Xyr 2

SEGMENT TWO
LETTER TO ANNABELLE SCHILLER FROM H. PEUGEOT ANSIBAL
JANUARY 3, 1924
Dear Annabelle:
Sad to report, most of our friends believe you killed August. As your attorney, I would offer certain advice. As your friend, I would offer a contradictory counsel. Who can say what the truth is?
I chose to write in my capacity as friend. I believe your story. Others among our circle would claim that August is too responsible for such behavior. But I have known him since childhood. If August is responsible, in the social sense of the word, it is because responsibility was beaten into him by a father who feared all forms of excess, even his own son’s genius. Schiller hid his eccentricities, the radical beliefs he formed in the darkness, by himself. He was able to make a career out of things invisible. Instead of discussing demons, he discussed sub-atomic particles. Instead of the devil, he discussed entropy. He affected a scientific facade.
There were some, like I, who saw the symptoms of madness in his work.
Inquiries have been made to certain of my contacts who would surprise you. They verify legends of a paradise called Valkynne. My nameless contacts also share with me certain suspicions about a link between your husband and one Leicester Gunyen. In his own discipline, Gunyen enjoys as much renown as August. A strange and ancient creature, Gunyen often introduces himself as the Knight of Ten Thousand Years.

Can Portrait of Bertrand Market

Some call Gunyen brilliant. Others would hesitate to use any description of him that connotes light.
Recently, Gunyen has been involved in a certain military project– very secret– which places him in many of August’s circles. Gunyen takes offence at the newly acquired scars on August’s cheeks. The tiger-like striping seems a parody of Gunyen’s wrinkles.
I believe you, Annabelle. I say this out of love and respect. But I also believe August. He may have his moments of quirkiness, but he is rarely wrong.
The mystic and scientific approaches are equally valid means of apprehending reality, though mutually exclusive. Mysticism involves a separation from the senses, to contact higher powers, or to access the power within each of us. Science involves the opposite; observation and evaluation; a system for regulating doubt. We each make a choice about whether we value an authority on the basis of its being old or new; whether we value faith over evidence. We decide how we want to learn about the world, how we want God to communicate with us. Haven’t you ever noticed the way that people who seek auguries and rely on intuition frequently find them effective? How many people do you know whose lives are a series of remarkable coincidences and fantastic encounters? August and I knew a great many. He used to dismiss the magic in their lives as if it had been brought about by expectation alone, like the results of a laboratory experiment manipulated to conform to theory. But now I think that August has changed paths. God is talking to him in a different way, and I pray that August has not lost his capacity to listen and understand.
As I said earlier, the advice I give as a friend is quite different from what I would have given as your attorney. I fear you must deepen the suspicions rallying against you by undertaking a long and treacherous journey. You must head through the Alaskan wilderness, following the map I have enclosed. If anyone can find August Schiller, it is Xyr. You need to seek out Xyr.
Xyr is a reclusive scholar of both science and sorcery, a resolution of contradictions, a study in the effects of introversion. Of indeterminate nationality, race, and gender. So self-centered as to be August’s opposite– but sometimes Xyr helps those in need, simply to bolster her– or his– claims of superiority.

Can Xyr portrait

I wish I could go with you, but I cannot. It is difficult enough to gain an audience with Xyr. Increased numbers only lessen your chances. I anticipate you will succeed on your own. This matter will be of interest to Xyr– if for no other reason than it involves August Schiller.
Should you run into difficulty with the authorities, I will be here, as always.
Your attorney and friend,
Hugh

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