Festival of The Lost
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The sound of a chorus of trumpets, trombones, and various other brass instruments blared, easily heard from far away. The Chronicler covered her ears, and shook her head in annoyance.

"What's wrong?" asked Duoca.

"It's too loud," said The Chronicler.

"Really? I hardly even noticed til you pointed it out. Why is it so loud, then?" asked Duoca.

"It's the parade. I don't know what they're parading for, but they're always celebrating something around here. I don't get it." responded The Chronicler.

Duoca looked pensively over at the parade, as the two of them made their way back from their strange encounter with the boy who called himself Chirnov. Although The Chronicler said she didn't want to go to the parade at any costs, she found herself growing more and more curious. She decided to sate her curiosity by asking some questions.

"I think Lorelei said something about a 'Festival of The Lost.' Do you know what that is?"

The Chronicler paused, her hands resting just above her ears, and pondered for a bit. It took a few seconds of turning the mental gears and reviewing everything she'd heard in the past few years as a Chronicler for her to land on something that seemed to apply.

"Ah, yes. I think I heard an old woman telling me about her and her family's fun day at the Festival last year. I asked her more about what it actually was, since I never really cared before, and she seemed happy to tell me. Apparently it's celebrating the valiant effort of The Lost against the twisted Figments in the war that happened uh… about fifteen years ago?"

This sent Duoca's mind racing. Valiant effort? Lost? A war? Fifteen years ago? Twisted Figment? What did any of that mean, and how come she had never heard about it bef— Oh, right, she had only been born the other day. Still, it seemed to be something very important, and important things immensely piqued Duoca's interest. Though she wasn't sure where to start.

"What is a 'twisted Figment?'" she asked, after about a minute of deliberation.

This question seemed to shock The Chronicler, and she spent a few more seconds thinking about it before answering very hesitantly, "Um… I think it's like, when a Figment gets sick?"

"Sick? How does a Figment get sick?"

Several more seconds of hesitation and grumbling came from The Chronicler. She looked up at the eyes of her best friend, shining with curiosity. She would hate to see the light go out of those eyes, but she got the feeling Duoca wouldn't be satisfied until she knew. She sucked in a breath and began to speak.

"A twisted Figment is like, what happens when a Figment goes rogue. They kill their creators, and start editing their own narrative freely. Usually, they transform themselves into monsters with great power, and they go out and start destroying everything."

"But why would they do something horrible like that? Weren't they written to be friends?" asked Duoca, her lip trembling.

"Not all of them were. Twisted Figments were generally pretty rare, up until about fifteen years ago when we saw the most massive outbreak in The Library's history. People say that it all started due to an uproar over the recent ban on writing Figments."

"There was a ban on writing Figments? Then why did you write me?" questioned Duoca.

The Chronicler sighed and said, "I've always been a bit of a rule-breaker, and I don't really have any real friends besides Lorelei, who's always busy. So, I thought it would be a smart idea to write you up to comfort me."

Duoca nodded, and after a few seconds of thought asked, "Have I been doing a good job of that, at least?"

"Of course, Duoca."

The two of them walked in silence back to The Chronicler's room. Duoca thought about the parade, but she didn't want to upset her best friend by putting her in an uncomfortable situation, nor leave her alone. She hung her head solemnly and resigned to her fate. Perhaps she would get to see something fun like a parade some other time.

The Chronicler and Duoca entered her office, and sat back down at The Chronicler's desk. The Chronicler immediately got back to her writing, as she still had some chronicling to finish up, but Duoca sat there leaning her head against her hand. The Chronicler didn't notice until Duoca spoke up.

"Do you think I'll ever become twisted?"

"Bowls! Bowls galore!" shouted Lorelei, as she waved a number of ink-stained bowls in front of Sinclair's face.

He silently appraised the bowls, and after a few moments of deliberation asked the obvious question: "What's so special about some bowls?"

