Hazel went to great lengths to retrieve this book from the study of my father.
This book is bound in plain leather that has stayed remarkably well-preserved over the years, except for the old and worn bindings. It is handwritten entirely in Latin but sprinkled throughout the book are notes written in the margins. Upon review, it is clear that these notes are all in different handwriting and even different eras, indicating many readers over a long period of time. The comments are in a mixture of Latin, English and more archaic forms of English. The ones Hazel can read seem to be commenting as much on the earlier comments as they do on the actual contents of the book. A few of the comments she recognizes as her father’s handwriting.
Based on the commentaries it seems the book discusses the classical “elements” but also includes additional forces as “elements,” four of which seem to be lightning, ice, light and darkness – much to the chagrin of many a marginalia commentator. This “need” for balance among the elements is hotly debated amongst the commentators. The merits and dangers of reaching out for these elements are all commented on and argued about as well.
There is an area of the book where the comments argue about “supposed” elemental amulets and the “so-called proof” they really provide.
I couldn’t read the book properly but I found drawings of four amulets. None of them were Antipodes but one did look similar to Michelle’s.
Translating the book involved more than just a few hours with Google Translate but I did it.
The book’s contents were a chronicle of an aspiring Roman sorcerer’s notes and musings regarding four amulets. He received these amulets from agents of the Empire, who tasked him with using his magics to divine their purpose. These notes include drawings of the amulets and translations of their runes: Ice and Fire, Water and Lightning, Earth and Air, Light and Dark. The drawing for the “Ice and Fire” amulet looks like Michelle’s. He discerned their other-dimensional origins but he wasn’t powerful enough to be able to reach that dimension through dimensional magics. Try as he might, the sorcerer couldn’t figure out how to activate the amulets, despite being able to sense their vast elemental power – it was as if they were inexorably linked to some other force. He does suggest the amulets themselves may be a balance to this force, and wonders what might happen should the amulets or the force be nullified or destroyed.
Based on the runic inscriptions on the amulets, their pairings, and his notions of balance that these amulets represented, he surmised additional Elemental forces above and beyond the traditional four that “modern” theory held dear. Much to the chagrin of his peers, who derided and dismissed these ideas. He devotes great time in discussing what these “elements” of Ice, Lightning, Light, and Dark would be like, and how they might balance themselves around the traditional framework of elements. He was never able to test his theories, of course, due to the low magical energies of the Earth, and he died with his work unconfirmed and incomplete. The book itself was compiled by the sorcerer’s apprentice using his master’s notes. The Empire eventually reclaimed the mysterious amulets and for his failed service the sorcerer only received the disappointment of his Emperor.
The comments throughout all the margins are from various readers over the centuries, mocking and scorning the book’s theories in much the same way that the sorcerer’s peers mocked and scorned them. Occasionally, a marginalia contributor speaks praise for the wild theories but laments that they, too, are unable to provide any proof to these claims. Much debate is held over the amulets which spawned these ideas, since to anyone’s knowledge they seem to have never turned back up again throughout the history of the book’s existence.