“No, I’m afraid that that is a mystery locked within the depths of history. This is the only sample of this language that we have in our historical archives and given the limited amount of text, we are unable to translate. Thank you for your question. Are there any other questions?”

I looked around at the group in front of me and saw a vaguely interested coalition of faces that seemed to view what was before them as nothing but an old world charm.

“Very well then,” I continued, “Thank you for coming in today and feel free to stop by the gift shop on your way out.”

Like air escaping from a balloon through a small hole, the group before me slowly began to disperse. As they departed, I looked back to the unbound prism once more. The two glass walls sat facing each other behind the red velvet barriers that hung from posts in front of it. The vitreous walls had been untarnished the day we had found them and remained in pristine condition. The thick glass reflected a complete spectrum of colors, shining them outward in a spectral, mysterious glow. The podium in the middle really looked more like something out of a children’s television show, like a stand, on which should be placed a crystal ball, or something like one. After a moment, I turned away and began to head back towards the lower level of the museum – my next tour started in half an hour.

On my way down the white marble steps, I kept my attention on the under-contented faces that surrounded me, people who, as far as I could see, pretended to be so enamored with a place in which dead things were preserved for the sake of preserving them, to “know where we came from,” as the museum banner phrased it in such a cliché. But there was no true draw to it because nothing was really ever gained except wealth. History is a game of pretend, for it is inevitably the case that the lessons taught are never actually learned. For what I had bothered to learn about history, all I saw were mistakes remade, wars repeatedly fought against enemies in a land where the assailant could not win, conflicts that were fought for the sake of wealth and not weal.

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