Saberlane was a member of the '94 Mountaineers.

Biography Edit

CJ Bernstein, also known as Saberlane, grew up in rural Florida, coming from an impoverished family that didn't afford him many opportunities to read books. His love of reading was fostered through librarians and English teachers, who allowed him glimpses into magical worlds that only books can provide. CJ was a high school drop out, and a twice college dropout, once majoring in musical theatre. He eventually decided to pursue screenwriting and moved to Los Angeles where, after a year, "happenstance and luck and being almost sort-of prepared led me to my first sold script[1]."

CJ worked for many years as a screenwriter for movies, but became disillusioned with having a job that forced him to chase other people's ideas, and which didn't allow him to take creative risks. CJ had worlds in his mind that he wished to share with the world. After consulting with his husband, Matt, he chose to pursue his dream and move to New York City to become an indie publisher and author.

In the spring of 2013, CJ's kids found Ackerly Green's Guide to Magiq on a park bench in New York City, and the Guide became a cherished book in their household[2]. The book was eventually tracked down by Mountaineers in early 2016, who asked if they could see it, but it was in tatters by the time they arrive. The Guide had finally disintegrated, but not before one of the children had made a hand-drawn copy. The Mountaineers begin the painstaking process of reproducing the Guide based on the rough copy and their fragmented memories of its content and illustrations. The Guide was released online, which included a foreword by CJ.

Phase Three Edit

Saberlane was mentioned in Martin Rank's post "The Quiet," during the time between Phase Two and Phase Three. Martin mentioned that he did not know Saberlane personally, but had heard of his name [3].

Phase Four Edit

Saberlane was first mentioned in Fragment Fourteen in Knatz's journal. She noted that Saberlane had suggested she put it online, but mentioned that she would be keeping it a secret from everyone but him. When Knatz began tracking down loose threads in the hopes of opening the Book of Briars, she remembered a Mountaineer named Nib who, in the early days of the forums, had received a locked briefcase from Benefactor. The briefcase had mostly been forgotten as no one could figure out how to open it, and there were many artifacts in play, but Knatz had an urge to check on it. So, she traveled to South Carolina, meeting up with Saberlane, to check on it. Saberlane assisted Knatz in asking around for Nib and, once they found his house on Lake Blalock, Saberlane found him in the cellar. Nib's mind was wiped from the Storm and the only thing he could mention of the briefcase was that it was "with Faris," but Knatz was able to figure out that it was thrown over the edge of the lake near his boat, which was named Faris. With the briefcase acquired, Saberlane and Knatz drove down to Atlanta together, where Saberlane flew back to Jacksonville.

Knatz was able to get the briefcase open with the help of the modern day Mounties, who planted the two combinations in her mind using the Fletcher Dawson website. Inside the briefcase was wood and metal parts. A bunch of little bits and pieces, like metal tines, a brass plate with holes in it, and flat wooden pieces and trim. Not knowing how to assemble it, Knatz asked Saberlane to come up to Chicago to help her, noting the his father used to build things and praying that he might also have some carpentry skills. Saberlane was able to assemble the box, allowing Knatz to put on the lid, but the box slammed shut and refused to open. Suddenly, the color of the box began to shift and words appeared on it, mentioning an unowl's rhyme. Knatz went through several of the unrhymes, which she solved with the help of Saberlane and the modern day Mounties. As Knatz solved more puzzles, she realized that the strange dreams she was having were someone trying to communicate with her and, when she told this to Saberlane, he believed the dreams were from the Mountaineers in 2017. Knatz was able to successfully open the box with a song the Mounties sang to her, gaining the word Obscuriotempus.

When Augernon returned, he asked to see Knatz, so she and Saberlane parted ways. Not wanting him to worry, Knatz sent Saberlane to New York with the box, to see if taking it to the Ramble would cause any reaction to the box. The results were unsuccessful, but Augernon was able to formulate a last ditch effort to save the remaining Mountaineers. He had visited his grandfather and learned a bastard hex that could cause them to forget everything they knew about magiq. Augernon believed that this would shield them from the Storm, so he rallied all the Mountaineers to come together and perform the spell. Saberlane and the other remaining Mountaineers chose to forget to save themselves from the horrors of the Storm, and Augernon sacrificed himself to the Storm so that the others would be safe. It wiped him away completely, but allowed the Mountaineers to walk away not remembering anything, and the Storm thought it did its job.

