Journal Entry 789 Section 2
109.82 under dewey decimal filing system

"Just keep your head down."

I kept muttering it to myself as though it would make a difference. I'd eventually have to look up, my man was out there somewhere. I just… I just couldn’t take their eyes on me. All those inebriated, mud-spattered philistines… Trading garbage with one another for slightly nicer rubbish so they could literally wallow in trash. How could they all live such simpleminded lives, living baselessly day-to-day?
But when I looked down, I couldn't help but stare at my own murky reflection in the mud puddles at my feet. Such was the internal struggle my mind dealt with every day. The things I hated about them were evident, yes. But they were so apparent in my own self. After all, what was my hatred of them but a defense mechanism to my own insecurities and troubled self. This inner monologue was insistent, but I squashed it daily, allowing myself to retreat to my antisocial, rough, loner facade. It was easy and second nature. And it had kept me safe for this long. Why bother with a major life change after all this time. I had grown too old to learn any other way. The only brightness, the only escape was in my books.
I swallowed my quiet loathing and looked straight ahead of me, trying to blind my peripheral vision from any who’d put their vacant eyes on me. The market was of course dirty, they all were. Rows lined parallel to one another went on for blocks. All filled with booths that were further filled with wares to be peddled. It was a noisy Escher-esque bazaar, like an anthill with scrambling insects. So I envisioned a booming metropolis. My mind flashed all the different settings I'd memorized from my travel books, a virtual hologram of past paradises to place over the sad present. In the time it took to reach the crossroads of the market, I had transformed my bleak surroundings into the markets of Greece, Egypt, and even Broadway. With these visions to ease my anxiety, I put myself to task.
I needed to find Milo. Yes, that was his name. He knew some info on another Border’s down in the Valley of Foxes. I thought about the last Border’s, all I could salvage was a few texts. Seems the place had been closed prior to the fall. But if this tip was accurate, the Classic Literature Section would be preserved. With any luck they’d have some Jane Austen texts. Sonia would love it. She’d been dying to find Pride and Prejudice, she’d never read it and my copy had been lost. Much like myself, I think she liked the fantasy it afforded her. She was such an intelligent, artistic girl, I think it gave her happiness to imagine herself among the likes of Emma and Fanny. But she had been born into the wrong time, like me.
I walked around the market looking for old men that matched the description the lorekeepers gave me. As I searched and questioned absentmindedly, my thoughts drifted toward Sonia. She was home guarding the library. It was a Tuesday, so she’d be traveling to the nearby dormitory complex to teach one of her reading classes to the local children. It was all done very secretly and she’d so far done quite well keeping it quiet. Nevertheless, I still worried. So
I’d made my way to a particularly dirty booth, dusty and vile, complete with grime covered purveyors. I spoke briefly with the man, requesting info on Milo. I didn’t much care if anyone heard me. The Lorekeepers were relatively well received here. A shock, seemed like most never glanced with fine literature in their lives. But it was a pleasant one. Even if I couldn't socialize with these people, knowing they desired betterment through art made the dingy streets a little more bearable. The man confirmed Milo’s presence and locale. Mildly pleased with the minor completion of my task, I was about to depart. But suddenly and to my irritation, a man,quite average in countenance, seemed to be lurking about the booth. Not wanting to be bothered with it, I simply informed the booth owner, receiving nothing more than a gross look from the perp. Ugh, that's what I got for speaking, I lowered my eyes once more.
I was moving about my business. I heard a highpitched voice among the hum of idiotic and incessant chatter. Oh no, it couldn’t be. I glanced at the voice’s point of origin and saw her. It was none other than Alice Doucette. She was a young girl of, to my knowledge, about 19. I’d encountered her more than I’d have cared to. She acted as a thief for hire, and despite my reluctance, I had to admit, she was quite skilled. I kept my gaze on her for a bit longer, debating an encounter. It wasn't so much that I disliked her, more that being the chatterbox she was and me with my anxiety, it would be hard to coexist. On the other hand, she could be useful in my next quest. And Sonia had found a good friend in her. Seeing her might be a nice surprise. I decided to approach the obnoxious, midriff showing girl. She was accompanied with some blonde woman, I didn’t pay her much mind. Apparently they were searching for a necklace. Knowing I’d seen a suspicious character over by the last booth, I shared the knowledge hoping to end this ridiculous aside and discuss my matter with Alice, if it could sink into her thick skull. The woman departed, speaking to the end of some sort of award. I don’t remember. I just kept my head down until she left, going over what I could say to Alice to convince her. She passed, Alice begged a companion to find the trinket, I relented and followed. We met up with two others. I didn’t pay much mind at first. One seemed to be some sort of ex merchant, or water caravan man. He seemed simple minded to me. The other was a women a bit younger than myself. She intrigued me to an extent. Apparently looking for some sort of rifle, hoping to obtain it by means of the reward. I found myself wanting to discuss some gun techniques, but couldn’t find the words. I re-braided the hair in my second braid to occupy myself. I followed the rest absent mindedly over the next few events. We found the boy and the necklace, reporting the matter with a guard, learned the necklace was worthless which seemed to disappoint the others, but I myself was quite tickled by their absurd monetary troubles, interrogated the hapless fool (who himself was duped, risked near arrest on behalf of the ricidulous ex pirate who felt it necessary to threaten the foolish child with a sword (IN FRONT OF A GUARD NO LESS!). This event cemented my disdain for the man, and I vowed to hate his crass, thoughtless self as long as I lived. Then, disaster.
Bored I looked upon my person, I realized one of my pistols was gone. Our party had all apparently been duped by this young lady, who no doubt had our materials. We were all suddenly bonded in quest. The other two member’s investigated and discovered the girl was part of a caravan heading for Fox Valley. Discouraged and upset, I examined the necklace myself. It was a gaudy piece, but then again I wasn’t much for jewelry. One thing did interest me though, it was a note attached to the back of the piece’s main gem, scribed solely with, “Talk to the Lorekeeper.” I awakened with curiosity. I decided to make for the Lorekeeper’s headquarters, I knew I could trust Alice, but I gambled against my better nature and brought the other two as well. We made up the steps of the ancient pallid hall which I loved so much. I presented the Keeper with a humorous title. An absurd, tasteless tale about a moron who engages in the most vanilla of BDSM activities with some fellow named Grey. I think he’ll find it quite humorous and add it to the little collection we’ve built of joke titles, along with the Harlequin and Nicolas Sparks stories.
I must admit, as an aside, I’ve grown fond of this man. We’ve worked together so long, and he seems the only one who truly understands the cause, the need to return to the lore and literature of our past world. I think of him often on my quests, only to push such thoughts out of my head. I must focus on my missions- and Sonia, who still needs me in her struggle through girlhood.
To close this entry we decided to tromp with the caravan to Fox Valley to find the girl. It sounded quite reasonable to me, as that is where the lorekeeper had simultaneously ordered me to go. Although, there are more people following me than I’d bargained for. Alice I could handle, but these other two: a wandering stranger and a hapless dufus? Journal, these are trying times, I shall keep strong and inform you of our progress in my next entry.