Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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Document presented as the Testament of Mary von Rathen

source unknown. Translated by Sylvain St-Pierre.

The “Testament” documents were deposited anonymously, rolled up in the mailbox of Sylvain St-Pierre, in November 2000. That was over a year after the Obscure Convention in Brussels and before the various copies of the Correspondances book started mysteriously to pop up all over the place.

The full text of the Testament was reproduced at the end of the book, and there is a mention that Sylvain St-Pierre was the one who had received it. Sylvain St-Pierre had made copies and sent the originals to Benoît Peeters right away, and he posted the whole document on line in the Dictionary at the time. Benoît expressed great surprise, and swore he had nothing to do with them.

The accompanying illustrations, which appeared to be originals, were the same as those in the book. We have established however that the pictures in the book must have been reproduced before the originals were sent to St-Pierre, because of various tears and small details.


Dear Benoît, I do not know if, once again, this letter will reach you. I am aware that, for a long time now, you are no longer receiving my messages. As we arrived to Mount Michelson, the “Laetitia” broke down, without any discernable cause, and we have been forced to abandon it.

There would be much to tell about the remainder of our journey, but now that we are close to our goal I no longer see the need. Offshore we can see the outline of Ypigi, which some here also call “The Source”. We are not alone.

Other people have crossed the Continent to come here and wait for the coming of the “passeur” who will bring us over. Those people are not inhabitants of the Cities, but nomads from the Somonites, Poznah or from around Zor. We try to communicate, but many speak only their own dialect. One thing is certain however: nobody here knows why he or she has started this journey, or what awaits on Ypigi -

The contemplation of this far away blue shape captivates me, and makes me forget all that I lived through and endured. It is, I must admit, very restful. Romain is still with me, and he does not know either why he insisted on making this trip. Now that we have arrived, his anguish has risen to match the level of my confidence and well-being.

I have never felt him as distant from me. I love him, I do not want to loose him.


To Whomever Will Find These Notes I, Mary von Rathen, daughter of Klaus von Rathen and heiress of the Unique Industrial Consortium of Mylos, declares to whomever will read these lines to be in full possessesion of my mind, absolutly aware of what I am writing and lucid about the fact that those words will be the last ones.

At the end of a journey that lasted several months, I arrived here, at Ypigi (archipelago of Yliaster), off the East Coast; in the company of Mister Romain de Malegarde. The reason for our trip was unknown to us, we have crossed the Continent as if pushed by a desire that went beyond us. We had to come to this place. During our journey, we have crossed the path of many people, encountered strange things, escaped a few dangers, to finally arrive on this small island. And still am I alone: de Malegarde decided at the last moment not to cross the straight separating Ypigi from the coast. His aprehension was too strong. I was boundlessly drawn to him, I now know why. On this island live several hundred people, many of them thought vanished. Thus, I encountered Mister Michel Ardan, reported lost off Yliaster, alive and well on Ypigy. Persons less well known, or by myself only,

can also be found here, such as Vigeolis Koelber or Eddy Ramy. All those people were convinced of one thing: to be in contact with “The Other World”. Some even claim to come from it. Myself, I thought I had had access to “The Other World”, I thought I had “passed” and had lived several months there. I thought I had been in contact with someone called “Benoît Peeters”, and to have loved him deeply.

But since I have arrived here, this conviction about “The Other World” has been reduced to nothing. I am not even sure anymore that I ever “passed” - my companions are like me. What is being revealed here to us is and beyond comprehension. It is brutal, fiery, tenaceous, sweet, complex, laborious, glorious, childish, simple. The idea of The Other World is tenaceous and it is tempting to hang on to it. I now know that it is only a decoy, a joke created by those who manipulate the threads of our world (Who are they?

Do they exist? Is it not our own world, an autonomous entity, that plays with us?). The Continent of the Obscure Cities is ruled by an implacable structure. Why the sudden expansion of a cube? Why a whole city manipulated by an off scale entrepreneur? Why this people with so curious reactions? Why this maze of tunnels under Pâhry? Why spheres? Why a gigantic fault suddenly opening west of Blossfeldstad? All of this has a meaning, a logic. Somebody or something has an interest in seeing such things happen. It is not impossible to solve the mysteries of this continent, born as they are from the continent itself. To the reader of these notes, I appeal to you to trust only intuitions, to totaly refute any idea of a parallel world, and to work every day to discover what regulates this universe.

I will not move from here, like any person who sets foot on Ypigy. Prisonner of my certitudes, happy at last, I will never leave this source of happiness that will be my final resting place.

Mary von Rathen


Drawings included with the “testament”.


Detail of signatures.

Signature on the testament
Signature on drawings

Pages in detail