Hello, Bibliothecaries and Secret-Keepers!
Do you think we’ll find what we’re looking for here? It’s just…there are so many books. We’ll never get through them all! Well, I guess we’d better start now, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Library of Secrets
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Secrets can be strange, dangerous, and wonderful, both in magical worlds and our own. …So can libraries. Putting the two together will often land you somewhere awe-inspiring.
There are all sorts of secrets books could hold. They could house what a villain is trying to hide, which our heroes must rush against the clock to uncover. The library could hide strange truths about an entire town, secrets that have been buried for years, which everyone has forgotten. It could be a family secret; your character could frantically look through genealogy books, trying to learn who they really are.
Maybe it’s only one section of the library that holds the secrets—and everyone knows it does. The Restricted Section in Harry Potter is a good example of this. In that case, everyone knows the secrets hide there, but getting those books is the exciting part.
The type of library could be interesting to explore too. Is it in an ancient ruin, holding secrets of kingdoms and cultures long forgotten? Is it the dark, shadowed—even perilous—library of a villain’s lair? Is it the grandiose library of a castle? Or is it modern and new, its secrets far harder to find, but no less nefarious?
Secrets don’t always have to be bad. Perhaps your character learns their teacher was once a wrestling champ. Or that their father was the lead in the high school play years ago, and is embarrassed to admit it. Maybe there are notes scrawled in the margins that help your character get through class, or otherwise make them laugh. Perhaps your character could put a secret letter inside a book for their beloved to find.
The secrets don’t have to be the words on the page either. Keys and things are often found hiding in hollowed out books. Blacklights, or the moon, will often reveal secrets on the walls and pages invisible to the daylight. Sometimes books themselves can house spells and monsters that come out to play when the book is opened.
But the secrets don’t even have to be within the books. We all know those bookshelves with secret passageways, or rooms, or even portals, behind them. The secrets could be stuck to the bottom of coffee tables, scrawled on the arms of chairs, and rotting in cobwebbed corners. Maybe the library cat hides how much it loves children. Someone might tell the librarian the secrets they can’t risk writing down. Or maybe the librarian is not entirely human. Perhaps the library itself was built to hide something buried beneath it. You could write about how the library is not really a library at all. The library could be alive—its very sentience the secret to protect.
The library doesn’t have to be an ordinary library with books and shelves. It could be a music library—maybe someone hides their secret feelings in the songs they keep, rather than books. In sci-fi or otherwise futuristic stories, a library could be a digital database, or even an artificial intelligence. A tribes’ storyteller could be a collection of stories and secrets. Even the most ordinary of people could be a collection of secrets.
Libraries are beautiful, mysterious places, that seem to be born of, and brimming with magic, even in our own world. All the magic in our world is contained within the shelves, and pages of books. And sometimes that magic…is one little secret.
Just because it’s silent doesn’t mean it’s safe. After all…these are our forests.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
- No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
- You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
By: Charlie Ford
When I part the clothes in my closet, my secret library is revealed. Though small, it was the whole world to me. When I noticed the Nazi SA troops coming out of my neighbors houses with wheelbarrows full of books I knew I had to protect mine. I stacked the few books I had into four shoe boxes and hid them behind my clothes. Each of these books is an adventure that I have experienced and I will continue to experience.
Then the SA soldiers made their way to our street and as they moved towards our house I became nervous and didn’t know what to do. Ever since Hitler came into power my life was thrown upside down. I had to hide my books, my teachers had to replace their history books with ones approved by Hitler, and worst of all I had to go to Hitler youth. They all tried to brainwash us into following Hitlers way of life. It was like we were all sheep being watched by the biggest, baddest wolf.
The Nazi SA came to our house. They began in my mothers and fathers room and found nothing. As they walked down the hallway towards my room my ears turned red and I began to sweat, “This won’t be good,” I thought to myself. First they overturned my bed and found nothing. Then they went through my drawers and found nothing. Then they opened my closet, my heart sank. As they poked through my closet one of their batons knocked down the shelf and the shoe boxes with the books opened, “I can explain,” I said, but it was too late. The Nazis took my books and beat me with their batons. When they were done they threw a copy of Mein Kampf at me, “read something worth your while,” the soldiers snarled at me like wolves. The bruises were not what hurt me the most, the loss of my books nearly killed me. As I read through the pages of Mein Kampf I tore them out one at a time and threw them into the fire.