Lorelei frowned and responded, "Don't you remember? It was that one twisted Figment during the Imagination Wars some fifteen years back. No one knew who its creator was, but it showed up in the Muses' neighborhood and started terrorizing people! All squishy ink and eyeballs, it kept surging up out of grates and around corners. Rumor has it that they defeated it by shoving it into a bunch of tall pots and bowls."

Sinclair nodded. Though he couldn't quite remember the details, he did recall that his own Muses had been attacked several times during the Wars. It was not unimaginable, the scenario that Lorelei was painting.

"So why did we keep them around? Isn't there a risk of keeping the ink-stained bowls and pottery?" he asked.

"No, not at all. They killed the thing by throwing it off the edge and watched it tumble endlessly into the sky. Now all that's left is the ink staining these bowls, and it's been inert ever since. Think of it sort of like a trophy. You know the hunting that goes down in the forest? They have an odd tradition over there of stuffing and mounting the heads of the big game they catch, so that they can remember the struggle." continued Lorelei.

This woman sure talks a lot, thought Sinclair. It was almost endearing in a way, the manner in which she could drone on and on about topics that seemed unimportant. You could tell she was excited. Sinclair supposed it was something that came with the job of being a Chronicler — after all, who could derive any enjoyment from chronicling the everyday life of The Library if they couldn't find some way to trick themselves into finding it exciting?

Sinclair found himself so endeared by Lorelei's contagious excitement, that it even managed to subdue his own grumpiness, though in a very minor, imperceptible way.

Unfortunately, the words were starting to weigh heavy on Sinclair. The noise of the surrounding celebration suddenly caught up to him, and along with it the voice of his fellow council member crashed over his weary body. He felt his chest tighten.

The Council of Librarians were a peculiar kind of governing body. Though they held a much higher status than anyone else in The Library, and though they held total control over all major decisions that needed to happen, most council members preferred to humble themselves.

They lived in small homes, like everyone else, they ate the same meals, spoke with the same mannerisms, and were generally rather agreeable. One could easily find themselves forgetting that they were speaking with one of the six rulers of their world.

Most of the council members preferred to socialize themselves with the common people. However, Sinclair was not one of these council members. In fact, he rather liked to socialize himself with no one at all. His best company was found with himself, and excursions into the outside world were taxing at best and dreadfully painful at worst. Often, it was more like a sliding scale.

So it was that Sinclair had found himself agreeing to go to the Festival of The Lost, to appease the popular vote of the council who had all agreed that The Head Supervisor ought to well, supervise, and the plea of his new acquaintance, Lorelei.

So it was that he found himself now feeling as though he hadn't gotten any sleep at all and that he would very much like to go home and be alone for the remainder of the celebration. The pain of socialization was getting to him at last. However, despite all that he wanted to leave, he found himself bound there by his duties.

It's going to be a long day, he thought.

The Chronicler's mouth gaped open. Duoca felt as if she had said something wrong, and quickly changed the subject.

"Nevermind that. What are you working on over there?" she asked.

The Chronicler looked as though she still had something to say, but finding no words, she opted to change the subject as well.

"I'm finishing up my chronicling for the week. It's been a busy day, and I haven't had much time to finish writing down everything I had recorded. Right now, I'm just editing what I had written before. Later, I'll take out my recording device, and you can hear—"

The Chronicler was interrupted by the sound of a low grumble coming from her stomach. There was another duty she had forgotten today, and Duoca noticed it too.

"That sounds like an awful lot of work. Haven't you eaten anything yet, today?" she asked.

The Chronicler pondered this for a brief moment. "No, I don't think I have. I've been too caught up in all the events. First I was sitting here too stressed from the beginnings of the parade to do any work, then I figured I'd write you up real quick and Lorelei caught me, then we hung out together for a bit, and then that Chirnov boy showed up out of nowhere!"

"Well, if there were already so many distractions today, why not put it off in favor of some more? You're hungry, aren't you? Let's go find some food." said Duoca.

"Oh, alright," grumbled The Chronicler, as her stomach did the same. "I'll see if I have anything in here still."

