Scarlett plans her trip to Tanraga and notices that Viendenbourg isn't marked on any modern maps. What happened to it?
Viendenbourg. Everything keeps coming back to that name. First, a mysterious note written in pencil on the back of a dead man's file. Now, a name scribbled on a map given to me by a stranger in a museum. Things are just getting weirder and weirder.
Of course, the first thing I did was to go back to the museum, to try to find that old man again. The very next day, I went back and asked around. The lady in the military archive room said she'd seen him a couple of times before, and that he uses *paper* ID, rather than using a key. She didn't seem that surprised, said a lot of the older people prefer to use paper ID. She thought his name was Peter something - not very helpful. She wouldn't look it up for me, and she wouldn't tell me what he'd been examining. I was about to leave, frustrated. Then I had a brainwave.
I said: "I saw he was looking at a box labelled 5BC; it must be a very moving set of material." And she said: "Oh yes, he cries every time he looks at it." And then she put her hand to her mouth, as if she shouldn't have said anything. I checked on the military archive database; there are 7,968 boxes for 5BC, so that doesn't get me very far, but at least it's something.
On the way home, I stopped at a map store. I'm going on vacation soon with my friends Margot and Sanj and... my boyfriend Brede! We've only just started going out, so I'm still a bit overexcited. He's great, so kind and sweet. I worried it might be a bit weird going on vacation together now that we've started dating, but I think it'll be fine. Anyway, I'd promised the guys that I'd get maps for our trip to Tanraga, so I bought the most detailed, most close-up ones I could; downloads for my key as well as paper maps. The map the old guy had put onto that data button wasn't the most accurate in the world, just a sketch-map really, but he'd put in a few key landmarks: the Grey Towers, Veldet Lake, Iskara Peak, the Sunken Island, so I thought I could probably work out where Viendenbourg might be on an up-to-date map.
As I walked home, I thought about what all this could mean. Obviously that guy in the archives was doing historical research, so he probably knows all about old place names. Maybe he wanted to tell me where Viendenbourg was, but didn't want to get into conversation with me, or talk to the archivist. Maybe he was just being old-fashioned and charming. But I couldn't help having a prickling feeling at the back of my neck. Maybe he knew I'd be there. Maybe he'd been waiting for me, or for someone, to come round asking about Viendenbourg. How did I know the information he'd given me was accurate, anyway? Maybe he was just some mad old guy who heard me saying this weird word and made up an explanation for it. How could a whole place be forgotten anyway? If Viendenbourg was the name of a village, even an old name, why wouldn't it be in the records?
When I got home, I looked carefully at the map the man in the archive room had given me. Viendenbourg. It's in what looks like a deep mountain ravine, with a small lake to the north. North of Iskara Peak, to the west of Veldet Lake, almost surrounded by the spiky range of the Grey Towers. It's not a place you'd really go to on vacation - Veldet is beautiful and lush, Iskara is magnificent but the Grey Towers are bleak - stunning from a distance but no fun to hike - just miles and miles of shifting shale. I mean, people go there, but not *many* people. And this place is right in the middle of them. You wouldn't even get a good view! Still, it was pretty well identified on this map.
So, I brought up my up-to-date maps and overlaid them, matching peak to peak, ragged lake shore to lake shore, slowly bringing the two maps into line with each other. And I looked. And there, on my modern map, where a village called Viendenbourg should be there was... nothing. No ravine. No small lake. No village. Nothing.