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کتاب: جوهر و استخوان / فصل 33

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EPHEMERA

Transcript of the questioning of Postulant Thomas Schreiber by the Artifex Magnus, transferred to the Black Archives under orders of the Curators.

ARTIFEX: Explain how you developed the idea for this device.

SCHREIBER: I like to tinker with things. My little cousins had wooden blocks I carved for them, with letters on each side. We had a game of spelling words and pressing them into the mud—

ARTIFEX: Who encouraged you to build it?

SCHREIBER: No one, sir. I wanted to see if it worked. I thought once it did I would show it to Scholar Wolfe.ARTIFEX: And did you? Show it to Wolfe?

SCHREIBER: No, sir. I never had the chance. We only just returned and I couldn’t sleep, so I worked on it. It only began to work tonight. I was planning to show it to him tomorrow. Sir, I don’t understand – have I made a mistake?Doesn’t the Library benefit from such a thing?

ARTIFEX: Wolfe never saw this machine. And you never showed him plans, drawings, discussed your ideas for it. He never encouraged you in this mission to undermine the Library?

SCHREIBER: Sir! No, no, that is not at all what I am doing! I only mean to help the Library, never hurt it. Scholar Wolfe had no knowledge of it. I wanted to wait to show him once it was ready.

ARTIFEX: Don’t be afraid, postulant. No one doubts your skill, or your genius. It takes avery bright young man to do what you did, and invent something that is so … world-shaking.

SCHREIBER: Thank you, sir. I am glad you think so. I can work on it to make it better, if you will give me a workshop and tools to—

ARTIFEX: Do you know what happens when the world shakes, Thomas?

Cities fall. People are crushed. Empires break.

The very foundations of the Library shatter.

When I say it is a worldshaking invention, it is not a compliment. It is a condemnation.

(SCHREIBER is recorded as silent.)

ARTIFEX: Who else saw the plans? The machine?

SCHREIBER: No one, sir.

ARTIFEX: Is there a hand-drawn copy of these diagrams?

SCHREIBER: I only put it in my personal journal.

No one else saw it.ARTIFEX: We will, of course, make sure you are telling the truth.

SCHREIBER: You’re going to destroy the press?

ARTIFEX: Oh no, boy.

We’re simply adding it to the warehouse of many similar inventions.You’re not the first to think of such a thing.

Merely the latest.

SCHREIBER: You’re going to kill me.

ARTIFEX: Some ideas are like a virulent, persistent virus. They must be ruthlessly eradicated before an infection spreads. It is an unpleasant rule of medicine that diseased limbs must be severed for the health of the body. One last time, tell us who else knows, and you may live out your days in a cell, instead of dying in an unmarked grave.

(SCHREIBER is recorded as silent.)

ARTIFEX: May whatever god you follow have mercy upon you.

(The Artifex then directed that Schreiber be taken to a place of questioning.)

End of record.

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