She swung open the door to a small device that kept her food cold and fresh. It was a rather ingenious invention. With no tinkering required, some kind soul in The Library had thought up the idea of writing up a Figment about boxes that could keep your food cold. It came to him in a dream, he had said. And so it was that everyone in The Library now owned a coldbox of their own.

Empty. The shelves within the coldbox were entirely empty. Chronicling was a busy job, and The Chronicler had apparently forgotten to leave her office and resupply her stock of food, nor had she remembered to ask Lorelei or another Chronicler to get some for her. Damn.

"Looks like I don't have anything in here." she groaned.

"I guess we better go out and get some food, then." said Duoca, as she stood up. "Do you know where any is?"

"I think… the closest place to get food is in the path of the parade. Great." The Chronicler mumbled.

The two girls stood up and stretched, and The Chronicler put away some of her writings and drawings. Another duty she had forgotten was to clean her office, and papers were strewn all about it. She was determined to delay as long as she could, hoping that the parade would pass by and she could acquire a meal safely, but she was stopped when she felt Duoca's hand reaching for her's.

"Come on, Chronicler. No time to clean, we've got to get some food in you." said Duoca, with all the determination inherent to a best friend.

The Chronicler resigned herself to her fate. "Oh, alright."

And so it was that The Chronicler was dragged out into the thick of the storm, on a valiant quest for sustenance.

Sinclair peeled off from the crowd and found a dark, quiet corner to relax in. Lorelei had hardly noticed him leave, and he suspected she was still fussing over unimportant things like bowls or tattered scraps or synopses of battles.

There was very little leftover from the Imagination Wars. Most of what was known came in the form of rumors, for the wars had started and ended so quickly that no one was really sure what had happened. Additionally, at the time the job of Chronicler had not existed, so there was no one who's duty it should have been to go out and ensure the war was remembered accurately.

That had been a major swaying point in the proposition of the creation of the new job of Chronicler. The Library had, for a very long time, an issue with recording their own history. So it was that before a point about four decades ago, hardly anyone remembered anything about what had happened in the past of The Library. The only memories were stored in the minds of the elderly, who often were unreliable narrators.

Rumor also had it that, the twisted Figments' method of killing often involved completely removing someone from Existence. This was both a positive and a negative, for it meant that there were no bodies, no gruesome gore that needed cleaning up.

However, there was also very little, if anything, for the families who had lost people to remember the soldiers by. The best that could be done to assuage the pain that came with having nothing to remember your lost loved ones by, was the Festival of The Lost.

Sinclair sat down with a sigh, and thought about the events of the past week. He was supposed to be supervising the Festival, but surely the people could manage themselves unsupervised for a few minutes while he took some time for himself, right?

The Aventurine Mirror. It was about the most exciting thing that had happened in The Library since Sinclair was born. Where had that chunk of aventurine come from? Was it pure chance, or had something like fate or destiny occurred? He didn't know, but what he did know was that he was glad and impressed that the project had actually worked.

The Muses under The Head Supervisor's jurisdiction had not had any work in half a decade. Writing Figments was banned, until The Library could find an ethical solution to the overpopulation problem. Heh, ethical solutions… thought Sinclair. He remembered what happened after the Imagination Wars.

Figments all across The Library were inspired by the plight of the twisted Figments, and outraged similarly at the ban on writing Figments. To them, it was comparable to what would have been felt had a ban on having children been placed on the people of The Library. More incidents began to spring up, more people getting wiped from Existence, more twisted Figments. A revolution.

The Library had had to do some… very unsavory things, to quash that. Sinclair shuddered. Best not to think on it for too long.

Regardless of what had happened in the past, the future was beginning to look bright for The Library. The man in the Mirror, and the parlor which he called The Realm of Possibility, were a much needed boon. Perhaps there would be brighter days for Figments and Librarians.

A scream pealed out from the crowd. Sinclair sighed. Time to get to work, he thought, as he clambered up and walked determinedly towards the source.

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