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Athenaeums 3 - Dare To Know

Alright, alright! Just let me be for an hour, we both have jobs to do and I don’t plan on being given an assessment for slacking off anytime soon!

Sorry about that. Audio Journal of Laurence Abbot, Archivist at Downing Hill Public Library, entry number 298.

If anyone was paying attention, yes, last entry was actually 297 and not 299 as previously thought. Though I could have sworn I recorded two others…

There’s been a bit of a buzz around the Library, with the newcomers making their presence abundantly known and a bit of an… incident, earlier this week. Accidents are bound to happen if you aren’t aware of what you’re standing by, or don’t know that just about everything in Downing Hill poses a threat to your wellbeing.

On top of that, there are little to no precautions when it comes to artifact storage, and certainly none for the pieces hanging on the walls or display shelves around the building. I doubt it’s truly a concern for the Director. She seems to think that whomever falls into a soul-burning brazier or cursed painting deserves it. I’m not going to say whether I think that’s true or not, however, I will suggest those who come here to avoid stepping too close to anything with a label on it. Which is now most things here, I’m proud to say.

The world outside may be a mess, and I’m convinced no one in this staff has experience running a real library, but organization lives on in my office and my archives, and I like to think I’m beginning to put this place in order. Unfortunately, we have a backlog that started decades ago.

So really, it came as little surprise that a student had an accident in the West Wing across from Arcane History H through K. I will say that the West Wing has more than its fair share of workplace hazards, and I blame both the artifacts and the Arcane Program students.

Anyway, they happened across a particularly interesting painting, one of my favorites, in all honesty. It’s titled “Watchers in the Window” by Windrow Thornsbury. It’s technically an oil painting, but it has a knack for drawing people in for “staring contests”. These usually result in death by means of spontaneous combustion.

Unsurprisingly, this painting was first documented in a home in Ireland in 1970, right above the television. The painting was lost to the world until another case popped up years later in 2010 also in Ireland, where it was procured. It’s lived in the West Wing ever since.

Ah, the note. As I’ve said previously, it reads “sapere aude” signed A.A. Translated, this means “dare to know” in Latin. Which, I’m not entirely sure if that’s more of a threat or a cordial recommendation. Then again, I’m also not sure that I care either. I have the unfortunate drive to “dare to know” things, whether threat or otherwise. I’m still a bit stumped as to who ‘A.A.’ is. Even looking up various other authors with those initials, none seem to be connected to “The Consistent Communion of Undeath” in any way, shape or form.

There have been a few connections between certain Indescribables and the area surrounding ancient Egypt. Interesting location for me, due to this scarab symbol and its importance there. There are a few records before, but most of these mentions range from 2,500 BCE to 48 BCE or so. I think some of the texts referenced were lost at that time.

I’ve told a few trusted superiors about this personal project of mine. It’s purely a ‘need-to-know’ basis. ‘Need-to-know’ as in ‘some of these books are terribly out of place thanks to a few students, and others should be in our collection but I can’t find them anywhere, and I just want to get back to my work’. It’s possible my project has reached the ears of the Director already, though I’m not overly worried about it. I’m sure she would be just as interested as I am if she had context and understood the potential implications.

Though I will say for future reference, and for anyone listening to this out of curiosity, that the particular scarab symbol found within the tome, on the note, and tattooed on my back should not be confused with the rather popular depiction of a scarab hieroglyph. This one has wings outstretched, and intricate details in the shell and wings that remind me of Indescribable depictions. At first glance, though, it might be easy to mistake them for each other… which makes me wonder if some of the texts I need have been documented incorrectly.

I don’t particularly want to look at every beetle-related piece of text in this library, but I may not have a choice. I’ll record again when I have some more answers.

This episode was written by horror writer Theo Dixon! You can find Theo at @EldriitchBones across the internet!

The Season One Epilogue story that goes with this episode is called 'Librarians', and is available on the Hello From The Hallowoods Patreon. Consider joining for access to all the show's bonus stories, behind-the-scenes and more!


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