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The Golden Torch – Part III

(Part II is right over here, just click the link. Or if you’ve missed Part I, click here.)

Some time went by since I last read the diary of Linkvist. My master and I agreed it best that I spend a few days outside of the property, and hope that all my troubles would resolve themselves that way. Well, they mostly have – I still have trouble sleeping, but not because of nightly ambushes or death threats. I suppose I cannot be absolutely certain until I resume my duties as caretaker. It’s the not knowing that keeps me from my dreams. My master assured me that, in my absence, there were no more ‘irregularities’, or so he insisted on calling all that had happened to me. I definitely sensed that part of him said that just because he wanted me to get back to work – mostly because of him repeating how the yard was ‘not exactly in a preferable state’, how he and his family were ‘living in squalor’. He confided in me that I was the only one he would let near his precious garden. It’s nice to be trusted so much that he wouldn’t let anyone else handle my duties at the house. But for traffic along the two-way street of trust to resume as normal, I would need a bit more assurance than this. My master’s words, I doubted not; just those of his family, who must’ve been in some way involved, for I do not see who else could have learned of the Golden Torch (I had, a few days before, inquired as to who else besides me knew of its existence. There were none.) At any rate, I figured I might just as well return to the house, now; I know myself well enough to see I wasn’t going to get a decent night’s sleep until the matter was resolved once and for all.

Not one step in the door before something strange had caught my attention. I was greeted warmly by all members of the family, save the son, but that I fully expected. But there was just something off about the whole scene, here. Whereas normally the hallway was lighted by a magnificent chandelier, it brought no light today. In its place I saw a row of torches. This in itself wasn’t all that odd, as I was told that the chandelier was only temporarily out of commission due to repairs; but the pattern in which the torches were arranged reminded me of how all this business came to light, if you will, in the first place.

Naturally, I was dead set on having a closer look at all of the torches – who knows, maybe the real Golden Torch had finally been discovered, and was now amongst this bunch. Why the pattern, though…? There were several torches on the wall that remained unlit, and when I asked if I should light them up again, I was told not to bother with it. And I didn’t. At least not before everybody else went to sleep. I simply had to take a look. Carrying around a big ladder without drawing attention to yourself is a hard enough task, but I managed it well enough for the first bit – down the steps, into the hallway – I almost had a heart attack when the young man of the family stood in my way asking what I was up to with that ladder. “It’s so I can fix the …. Eh… The– ah, the wall up there, see, it’s got a crack in it,” this is what I told him, having the ‘luck’ that the wall was actually damaged. This also meant I had to fix the crack, but I knew that I couldn’t full well go hammering away at this hour, lest I wake any sleepers. My ‘obstacle’ went back to bed, and I just hoped he wouldn’t wonder why I had to go fixing a crack at night, of all times, or why he didn’t hear me do as such, when I only just told him I was going to.

When I got on the ladder to check out the torches, I got a closer look at an area previously unlit, because the torches on this section were extinguished. And again, as was the case in the mausoleum, all of them were near a portrait of Linkvist, which was obscured from sight when looking up from the floor. I held one of the lit torches closer to the portrait, and found the look in his eyes to be vaguely unsettling. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but his eyes just seemed unnatural to me. When the light shone from a different angle it turned out this unnatural gaze came from two small holes in the eyes. These two holes enabled me to shift the painting to the side with my fingers, revealing another crack in the wall – but this crack looked more like it was caused by human hands rather than the rotting away of the wood. I felt around beyond the hole in the wall, and pulled out a small object, which I fully expected to be a torch of considerable value, but that it most certainly wasn’t. It was a small book, with a singularly frightening drawing of a skull on the cover, resembling the one on Linkvist’s diary, only smaller in scale.

The little book started out with the following…

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The Golden Torch – Part II

(If you’re looking for Part I, click on this link.)

I woke up feeling as if bludgeoned over the head, and I attributed this to my awaking every hour or so during the preceding night. The sandman kept me at arms length because he doesn’t particularly like people that are all excited and jumpy. After putting on my clothes in a hurry (day’s labour was about to commence,) I started towards the doorknob, and fell over in admittedly comical fashion when it didn’t turn over like you’d normally expect from a doorknob. I jiggled it a few more times, but it wouldn’t budge. Considering I am, in fact, the caretaker of this property, I’d just have to fix the doorknob myself, and so I decided to climb out the window to try and come at it from the other side. Upon seeing me leap heroically from a tree through a window, my master shot a look of disappointment my way, but knew enough not to inquire further. ‘It’s just one of those days, huh?’ Oh, one such day it was, indeed, and during the remainder of my scheduled multitude of menial tasks (a plague all of its own,) the plague of bad luck continued to assail me. Everything from being locked in the tool shed to nearly having eviscerated myself on a scythe used for cutting weeds in the garden.

