So we have all our bases covered, let’s talk about each of the fragments? I think it would be cool to write something short about them, one by one, starting with the Fraylily and moving down to fragment 15. Just post a few sentences or a paragraph of your reaction to what happened at that time?
I don’t know if you wanted one person to take each fragment, or what. But once I started I couldn’t stop so here’s all of them from my perspective.
I’d say just talk that you’re moved to talk about and the fragments you cared about.
Fraylily 1: I arrived just after this but reading back on it felt like an epic journey. It’s amazing how hard I felt it was to truly catch up to what was going on, given later people had to do the same thing only 13 or 14 times longer.
Eye of the Moons 2: King Rabbit touched my psyche in inappropriate ways. Here’s let’s send you stalker pictures of an innocent woman’s backside as I follow her around for dark reasons. All the while let me bombard you with clues and nag and harass you when you aren’t fast enough for my unclear, but terribly important, timetable. Best. villain / secret helper. Ever. Solving these puzzles felt like a true challenge, and was when I realized what a great team we already had here among the Mountaineers.
Obenhedge 3: The Minnying of Ojarad was at the same time ultimately frustrating, yet simply elegant. No attempt to find a deeper meaning behind this ever bore fruit that I saw, and I spend dozens of hours looking for one. In the end, we just had to compile the poem in order. On the plus side this was the first time I got to speak with Cole Sumner. Cole remains one of my favorite people to this day.
Siren’s Lace 4: Imagine a Sudoku, a crossword puzzle, a game of 80’s trivial pursuit, a session of D&D and travel guide to New York city walk into your room and say they’re going to take you on a magical train ride to magic-town. Then imagine you’re chasing a ground breaking prodigy child from 30 years ago while being harassed and stalked by a group of cloaked wearing weirdoes. Then imagine this is a dream, and you wake up and find out reality is even better. That was Fragment 4. Fragment 4 should have a place in the Smithsonian so future generations can finally solve the parts we couldn’t figure out…like where those bloody block maps went, or which cat or frog statues we were supposed to be using.
But when fragment 4 finally finished, and we learned about Sacha I think it’s safe to say we all felt all the feels.
Brachursis 5: Fragment 5 was mostly a scene setting Fragment. We deciphered a document, I got to use flag semaphore for the first time in a dozen years. This fragment was the gateway to our introduction to the Cagliostro and Lauren, so it was well worth the trip.
Galluskulk 6: Oh dear heavens, the Map of Fairyland. I stared at that map at least two hours a day for weeks. If Fragment 5 was a 100 yard dash, this fragment was a marathon. Ten clues. One massive map. Good luck. In the end the Book of Briars itself had to step in and tell us when we were right, because otherwise we would have gone back and forth about the meaning of each clue forever. If there was a mountain to climb, it was this fragment. Every clue solved felt like an epic accomplishment, and we worked very hard for every step we moved ahead.
Furomaris 7: Lauren and Cole meeting at the Morgan library is what most people remember of this fragment, as well they should. But before we even got there there was a month of reading through old books, counting every single word, and piecing together Sullivan’s path through the world as he prepared to cast his protection spell on young Deidre. We began to learn some truths about what was going on, and the depth of the rabbit hole we had found in that first well were truly awesome. Then came the Last Translation, and the terror of what could be found beyond the veil sank in a bit.
Tigranula 8: Our first spell. It was crazy and impossible to try, but no one hesitated a second to jump into it. I played mostly the role of magimystic administrative assistant, making sure things moved along and every knew what to do. From the end of fragment 7 to when the spell was completed was only a matter of hours. But those hours set a tone, and empowered us in ways none of us could imagine in the story of the Book of Briars.
Galifanx 9: Another page from a mysterious journal arrived. Clues of the heavens led to us to creating some intricate wheels of the heavens. As with other first fragments this set up the groundwork of what was to come.
Gladitor 10: Ah Kemetic Soultions. We barely knew how much we’d come to hate you. This was our introduction to Aether and his strange predicament.