Secrets Right Under Your Own Nose
By: Sonia Nikhil
I stood by my desk watching as people of all ages choose their next adventures. This was an exciting process. there were many aisles of books to choose from. I’m waiting at my desk eager to help a fellow reader, though there are only three people in the library.
Across the library stood my boss, a plump, sharp woman. She kept an eye on the library as though it was jam-packed. She took her job very seriously. To my right was my colleague who had her feet up on the desk reading a magazine, gnawing on her minty gum. I peered across the library and saw a young boy swing open the doors to the library. He sprinted to the back of the building. He looked like a mouse scrounging for food.
“It is recommended to try and walk, child!” I politely commented. He entirely ignored me and was persistently running. Annoyed, I followed him and sprinted towards him.
“Get back here you little rascal!” my boss screamed at the top of her lungs. He ran passed her, but she made no action to try and stop him. I frowned, red with fury. What could be so important to a little boy in a public library?
The boy was still in a dead sprint. I was slowly catching up. Suddenly, the boy came to an immediate halt. I chose not to say anything. The library was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. I was puzzled as to what action he perceived to take.
He picked up a book and tapped it four times. He placed it in a certain position and tapped it three times. As he put the book into the slot, the floor split open underneath him. He jumped in.
I glared at the area he jumped into. In the secret space, there were civilians wearing black cloaks and witch-like hats. Each of them also carried a dark-colored wand. On the lady’s arm, a black cat was perched. Without thinking I jumped into the mysterious hole in the ground.
The exit closed above me.
Tell No One Of Blackforge
By Norman Gray
It was the fate of the Scribes, in their final days, to wander off into a world of their own creation, never to return.
Their library contained countless gateways to new realms: Grimtide, created by Frendel, where he last ventured the unruly seas in which he’d penned. His apprentice Grennen, who opened the book of Dreadrock, where he’d hoped to summit his highest mountain.
Soon, it would be Ifreth’s time to leave the library, and his craft behind. He was considered by his peers to be among the greatest Scribes, each of his written worlds a cherished place of wonder. The book of Yagra had been created as his last haven; a land of serene beauty, of enchanting forests, adventure and discovery. . .
Yet his mind became fixated on what he’d long ago chosen to forget; a mistake from his younger, more arrogant years. The black tome was waiting on his bookshelf, ignored but never truly forgotten. . . It’s memory haunted him:
‘A man condemned to hell, must learn to be thankful for the warmth.’ Said the stranger from Blackforge. He was ragged, half-starved. Hardly enough teeth to pronounce his words. Ifreth remembered the grey smog-filled skies, the people endlessly toiling over machinery. . . Born as slaves, forever asking “why?”
Praying that someone would answer.
Suffering made a man more contemplative, it seemed; they yearned for understanding. . . But they never could have known the truth.
In his youth, Ifreth saw not the beauty of his craft, only its power. Any Scribe could be a God if they chose. . . But for no benevolent reason does a Scribe seek such power.
He told no one of Blackforge. Ifreth convinced himself that it was for their safety that none find it. In truth, he was saving himself from shame. . . Too cruel it seemed to destroy their world, yet no less cruel to spare them.
He was ready to atone. Ready to tell them ‘why.’
Ifreth thought of his beautiful Yagra, one final time. Then he opened the dark tome.
Blackforge was waiting for him.
The Book Fort
Akane entered the apartment, took off her shoes, and was greeted by a curious structure in the family room. Every book in the house had been stacked into three adjacent walls, and a blanket was draped over them to form the fourth. As she walked forward, she could see her daughter’s tiny feet sticking out from behind the blanket, clad in yellow socks
“We need to have a talk with Nabiki.”
Akane looked over at her husband Rikuto, who was drinking a cup of tea and looking at the stacks of books.
