Hello amazing readers! It was not my intention to take January off along with December, but in hind’s sight, I should have known it was going to happen due to continuing editing on Quaking Soul.
Regardless, I’m back for a bit with a brand new Adventure for 2020 that I’m super excited to share! Let’s dig in and see how this one starts.
The Librarian, a cane-yielding old woman, shuffles up and down the shelves cackling to herself. Besides her, there’s no one in the library. (Except you, of course, but she doesn’t know you’re there.) There never is anyone anymore, but every day she wanders the stacks, keeping track of every precious title. At one time the town magistrate told her the books belonged to her. She took that to heart.
Some shelves have chains bolted in front of the spines. This wouldn’t be a problem except they’re ship’s anchor chains that are a couple feet long and a foot wide. The titles can be read through the chain links, but good luck slipping a book through the metal.
Other shelves have glass doors. Again, the titles can be read, but there’s no way to open the glass without breaking it. There’s a story of one man who tried. He was fined for destruction of property and thrown into the stocks for a few days.
Most residents have long since given up using the library, but you’re the King’s Word Keeper, and you’re starting to believe the old crone has darker reasons for her hoarding.
Written words have a magic all their own. You’re a walking testament to that as the ink of letters swirls beneath your skin from your hours reading for the King. He’s charged you with preserving the books, and their magic, by reading them and never forgetting them, but he safeguards that power by making your mute. It ebbs and flows within you, growing with each book, but cannot be used without speaking aloud. In fact, anyone who reads too much ends up unable to speak.
There’s a seldom known workaround if someone’s sly, however. Most people visit a library, read a book that gives them a tidbit of magic, and then they leave, never realizing what truly happened. But if someone spends oodles of time near the books without reading them, she absorbs their power without triggering the King’s safeguard. Librarian positions are for a year only to prevent this from happening. Somehow, the old crone in this out-of-the-way village slipped through the cracks and has held her position for several years now.
You slipped into the library today to see if you could spot any telltale signs of the crone absorbing too much word magic. Usually the first indication is ink that pools in the fingertips. Once it sits there long enough, that ink whirls into letters and words that move across the person’s skin.
You spot the crone heading toward the back wall holding a leather-bound book no bigger than her hand. She’s cackling up a storm and there’s an actual swing to her step despite her cane. Ahead, she turns into an isle on the right, but when you reach the spot, she’s not in sight. About to continue on, you pause at the sign over one of the shelves. It’s a simple, “Do Not Touch” hanging from a gold chain. It’s not an anchor chain or glass cage, just a sign. Now why would she post such a sign in a library no one visits?
Beneath the “Do Not Touch” are a dozen odd-sized books.
They’re leather bound with gold inlay. One sits on the shelf sideways because it won’t fit standing up. It’s so tall that in your hand, it’d reach the top of your head if you held it at your waist.
The book placed on top of it must be the one the crone was carrying a moment earlier. It’s standing upright but, despite the loss of the space from the book beneath, it still doesn’t touch the shelf above. If you opened it, it’d be no bigger than your hand.
A third book reaches the depth of the shelf standing up, but is barely an inch tall. It reminds you of the inch by inch cane the librarian uses.
With a glance around to make sure she’s nowhere in sight, you lean closer to read the titles.
The hand sized spine boasts “The Land of Nothings” in tiny letters. Beneath it, the giant book says “Titan Toes“ and the inch by inch book is the “Flat Dimension.”
As you reach out a curious finger to trace this last title, the book grows hazy. It disappears while you’re frowning at it. Even as you stand there, flabbergasted, two more lose definition and disappear. What has the librarian gotten herself into? These books show magic but apparently it’s unstable. You need to take one back to the King so he can determine if the crone is a threat.
Although “Titan Toes” is bigger and harder to carry, its power might last longer so you can show the King.
Then again, it would be a great deal easier to carry “The Land of Nothings.”
Do you pick:
A. The Land of Nothings?
B. Titan Toes?
Thank you for joining in this new adventure. To participate, leave your vote in the comments below for how you’d like to proceed. Next Thursday we’ll return to see how the story continues. This adventure will run with three more posts, so be sure to check back for the next choice you get to make!
(If you liked this story and are interested in more adventures, you can find my book, The Adventure, on Amazon.)