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(Spoiler alert: The Chapter 10 cipher solution is revealed at the end of this post)

Ship of Theseus itself has two unusual features in comparison to V. M. Straka’s previous 18 works. It is the only book that has a foreword and it is the only book where the ending is written / reconstructed by someone other than the author. This leaves the book itself with a beginning and an ending written by FXC instead of VMS. As she says in Fn8, p437…

I have chosen not to specify where Straka’s words end and mine begin in this reconstructed tenth chapter. 

In the foreword of Ship of Theseus, in Part VI (p xiv), FXC states…

He understood that my allegiance to him was and is unwavering, from first to last.

Three pages later, Chapter 1 begins. Its title is…

What Begins, What Ends

On p12 in Chapter 1, S. hears voices stating…

What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.

This phrase is footnoted. Fn4 states…

Endings and beginnings were particular preoccupations of Straka’s. After I made this observation, he scoffed. “Beginnings and endings are the preoccupation of every serious storyteller,” he wrote, “whether man or woman, prodigy or elder, Briton or Turk or Zulu or Slav.”

On p24, as S. hears the voices again (What begins at the water), Jen Heyward writes in the margins…

Reminds me of those lines at the end of FXC’s foreword (first/last, beginning/end)

And then, there is the Chapter 10 cipher (spoiler alert). The Chapter 10 cipher is solved with the EOTVOS wheel, using the latitude and longitude of the locations mentioned in the Chapter 10 footnotes. The solution to the cipher is…

I have loved you from the beginning. I will love you to the end.

The solution we seek surely involves a focus on beginnings and endings.

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