, I cannot maintain my conjecture that Satan is involved, and I may have been over zealous and not disciplined in my analysis. If these voices come to him even when he is awake, they may in fact be vestiges . . . ghosts, or phantoms from another realm, hidden from our eyes, but somehow manifest to the eyes of Sorren. But something even more disturbing has been awakened within me now, and I shudder. He does suggest that there is more than one phantom. Could this book which I hold in my hands be sensitive to my very presence? What if it is I that is the phantom of which he is so frightened? His illness is beginning to reach out to me until I too am becoming ill.

What is a man of numbers? Sorren is not even familiar with numbers as he clearly states in another leaf. Perhaps he is referring to a man that knows numbers. But why would the King bring in a man of numbers? This could be a tax man. Perhaps the King seeks to finance a war. I do not believe this. The King is trying to finance something I am almost certain. Perhaps we are finally coming to the beginning of the Great Hedgewood Wall odyssey. Sorren could not know about this yet, or he would have suggested it himself. I merely look backward.
— M

A strange thing has happened.  In the previous 22nd leaf I posited a question that was nagging at the edge of my awareness for an entire day with upmost persistence.  It was that a form of sympathetic magic had connected the very thoughts of Sorren into my own mind through the leaves of this book, and that an empathetic synergy was at work.  M had left decisive comments in which he evoked the name of Satan, and I was curious and slightly annoyed by this.  But in the very next leaf, a leaf that Sorren wrote perhaps only a few days later, M has disavowed his own insistence that Satan was involved.  What is strange to me is that his new speculation should so closely follow my comments made in leaf 22, several centuries after his own comments, but through the simple turn of a page, seemingly preceding his own.  The reversal is both bizarre and disturbing, as a similar thread seems to be weaving us together.  Books do not live, and servants do not compel servitude.


And then, with the twenty third leaf, Sorren further defines this strange mechanism which is penetrating even his waking mind.  He does so with surprising eloquence.  But if these same sentiments were uttered in my contemporary world, the reaction would be universal and sudden, and would end with calls for professional intervention or banishment.  This is something I often contemplate, as some of my thoughts and words are clearly outside of accepted consideration.  One must be careful with words . . . or even with the expression of certain thought, because much bloodshed and violence has been committed by people that have expressed similar strange and bizarre thoughts.  Authoritative bodies of professionals universally agree that such interventions are not only proper, but necessary for the protection of society.  Sorren surely is trying to be careful here with his words. He writes at night, alone, and by candlelight, possibly for fear of being discovered and of being ostracized.


Now then, how far afield of mainstream thinking is one allowed to wander in this present day?  The question frightens me.  Sorren could not exist in this world.  Soon it may be that to even discuss one’s dreams may warrant admonishment and incarceration as our very dreams are analyzed and stripped from us as Jungian psychology has become codified and weaponized.  But even this does not describe the experience of Sorren in my opinion.  For even if I accept the fact that his dreams and waking fantasies are the product of hallucination, that still does not explain his ability to integrate these hallucinations into his own personal, existential model.  Sorren is not insane.  Instead, I think that he is serious and quite sober. 


The issue with the man of numbers for me is simple.  King Sigmus is bringing Patrick Beauchamp to the island in anticipation of the Lady Kathryn’s death.  Of course Sorren could not know this, but I am writing this after many centuries, and I have had time to correlate these pages with the events described in King Bartholomew.