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Gryyfins of the Word

Incomplete story

a man inherits a card to the library of Alexandria from his grandfather

he reads more and more

loses touch with the real world, becomes Greek/Roman and becomes one of the librarians. implied that he is a Lamed Wufnik. and his position is inherited things to mention include the Pygmaioi warring with the cranes on the backs of goats another name for a griffin is ‘alce’

He read of the secret name of Rome and where it is recorded, of the dire punishment on all those who should reveal it. He read the secret name as well - the dust of those who could have forbade him had crumbled all into dust a fifth of a myriad ago.

Too, he learned the infinite arts of scrying, to read the bronze castings; he learned the language incised on intestines by death - the dead animals by the roadside spoke to him and no one else. Slowly he suffered a sea-change: to him the pronouncements of Tiresias became freighted, rich and strange. Next he turned to the Sibylline oracles (the original, uncorrupted - as the miserly official saw them).

He could no longer go to church. When he had entered it that Sunday, he felt Dionysus grinning bloodily down at him (or was that Adonis? But no, that face… Tammuz?) He gazed around uneasily at the relics. Here were the solar symbols; there was Isis the mother caring for her child; there, her holy and inviolate temple whores. The drunken disciples petrified in the windows. (Does their number seem familiar? It should. It is a hallowed number; hallowed by other mysteries.) Withered devotees reciting shriveled creeds. Yes, he understood them too. He knew who the Arians, the Monophysites, the Nestorians (and Nestor) are - were. But why did they repeat these simples against even deader words?

He froze. Look at me, that idol seemed to say. Where are they now, oh scholar? Where is Bull Mithra? Whence Attar? Where have Osiris of the black corn or the All-Father, Glad of War, his son Baldur, or Tiwaz gone? What spirit animates the oaks of Dodonna now? The oracle is silent and she no longer even babbles in a hermeneutic whilst narcotized.

Those gods - they are silent now. Your Mestrius Plutarchus knew this. I have eaten them. You believe you eat me? Did you never remember, you deicides, that the god might yet be angry? It is difficult to see the nature of men, so we must judge of their moment for the moment only; how much more so of those over men. Plants prey on minerals, animals dine on plants, men on both, and who on men feasts? More truly, I devour you! I devour you, and yours, forever and ever. Amen.

He fled from that place, then, and never returned again.