Always curious about the potential of new Portals, since my last notice, I went to visit the Scientists in Melbourne, Australia to learn firsthand about any Portals that may have been detected. Unfortunately, I write today without any news but the investigations are ongoing. Furthermore, my presence in Melbourne did mean that I was impacted by the Lockdown and therefore spent very little time in the Archives the month.
However, I was kept busy with some materials I received prior to my trip from the Department of the Obfuscated that continues to be busy investigating all leads they receive from Adventurers around the world. In addition to these tips, they also continue to keep a close eye on any news report or trending topics online relating to the inexplicable or mysterious. Since many of the Losian Treasures have documented powers, when any incidents or reports can be associated with any specific Treasures, the information is filed accordingly with the associated case. Should you or any fellow Adventurers come across any curious articles, please do share them with me and I will ensure they make it to the correct Analysts in the Department.
Prior to my visit to Melbourne, I did manage undertake some further research in the Archives relating to the letter I shared with you last month.
It appears that the ‘H.’ referred to in the letter is most likely Grand Master Humphrey Chetham and that the recipient of the letter was Grand Master Alexander Knight, which would explain why the letter appeared in the Archives at all.
The most curious thing about the letter is why Grand Master A. Knight would have been consulting with Sir James Lancaster VI on the appointment of the Grand Master H. Chetham. The appointment of a new Grand Master is typically a tightly held secret among only the highest ranks of the Order; nearly always Master Companions. Although Sir James Lancaster VI was a most distinguished Adventurer, he was only a Commandeer at the time of the letter as shown by his signature.
In any case, Sir James Lancaster VI was right to trust in Grand Master A. Knight, as Grand Master H. Chetham was appointed and went on to be one of the most illustrious and celebrated of all Grand Masters of the Order of Arcadium. Among other accomplishments, Grand Master H. Chetham oversaw the Reformation, which was undertaken during his tenure.
Soon after his appointment, Grand Master H. Chetham announced that the theft of the Losian Treasures was most likely realised by Adventurers within the Order itself; a detail that was rumoured over the two prior years. Indeed, this is where the event, previously known only as the Agnieten Theft became known as the Theft of the Faithless.
During his term, Grand Master H. Chetham continued to divide his time between the Stalhof and the Manchester Chapter before eventually residing mostly at Clayton Hall where he continued to work on his part of the newly divested Archives. The Archives collected knowledge from Adventurers around the world, much of which passed through the Stalhof until at least 1666. Many of the historic buildings associated with the Manchester Chapter from which he worked remain today, although the Portals themselves disappeared by 1718.
Grand Master H. Chetham’s boundless curiosity and generosity established Chetham’s Library in his will, whereupon the Arcadium Archives were established in its lower levels and the first level was opened to the public and anyone with an inquisitive mind; “for the use of schollars and others well affected“, instructing the librarian “to require nothing of any man that cometh into the library“.
It is supposed that over the years, some of the less sensitive materials from the Arcadium Archives were eventually moved to the public sections of the library where the rest was transferred to the increasingly centralised Archives. Grand Master H. Chetham’s legacy continues on to this day with Chetham’s Library open to the public as the oldest free public reference library in the English-speaking world and its catalogue available onlinehere.
As you may have guessed, I am a great lover of knowledge and history wherever it resides, and so Chetham’s Library is on my list of places to visit once the world finds itself in a rather less precarious situation than it does at present.
With that in mind, the last year has been a challenging one for the Order as it has been for many organisations and individuals. I want to write a most sincere thank you to each of you, Adventurers, for your support and enthusiasm. I believe I am not alone when I say that this period has brought our society a new-found appreciation for community and connection and I am most grateful for this community.
In particular, as Loremaster, it is my most significant challenge to find the balance between bringing you stories of the past with sharing new discoveries from Arcadium and I am most appreciative of your support and patience as I navigate and refine this balance.
It continues to be the highlight of my adventures to receive correspondence from you all, so please do continue to send me your thoughts. If you have visited Chetham’s Library yourself, please do share with me any reflections or recommendations, they would be most appreciated! If you have any parts of the history of Arcadium you would like me to share with you next, please do let me know in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.