Durkonos 11: I’m going to do this without screaming in anger or crying…probably. First off. Kemetic Solutions would be like if you took King Rabbit, cloned him a bunch of times and made them cyborg nazis on top of everything else. I haven’t been so angry in a long, long time at the thought of them torturing children on that chair . I quit trying to open the Book of Briars for six hours before finally turning my anger into a more righteous fury to be used against these people. But in the end, it was connecting with Augernon and Marty that really hit home. Both tormented men in their own ways. Both got a bit of chance to express their pain here, and I swear I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Aorthora 12: I actually wasn’t around a lot for fragment 12. Changing jobs kept me busy, but I listened along with everyone as Marty and Aether moved through Kemetic Solutions, and the final encounter within. What happened was a briliant encounter and very satisfying ending. At least until the original Book burned. I must have sat there for an hour just staring at it. Not sure how we could ever get past this moment. Definitely my darkest moment in this whole journey.
Inlaudetus 13: Talking to Augie again…for the first time was incredibly powerful. Could we change things? Should we change things? Do we even know what things to change? It was here we began to see the ultimate plan to opening the Book of Briars. It was here we really had to weigh our actions against our goals.
Obscuirotempus 14: Knatz, our later Benefactor. Never have I so badly not wanted to solve a fragment. Every time we had to implant thoughts in her head was like a stab in the neck to me. I have personal issues with the concept of controlling or directing another person’s thoughts. I’m not going to lie, I felt bad every time we sent her another dream. I was not comfortable mucking around in someone’s head, and I was relieved when we were done.
Gnascorius 15: Ascender has always been one of our greatest inspirations, and one of our greatest enigmas. How did we manage to have that long a conversation with him, and still manage to find out almost nothing more about him? He’s good, that’s how. Moving the Book to our time. The preparations. The encounter with the Storm. Deidre’s brilliance. The heartbreak and fear we felt about losing Marty. I have never been prouder to be a Mountaineer than I was in this fragment.
Is it okay if I talk about Assessment 3?
You talk about whatever you think will help make the Book whole again, 5.
Fraylily 1: I wasn’t actually around for this fragment, but I remember in later fragments, coming back to the things that went on here and feeling bad that we roped in this seemingly random Tumblr user into our antics.
Eye of the Moons 2: This was my introduction to the Book and the forum and, well…I didn’t totally understand what was going on? At this point, my mind hadn’t totally wrapped around the world and the story. But I knew we had to watch videos of fields and find secret words.
Obenhedge 3: I will never not be crying about “He l o J0ha” Brandon… When I think of all the people who we couldn’t save, I feel the worst about not being able to help him. We didn’t even know what we were doing when we were posting on Deeds’ blog. We learned more about Cole, although at the price of frightening him with a strange dream.
Siren’s Lace 4: Wow. Talk about feels. We finally learn who Brandon was, and we learn the heartbreaking backstory of Sacha and the way her noble mission was tainted over time. I remember having a lot of fun with this fragment, and it was absolutely massive, and a little stressful, but it also felt cool to be a kind of secret agent. Looking back on it, the twists and turns in this fragment alone were just absolutely mindblowing. I was also massively digging those D&D vibes, and piecing together someone’s campaign notes was really neat.
Brachursis 5: I feel like I was comatose for this fragment, but I think it’s because it was solved very quickly. I do remember feeling like a cool hackercat for getting into someone’s email address.
Galluskulk 6: Ah, yes, the unknown illiomancer. I actually don’t remember much of this fragment, except that I’m pretty sure fragment 6 is when I thought to contact Marty. I just remember being like “Heyyy, we have this email here, and we vaguely know who he is…so let’s give it a shot?” I’m not sure we ever quite learned about Marty’s mysterious connection to The Cagliostro, now that I think of it.