This was truly the worst case of bad luck in history, if ever I saw it. My father passed down onto me a strong resentment for all theories spewed from the mouths of the superstitious, however, and I wasn’t about to defy traditional wisdom by explaining recent string of unfortunate events as merely that; bad luck. Perhaps all the crime-ridden stories of last night instilled in me a light paranoia, but as they say, it’s not paranoia if they’re actually out to get you – something I’d secretly hoped would not be proven today.

The possibility of being the victim of a series of pranks gone a little too far set aside, the only other reason I could think of as to why somebody would want to mess with me, was that I had been reading a book I wasn’t supposed to. Despite, or maybe exactly because of having severed connections with inglorious past, I always knew my master as a man of honesty and integrity – I took his word for it when he told me he didn’t know anything about any of this. I did, however, decide it better to lie by omission regarding the reading of the book. The same answer was given from all the other members of the family. I knew I never got along with his son all that well, we had shared a few unpleasant conversations before, but him going so far as intending to maim me, I did not think at all possible. In short; I was now exactly where I was this morning, albeit a little more distraught. The realisation that somebody is probably out to hurt you, maybe even murder you, is a deeply disturbing one, even to the strongest of men. Despite not having any real evidence for any of this, I knew in my gut that something was very, very wrong. At any rate, I figured that whatever harm my reading the mysterious book could have done, it had already been inflicted, or so I rationalised it when continuing to read it. And so, I found myself wholly immersed in the fascinating world of Deathport once again, picking up right where I had left it.

The young Linkvist had just, not knowingly, absconded with an item of more than considerable value. It was to be known as The Golden Torch, the golden part of it which revealed itself only upon the torch being fully burnt out, a process that would take several weeks, at the least. He used the torch on his way back to Deathport, a journey that shaved off only one day. He doused the flame upon returning, and stored it away in a dark cellar, figuring it might come in handy someday, and there it remained for many years to come… Until one day, a fully grown man, he returned to the now reduced to ashes and stone ruins of the town. He held no sentimentality for this place in the slightest, but a certain item had very recently been brought back to his memory, this time in the know of its hidden quality. He knew not of the fate of Deathport, and cared little; all he knew was that he’d be spending the next few hours, or more likely days, uncovering the ruins in search of the entrance to the dark cellar. And so he did. Here, the book included a single page from his journal, describing those few days spent dwelling in the ruins of his childhood, which had crumbled to nothingness all the same through his life of crime.

Day 1

It has now been just a few hours in my search of the torch. Even so, I feel I’m already moving along at a good pace towards uncovering it. I scarcely remember this town, although I spent many years here. The fact that ninety-nine percent of it is buried beneath stones and ashes, doesn’t do much to spark my memory. We were on the road, or rather, on the run, so often that I spent at least as much if not more time in another bed as I did in my own. One thing that I could never forget, however, is the peculiar smell surrounding a small, oddly shaped stone building that was next to my residence. I knew that I’d have to operate much like an animal and set my nostrils to purpose, for smelling that vile, rancid smell would be the best indicator of being near to my goal that I was going to find. I never did get the chance to find out exactly the source of this nasty air.

Day 2

Time has done a marvellous job of concealing not only from sight, but from other senses, as well. With no clues to follow up on, I continue to dig at random. Even if I’m completely off base, I can take solace in the fact that I was born in a little town, rather than a metropolis; I’ll hit the mark sooner or later.

Day 3

The past few days have been painfully uneventful. Fatigue and boredom rule in between bursts frustration over not having found it yet. The notion that I was well on my way two days before seems almost ridiculous now. I’m starting to question whether this is all worth it, but I’ve invested far too much in this to cease efforts now.