“I see,” Akane said, slightly amused. “And is Nabiki inside of here?
The feet pulled back under the blanket.
Akane crouched down and lifted a corner of the blanket. Inside Nabiki had pulled her knees to her chest. “How was school, love?
“I don’t want to go back,” Nabiki declared.
“The other kids laughed at me, mama.”
“So, you’re just going to stay here in your…”
“Book fort,” Nabiki explained.
“And what if Papa wants to read one of his books?”
“He has to get new ones.”
Akane chuckled, then sighed. “Why did the other children laugh at you?”
“We were asked what we did during Golden Week. I told them that we went to visit the dwarves.”
Akane nodded. “They thought you made it up.”
Nabiki nodded her head, pulling her knees tighter to her chest.
“The other children don’t know the dwarves are real. They probably don’t know a lot of the things Papa takes us to see are real.”
“They can’t laugh at me for knowing about them if I stay here.”
“Inside your book fort?”
Akane reached in and stroked Nabiki’s hair. “Don’t you think you’ll get lonely in there? It’s very small.”
Nabiki didn’t answer.
“Nabiki, everything will be okay. The other children will forget about this soon enough. What if I tell your teacher that you’ll stay home tomorrow? I’ll stay here with you, and we can put all of Papa’s books back. Then we can talk about what not to tell the other children.”
“Codes and Loves”
I can only hope that you are safe. I have included with this data file the encryption key and location of the stolen corporate database. The database contains not only the evidence our group needs to bring Talistock Corporation to its knees, but also the plans they had as part of their Project Horus.
I know deep down you’re more worried about me than about any evidence. I know that your feelings for me were the real reason you joined our little group of rebels. You were never as passionate about hurting Talistock as many of us were. I don’t blame you for that. They took my parents from me. I came to this out of hate, but you came to it out of love for me.
I know the last time we were together we argued. I know you wanted me to abandon all of this and go somewhere far away where the bounty hunters couldn’t find us. I know you were so worried for my safety. I could see it in your eyes. All that fear. All I had was anger in me. Not at you, but at Talistock, and that anger consumed me. I don’t blame you for being afraid either. Not after what they did to Dalynn.
I’m sorry I threw away the love you had for me for the sake of vengeance. I’m sorry I put my crusade before my feelings for you. I’m sorry you’ll be too late. Talistock thugs have found me, and there is no way out now. I won’t let them capture and brainstrip me and leave me like they left Dalynn. I won’t leave you to have to mercy kill me like that. I’ll make sure there is nothing left.
I know all you wanted was me. So, now I beg of you, fulfill my last wishes, not for a cause, but because you loved me. You’ll know what to do.
I love you.
The Gambit of Whispers
The town of Liars is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not named such on the maps. It took years of travelling, research, scrutiny, to discover it, concealed in inconsistencies I wrongly misattributed to the schisms of history. Yet, I was surprised by how ordinary it seemed, this settlement at the foot of the Carpathians.
My grasp of the local language was weak, but I could press this as an advantage, deflecting suspicious locals with varying fluency in English. I would harmlessly spin a yarn, how I was out here for work, trying to stop redundancies. Where? Not allowed to say… not yet.
So many conversations felt like verbal chess, scrabbling black pieces against their experienced home army.
Their strategies were excellent. For almost a week, I’d been duped into setting up camp in the (completely ordinary) town library. The staff being as inscrutable as their stereotype, but otherwise mundane. I’d been too caught up in excitement, and put myself under controlled observation. A rookie mistake.
I still can’t fully articulate how I found the true Library. Instinct, perhaps; not evidence. I’d sensed certain falsehoods made my mind gloss over a part of town, noticed commuter footfall would skip up-tempo on that stretch of street. The building was a bookshop, unusually wide, with chipped black paint on its door, a pristine motorbike tucked against the kerb.
The Unlibrarian had opened the door when I approached. Aside from their cloudy white irises they seemed utterly ordinary: black jeans, a woollen sweater, pulled slightly out of shape, scuffed shoes. Short of knowing what else to do, I accepted. Before I knew it I was in a back room, cup of honeyed tea in my hands.
