chapter 11: THE WORLD
this card, 21st of the Major Arcana, here signifies
Completion, Prize, Achievement
"What mean edu-kate?" Clown asked, then answered his own question,
"oh wait, Crown think that maybe mean to learn stuff, no?"
"That's right. Clown, do you understand what's happened to you?"
"Think so. You said Crown might maybe get smarter if Wandle's
Mommy did magic trick..." He looked at Benutio and Luminata,
as if studying them, not grinning his idiot grin at all,
expression quite serious. Then he nodded, "Yah, it work! Crown
smarter now, can feel it."
They were inside the uppermost chamber in the Tower of Tarro.
He looked around the room, studying where he was, then frowned
"But Crown not can say what is what...no, wait...I cannot say
what..." He shook his head in frustration, started again,
speaking carefully: "I need more words. I have big...thoughts,
but little words, I need to educate."
"Good idea, we'll start by expanding your vocabulary," Luminata
said, "follow me."
On the way down the tower stairs Clown was saying, "Good words:
Luminata led the way to the Royal Library of Tarro with Benutio
and a very curious Clown following her. The heavy wooden doors
were attended by two guards, who greeted Luminata with respect:
"Greetings Royal Sorceress!"
They seemed not surprised to see her at such an early hour of
the morning, but they did look at the Gypsy and the Clown
with suspicion. "Shall we wake the Library Master, Sorceress?"
"No, thank you, Denwo, I know what I am looking for. We need
not disturb old Phendrix at this early hour."
"Forgive us, Sorceress, but you know that the Royal Library is
restricted to members of the Royal Family unless the Bookmaster
is present. You may enter, of course, but these men..."
Luminata raised her hand. A ring sparkled. The guards froze in
trance, mid-sentence, standing but sleeping with their eyes open,
as well as their mouths.
Luminata turned back to Benutio and Clown, who had also been
entranced, and waved a symbol with her hands in front of their
blank eyes. "Come on, snap out of it."
Benutio shook the confusion out of his head, "Whooa! What, did I
But Clown was not confused. He looked at her with great wonder,
then smiled vastly. "That was a good trick...can I learn it too?"
"Why did you do that?" Benutio asked, indicating the guards, who
stood still frozen.
Luminata shhshed him with fingers to her lips and pushed open the
great door, which was locked but opened easily for the sorceress
anyway, and went into the Library. Benutio and Clown followed her.
"We must keep secret what we have done to Clown," Luminata said,
once they were inside, with the door closed and locked. "Otius
has occult ways to spy upon us, and will probably do so if he
expects us to retaliate for his attack."
Benutio nodded. "Agreed, Clown can only approach Otius if he
seems to be his idiot self. Perhaps we should get him out of
Tarro at once, before others begin to perceive the change in
him. It is a long journey to Castle Darkstone anyway."
"How long?" Luminata asked.
"If you ask that, then I assume you cannot transport us upon a
lightning cloud as Otius did."
"No, I've never seen that before. There is a rumor that Otius
possesses a Lost Volume of Powertext, containing unknown...and
"Well, it's just as well: Clown is not ready anyway, he'll need
time to prepare for an eventual confrontation with Otius.
Travelling by wagon through Tunddal and over the Major Mountains
to Farland will probably take at least a couple of weeks."
"So long? My poor Wandii." Luminata's face lost some composure.
Clown's face was animated. "Wandle? Where is she? I am
ready to help her now!"
"Are you, Clown?" Luminata asked him, "do you really know
what you must do now?"
He thought for a moment, looking actually quite intelligent for a
young man wearing a clown costume with painted face, and delivered
an intelligent answer. "Yes: I must learn what to do, so that
I can know what to do."
Inside the Library, historical walls were lined with thousands of
books and rolls and parchments, slates and tablets, many and
various forms of written or inscribed documentation that had come
to this library from the far reaches of the world. There were
ancient hand-written volumes, as well as lithographed books, for
that technology had not been lost yet.
Luminata led them to a table. She pulled out a chair and nodded
at Clown to sit at the board. He did so without foolish comment.
Then she rummaged through some bookshelves, and came back with a
thin primary reader, obviously meant for children, and spread it
out on the table for Clown to see.
"Ah, a book. Like Devo reed...reads."
On the first page was a picture of a tree, and in large bold
script 3 symbols spelling out a word (in the Intiglian language,
which we shall not bother ourselves with here). Clown carefully
studied the page for a second, then looked up. "What called..
what are these called?" he asked, pointing at a symbol.
"Letters," Benutio prompted, "they each represent one sound..."
"Yes, I see that, sounds make words. Here is "tree", with 3
letters: tuh rrr eee. There must be more letters?"
"There are 16 letters in the Intiglian alphabet, look through
They sat beside him at the table and told Clown the 16 letters,
the 8 numerical digits. He learned everything the first time
he heard it and remembered verbatim everything they read out
loud to him.
Luminata showed him a book of grammar--by this time he could
take the books in his hands and read it out loud to them, and
they had to tell him to "read slower, you're talking too fast
to understand." When they handed him a dictionary he
read it silently, but almost in a frenzy until he finished it
in half an hour.
Thus Benito and Luminata shared the wonder of seeing Clown's
mind awaken and grow, and build structures of super-genius
personality at an increasing rate of speed, like a snowball
rolling down a mountain, picking up speed and weight and
power. They read to him from the Encyclopedia Intigliana:
historical articles, mathematical theories, naturalistic data;
and he consumed information as a starving man would eat food--
except that he wasn't too full to consume more.
"Let's speed this up:" he said, "you can both read to me at the
same time--Benutio, that booklet on Astronomy; Luminata, what
about a sampling of those ballads you mentioned?" And
Clown was himself studying the pages of a large Atlas, absorbing
They were all quite weary of it when the doors of the Library
were opened. It was suddenly late afternoon, they realized.
The Bookmaster came in, an old man with spectacles wearing an
academic's gown--and stopped, surprised. "Who's here?" he
shouted, then saw Luminata, who gave him a little wave and a
The Librarian came forward. "Sorceress! We are at your
service!" But he couldn't help frowning at Clown and Benutio.
"I had no idea anyone was here, or I would have come earlier.
There is still a state of emergency in the town...but the
guards said nothing..."
"I zapped the guards, it's not their fault. Sorry, I will
apologize to them later, but not now. It is a secret that I am
here. As you said, there is emergency in the city of Tarro
Bookmaster Phendrix caught the implication of her words. "And
the Library can be of assistance in that regard?" He knew that
the entire defense of the City of Tarro, and in fact Theland
itself, was by the power of Sorceress Luminata.
"Indeed. I need to borrow several books from the library."
"The Encyclopedia, an Atlas..." Clown blurted out. Benito
and Luminata both glowered at him and he shut up.
Bookmaster Phendrix also glowered at the silly Clown actually
sitting at a reading table in the Royal Library, and raised a
skeptical eyebrow. "The Encyclopedia Intigliana? Sorceress,
that is 75 volumes and the only copy in Tarro!"
"I need it," she said, "for Tarro, for Prince Elro, for...for
my daughter Wand."
Bookmaster Phendrix quit glowering. "Then take what you need...
please just list them for us."
But he looked at Clown again, suspiciously irritated. "And
I suppose you'll be reading that encyclopedia too?"
Benutio and Luminata glared at Clown again. He got the message
and just nodded to the Bookmaster, his old idiotic grin in
place. "Yah! Crown rike pictures!"
end of chapter 11
Chapter 12: THE EMPRESS
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