After short journal entry before was placed, I found myself unable to fall asleep. I decided to go for a short walk in the area, and in all its clichéd glory, there came the turn of events leading me to my goal. I wonder if anyone has ever been this excited over smelling such rancid foulness…

The book here came to a pretty abrupt ending. After uncovering the torch, he brought it back to his new and fully self-built residence, which would later become the house in which I find myself currently. The book, as I half expected, never did say what exactly became of the torch: was it still here? Did he ever get around to removing the wooden layer to reveal the prized gold? If somebody else took it, how did that person come upon the necessary information? And in what way is this connected to recent events?

(Want to know more? You might just find out if you click here.)

The Golden Torch – Part I

Entering the mausoleum, I noticed several torches as being unlit. As I was in the process of lighting the torches, I realised there was a strange pattern to them – all the extinguished torches were near portraits of the exact same character, namely John Linkvist, a well-known adventurer/criminal in the 1600’s. I knew little of the man, despite being groundskeeper for his family’s property for over a decade, now. Said family always encouraged me to not look into their history all too much – they were ashamed of their ancestors, they said – and I agreed to not do as such, for I thought it wasn’t any of my business in the first place. But, in the end, curiosity is what shapes a man, what makes him strive to learn, and here, too, it got the better of me (many times in the past had I stuck my nose where a nose doesn’t go, one of the main reasons why I value privacy so highly nowadays.)

So, it was only a matter of time before I found myself in my master’s library, when he was out on an errand, skimming through books about their apparently shameful family history. The library wasn’t all that big, but packed with books, regardless. Beautifully decorated, as well, with a great sense of lighting and its effect on atmosphere. A magnificent red, almost crimson rug covered the floor, and only one grand chair was set in the middle, with a small foot bench in front and a round table beside it. Beautiful old paintings, all landscapes, adorned the few empty spaces that were left. Looking around this room, you really got a sense that you’re walking into the past, amidst all this nearly ancient furniture and art. I was half hoping that pulling on one of the books here would reveal to me a hidden chamber of sorts, or at least that there would be something hidden in one of the books themselves – no such luck, if luck you can call that at all. Which is not to say that I found nothing of worth in my stay in the library. One book in particular was devoted entirely to a man, whose name I don’t think I have to repeat for the observant reader. The pitch black cover was ragged at the edges, almost sharp, and the front was covered with a drawing of a skull, one that might put even other skulls at shame when it came to being frightening images. This was my first chance to just put down the book and make myself scarce, but you’ll find it no surprise I didn’t take that chance, or any of those that would still follow. My inner voice took over completely when I opened the book, turning what would have normally been simply reading, into a narrated motion picture, that’s how immersed I became in the history of this famous man.

In 1612, a boy was born in the town of Deathport, a world all of its own, where crime was glorified beyond reason. A smuggler would be portrayed an honest man, a pirate a hero. It’s barely surprising that my master’s ancestor entered into the criminal circuit at a very young age. Even worse, if anyone there showed the slightest aversion to robbing, plundering, killing and murdering, this person would be ousted from the community (which I considered odd, as the book stated residents of Deathport had no trouble ending a life when it came to mere coin – you’d think they would just kill off anyone who wasn’t one of them, but as it turns out, even the most wicked have yet some mercy in their hearts.) At the age of nine, he had already successfully built up a reputation for himself, as the ‘lil’ pick pocket’. His speed and small hands obviously were a great advantage.

It was not until the age of seventeen, however, that he acquired something with worth beyond being a means of putting food on the table. The book stated he stole a torch consisting of pure gold beneath the oil-drenched wooden head, which obviously revealed itself only when the torch was fully burnt out. Nobody actually knew this, and the lil’ pickpocket only took it because the torch he already carried with him wouldn’t last long enough to light the path on his way back to Deathport. I had already completely forgotten about the weird pattern of unlit torches in the mausoleum at this point, and was caught up in the story too much to make the rather obvious connection between this golden torch and the pattern seen before. Again, the observant readers have probably picked up on this connection themselves. I myself would be reminded of this soon enough, but for now, looking at my pocket watch, I decided the hour as being too late for me to finish the book in its entirety, and so I closed it and put it back in the bookcase. I was so excited with what else the book might hold that sleep came with difficulty, that night…

 

(If you want to know what happens next, then you’ll definitely want to click here!)

