“The shadows are your friend comrade. They hide much, but beware the mage and sub-species for the darkness holds no mystery.” Marcus Flax, “The Assassins Guide to Invisibility.”
Extract from “Letters of The Amanuensis – The Book of Knowledge and Rune Lore.” Unknown Author.
Inside the library the Amanuensis was troubled. It was too long since he’d refreshed himself on the old tomes. The Book of Knowledge and Rune Law was layered in dust. Forgotten on a shelf containing a great many ancient texts. It was like an old memory nudged open. If he didn’t know better, then he’d conclude this section had been set up with standing magic to prevent access. An incantation levied until the Scribe was ready to learn it’s secrets.
Didn’t know better… he mused over that. Knowledge is power, no knowledge is ignorance and forgetting is a travesty.
A teaching mantra from deep in his memories.
And yet, this part he had not walked in for… travesty.
Devlin are you there?
“I’m somewhere yes.”
The Barrow woods. What know you of the wizard that walked in your retinue?
“That was need to know. The Elite, they knew and led us all the death.”
Did he live?
“He was not there at the end.”
Then you were a diversion.
“An unknowledgeable one that cost the lives of my brethren.”
You were not these Elite?
“No, men of the Kings ward, warriors, knights to some. Muscle to others.”
And your king sent you to die
“A barrier between the living world and the one beyond. Not a gate to the underworld, but a fence against the genocide beyond. The landscape bleeds, bones lie bleached under a sun that burns all. An exile place of remembrance that now lies forgotten.”
He flipped more pages.
“Sorcery makes mistakes. Often and in ignorance. The employment of a Dark Mage was a mistake. Charged with protecting the Barrow Woods he raised the dead. They walk as wights, killing and turning. All that die become. It is a vile place, to be avoided until a solution presents.”
Exasperated, he closed the book. Cryptic links leading where?
The Elite, what do you know of them?
“Fanatics is all I can offer. Codes that are known only to their Order. Some say religious Assassins, some say a cross between mage and warrior. I say, see them and run.”
“They bring death. In peace they are nowhere, in war they flock to battle.”
Who do they serve?
“Some lost Order.”
“Their Citadel was sacked long ago. Now they wander the lands as monks of war, a dying order.”
Knowledge or hearsay?
“Rumour and speculation.”
And now, where are you now?
“Is that not obvious?”
Where have I been?
The question burned deep as he looked over winter. Trees locked in hibernation, white spreading to the horizon. The crunch of iced snow underfoot. There was no wind in the night sky. Stars scattered above revealing the universe was bigger than just one world. A truth few accepted.
Where have I been?
Everything he was reading, communing with, Rune casting over had longevity. Happened long ago, now, was happening in a point of chronology in this very moment. Seers, oracles and all manner of species turning lives in an instant. He saw Devlin, the child, warrior and wight all happening together in moments of time. Directed by fate, destiny or pure chance?
Back inside he realised in the Keep time was locked. It had been since…
“Their citadel was sacked long ago…”
Something was off. Why am I now questioning everything?
Where have I been?
Another Librarian might be in order.
I’m no longer certain if this is the A to Z Challenge or a storyboard developing in its own right. Am I the writer or The Amanuensis? At times I’m on that balcony watching winter set. Frozen, waiting for the connections to manifest and the path to clear.
The next Librarian is not what he thinks it will be either. An Alice if I remember correctly.
As always, feel free to pass judgement in the comments section. All words are welcome.