1: On page of the book, there is an old wood-cut illustration of a horse-headed demon. In the background, the snake floats about, being nosy and poking through Rhoda’s drawers.

Rhoda: Maybe you’re Bazak Hir, great treasurer of hell.

Snake: Treasurer? Too many numbers.

Rhoda: Or Pente-Dimh, knower of all secrets.

Snake: Oh, he is absolutely no fun.

Rhoda: Axiz Asad, clock maker, obfuscator of secrets.

Snake: The secret, not ‘secrets’.

Rhoda: What?

2: The serpentine creature looks slyly towards her.

Snake: The translation is wrong. I was there when Hermann wrote this book.

It’s not ‘secrets’… It’s the Secret.

Or perhaps just the Truth. Verbal language is tricky.

3: Rhoda reads lit by TV in the background that shows an add for a beer.

Rhoda: Axiz Asad, Obfuscator of… the Secret.

Yverss, imperial soldier, guardian of the vault of… the Secret.

What secret? What truth?

4: The TV turns off with a buzz, and she looks up.

5: The snake has floated closely to her, nose almost touching the pangolin, who listens in apprehension.

Snake: Mortals are so… amusing. People like you, they become so obsessed with discovering what they’re sure is the truth…

The nature of reality. The hidden names of unknown things. Always searching outwards.

There is so much hidden inside you, but oh…

You’d just hate it if you knew what I knew.