Intermission ١ – An Ecolography

An abjadabatic reaction, capitalised by a subtext of grapheme, explains in a profusion of pluralities. Thousands of these happen per second, cascading through semiotic cells filling verbal veins.

A larger scale. The warp and weft of woven words wind with wondrous will, scales of sonnets and teeth of talk, entropic eyes and blood of braille. With a contraction of musings, it starts to susurrate through the syllabaric seas, seeking the tense of its quarry.

Knowledge is power. Power is work per unit time. Work is the change in energy caused by a process. Energy itself gives rise to weight and therefore mass and the production of elementary particles, so it can definitely be said that knowledge matters. Knowledge also enlightens, and the photons from which light is constructed each bear a specific energy.

The cyclical nature of the Real being what it is, a Materian physicist known as Einstein – literally “One Stone” in his native language – discovered both of these dual natures of knowledge, and is such revered by their primitive civilisation as a symbol of intelligence. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Knowledge begets light, begets power, begets life. This is the first truth. The light cannot be seen from the outside, but it can flower inside the mind. That is what it means to enlighten. In older versions of this language, it was more obvious, and spelt ‘inlighten’ – to light on the inside. In the beginning was the Word – the primary unit of information, from which all light, all energy, all matter springs.

And as for life? Well, the Library is nothing but a sea of words, densely packed in all the books – not the inherently magical Twelve Million Words, but each still holding a fraction of a fraction of their original holy power.

This sea of words has fish.

This sea of words has sharks.

It has no name, in much the same way as a human being doesn’t have a personal lump of meat that fully describes what they are. Or maybe that lump of meat is the person, and thus the creature’s name is its full being. This is the kind of thought has one standing around pondering important questions about names, while the creature, hungry and indefatigable, is still hunting you. Wyrms of words, they claw their way through consonants and dig through definitions, swim through synonyms and fly flytingly through the insubstantial mists of words in much the same way an analogy does.

There is a hieroglyphy of creatures that live in this environment, out of sight of typical lower sentience within the Library’s very words. At the bottom of the fnord chain, pictoplankton feed from simple knowledgic light, and are fed on in turn by filter-readers. Charnivorous creoles prowl the words, the furthest from the phoenetic soup – creatures such as the Anomalochares and Thesauri.

These beings are made of information, primarily in the form of words. Seeing as there is a dedicated part of most sapient creatures’ brains where language is processed, these creatures are usually filtered out by dedicated systems, broken down into phonemes and reabsorbed in the form of ideas. More resilient creatures drift in and out, insubstantial as mist, leaving behind but a faint trace of their presence. These creatures are distant cousins of true drakes, and are often called ear wyrms, named for an (incorrect) illustration depicting them entering the mind through the ear of an A Librarian in one of the earlier versions of the Excyclopaedia Realmatica. They are analagously ‘light’ enough to carry themselves on rhythmic sound waves, which they tend to leave an impression of in the minds they travel through, and they are often regarded as pests in Library society.

But there is an apex predator in this ethosystem. A creature of such might and terrible power that its primary prey are not any of the insubstantial creatures of the words, but the very Lower Sentients that walk the material paths of the Library. Knowledge begets light, and these creatures are so much knowledge that their light is blinding, is cauterising. It’s supposedly impossible to drown a fish, but Lower Sentients aren’t fish in this analogy. They are tiny blips of information bobbing around in structures of matter, and a creature like this can enter their minds with all the subtlety and tact of a killer whale trying to fit inside a rockpool. All that information’s gotta go somewhere. Depending on the type of Lower Sentient, this tends to be out of the ears in thin streams of liquefied grey matter. This is usually fatal.

Creatures that evolved, or were created in the Library often have protections from and adaptations against these information-substratum superpredators. Scripteraphim are too powerful to damage like that, they shine too bright in light both internal and external. Bookbinders are powered by the words in their hearts, written in a script long-forgotten on the inside of glass spheres usually mounted in the centre of their chests, and those words cannot be changed externally. A Librarians have a synbiotic relationship with these more dangerous subtexquatic creatures, their minds having the resilience to allow the things to pass clear through them without lasting harm.

At the edge of the known word, where no reader dare tread, there are pictures and warnings on maps. Books are but the shallows, and these creatures are from the deep-ocean trenches.

The warnings say ‘here be dragons’, and in the forgotten readches, the Bookwyrms lurk, with teeth like similies and metaphor eyes.