Part One: A Taste of What Was
(Written by Ramirez DePietro)
2 Card Monte
Typically, this would be a good time to write a retrospective of the Year that has passed. The Doctor would rant incessantly about everything that has transpired since he last visited with Vintage Magic Made Me Do It and his time at GP Columbus. I have found his notes, a mad foray into something he lovingly refers to as the “2 Card Summer” though much of it is fragmented and somewhat incoherent. He would seem to write emphatically before giving way to some kind of vision from which he would not return to finish.
I have done my best to summarize his work on this matter, and will include it here for proper documentation leading up to the events of his disappearance. It will serve as a way of looking back for a moment before we cross the threshold to find where it was that he went.
“There was a Blaze in the Northern Sky throughout the Summer.
It penned victories in ash and arson wherever the Good Doctor set foot.”
GP Columbus was a fitting prologue to the legendary and exclusive Team Serious Invitational. In the month between those events, the Doctor cast word of his religion both near and far, making even the most resolute of non-believers cower secretly at the mention of 2 Card Monte. He was sowing the seeds of superstition, and his determination threatened every library built by mortal hands. He converted those close to him, and trampled underfoot those who would not swear fealty. With their blood he scripted the finest details of his new faith.
And when he descended upon the secret headquarters of Team Serious, he rattled the faithless with a Victory like No Other, silencing even the most raucous detractors.
As he preached the gospel on the Serious Vintage podcast, he spoke of the sermon to come from the underground in the days that followed. But the Summer passed, and though we heard tell of the beginning, no further light was shed on the crusade at hand. The devout kept their ears to the earth, waiting for some symbol or sign, but they found only silence.
It was no doubt that he was leading some sort of Holy War, but the finer nuances of his work were kept hidden from the masses. When the listless crowds turned their eyes elsewhere, he poked his head out to start a new fire, giving them just enough sight to disrupt their peaceful slumber.
“Autumn waxed and waned, but still no word from the Underground.
Rubble remained where libraries once stood, but the Litany was yet to be penned.”
The locality of the Underground was in shambles. Everything believed sacred was in ruins. In the early hours of October, the Good Doctor descended upon the KRUGvitational, a secret and exclusive Vintage Tournament in the wilds of Western Michigan that comes up but twice in a good year. The fires that burned after it was over promised that there were tales to be told, but the Underground was still frozen in time.
It seemed impossible. The Doctor was alive with passion about his new weapon and faith, but he offered nothing to his blind and writhing followers. At the onset of Eternal Weekend, it was incomprehensible that he would not want to scream at the scorched earth. It was certainly time for his Legend to be known. Those closest to him were the most zealous believers. Why was he not trying to convert the rest of the godless children wandering listlessly in the Vintage Wilderness?
He and his elite made a showing at the most prominent Vintage Tournament of the year, one that housed many adventures and promised an epic tirade from the underground. Surely it was time for the silence to be broken. Eternal Weekend came and went, but still no words gave life to the secrets lurking in the Underground.
“On the cusp of Winter there is a long and sordid tale to be spun,
But instead of words, the Annihilation of the Wicked has begun”
When “The Last TSO of Jerry Yang” took place in the nether region known as Berea, Ohio, the Doctor made the trip against all odds. And once again, he was decimating libraries with his 2 Card Monte like he was hellbent on creating history. And he would have, if he would just have taken the time give order and reason the tale.
With another victory and celebration of excess behind him, the first snowfall of the year marred the landscape. Still not a word had been shared about the 2 Card Summer. The truth about the deck and the religion around it were still unknown to those who were far from the Presence of the Master.
Still, some of the stories are known. Legends form in their own right, and when those that live them choose not to speak, they have a way of taking on a life of their own. So the world has become aware of the reckless weapon and the lunatic wielding it. They know of his devoted mad disciples. But for all that they know, they still cannot understand. Perhaps the secrets would have been lost forever, but somehow a page of the Doctor’s notebook, haphazardly used as a life pad, remains on the desk from which he disappeared.
And those words give us some insight into the Litany of Burning Libraries.
I have been dreaming about the Plateau. About the cold and desolate infinity surrounding the landscape. Dreaming my birth. My death. The hazy life in between. I do not yet understand these dreams, but they give strength to the weapon and truth to my faith.
It is still unknown to me why I must destroy the libraries of mortals, but the 2 Card Monte does so with such efficiency and splendor that I am finding the work not only fulfilling, but also gratifying. I will cleanse this world with my superstition, destroying every abomination disguised as a library that litters this ugly human world.
It is not about destruction. It is about cleansing. I am not the bringer of the end, but rather of a new dawn. I take the form of damnation but I have only salvation to offer. I am here to set them free from the lies of their scriptures. We will cleanse this world of false knowledge, of the lies of the kingdoms of men. It is only when the last written words of mortals are erased that my quest can turn the page and move to its next phase. That the truth can be known. Understood.