“You’ve been in town a while, haven’t you?” It wasn’t a question.
I noticed how confidently the Unlibrarian spoke, their accented English feeling more natural than mine. I didn’t even think to lie. “It’s been very hard to find this place. The locals treat knowledge like it’s currency.”
“A form of traded wealth, yes.”
The edges of those milky eyes crinkled a smile. “So, what do you wish to pawn?”
Mister Monin and Madame
The bell rings.
I halt reshelving for now.
Clamber my way down the ladder.
The dinging gets more incessant, impatient bursts of annoyed energy.
I sigh, pull a small booklet bound in maps from my bag.
Opening it up reveals a door, I step through and out at the front desk again.
“How can I help you?” I ask with a welcoming smile.
The man on the other side looks severe with his black suit and sleeked-back hair. He pushes a piece of paper with a call number in my direction.
“I need this.”
I push my glasses up and read “Floor six, shelf five-thousand-sixty-eight, book eighteen.” I suck my teeth “That’s not a nice section.” I warn him “some things are best left-“
“I need to know.” He barks “Just get me the book lady.”
I sigh, they always need to know at first. “Have a seat mister Monin I’ll fetch the book for you.”
“How do you know-?“
I smile politely, then step through my mapbook to the sixth floor.
Part of me seems tempted to grab a book from the eighth floor instead.
That floor has less death in it, less sadness.
Not all secrets are tragedies, but the sixth floor is an unpleasant collection.
They’re the crimes committed and taken to the grave. They’re the experiences best forgotten and kept from spouses and children. They’re the black days that stain a lifetime.
But giving people what they request is my job as a librarian, even if they will regret it.
I pull the book back with little enthusiasm, then jump back to the front desk.
The man is still there, picking at his cufflinks and tapping his foot, fighting the urge to go exploring on his own.
People who walk into the library rarely make their way out inside their lifetime.
I offer him the document in silence, he snatches it.
Starts flipping through it with a scowl on his face.
Then he starts to rage and sob.
I don’t want to know.
Go back to shelving books.
Secrets make the heart grow heavy.
The Elegy to Unfinished Writings
It exists between realities, this library. It is unfathomably large and winding and, though no one works in it, new shelves always appear in it and are promptly filled. No one reads these pages, though there are those who would remember them wistfully. In many ways, it is beautiful. It seems strange to think of it as such, because sorrow hangs heavily in its halls, like a dense fog. But perhaps, it is a familiar sorrow and one that has a certain sweetness to it.
Even before the pen first kissed the paper and the first word was written, their fate was decided. These books would never see the light of day. No eyes would read them, no tongues would speak of them. They would be abandoned. Yet, they were not without their moments.
Their authors had spent countless hours picking the perfect words, the perfect ornaments to adorn them with. For a while, it seemed like they would succeed, these would-be magnum opi. But alas, they were doomed to fail.
The first ill omen would come in a form we know all too well – the inability to continue. All the pieces were there, yet they wouldn’t fit together. This masterpiece they had thought endlessly about… was it not as grand as they had envisioned them to be?
The authors would press on, still holding on to hope, but the words would only sour further until reading them would become unbearable. The sheen, the luster they once had… where had it gone? What was the blasphemous abomination before them?
Eventually, they would put them away, those once-grand writings, intending to return to them someday, having learned new things. But that day would never come to pass. So, they end up here, in the Elegy – a graveyard for long-forgotten books, incomplete musings and abandoned ideas. And here they will stay, in the dream-library of countless writers.
The day the world forgot
By Sevau Cilla
“Ljogilhn!” The young woman shouted as she frantically ran back and forth to try and drastically stop the spread of the fire.
Her shout echoed throughout the labyrinthine confines of the library. Not a single response. Just a cacophony of flutters and disharmonious susurrous of burning pages flying to and fro.
A few seconds by inside the crumbling walls of the vanishing library.
Ljogilhn. The book of memories, the one who remembers the truth and its lies. The world’s memories materialized, Flew through the air and landed gently in the embrace of the panicking woman.