After the Monarch Papers Edit

After Deirdre left for Neithernor, she told the Mountaineers that Ackerly Green would be in good hands. The new steward introduced himself as CJ Bernstein - formerly known as Saberlane. Having lost his memories of the Mountaineers, CJ went on to live a normal life, marrying his husband Matt and adopting two kids. When the Ackerly Green Website was released, a new post by Deirdre Green was included in the Further Tales section[4]. In the post, which was written right before Deirdre joined the forums, Deirdre described her struggles getting Ackerly Green Publishing on social media. She realized that both the Twitter handle and Instagram account were already registered under the name AckerlyGreen. By emailing Instagram, she was able to get the address of the person who registered the account - The man was CJ, revealed to be Saberlane, the man who had found the MAGIQ Guide and who had asked to be left alone for the sake of his family. CJ admitted that he found himself strangely drawn to the company and that he was using the accounts to try to find other people who might remember the company. Deirdre and CJ began a friendship over emails and CJ helped Deirdre learn how to resurrect the publishing company. As Deirdre's interest in running a publishing company waned, she decided to leave it in the hands of CJ.

After Deirdre left for Neithernor, CJ agreed to take on the role of steward of Ackerly Green Publishing. He planned to publish Martin Rank's account of the opening of the Book of Briars, as well as publish the contents of the Book of Briars[5]. In doing so, CJ also began to dedicate his time to tracking down the old Ackerly Green books, such as The Forest of Darkening Glass, which he found in Bangladesh, coverless and missing its front matter[6].

Strange Occurrences Edit

Since CJ took over Ackerly Green, strange occurrences began to happen in regards to the Ackerly Green social media accounts. The Instagram in particular became a hub of unusual activities, with posts being made by someone other than CJ or his assistant, Devin. In "The Ackerly Green Book Shop" CJ told Mountaineers about the strange happenings on the account, asking if it was any of the Mountaineers who were messing with it.

CJ further mentioned that he had been experiencing unusual activities in the Ackerly Green offices, mentioning that, late at night, he would sometimes hear typewriters[7].

Ackerly Green Secret Society Edit

Together with Orvin Wallace, CJ was able to track down remnants of the former Ackerly Green, finding a warehouse filled with boxes of Herman the Hippocampus pins. The pins came with a note that they were for the Ackerly Green Secret Society, which CJ surmised meant that they were from the Book of The Wild, since the Book of Kings Ackerly Green wouldn't have had the readership to justify a secret society[8]. After acquiring the pins, CJ noticed they had some strange features, such as always finding their way on the things he would wear[9].

Over the past few weeks, CJ noted odd occurrences: talking, pages turning, pages tearing, old phones ringing, the feeling of someone brushing past me when he was the only one there, even the clacking of typewriters. CJ and Devin agreed that the new offices of Ackerly Green felt like they were being haunted by the old offices of Ackerly Green. Things escalated when CJ recieved a call from building management that there had been a bunch of noise complaints made by his office neighbors. A neighbor said it sounded like someone was having a knockdown, drag out fight in the AGP office. CJ drove to the office to try and figure out what was happening. He could hear the yelling and the smashing of things from the floor’s lobby, but when he got to the office door, it got quiet. He unlocked the door, opened it, and just as he was about to turn on the light, he saw someone, standing in the dark, staring back at him. When he turned on the light, it was gone. When CJ checked if anything in the office was amiss, he found that there wasn’t a single thing in the office out of place[10].

CJ continue working at the office, not noticing anything besides the usual odd sounds, but he kept having the nagging urge to return to the storage building where the pins were housed. Noticing he seemed to get the thoughts when he was wearing the pin, CJ decided it was a sign and snuck into the storage room. In the room, CJ found a strip of paper from Warner Green, introducing members into the Secret Society. When CJ went to leave the room, he received a notification on his phone, sent from the Ackerly Green App - “I looked across the cold and silver swirling sea[11].” CJ also noted that a chronocompass had been added to the app that he himself hadn't added[12]. Confused and concerned, CJ wondered if the process of building the app had been magiq.

Another evening in the office, CJ heard someone walking about. He opened the door and saw the ghost, and the two were able to communicate with each other. The ghost told CJ that he was a member of the path of Wool, and that he was massacred by the Silver.