Cold and paralyzing shivers

As I prepared to leave the university, I was stopped dead in my tracks when a sudden cold and paralyzing shiver ran down my spine. The temperature outside was well in the negative digits, but that alone did not account for how extremely painful this sensation was. It felt more like a small dagger entered my flesh at the neck, and was brought down to my lower back at great speed. I noticed the absence of a stream of blood, which made me think that somebody had to be messing with me from a distance. Actually, I’m no stranger to putting a curse on others, as it is a very effective tool in extracting information from the enemy. Hate it when I have to do that, but it does work. Many of those whom I so cursed described the sensation as being similar to what I just experienced.

So I started going over it in my head: who could be the one who had set out for revenge? More importantly, how would I find this evildoer and put a stop to him? It was more than obvious to me I was going to need some assistance in tracking this person down. Luckily, the university has access to an abundance of tools, books and devices that should aid me in my search, and as such, I remained a while longer. Said devices, books and tools bore fruit almost immediately, when I came upon one name in particular, a man who was referred to only as Dragov. I never learnt his last name (or whether Dragov was his real name, for that matter,) because I never really cared to ask once I had gotten what I needed from him. At any rate, I knew now where he was last seen, in the lake-village of Blueheim, and also knew at least two people there acquainted with this man. I grabbed my cloak and made haste, but again, when I was running down the stairs I was halted by a cold and paralyzing shiver, this one even more intense than the last. Nearly made me fall down the flight of stairs, too. I had to press on, though, as I knew that if I didn’t kill Dragov, things would only get worse and worse.

The short journey to Blueheim was rather uneventful, fortunately, and despite my expectations, more shivers never interrupted it. Luck, like lightning, never strikes me twice – as I soon learned that Dragov was no longer present, or so my two informants made me believe. I wasn’t sure I could full well trust them, as much as I wanted to, as they appeared very uncomfortable to me when I spoke with them. I’d figured Dragov would know I was on my way to find him, and maybe he threatened these two to keep them from revealing his whereabouts. Therefore I set out to scour the village, and asked every resident if they knew someone fitting his description, but this endeavour proved futile. I sank down, broken, into a rickety chair at the local tavern with unpleasantly warm ale on the table. At this precise moment, a cold and paralyzing shiver shocks me once more. I feel as if unable to catch my breath, and looking down, I notice an increasingly large pool of blood gathering below me, with a small dagger beside it. Life is escaping my body, my soul abandons me, and I know I am to be no more.

A man with a massive grin on his face is now standing over the lifeless body, and the room is filled with a joy that hasn’t been felt here in years.

“Gotcha, you crazy bastard!”

“What do we do with the corpse, Dragov?”

“Burn it. Make sure he’ll never rise again. Pack it up, boys… The last evil is vanquished today, and an era of peace we once knew can finally return to Blueheim. I suppose we can finally get back our university, as well.”

Jouster Extraordinaire

Once was born a man of devotion flaming like none ever seen.
He grew up in a worn-out, brown-tinted village, one that was famous for its rather tall buildings, and its rather tall monuments, most of which are dedicated to scarcely clothed war heroes of yore. The entire village, paradoxically, always smelled like pretty flowers, and even in the deepest of alleys would your nostrils be penetrated by a fabulous smell.

This man, when he was yet a boy, already had a keen interest in the pugilistic arts, as well as in fighting with big, shiny swords. Over time, this interest only grew and grew and grew. In fact, whatever kind of weapon there was, if it could be used to potentially lethal effect, he had to feel it in his hands. He became a collector. Like a squirrel, he nestled all sharp things he could acquire in his weaponry. He called it weaponry, but it was really more of a dark hole, one he dug himself, just outside his home. Though he cherished all that sat in his weaponry, his favourite would forever be the double maces. Shining bright in the sun with a grand, purple reflection, dazzling everyone who beheld them. These two loyal friends had never failed him, nor would they ever, because they were forged with some of the finest and hardest of steel, and adorned with the most wonderful and good-looking of leathery leather straps. But a collection is, of course, no fun, if you cannot play with it every so often. And that is how he finally ended up in the jousting business.

He practiced and practiced, and before too long (he didn’t believe there was such a thing), he could count himself among the finest fighters in the land. After many a sparring match, always ending favourably for our hero, he felt he needed something more. Something a little more prestigious. Thus came the time to get his satisfaction, that he had been seeking for so long. The time was right. The time felt good. The time for his first real tournament! And oh, what a tournament it was!

