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(WHNWC) The Numerary's Jar

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posted on Feb, 27 2007 @ 11:16 AM
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The Numerary's Jar - Part I

The driving rain pricked hard at my skin that night, making it difficult to grasp the large jar in my aging hands. The sound of the waves crashing against the edge of the rocks had drifted into the background as my eyes bored through the thick, muddy glass. I could catch short, sporadic glimpses of the contents. I became weak and was unable to stop myself from remembering my early years at Yale and the many evenings spent before Church studying the pages of the .Voynich Manuscript. So many times I dreamt of unraveling the mysteries surrounding the aging text, and would often spend my time in prayer asking for such an opportunity.

The parchment in the jar was yellowed by time, but the elegant script and carefully drawn pictures of flora were still clear. Like a crazed circus performer, I wrapped my hands around the lid, and tried to twist it from the spiraling grooves that held it tight. I stopped after a few seconds, realizing what a foolish thing I was trying to do. I was not explicitly instructed not to open the jar, but doing so would surely bring forth the anger of the General Council. I found myself in a battle between wants and needs. It had been many years since I had experienced such feelings, and I felt a crushing guilt for having such thoughts.

I dropped to my knees before my mind could wander further, and proceeded to remind myself of why I was there and who I was. I dared not take the time to remove my shirt before whipping myself, fearing that even such a short delay might cause me to fall even further into sin. With each strike, my mind began to clear, and I slowly regained control of myself. I stood quickly, knowing that giving in to the pain was giving in to sin. I clutched the jar with an intensity that I had never before felt before, finally feeling the incredible responsibility I had been given.

I looked around, not sure how far I had walked since stepping foot on the sharp, rocky island. How long had it been? Minutes? Hours? I was unsure of how much time had passed. I wasn’t even sure of how many days had passed since my meeting with Father Rively at the parish of St Thomas More.

It had been raining in London that day as well, which put me in a contemplative mood as I made my way down Finchley Road towards the Parish. My mind was going through many scenarios as to why Father Rively had requested my presence. It was not very often that he sought the company of others, preferring instead to remain in prayer most of the day. But Father Rively was also one not to dole out punishment, so I felt comfortable that my summoning was not one made out of such a desire.

As I stood next to the barely visible ruins of a long forgotten church, my mind snapped back to the present as I stared down the muddy slope toward the ocean’s edge and then up at the rocky outcropping that capped the steep hill. The sky was shifting from light to dark, numbing my vision as I hunted the landscape for the trail that had brought me to the ruins. If only I hadn’t been assigned this task alone, I might be able to concentrate more - to think things through. But that is not what the Prelate had wanted, and I understood his reasoning. Of all the years that we have been berated, downgraded and insulted, even by the Catholic Church itself, to finally have something tangible that would teach the world that all we have been doing is what was right.

I began to make my way to the top of the hill, struggling to pull myself up with only one free hand and shoes that failed to grip the muddy soil. The fading light forced me to turn on my torch, but I had no worries of being spotted. The tiny island had faded from memories long ago, and had disappeared from maps before that. I began to feel the cold dig into my skin, the pounding rain long since washed from my senses. As I approached the top, I saw a rock that bore resemblance to a human, and had assumed it to be a weathered statue. As I drew closer, I could indeed make out certain features, such as the distinct outline of a face, and the form of an arm draped across a bare chest. My mind flashed back to the Parish and the Statue of Thomas More, where Father Rively had grabbed me by the arm.

He quietly asked me if I had heard the news about the Voynich Manuscript? I told him I had, but that I did not believe the manuscript to be a work of deception and a hoax. Father Rively leaned close my face, his eyes wide, his mouth arched in a wincing smile. He whispered in my ear that it was good that I did not believe what was on the news, and handed me a small piece of paper. I looked at him with questioning eyes, holding the paper firmly in my hand. As he turned to walk away, he looked over his shoulder and told me to read the piece of paper in the quiet of my chambers and to not speak with anyone, not even members of The Work, until I had done so.

As I made my way up the hill, I listened for the sound of my boat gently bumping against the rocks. My boat was near; this I knew for the island was small, yet with the torch light hacked and slashed by the pouring rain, I could not make out the trail that would lead me back to where I started. I turned and slowly slid my back down the side of the statue, my eyes trained forward, and my ears reaching out to each and every sound in the hopes that one of them would lead to my boat. I was shivering from the cold, and felt as if I had been placed in a world of continuous corporal mortification. As I stared out into the night, illuminated only by my torch, I saw something in the distance. It wasn’t something bright or shiny, or something I could even explain. But something was there, several hundred meters in front of me.

I slowly stood and began to make my way toward the thing in front of me, my feet shuffling along in the rain, as they did when I left the Parish that afternoon after my meeting with Father Rively. Perhaps I shouldn’t have listened to him. Perhaps if I had not disobeyed him, I would not have been struggling to survive on top of those jagged rocks only a meter above the swelling ocean.