I dare not dwell too long within the Abyss of my mind. It holds secrets that I am still not prepared for, so I will instead pour myself into my work. I will destroy their libraries with ceaseless fury and fervor. I will bring those that embrace the work into the fold. When the time is right, we will unveil ourselves as what we are. Who we are.
As the Librarians of Leng
There is no question that the Doctor dabbles in madness, but this shows a darker, deeper purpose to the silence than is easily swallowed. It is not the first mention he has made of these Librarians of Leng, originally offered as a response to the Chicago Oldschool group known as Lords of the Pit. Surely it is just some Oldschool Gang rivalry? Delving deep into Understanding Ancestral Recall, there is an endless supply of fascinating material, but no mention of anything to do with the Good Doctor’s new delusions.
Part Two: The Arcades Sabboth Interview
Arcades: There has not been a single word from the Underground for many days, despite perpetual signs of activity. Why the silence? Where have you been?
The Librarian: I have returned to where and whence I came.
Arcades: Where, and when, is that?
The Librarian: The Plateau of Leng at the beginning of time.
Arcades: That sounds like quite an adventure.
The Librarian: I have unraveled the fabric of existence to become one with myself. Past, Present, and Future. I stared into the Void and saw my reflection as it was, as it is, and as it may yet never come to be. I have ceased to exist, and emerged from Oblivion with not only the knowledge of who I am, but also what I am.
Arcades: Who or what is that?
The Librarian: I am the Librarian of Leng.
Arcades: Would you care to elaborate on that?
The Librarian: In the beginning, there was nothing but chaos, undulating endlessly in all directions, both spatial and temporal. When the first physical manifestation emerged from that cosmic sea, it rose above the infinite sprawl as a Plateau. Solid. Resolute. Defined. Sculpted from the essence of the Void, it became not a Monolith of Basalt, but of existence itself.
It stood without purpose, only presence, and the yearning for something more. It was dreaming of what could be. So just as the cold and barren rock slab manifested from nothing, materializing from wonder and will, the lucid dream of a dead stretch of stone also began to take form. It gave birth to the first consciousness. To the first life in the sea of incomprehensible nothing. When death still had no name, I found myself standing on the Plateau of Leng.
Arcades: What was it like at the beginning of time? How did you know what to do? Was the Library already there or did you build it? Why a library when there was no knowledge or history yet to record?
The Librarian: From my first moment on that cold and lifeless plane, I knew its name. Leng was my home. I was its keeper, and I would be its historian. I would exist to serve the plateau, and it would exist to serve me. We were one and the same. I would scribe the words and they would become the truth. We were inseparable. Symbiotic and Cosmic.
I was given life to record creation. With my words existence would take on life and give definition to time and space. I was both servant and master. And as I understood my purpose, I opened my eyes so that sight itself could come to be.What I saw were great slabs of stone, awaiting the intentions of my hands. And so I came to have hands, so that I could build the Great Library that would give shelter to my work and my body.
When I was done an edifice rose above the landscape where none had stood before. It was my first creation. It would be a testament to all creation that would follow. I stood inside, and I gave birth first to writing, and then to books, and in the process, to history and knowledge. All things that would come to pass were given their first spark in that moment.
So here we are. As I wrote it. As I am writing it. And as I will write it.
Arcades: You have lost your mind. I liked you better as the Doctor.
The Librarian: I am still the Doctor. And the Shaman. I am all that was, is, shall be, never was, is not, and shall never come to be. I am the Cosmic Keys to all Creation and Times.
Arcades: You are fucking crazy.
The Librarian: Of course I am. How else would I properly bear the weight of infinite cosmic responsibility?
Part Three: A Taste of What Shall Come to Pass
From its inception, this blog has been a representation of my life and relationship with magic, despite my tendency to write as much about the life as the magic. It has served as a place to give definition to the MTG Underground and its philosophy, and it will continue to serve those efforts in the year to come.
My departure from this blog in the second half of 2016 was not a step away from writing, but rather a need to focus my efforts on some alternative projects. My intention in the year to come is to strike a balance between these projects, as well as my usual social media madness, ensuring that there is not the same level of absence as the last five or so months.
At Eternal Weekend this year, I was fortunate enough to discuss the development of the Lords of the Pit at length with its founding members. For those of you who are unaware, the Chicago Area Oldschool group has fashioned themselves after an old biker gang, and the results have been nothing short of brilliant. But like all gangs, they need an appropriate rival. Instead of falling under their banner and starting a Detroit Chapter, I have begun to assemble my own band of degenerates: The Librarians of Leng.
This will be explored at length in the months to come. It is not a change or abandonment of the MTG Undeground philosophy, but rather a development of where it comes from and where it will go. With much to do in preparation for GP Louisville next weekend, I will leave this for a later time. If you will be in attendance, put forth the effort to find me. You may regret it, but you will not forget it.