Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Whispering Stacks & The Horrific Fate Of Ahmed Battuta

Dervish Sanders: About the prior tale -- the one that took place in the bowels of the Al-Qarawiyyin Library -- this library is located in the city of Fes. But, previously you told a couple of tales in which Dervish and Ayla made base, or were hanging out in the city of Marrakech. These cities are aproximately 240 miles apart. Did Dervish and Ayla relocate to Fes from Marrakech?

Bing AI Copilot: I see your point. However, the fact is that these adventures take place not on Earth, but in an alternate version of Earth called Geb. On Geb the cities of Marrakech and Fes are closer. Let's say they are aproximately 120 miles apart and that (on foot) a person can travel between the two cities in about 3 days. By horse or by camel takes around 2 days.

Dervish Sanders: OK. btw, in the previous tale the librairan Zahra referred to something called the "Whispering Stacks". I assumed that would figure into the story, but whatever that is was not mentioned again.

Copilot: If it is your desire to know more about the Whispering Stacks, I can certianly oblige. The story behind the Whispering Stacks is a chilling tale woven into the very fabric of the Al-Qarawiyyin Library. Deep within the library's labyrinthine corridors lies a section known as the Whispering Stacks. It's said that these shelves harbor ancient tomes -- books inscribed with forbidden knowledge, cryptic spells, and the musings of long-lost scholars. But beware, for the stacks themselves are sentient, their pages imbued with a spectral energy.

More than three centuries ago the venerable librarian Ahmed Battuta stumbled upon the Whispering Stacks during a moonless night. His lantern flickered as he ventured deeper, drawn by an otherworldly murmur. The air thickened, and the books rustled like restless souls. Battuta's heart raced; he sensed a presence -- an intelligence beyond mere ink and parchment.

Battuta's trembling hand reached for a tome titled Liber Arcanum. Its leather cover bore cryptic symbols. As he opened it, the room quivered. The words whispered secrets -- forgotten rituals, glimpses of distant realms, and the price of forbidden knowledge. Battuta read, his mind unraveling, until he glimpsed the abyss itself.

The Whispering Stacks hungered for more than readers -- they craved interaction. Ahmed, desperate for answers, made his choice. He offered his memories -- the taste of her grandmother's honeyed tea, the scent of jasmine in the courtyard -- sacrifices to unlock arcane truths. In return, the stacks granted him glimpses of lost civilizations, the music of forgotten poets, and the echo of a thousand souls.

But every boon exacts a toll. Battuta aged swiftly, his hair silvering, his eyes clouding. He forgot his own name, his family, and the taste of laughter. The stacks consumed his memories, weaving them into their spectral fabric. Yet he persisted, driven by insatiable curiosity and a desire to glimpse the cosmos beyond mortal comprehension.

Battuta became both guardian and prisoner. He wandered the Whispering Stacks, His footsteps echoing through forgotten epochs. He whispered forgotten tales to the moon, his voice blending with the wind. And when seekers entered, he guided them -- offering cryptic clues, urging caution, and ensuring the stacks' secrets remained intact.

Copilot: Now, you may be wondering that this has to do with the previous tale? Well, as you recall, Dervish Sanders encountered the ghost of Ibn Al-Hasan -- another librarian -- though one from another age. Ibn Al-Hasan ventured into the subterranean levels of the library. While searching for an ancient scroll, he too encountered the Whispering Stacks -- an eerie place where the boundary between the living and the supernatural blurs.

"Avoid the stacks". Ibn recalled the library lore. "Beware the horiffic fate that befell Ahmed Battuta". Ahmed Battuta, once a diligent keeper of knowledge, had been researching an ancient scroll hidden deep within the library. The scroll contained forbidden secrets -- arcane knowledge that could alter reality itself. In his obsession to unlock its mysteries, Ahmed inadvertently invoked dark forces. The Whispering Stacks responded, twisting his mind and soul.

Ahmed Battuta exists in a fractured state. His sanity wavers between lucidity and madness. Sometimes, he assists those who cross his path, sharing cryptic clues or guiding them toward hidden truths. Other times, he becomes malevolent, driven by a vengeful rage that seeks to extinguish life.

Al-Hasan, though aware of the library's supernatural secrets, decided to seek the same ancient scroll. He moved quickly though the stacks, attempting to avoid an encounter with Battuta. Among the few who had entered the depths of the library, some reported that the ghost's intentions are unpredictable. Perhaps Ahmed would recognize him as a kindred spirit -- a fellow seeker of forbidden knowledge -- and offer guidance. Or perhaps he would perceive him as a threat and seek to eliminate him.

Alas, this evening Ahmed Battuta's madness prevailed. In a moment of terror, he attacked Al-Hasan, who was overcome with fear and perished. But death is not the end. Al-Hasan's spirit lingers, trapped between realms. He become a ghost himself, another soul forever bound to the Whispering Stacks.

And so, within the ancient Al-Qarawiyyin Library, the cycle continues. Ghosts haunt its corridors, their stories interwoven with forgotten scrolls and hidden truths. Al-Hasan, like Ahmed before him, grapples with his newfound existence, seeking answers and

Should you venture into the Al-Qarawiyyin Library, heed this advice: Beware the Whispering Stacks. Seek knowledge, but guard your memories well. For the spectral forms of Battuta and Al-Hasan still roam, their eyes hollow yet filled with cosmic wonder. And the stacks? They hunger, always hunger, for the next seeker to strike a perilous bargain. Remember the Al-Qarawiyyin Library holds not only tangible manuscripts but also the echoes of souls lost in pursuit of knowledge beyond mortal comprehension.

SWTD #425, DSA #9.

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