“What is it, then?” asked Kepa as Maite flipped the pages of the journal.
“It must be some special language.”
“Language? Those aren’t even letters.”
“I think it’s a special witches’ code.” Maite paused. “Garuna, have you seen anything like this before?”
“No,” rumbled the AI in her head. “I have never seen such scribblings.”
“They are not scribblings,” replied Maite, making Kepa guess what Garuna had said. “I think this is a code, used by the witches to transfer their knowledge to each other.”
“Witches?” asked Kepa. “Really?”
Maite looked up to him quizzically and shrugged. “After the zatia, you still doubt there were witches?”
Kepa blushed. “Well, ok. But not like de Lancre described them.”
Maite nodded. “I agree. They weren’t worshipping Satan or anything of the sort. I imagine they were mostly just herbalists, men and primarily women who knew about the benefits of herbs and other elements from nature to make various remedies and the like. Others thought it was magic, but mostly it was chemistry.”
“And some magic. The zatia, like you said.”
“I guess, but I’m not convinced that the zatia are supernatural, or just some natural phenomenon that we don’t yet understand.”
“‘Any science suffciently advanced…’” Kepa began quoting.
“Exactly,” smiled Maite.
“In any case, how does this journal help us? And why hasn’t Marina come back for it herself before now?”
“I’m not sure how it helps, but it doesn’t hurt. Maybe it will teach us more about who Marina really was. And as for why she never retrieved it, I guess she has been too busy?”
“Or she thought it burned with the baserri and never bothered to look.”
“That’s probably more likely.” Maite paused again. “Garuna, do you think you can decipher this code?”
“Possibly. But, it will take some time. You are not a very efficient power source. I cannot devote any significant energy to this problem.”
“Understood,” said Maite as she stood up. Turning to Kepa, she added “Garuna’s going to try to decipher the code, though I will have to mentally scan the pages for it to have access to it.”
“Scan the pages?” asked Kepa.
“Just flip through it, registering every page in my mind so that Garuna can take a snapshot, so to speak.”
“Ah,” replied Kepa. “Sounds tedious.”
Maite threw Kepa a mischevious smile. “Well, I can do it while you give me a back rub.”
“I guess I can do that,” he replied. “As long as I can put the pelota match on in the background.”
“Deal,” said Maite as she headed out of the ruins of the baserri.
Kepa looked at his branch, debating momentarily whether he should take his new favorite stick with him. But, after a brief internal struggle, he threw it aside and jogged to catch up with Maite.
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