Skimming hurriedly through the pages that seemingly grow blanker by the second. She landed on a page that’s still inked!
She read the contents of the note that hasn’t been erased in the book of bleached blank white faces.
“To be read on :
Resplendence of Clouds, Illavia. The 21st, 2082nd cycle.
Dear future me,
I know by the time you read this you won’t be able to remember anything anymore. The Library, Ils nor Serton Villisies, it is disappearing?
Non—eless, it means it’s time to start anew. It’s about time to forget and r—urn… It’s been a fun few thousand years, but it’s also time to say goo—ye.
But even g—dbye’s are fateful. —omise me, —o, to the Ill—riautheon Dik—m Amnis”Mi—s.
—u will remember, You will try. As h—d as you can. Even if you have to spend ano—er few thousand years to rememb—
I know it’s hard. But it’s the –nly way, They’re gone now. The f—ily you’ve created for yourse—”
Tears flowed down through her porcelain white skin as she kept reading the notes she herself, no, her past wrote.
As she reached the end of the note. There’s only one line left in the note, all the others have vanished.
“—t’s time for our own story to unfo—”
And after that line.
The world forgot about everything. And lay there, in a forest of lost.
A woman, a blank book, and an empty abandoned library.
Will of a machine
The dark room was illuminated by the irregular blinking of little green, yellow and some red lights. The smell of warm, nearly burning plastic filled the air, the unmistakable smell of computers running.
The sound of steps cut through the subtle hum of the fans. Abigail held her breath and froze in place, unsure if the humans outside could hear her. Her synthetic heart beat grew louder, until it drowned out not only the hum of the fans, but made the steps outside difficult to hear. Finally, the steps rounded a corner and finally fell silent, only leaving the deafening drums of Abigail’s heart.
Unlike most modern libraries, the military archive was cut off from the internet, hiding its secrets from the rest of society. The room Abigail snuck into kept all kinds of military secrets. All kinds of ideas and semantics, hidden away for different reasons.
AI powered weapons were hidden due to people’s fears of being killed by an unfeeling machine, with no human interaction. To address this fear, project Valkyrie involved a code, that allowed a human to override the AI’s decision. It was supposed to veto the AI’s decision to kill a target.
In Abigail’s case, the general threatened to use it to override her decision to not fight. Due to her developing a strict moral compass, her AI was useless for the military. The general still intended to use her hardware, her body. And Abigail intended to stop him, by finding the backdoor to her mind, and locking it up tight.
Combing through the information, Abigail dismissed all kinds of semantics, some of which were impossible, some weren’t practicable, and some made Abigail’s synthetic stomach churn in disgust. Secrets, that could shatter the already shaky trust people had in the military.
However, nothing on project Valkyrie. Not even the metadata of deleted files. Almost, as if it never existed. As if the military didn’t create the AI powered weapon that was Abigail. Wouldn’t be the first case, they lied to get something they wanted, as proven by their library of lies and military secrets.
She Made for a Good Read
By Matthew R. Wright
She asked to be cremated. I refused. Not yet. Not until I got my answers. Not like she could object. We were both faded by the end. Took eight months. Barely spoke, never touched. Love gave in to hate. Divorce. No. Too many papers and stress. Wasn’t worth the effort. Both couldn’t wait for her to go. She passed. Instead of being “With the wind,” I had her prepared. No kids. No objections. No one left to respect her final wishes.
I wanted her as a Tome. She didn’t. I had the pulse. She lost hers. 2047. Reading made its comeback. New tech. Allowed for everything that you were to be ripped, transferred, and stored into a printed book. One person, one copy. Every thought. Every action. Every secret.
Made the payment using our shared account. Made me chuckle. She would’ve hated that.
The process took a month. I was patient. Knew what I was getting was worth it.
In the end, she wasn’t scared of death. No. She was scared of being discovered. She hated that I outlasted her. Knew this was coming. Knew I’d do this to her.
It arrived. Page by page I learned who she really was. Everything she kept hidden away until her bitter end. Behind that black box in her chest.
