Translation from Latin medieval manuscript:

I, Onfrei, have sat too long in this dank monastic cell, too long with no company save your unsmiling "attendants" outside this deadbolted oaken door. You say, o tender Inquisitors, that this is for my protection. Perhaps you are right.

You say you will provide me with quill, ink, and uncouth parchment, on condition I use these implements only for my testimony, on the recent disappearances from southern Averoigne and on the new heresy reported there. From musical notation, you forbid me, and I must write by daylight as I can no longer abide the dance of an open flame.

Your agents have doubtless learnt these facts already, from certain unenraptured citizens of afflicted Ximes, and from others in the ambit of her Bishop Azédarac: he who sent me on my mission, and he whom I divine is your true target here. I testify that, whatever accusations be whispered against him otherwise, my lord bishop and I have opposed, and shun, this heresy as much as you do if not more so.

The Lord be witness over what I write that I, wretch that I am, be no heretic nor liar! If a flame be my fate, no pyre you can kindle should burn as painfully nor as completely as my heart has burned already.

Since your eminences require a complete record, I must start from the beginning. . . .


This work has been accepted for publication: ed. Edward Stasheff, The Averoigne Legacy: Tribute Tales in the World of Clark Ashton Smith (Pickman's Press, 2019), story 3. Although we agreed that I could publish this elsewhere, which certainly includes leaving this version here, I agree that the edited version, now published in an official capacity, is much improved. So much so that I'd rather you read it there. Also, I'd like to encourage Mr Stasheff and all other editors who find stories here, fix them, and reward the author.

For those who reviewed and gave encouragement to this work, I thank you. For those who no longer have access, please consider purchasing The Averoigne Legacy. It's going to be a corker, based on other authors and stories I see listed in the contents.