Mustering the Odists took surprising effort.
Qoheleth had said that he would welcome them at any time. Dear had taken this to heart and Ioan had no reason to suspect that there would be any delays in gathering everyone together. Despite the shady nature of the acts leading up to this — the puzzles and mazes of clues, the spying, the digging — everything seemed so simple on the surface. The last clue found, the final puzzle solved. Visit Qoheleth and finish the act.
And Ioan had thought that this would be easy.
Some of Dear’s cocladists not want to go. They argued that it would be a danger to concentrate the clade in one place like this. That they could not express what that danger might be did not help their case. They would not go, they said, even with a forked instance.
These took much persuasion. In the end, many agreed only if the entirety of the clade was there.
One did want to go but refused to fork to do so. Or, it turned out, to fork at all. This, above all else, set Dear off: the fox did not take confusion of this sort well, but for the root of that confusion to go so counter to its very existence led to a tantrum, and then a sulk. Ioan could hardly fault it. The more time went on, the less ey was willing to put up with the politicking and glad-handing.
In the end, the clade was at the whims of that single individual’s schedule.
Some of the more liberal members wanted to bring others, as did Dear by bringing Ioan, and this set off another round of debate. Further delays. They decided that they would only bring informed participants who had already played a role in the project.
With little else to do, Ioan read and waited. Ey read up on the history of the Ode clade. Ey read the Ode itself, hunting for hidden meanings. Ey read up on this form of public key encryption. Dear forked to teach em the encryption algorithm that used the deck of playing cards, and so ey read about manual encryption, and then the history of playing cards. Ey read and reread Ecclesiastes and all ey could about it. Ey even read about various mental vagaries and attempted to map them to Michelle Hadje, Qoheleth, Dear, and various members of the Clade which Dear talked (or, as time went on, ranted) about.
This last was mostly for fun, but ey was also beginning to strategize eir report. More than a report, ey wanted to write something that would stand on its own. A book, perhaps, or at least an article. An essay and formal report for Dear, and a smoothed, anonymized version for wider publication. If the clade would let em, at least. Ey wanted the result to be readable, rather than simply an account of events. Something that would help explain the whys and hows of an older clade in turmoil. Something to express the rising panic ey felt about aging in a timeless place, about memory and the importance of forgetting.
An historical document.
And finally, the day had come. It had been nearly two weeks after deciphering Qoheleth’s last message, but it had finally come. There had been no further communications from the wayward Odist. He seemed patient enough to wait.