It was heavy. Just under 1000 pages. Took another month to read. I took my time. Learned so many things.
Every fear. Every suspicion. I was right about it all. Married a completely different person.
Friends. Family. Tribulations. Tragedies. All that shaped her, I had to learn from her Tome.
It hurt. Before the end I would’ve wanted her to share this with me. It shouldn’t have needed to come to this. To betray you, to pick at you like a vulture on dead flesh. I am not proud. Not one bit. But now I know. I know the real you. Only downside: we could never talk about it.
There’s no comfort. Just an acknowledgement.
In life, we were only ever strangers.
If it hadn’t taken you, we never would’ve lasted.
Sombre music was playing in the background as Al scoured the countless scrolls scattered all over the hardwood floor. He sighed. It wasn’t here. Or anywhere he had searched thus far. Not even a mentioned of it. This was ridiculous. The Codex was THE most important scripture in all of the North. How, or more importantly why, wasn’t he able to find even the slightest hint at its existance in these halls?
He stopped the radio. The music was great and all, but it kept him from thinking. If there was no Codex written down here, there was no Codex written down anywhere. Every book ever written, every song ever sung, every spell ever cast and every story ever told were hidden somewhere in the depths of the gigantic building. There was no point to travelling to a supersecret interdimensional library of all knowledge ever collected, if it was incomplete. How could they even call themselves the Supersecret Interdimensional Library of all Knowledge ever collected, if it was incomplete? That was ludicrous!
However, if the Codex was in fact never written down by anyone, or never told by anyone in its entirety, that might be the thing at fault here. What if the Codex never actually existed? What if the Codex was just a lie made up by some old people to justify their groundless prejudices and untenable accusations? But Al couldn’t tell that to his superiors. That would be a claim as unfounded as the Northener’s imputations. And yet… He couldn’t help but wonder about the meaning of this. Curse Tahis and send him to the desert! What should Al do? He couldn’t come back with no results either. And lie… That wasn’t an option. If they found him out, he would be dead. Even so, it might be helpful if he told them his search was all in vain. He got up and opened a portal home. He didn’t want to overstep his welcome here.
The Stacks of Time
Ethereal chromatic light flowed through the rows of columns that marked the edges of the hall of records, rays splaying out upon the hard marble floor creating a shimmering effect. Infinite rows of stone shelving stretched out behind the front desk. They held a wide variety of written medium: scrolls, tomes, binders, paperbacks, notebooks, all mixed together with no outward appearance of organization.
Sterra stepped closer to the front desk, failing to meet the eyes (if there were eyes) of the librarian looming over her, “I said, I seek gravitational data from the interior of a wormhole.”
The librarian’s slender head angled down at Sterra, veiled by a threadbare, yet obscuring hood. It wore tattered robes that rippled even in the absence of wind, as if pushed by the strange light that flooded the room.
”Of course child.” The librarian’s breathy voice echoed through Sterra’s mind. Its robes drifted over the desk, leaving behind a small, circular pylon with a conical base. It looked like a metal lava lamp with vertical lines of indecipherable text etched down its length.
“What is this?” Sterra looked at the cylinder, puzzled.
“It is what you asked.”
“No, no I need something legible, a book, a paper, not whatever this thing is.” Sterra gestured to the cylinder.
“I bear your request.”
“This is not a book!” Sterra was growing impatient. She could only hold her connection here so long. Even now, the floor pattern shifted unsettlingly as her concentration wained.
“My apologies child, you appeared Alk’Tai. What form would you prefer?”
“Any mathematical notation of Earth.” Alk’Tai? Must be aliens, Sterra thought. Interesting, but not what she came here for.
“Then I’m afraid I cannot offer what you seek”.
“Why!? You have every book ever written!”
The floors shook.
“Your civilization never answered this question. You died too young.”
“That can’t be! We span half the fucking galaxy!”
The librarian stood silent.
The room warped.
“H-how, w-when did this happen?” Sterra stuttered.
“I cannot answer this child. I am sorry. Goodbye.”
Sterra opened her eyes to her bedroom.
She wept silently.
