It is I, oh best belov-eds, one Jonathon ben Macabi, also known as Tomas de Macabea and also known as a life-eater. I know your age calls me 'vampire.' I hate that word.
For many many nights I have been lost to you, as you are lost to me. Our tale meanders like the waters or the Duero, but sometimes we fall in. This is one of those times.
I have been thinking about 'infinity,' the ever expanding nexus of all possibilities and I know why such a thing can never rest under a label of numerical worth. I have always known, or almost always. A holy man came to our city during my boyhood, a man from far off Hind. All knew him as Bene Yisroel, a Hebrew proclaimer of the Unity from beyond the River Ganges. Thus they who over saw the governance of The Caliphate accepted him, for all who proclaimed the Oneness of Divinity found protection, if not unblemished freedom in our land. Though after a time we knew him as something else.
He was wise and learned in the ways of many tribes and nations. Indeed, many cartloads of books came with him. I heard him expound on The Logic of Old Ur and the mathematics of Ancient Cathay. He claimed knowledge of The Ten Lost Tribes scattered far beyond the River Sabbath, but our own learned men just rolled their eyes. Still his recollections were extremely diverting and so we shared our honey cakes and wine.
One night, after imbibing too much, he regaled us with detailed histories of battles fought in Heaven between blue skinned gods in radiant conveyances and cunning demons with swords made from lightning. From the tone of his voice, those versed in such things recognized his reverence and knew these stories were holy writ to him.
A scholar from Toledo said - Tell me, most erudite sir, are you perhaps a high born believer in the ancient Faith of Hind?.... At first, the man hesitated, afraid to speak... but the scholar from Toledo went on.... Fear not - he said. We will not denounce you, for was not our Deliverer, Savior and Redeemer also a stranger in a strange land?.... And the high born believer in the ancient Faith of Hind knew of that Prince of Egypt who stepped down from greatness only to rise to Glory, for as I said, he was versed in many things.
We asked him why he was here. Muslims ruled in this place. Trinitarians and Jews might live here, but those known as polytheists were anathema. They faced adoption of the dominant creed or death and our foreign man of wisdom was to meet with a brother wise man from far off Ux Mal, a city of the Mayans. Please don't look so shocked. People from beyond the Ocean Sea were known to us. Of course we never encountered them in great numbers, nor did we write of them. Such beings were myths, or if not myths, surely the most evil of demons. Believe me... we knew the rules.
Now it was that this gentlemen from Ux Mal washed up on our shores amidst the wreckage of a great twin-hulled ship built in the manner of his people. For months, he and a companion lived in shadows, fearful of our ways and our beasts. Horses terrified him. Till a widow in Cadiz took he and the other one in. She believed them to be angels or perhaps jinn and after a time they learned her language and ways, becoming the kidnapped sons of a faithful tribe from beyond the Great Desert in Timbuctu. Word of this kidnapped prince spread through back alleys and various municipal marketplaces. Though all knew he must remain hidden lest enemies assassinate him before he might regain his portion and, if God willed it, share a bit with they who were his protectors and friends.
Thus the legend worked its way from caravanserai to caravanserai, till even in the vicinity of distant Mumbai there were they who knew the tale...
Where language failed, numbers kept true. And peoples different in every way still searched for the resolution of Pi... the Portal to Infinity... The magic which was real and the same even unto the most disparate segments of humanity and after a fashion represents the unity of all things....
The next time we meet, if God wills it, we will get there, or at least approach as close as we might dare....
(until next time)
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