The library! What a wonderful institution, is it not? Good places to meet with your friends, talk about great works, and have a jolly time. However, as some of us are aware, there is a much darker and much more sinister realm within the hallowed halls of the library-- the quiet study section. These sections are inhabited by numerous beings, hunched and mumbling inaudibly to themselves, seeking knowledge beyond the world of mortals-- some even sit in complete silence, watching, waiting. They are no mere men or beasts, dear readers. They have become more akin to creatures, overtaken with their desire for endless knowledge. So, I’ve taken up my torch, mythril armor, and my trusty goblin-smithed blade Bookslayer and explored these dark, dungeon depths for you; my beautiful and fanciful readers. I managed to make crude sketches of the three notable creatures I encountered as well, so you can truly experience what only few have lived to tell about. I’ve explored and returned with knowledge far beyond the realm of men-so here is my tale- one creature at a time.
1. Book Golem
I made my way up the staircase ahead of me, well equipped and confident. The main hallway in the upstairs of the library was well lit, almost welcoming to those who do not know better. Then I saw it, dear reader-- our first creature.
It was a creature of immeasurable size; a book golem. The head and shoulders of a man, fused with the immense tomes of the ancient gods that once roamed free in this realm. Their eyes; always cast downward into the books that hold the knowledge that they desire so desperately. They’re insatiable, adding book after book to their grotesque form. The vicious irony, however, is that they will eventually be crushed under the extreme weight of the books, only to have their carcasses picked clean by the next Golem that comes their way. One chased me down, as it sensed the map that I clutched in my free hand. You see, information foreign to the library is the most valuable to the Golem. It lumbered towards me and then burst into a sprint, arms stretched out, wailing a deafening scream that will never leave my memory as long as I live. I unsheathed Bookslayer, swung the blade with all my might at what I discerned was the Golem’s ankles and fell the Golem, ink spraying everywhere, covering the ground around the dying beast. I plunged Bookslayer into its brain stem, and, with a final twitch, the Golem was no more. I then heard thunderous footsteps behind me- another Golem I wagered. I stole away to a nearby aisle so that the new Golem could not spot me. I watched it tear book after book off its slain kin, eyes running from left to right as fast as it could manage. I sheathed Bookslayer and made my way further into the depth of the Library.
2. The Seeker
I came upon a bizarre man-creature with the head of an eagle, body of a snake, and the legs and arms of a man. At the tip if it’s beak rested curious spectacles of brass, quite expensive looking. It was lackadaisically thumbing through a sizable book when I came upon it. Slowly I began to walk past it, hand gripped tightly around the handle of Bookslayer. The creature lifted its head from the book it was holding and turned its gaze to me. When its eyes met mine, I was suddenly filled with dread, a dread that ran up and down my spine. The creature looked me up and down, it’s hideous maw bent into a smile and it slowly began to speak to me.
“Youuuu. . . Humannnn. . . who are youuu?” It’s voice droning, the pitch low and the cadence carefully calculated. I steadied myself and, ignoring the sweat on my brow and the pace of my heart, answered.
“Give me your name and I shall tell you what you want to know” my voice trembled a bit, but evened out at the end. The creature closed it’s book and placed it back on the shelf with a practiced accuracy.
“They call me the Seeker, o’ traveler. I know all there is to know and nothing that there isn’t to know.”
“So you know who I am already” I fired back, not thinking. The Seeker became quiet, and it’s face twisted into an anguished expression. It dropped to its knees and let aloud a screech that could have shattered pane after pane of glass. I covered my ears with haste and took several steps back. I figured that, when the Seeker does not know something, it experiences fits of extreme pain. It shot it’s gaze back in my direction and began to chase me down on all fours, bounding and cornering in such practiced form. As I weaved throughout the shelves, I had to formulate a plan as quickly as possible, as I could feel the beast gaining on me. I quickly turned a corner, whipped around, unsheathed Bookslayer, and held it straight out in front of me. The Seeker’s head bounded right into the tip of the blade, puncturing it between the eyes and stopping it cold, and Bookslayer easy cleaved the beast in twain. I wiped the blood off Bookslayer and sheathed it once more, leaving the corpse of the Seeker in a heap, surrounded by the knowledge that enslaved it.
I continued on, shaken, looking for an exit from this terrible place. I returned to the entrance that let me into this hellish realm in the first place, only to find the staircase was destroyed and only a black abyss lay in front of me. So, with new uncertainty, I began looking for a new staircase down, back to the first floor where my fellow adventurers were resting. There was a bizarre energy on the first floor of the Library- seemingly warding off the evils that were but a staircase away. For hours, I searched, checking every latched and sealed door, when I finally came upon my salvation.
Before me, there was a dark stairwell with a horrendous smell emitting from its depths. A lukewarm wind hit me, soaking my clothes in the stench. I braced myself and slowly began the descent, my torch held in front of me to give me a little bit of light and comfort.
As I took each step, I felt the staircase get more... sticky? Squishy, perhaps is more apt term. I felt the steps gradually give a little more as I continued. I felt a strange, sickly warmth through my boots. I brought my torch closer to the steps and was appalled at the sight that lay beneath my feet. Its eyelids opened, revealing a horribly bloodshot eye glaring directly up at me. The light of my torch shone off the oily skin that covered the steps. I panicked and sped down the stairs as fast as I could. The flesh that covered everything around me was difficult to gain good footing on, but I deftly managed to not fall, despite my immense fear. I reached the end of the staircase after what seemed like hours and a large double door was in front of me. There were teeth and veins covering the door, and a large lock made of bone clasping it shut. I unsheathed Bookslayer, lifted it above my head, and swung at the lock with all the strength I could muster. Within a few hits, the lock shattered and the doors swung open, revealing another staircase, this one well lit and sterile.
I slowly walked down these stairs to another door, opened it, and there lay the atrium of the first floor. I sheathed Bookslayer and wiped my brow, knowing now that I was unharmed back where the evil could not reside. I closed the door behind me and sat down at one of the many desks that littered the first floor, took out my quill pen, dipped it in the well, and began writing down what happened to me on the second floor.