As I sat in a taxi on my way to Golders Green Station, I took out the piece of paper and flipped it through my fingers, curious about what was inscribed on the inside. For a fleeting moment, I contemplated reading it right there in the taxi, but thought better of it after watching the taxi driver watching me. The Prelate had eyes everywhere. But my curiosity began to get the better of me, and I slowly began to unfold the piece of paper, my eyes feigning a gaze out the window in a ridiculous attempt to fool the taxi driver. Written on the paper were the words: You Looked You Are Chosen. I had only looked at the paper for a brief moment when the taxi driver pulled over to the curb and struck me in the head.

I awoke some time later, pain wrenching through my head, my vision hazy. I was seated on a bed in a room as plain as the white terrycloth towels we were given on weekly basis at the Living Center. A man wearing a red tunic approached me and asked if I recognized him. I told him that I did, and attempted to kneel before The Prelate, but fell to the floor, the pain in my head not allowing me to stand.




posted on Feb, 27 2007 @ 11:17 AM
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Another man in the room picked me up and placed me back on the bed, instructing me to remain still. The Prelate sat beside me, and told me that I had been chosen to retrieve a most precious document, one that would bring power and glory to The Work. I attempted to steady my voice so I could ask what the document was, but the Prelate, sensing my upcoming question, raised his hand for me to stop.

I looked at the elder man for a moment, then quickly averted my eyes for fear of retribution for looking at such a high Holy figure. The Prelate lowered his hand, and sat in a chair that had been placed beside the bed.

My eyes faced the floor, but my ears were focused on him. He spoke in a soft, yet stern voice, and explained how the Voynich Manuscript was not a hoax, but was very real, and held very powerful information. Information which had been lost hundreds of years ago with the disappearance of the Codec. The Codec, he explained, was the secret to unlocking the Voynich Manuscript, and every attempt at retrieving the Codec resulted in the disappearance of the Numerary Assistant sent to retrieve the Codec. The Prelate explained further that they dared not send more than one person for fear of drawing attention. The Codec, in the wrong hands, could prove to be the end of The Work, and quite possibly civilized life.

It was then that I raised my eyes and looked straight into the Prelate’s eyes. Why me, I asked. Why was I chosen? The Prelate rose from his chair and began to walk towards the heavy oak door of the room, stopping just as his hand rested on the door knob. He told me that I had met the qualifications, and left the room. I was then brought to a small village on the northern end of Scotland, and given a small boat. The journey to the island took many hours, with me arriving shortly before evening.

I had found what was intended for me to find, and now I had to find my boat. My feet were beginning to cramp, and I had little feeling left in the tips of my fingers, but I forced myself to keep moving forward. Something was in front of me, a faint shape of something. I wasn’t sure, but perhaps that something was my boat. I had made it about half way when I happened upon a covering of rocks that offered protection from the rain. My legs ached, and my body was cold. I should have kept walking, but my strength had been flushed out of me. I crouched down and crawled into the covering.

I placed the torch next to me, in such a manner that its beam of light struck the jar and illuminated the contents quite well. My curiosity became an angry devil, grabbing at my senses with powerful arms. I picked up the jar, and once again attempted to twist of the lid. Slowly, the lid began to turn. Perhaps I should have used the strength that I had somehow found to open the jar to help me make it the rest of the way to the boat, but it was to late. The evil devil was now in control.

I slowly pulled the parchment out of the jar. It was not brittle as I had expected, but had stiffened so that it would no longer be possible to right upon it. I slowly unrolled the parchment, my eyes scanning the emerging document with great wonder. As the intricate letters began to reveal themselves, I let out a gasp as I noticed that they were not some incomprehensible prose as was the case with the Voynich Manuscript, but in a very understandable version of old English. But there was no doubt that this was a companion document to the Voynich Manuscript. The style, the appearance, the drawings, it all matched. I thought to myself that perhaps I was chosen was because of the many hours I spent gazing at the original Voynich Manuscript, not images purloined from the Internet.

The first words that my eyes fell upon told of another script, written in code for which the document I held in my cold, damp hands was the cipher. I held in my hands the Codec. The one thing in the world that could decipher the Voynich Manuscript.

My eyes were heavy, but my mind would not allow them to shut. I had to continue to read, I had to know what the secret of the manuscript was. All I could think about was what a profound loss it would be should I perish that night, never knowing what was contained within the Manuscript.

As I read the Codec, I could see in my mind each page of the Manuscript, the text and pictures on each page. My mind slowly turned each page, and as I read the Codec, it became clear what the Voynich Manuscript was.

It was one mans tale told through observations and notes about another planet far from earth. A planet lush with vegetation and wondrous lakes of freshwater everywhere. A temperate climate with warm days and cool nights. What a wonderful place this must be, I thought.

After what must have been hours, I closed my mind from the pictures of the Voynich Manuscript that I had so long ago committed to memory, and glanced one more time at the Codec. At the bottom, scribbled in a handwriting that was far removed from the elegant script covering the rest of the parchment, was a welcome message.

I glanced up and my gaze was met by two large, luminescent, red eyes.

I have been away from Earth for several years now, and so far there have been no new Numerary Assistants joining us. I wonder if perhaps I did not put the lid back on the jar tight enough?



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