His first instinct was to return to the library and look for a book trimmed, or perhaps even written, in gold leaf. He had seen at least one book in the library that had been cut out, and an empty pewter flask hidden away inside. It was not much of a stretch to imagine a book holding a key of some kind.
It would be an impossible task to search through all the books though, but again, what other gold leaf could something be written in except —
With the sudden relief that could only come from a resolved puzzle, Edmund reached into his pocket and pulled out the small gold leaf he had found on the brass tree.
‘Memento Mori,’ the leaf said. This was the key.
What did it mean?
Edmund kicked at his desk in frustration. He was getting somewhere, he knew, but so slowly! He was working through a puzzle step by step, like a cautious puppy exploring a mire. Plinkerton must have been adamant that only someone worthy would reach his Cavalcadium of Fortune. Taking a deep breath, Edmund calmed his humours down. He aimed to be worthy, no matter how long it took.
He turned the leaf over and over again, thinking as hard as he could. This wasn’t just a signature, it was a clue. Remembering he would die was somehow a key to finding the Cavalcadium. A hint.
After a few minutes of considering his own demise, Edmund reconsidered. Maybe it wasn’t remembering he would die, but the words themselves. Where had he seen the phrase before?
A shiver ran down Edmund’s spine as he remembered the massive stone gargoyle that lurked in the east tower. Was there some connection between the Gran Gargoyle and Plinkerton’s puzzle? He wished there was someone around he could ask about the large statue, but it had been so long ago since it had sat above the entry to Moulde Hall…
Edmund stopped as the small voice in his head finally succeeded in grabbing his attention. Kahmlichimus. Slowly, pieces of thought began to connect in his mind.
Had he really known for so long, and just not pieced it together? It had been almost a month!
Pulling Plinkerton’s journal from his pocket, Edmund flipped through the pages once more, ignoring the words, this time, and looking instead at the stains. Finally he found what he was looking for; a large stain that covered almost a fourth of a page.
A flicker of memory sparked through his brain. At first he hadn’t recognized the stain, but now that he did he couldn’t believe what he was seeing–it was impossible. Dropping Plinkerton’s journal, he picked up his own notebook, and furiously flipped through the pages, desperately trying to remember what days he had written in his notebook during his meals.
There it was. He slammed the notebook down next to the journal and looked back and forth, comparing the two pages until he was certain. There was no mistake.
He did have someone he could ask after all.