Furomaris 7: The race against Lauren to get Seven Cradle Songs. We were all really stressed out at this point, and we didn’t quite know what to expect when Cole got to the library. During this time, I also remember emailing with Marty…we didn’t know if we could trust him yet, but we were trying to leverage the information from Cags’ emails in order to get more information.
Towards the end of 7 and beginning of 8, we also had a big debate on what to do with the Calling of the Corners spell, and if we should give it to Lauren or not. Some of us really want to help Cags, but no one knew what would happen if Lauren performed the spell, and we were worried about the after effects. We didn’t want to cause more harm than good.
Tigrantula 8: This fragment was an absolute whirlwind. I think this was the fastest spell we ever did, aside from the very brief spell we did with the book quotes to fend off the Storm. This was our first spell and we didn’t quite know what would happen… There was a lot of excitement in that, I think.
However…there was also a lot of sadness in this fragment. The final performance of The Cagliostro. We couldn’t save him. I am still broken up about this.
“Perhaps I have traveled beyond the lying veil, to the source of all this power. Or perhaps I am atoms scattered in the dark. Either way, I am free.”
Galifanx 9: This was another fast and furious fragment. We learned that Lauren knew about us, and she gave us some useful information. I feel a little naive back in this fragment, having no idea of what was to come…
Gladitor 10: Marty returns! But he brought with him some bad news. He’d been researching Kemetic Solutions, and his photos revealed secret messages. A plea for help. Nobody knew who Aether was, or Constance. But we found Constance on Tumblr, I messaged her and she helped up piece together the Joradian Safeguard.
Durkonos 11: Everything about this fragment broke my heart. Constance lost her memory, just like the rest of Aether’s friends and family. The Low podcast, reminding us of the Cagliostro. Marty opened up to us about his past, the struggles he went through after the Lachmann case. And the hunt for “B Sanvig” leading us to poor Augernon, who sacrificed himself to save his friends from the Storm. But there was also the Oracular Eye. We chose hope and illumination. We are not a group that despairs. I’ll always remember that.
Aorthora 12: This fragment was an absolute punch to the gut. We did the coolest magiq ever, the blindfold spell was probably my favorite spell we’ve ever done. And we did something amazing, more than mundane, as Aether said. But… Itsuki’s dead. Marty, Aether, Portentia, and Climber were in danger. And Sacha wasn’t a bad person, she was literally being brainwashed. And at the end… we got the fragment, but at what cost? The Book and the Council sacrificed itself to save us.
Inlaudetus 13: Ha, the start of our time journey, which freaked us all out. None of us knew what to expect, and that was scary. But it lead us to Augernon, and he lead us to the fragment. It felt like there were so many ethical debates, about time travel, about taking the book from the past.
Obscuriotempus 14: So much audio This fragment we got to know Knatz, and follow her on her reluctant journey. I felt weird and sad influencing her dreams, but I’m glad it worked out okay in the end. That last message broke my heart though, the final words of the '94 Mountaineers…
Gnascorius 15: We finally learned more about Ascender and who he was, why he was as cryptic in the modern day as he was. He sacrificed so much for us. And learning the fate of Teddy…wow, just surreal. Facing the Storm was scary and surreal, but the whole thing will be defined by my fear of Marty sacrificing himself. I was so worried about him, and him being safe and the Book being back in action made me feel so much better.
Looking back on it all… This past year was filled with so much wonder, but so much loss at the same time. Not everyone has made it on this long climb to the top of the mountain. Brandon, the '94s, Sullivan, the Cagliostro, Itsuki, Nate… Even Augernon and Constance and Sacha… I’m sad that they can’t experience this with us, but I know we have to continue on for their sakes.
This is one of my first, and fondest memories of the Fragments. Finding this incredible lost piece of magiq on our own doorstep, reading what it’s fiery beauty revealed and mulling over it’s cryptic prophecies and what they meant has left an indelible mark on my memories of Basecamp and the Book of Briars.
(Image credit @Revenir)
My best memory has to be in Fragment 13 when @Robert said “I may have eaten the Time Donut”