I won’t bore you with the details of his preparation. Or rather, I’m not going to talk about that, because our man of the hour doesn’t require much preparation in the first place. The first enemy was one of little note. His appearance paled in comparison even to the brittle village elder, that only rose to get a loaf of bread and a stick of butter once every while. Needless to say, it took mere seconds before our hero had beaten him, and beaten him he did. Then, out came the second opponent. Hardly any taller than the last, but definitely in better shape. His armour was quite marvellous, and was already scarred by a good few attackers who set out to kill him dead, but failed miserably in the task. Matter, it did not. Yet again our esteemed hero defeated him, with but a few blows of his hard, steel maces. The armour that served his victim so well could now, at best, serve as a plate for tavern wenches to carry tankards of ale with. Another challenger appeared. Mostly cut from the same cloth as the last one, barely more of a challenge, either. And after him, well… It went on like this for quite a while, to say the least. Whoever was in charge of managing this tournament did a conspicuously good job in arranging all these hard, sweaty men, and ranking them perfectly according to skill. Let us move on, and just say everybody got a good turn.

When his final opponent came in from the distance on his magnificent horse, everyone in the audience let out a gasp. Even the announcers, quite visibly, got a little uncomfortable, as they held their hands over their crotches, as if trying to cover something up. Ah yes, invoked are powerful feelings in the heart of every person in attendance, when Sir Apenis makes his entrance (his exits were never too graceful.) It has been said that this man was so visually pleasing, even nature rose by springing up a mighty oak tree wherever he’d slain another in honourable combat. His horse he stabled, and onto the fighting grounds he stepped. Fear-stricken and overcome with grief for their local hero (soon to die, they figured,) some people fled the scene. Our hero would expose his true self to them yet. For they had not seen him perform at his full potential. Make no mistake, he fought like a lion before, but he was sure to save some of his strength for the final strokes.
At any rate, when the command was given to begin the fight, it was as if the sky itself opened up for these two brave warriors. Rain poured all over them, their garments completely drenched, their muscles gleaming wet in the sun. They circled around each other for a good while, feeling each other out. Trying to detect an opening. And when the first blow was delivered, it gave a thunderous smack that sounded across plains far and wide. Our hero was flung back a distance, and fell to the muddy ground. As he attempted to rise, he was only just in time to parry another incoming swing. Now back on his feet, he made his retaliation. But our hero prefers as many swings as possible, to maximize the damage, as opposed to Sir Apenis, who concentrates on single, but forceful strikes. This flurry of attacks greatly upset our enemy, but it had also left him a little dazed. He tried to fend off our hero, but a few strikes certainly hit their mark. Struggling, bleeding, he tried for a counter-attack. Right on target. The shoulder of our protagonist was now deeply cut. Blood trickled down all over his armour, but he can take it; he’d learned to take it long ago. Though this only made him more determined than ever. He would not give opportunity for another strike. He would finish him off, right here, right now. A leap so grand, never beheld before, his magnificent silhouette appeared before the sun eclipsing all. His double maces held high in the sky, he brought them down with a crushing force upon the chest of Sir Apenis. I’d love to tell you he made a good showing out of his death, that he had some final, deep and profound words of wisdom to pass on, but as I mentioned, his exits were always a little messy…

And so, he died almost instantly. His breastplate completely smashed, his shield broken up in a thousand bits. And there he lay, his face barely recognizable from the blunt force inflicted upon it. The loudest cheers and hoorays were shouted that day. Deafening roars, and sheer bewilderment of success, exalting our hero to grand champion. The skies agreed with this sentiment, as a wonderful rainbow appeared high above the earth (that is how the legend started, that, sort of like Sir Apenis, the planet itself commemorated his victories, by painting the sky with vibrant colours.) Such was always his fate. He knew, inside. He would be grand champion one day. And now he had convinced every disbeliever of his martial prowess. A great party emerged, while they dragged off the bloody corpse of Sir Apenis. This party, of course, lasted for hours upon hours, deep into the night. Our hero’s accomplishment would forever be remembered, and if not, well, some people erected a giant statue in his honour and remembrance, amongst the rather tall statues of all the other heroes produced in the village he calls home. I think it proven without a doubt; the world has never been as fancy as it was in the era…
Of Jouster Extraordinaire!