CJ's First Interview With Woolie

G: Can you hear me?
S: Yes, you?
G: Do you know why I’m here?
S: No. I thought it was about the pins? (I showed it to him but he didn’t seem to recognize it.) It’s our company mascot.
Ackerly Green Publishing.
G: That is this place?
S: Yeah. Do you know anything about it?
G: No.
S: Do you remember anything about yourself? Where you’re from? Maybe what you’re doing here?
G: I am lost to myself. There are holes… in my mind. I want to remember but there are missing pieces. I don’t know why, but in looking for them I was drawn here.
S: To the office?
G: Something is happening here.
S: I know. I thought you were part of it.
G: I am lost. I saw a light. I followed it. But I cannot remember what I was searching for. What I thought was waiting beyond the light. I found you here.
S: Sorry.
G: Can you help me somehow?
S: I don’t know. I have friends who know more about this kind of thing. Well, not really ghosts, so much as magic…
G: Magic.
S: Yeah.
G: I know magic.
S: You do?
G: I was killed by magic. I saw others fall.
S: Who fell?
G: The Monarchs.
S: You’re Monarch’s Mountain? Are you talking about Neithernor? The war?
G: The massacre.
S: Is this because we’ve been to Neithernor?

He didn’t answer.

S: Maybe you got lost and followed someone through a door? Maybe that was the light? G: I do not remember… I looked across…

He stopped.

S: You looked across what? G: It was dark, cold. I looked across…

I’m embarrassed to say it took me way to long to realize what he was trying to say. I finally caught up and frantically yanked my phone out of my pocket…

S: I got a weird text yesterday… I mean, a weird message. I think it might be for you.

I showed him the phone. He looked closely at it and repeated the phrase…

G: I looked across the cold and silver swirling sea.

Suddenly it was like all the heat and sound left the room. The lights went out. And it’s like we weren’t in the office. It was like a cold, black void.

And I could see him glowing in the darkness. The look on his face was like something had dawned on him. I could barely hear him–

G: I remember. I looked across the cold and silver swirling sea. I was the one who first saw them coming. I was the one who knew. I saw it all begin.

And then the lights came back up, I was back in the office, and he was gone.

CJ encountered the ghost again, who he nicknamed Woolie to coincide with him being on the path of Wool.

CJ's Second Interview With Woolie

S: Do you mind if I type this? I don’t have the best memory and—

I put the keyboard in my lap and just started typing as he wrote.

W: …finally a parley had been agreed upon. It was decided that an assembly of house leaders would await them at the eastern shore at the dawn of Assembler’s Day. But they never meant to parley. They came as night fell on Assembler’s Eve. I stood at the watch. Was trusted as the first sight. I looked across the cold and silver swirling sea. I was the one who first saw them coming. I was the one who knew. And saw it all begin. I saw them, carried by wing, and wind, and blood-black sails. I was trusted as the first sight, but I stood, watching, unable to move, unable to speak. Unable to sound the cry. I failed. Frozen there as a great black wave of water rose up, obscuring their envoy, and laying waste to the house leaders who made camp on the shores. I watched them fall from sight beneath the mouth of the sea, the ice brine reaching up to the tower, and then the final silence fell up on me.

S: Is that the last thing you remember?
W: The black wave filled my chest. It drew me from the watch. There was no up or down. Only cold and dark and then… and then I cannot say. But then there was a light. And I followed it. Not swimming nor walking. I was willing myself after it. And then I was here.

He looked up at me and I realized it had become easier for me to see him. The spectral water that ran off him pooled around one of my shoes. I could see it wasn’t “real.” But I could see it.

W: The message you found was part of my memory. Part of what I lost. You made me remember that.
S: I’m so sorry.
W: No, you can help me. Help me to remember.
S: Is that what you want?
W: I am lost. And you found a part of me. Perhaps you could find more. To tell me who I am.
S: We’ll do whatever we can to help you.
W: There are… shards left in my new memory. Small pieces that don’t belong there. I think they might belong to you and your friends.

And then he started reciting a poem and I hope to God I got it right.

A clock
A courthouse
Two wheels in the sea
A tower
A market
A cemetery

The seal of a king
A carpenter’s cure
A union of time
A Romanesque lure
A brush with the law
As she spoke in a tree

That is all that you need For the first memory

He vanished before his voice did and by the end it was barely a whisper. I think that’s it, but I don’t know.

Mountaineers were able to map the hints to real-world locations, based around the locations of the pins. After all six locations had been found, they received the hints: A collector of tales, A circle of stones, A lost feather, Buried treasure, A swashbuckling pirate, and A fishing town.

After all the locations were found, CJ received a notification that the motion-detecting camera he had set up in the office recorded a portion of the Ackerly Green's Tales of Wonder podcast[13].

References Edit