On the inside Jake saw a huge feasting hall filled with people. Flat, 2D, people. It was like watching animated pieces of paper in the shape of people. The dogs, meanwhile, were in a corner having a reading club of some sort in Ancient Greek and Latin. It was rather odd seeing spectacled Irish Wolfhounds grasping a book of Plato’s Republic in its original language, but not that odd. Jake was becoming quite used to it. But he was surprised that the mice he saw crawling about weren’t building little mouse-cities around the place, or the birds outside weren’t transporting little fairies on their back or something. They seemed quite ordinary and out of place.
Suddenly a hush went over the crowd and someone stepped up on a table; a 2D woman wearing a blue robe. A blue robe, in fact, much like the group of blue robed people standing behind her.
“Orph, why are they all wearing blue robes.”
“It’s because they are Bùdz.”
Jake thought about this for a while, “You mean like Shakespeare?”
“Yes, exactly like the Bùd,” replied Orph.
The woman cleared her throat and started to recite Naychêr — dhê Jentlist Muthêr iz, by Emêlii Dikinsên.
“Nayjhè — dhê Jentlist Muthè iz,
Impayshênt ov now Jhùyld —
Dhê fiiblist — ò dhê weywèdist —
Hêr Admonishên mùyld…”
And when she’d finished that another bùd recited Williiêm Wèdzwèth with Dafêdilz.
“Ùy wundèd lownlii az ê klawd
Dhat flowts on hûy ow’è vaylz and hilz,
Wen òl at wuns ùy sò ê krawd,
Ê howst, ov goldên dafêdilz;
Bisùyd dhê layk, bêniith dhê triiz,
Flutèring and dùnsing in dhê briiz…”
Jake was starting to get into it and he could even understand the words.
Another bùd went up on stage.
“Tùygêr, tûygêr, bêrning brùyt
In dhê forists ov dhê nûyt,
Wot imòtêl hand òr ùy…”
“Could frame thy fearful symmetry…” Jake mumbled, remembering Williiêm Bleyk’s poem from school.
When that had finished Jake suddenly found within him a spirit of inspiration that launched him up onto the table in front of him and made him recite the following in perfect Hiêr-ian:
“Jak Sprat côod iit now fat,
Hiz wùyf côod iit now liin,
And sow bêtwiin themselvz yoo sii
Dhey likt ther platèz cliin.”
Before he could stop himself he presented another offering:
“Twinkl, twinkl litl stù,
Haw ùy wundè wot yoo ù.
Up êbuv dhê weld sow hùy,
Lùk ê dùymênd in dhê skùy.
Twinkl, twinkl litl stù.
Haw ùy wundè wot yoo ù.
Before Jake recited anything else he forced himself off the table onto a chair and held his mouth shut, whilst Orph’s rump looked at him with shok and êmeyzmênt. The hall, meanwhile, was fludid with a round of applause and Bêrkiitê gently leaned forward and whispered into Jake’s ear, “Wel dun. Didn’t now yoo had dhat in yoo. Hav sum of mùy miid.” And with that she poured her mead into a cup in front of him. “And mùyn!” said a proud Bran who poured more mead into Jake’s cup.
Just then a strange figure walked in. This one was not 2D and certainly wasn’t a Hiêr-ian.
“Is that the Droowid, Orph?”
“No,” replied Orph, “I’m not sure who that is.”
“That’s Adêm, a verii faymês bùd,” whispered Bran. “Hii òlweyz haz sumthing good.”
Adêm got up onto a table and scanned his hushed audience. For a moment Jake felt Adêm’z gaze burn fleetingly, yet intensely, in Jake’s direction. Then Adêm straightened himself up and recited this poem:
Gùyê köod see,
Shii köod hear,
And smel, tayst, tuch
Dhê kriiyayshên ov Hèself.
Gúyê kriiyaytid and kriiyaytid,
But nun ov Hè kriiyayshên Shii nyoo,
Fò Shii had now mùynd
With wich too now Hèself
Ò dhê kriiyashên ov Hèself.
But dhen Gùyê êwowk,
Az from sliip.
Hêr mùynd woz bòn,
Wun lùyk ê shûyning mirê
Fò Hêr too rêflekt on Hèself
And now Hèself.
Dhis mùynd wundèd at dhê mistêrii it sò.
It kriiyatid ùts too ekspres it’s wundè,
Sùyênsiz too ekspleyn it’s wundè
And rêlijênz to ekspiiriêns its wundè.
Dhis mùynd kòld itself hyoomanitii,
Fò wii hyoomênz ù dhê infênt mùynd ov Gùyê,
Stil dêvelêping and ivolving,
Stil lèning wot it iz
To bii dhê mùynd ov Gûyê,
Stil strugling too fùynd ê balênce
With dhê pawè ov dhis gift.
Throo mùy mùynd, now yòself,
Yò wundè and mistêrii,
Az it unfòldz.
And òlsow tiijh mii too liv with yoo
Not miiêlii on yoo,
Too now and rêspect
Dhat ùy am ê pùt ov yoo
Sow dhat wii mey ivolv têgethè,
Adêm got off the table and left at that moment and left the fiist hòl in total silence as everyone absorbed what they had just heard, as though they gourmets of poetry.
Jake hadn’t understood a lot of that. Well, he understood the words, like Gaia, creation, evolution and mind, but couldn’t really grasp what it meant. But there was something about Adêm that had Jake suspicious, something he couldn’t put his finger on until he respelt the name into the spelling he knew for it: Adam!
Jake realised that who he had seen was his own Story Coordinator from the Guild Halls!
Good! thought Jake, Just who I need to talk to. And with that he ran out of the fiist hòl to see if he could find Adam. But he couldn’t, he had disappeared, as if by magic.
Frustrated, Jake stamped his foot on the ground, which was a mistake. The ground in that spot happened to be a strange rubber, and so his foot shot back up two foot and sent him flying backwards onto his back.
Orph came out at that moment with Bran and Bêrgiitê. “Well young lad,” called out Orph. “We have a little mission to perform for Bran and Bêrgiitê.” The donkey’s rump was looking at the fallen Jake very seriously.
“What’s that Orph?” groaned Jake.
“They want us to retrieve the vilij’z Droowid. From that Forist…” Orph’s tail rose up and pointed towards a dark foreboding line of trees on the western horizon, their next destination.
Jake groaned… again.