Slumber

When night walks over man, welcomed is deep rest
Fall now into your bed, relieve a breath from chest
Fade away in happy dreams, vigilance no more
Well-earned is this sleep, closed thy bedroom door

Yet beyond heavy doors, my soul gives a shout
Taunted by ghost of dreams, I hear him call out
Sleep I could not find, nor do I find it now
My body inanimate, mind yet wakes somehow

The more you wish it, the farther it stays
And you are left behind, in a paralyzed haze
Sweet sleep please tell me, do I not earn you too
What could I have done, that this I must go through

Twist and turn but no, the hour is now such
Even if I should sleep, it will not help too much
So I lay and ponder, deep into the night
Until once more dawns, upon my face the light

To no avail I rise, eyes as if inflamed
Legs unable to move, arms as if were maimed
Once more as evermore, hope is laid at bay
Yet kept alive with thoughts, allowed a life this day

Anything random comes to mind

Is anyone ever thinking in a truly random way?
Computers are most certainly capable of delivering absolute randomness.
I find myself doubting this as a possibility for the human brain. Regardless of how much I may to want to believe it, if only for how cool a thing it is to claim. Even in one’s most bizarre outbursts that seemingly have no connection with anything or anyone… Well, looks like I’m already half-way through spoiling where I was heading with that thought. The keyword here is seemingly. Seemingly, if you shout out peanut shark tabletop salad, that has nothing to do with anything whatsoever – partially true. It definitely doesn’t make any sense, right? Thing is though, I didn’t actually just blurt that out. I did catch myself trying to come up with something so perfectly weird and disconnected it pretty much had to prove a capability for randomness. And in that contradiction, is revealed the paradoxical nature of this issue.

You see, my search for evidence is in itself a piece of evidence, for the computer-driven ‘debaters’ of the room, that is. Even if my previous string of silly words was thought up in a flash, it still required some fraction of time. Therein lies premeditation. That is what I believe now, at any rate. I support the idea that any thought, no matter how small an amount of time it took, no matter how many digits after the dot, it is still a premeditated thought. The human brain forms billions of connections in its all too brief lifespan. That is how man learns. By remembering these ‘bridges’ in the brain, although most of the time in your subconscious. By being able to connect a piece of newly acquired information through aforementioned connections. Considering how these are wildly abstract most of the time and, frankly, impossible to explain (mostly since brain-scanning technology is not nearly advanced enough,) I’ll try to illustrate what I mean through one simple, yet practical example.

A baby forms the connection that touching fire leads to cooking of the flesh. This intel is stored deep in his brain, as it has a supremely obvious physical result – a trip to the burn centre. Now. Let’s say this same baby is a few years older, and has familiarised himself with the concept of food and that, often times, it has to be prepared before you can nibble away at it. The baby’s brain will now form a new connection, upon seeing his mother utilising a fire to prepare his desired foodstuffs, that fire is indeed, oh glorious day, good for something besides making an ouchie. And so he learnt. Even though the explanation for it certainly took more than a second, the forming of these connections happens at a much faster pace, a fact which I already pointed towards, or rather, slammed in the face with a big sign saying, ‘over here’. Therefore I figured it wise, and aptly timed, to segway back into our main course in the food for thought dinner, if you will.

Because even though it is impossible to prove (so far,) there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that everything you say or think is made through one of these connections. Even when you think it’s not. Let’s bring back my example of arbitrary words for a bit and dissect it. Surely you remember them. The ‘peanut’ might come from me having thought of, at some point in the day, a sandwich – and what, typically, goes on a sandwich? The ‘shark’ part can be explained by me having read a short article about statistics involving deaths some time ago. Therein, it stated a surprisingly large amount of activities, or events, that caused significantly more deaths than shark attacks do, this on an annual basis. An irrelevant though interesting piece of information, one that is stored in the brain to be brought up later. I could go on, but I think by now, you catch my drift. Sorry, I’ll close the window. A joke/subtle indication of the end of this piece. Although full well realising that spelling out the fact that something is meant to be subtle completely destroys any trace of it, but I’ll just have to live with that. In closing, I’ll say this. From everything that I seemingly said in random, including me shooting off on a tangent about the learning habits of man, I’ve come to realise that it was all done with at least some thought to it. Thereby having failed to prove human randomness. Though I’d love to see anyone give it a try in a non-ranting, off-topic going sort of way.