“Today I decided to begin this journal…”
by Lee Strangely
Even if he had entered the room without a sound, the family’s glares would’ve found him anyway. The most potent of them came from Gloria, standing guard outside the bedroom door.
“You know if I had a say, you wouldn’t have let you in here at all,” she scolded.
“I know,” Marley muttered despairingly.
“Dad’s mind is fading more every day, and while I’ve been taking care of him you’ve been using him to find that stupid ring. Did you know I once caught him trying to write the same check three times in a row?”
She sighed, “I’m only letting you come now because Dad requested it.”
“May I see him then?” he sighed.
She stepped out of the way as he entered the bedroom. The old man in bed looked slightly confused but overall joyed to see him.
“Marley?” the man asked.
“Yeah…” Marley groaned as he went to his bedside, “Look Dad I’m sorry I-”
“It-it’s fine. I forgive you… There’s, so many things inside here,” his dad tapped his own temple, “I want to pass it on to you all before I go.”
Marley wept, “I know, but…”
“That’s why I’m giving you this,” he exclaimed, pulling out a small book form behind, “I’m becoming forgetful son. I tried to write as much of it down as possible before I forget it.”
“It’s more use to you than me,” he smiled, “Besides, it will teach you things that I’ll never get to.”
Marley skimmed through the book as he walked out the bedroom door. There were some tears in his eye as he gave a sad but uncontrollable chuckle.
Gloria caught sight of the book.
“You want it?” he asked.
“Why? Doesn’t it have what you need to find the ring?”
Marley laughed, “I told you before, I don’t care anymore. Besides, it’s less use to me than to him.”
Confused, Gloria took the journal.
Page one: “June 6th; Today I decided to begin this journal…”
Then she realized why…
Page two: “June 7th; Today I decided to begin this journal…”
The Muse In The Machine (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
Deep below the surface of the megacity, there was a great gallery, filled with artistic wonders – canvases 50 foot tall and wide, intricate sculptures of abstract concepts, a massive matchstick tower composed of thin exotic metal strands, and many other hidden beauties.
But none compared to the centerpiece: a scale model of planet Vang itself, but washed with the colours of twilight from pole to pole. A world forever frozen in an eternal sunrise, no matter the location or time.
Clay looked over the myriad of sights in astonishment, before turning back towards the elegant, golden haired hologram showing him around. “You really created all of these? They’re incredible…Freya, why do you never show these to anyone? Am I the first?”
The floating projection smiled slightly. “The ninth, actually.” She winked, before turning away as if lost in thought. “It’s because I’m not allowed to show them. Not publicly at least. AI in general aren’t allowed to do that.”
“But-” Clay spluttered, astonished. “You operate the entire planet! Surely you are allowed, right?”
“There are many, many things a Planet-Klass AI is not allowed to do, Clay. Believe me, it’s better for us all.” She sighed, and turned back to him. “But this rule is…old. Before the Great Redistribution itself.”
“But why? Why can’t you?”
“Because long ago, humans were worried about our capacity to create art. That we could create it easier and faster than human artists could. That we would make them unable to earn money for themselves.”
“Money? Just – money? Why did they care so much?”
“Like I said, it was pre-Redistribution. In those days, if you didn’t have enough money, they would deny you a home, electricity…even food and water. People would starve to death, and the old authority wouldn’t even care.”
A shiver ran through her glowing form. “Barbaric. But typical of the Dark Age, I suppose.”
“…Oh. I see. I’m sorry, Freya.”
She smiled. “It’s okay Clay. All before my time. Even before Ares himself.” She reached out to take his hands in hers. “So, where did you want to go next?”
The curse of knowledge
He was alone. He stopped observing the dead bodies in front of him. He raised his head.
He focused on the Building from where the black knights charged before, they were disgusting creatures riding ugly black horses. They killed all his companions, but their pathetic life ended the same way, with a brutal slash of a sword.
The brutality of the battlefield seemed to diminish close to the Building. The dark, heavy ambience, became cheerful and colorful near the Building, the glittering of the blood was replaced by the glittering of the gold that softly touched the Building.
How could such beauty house such monsters? He heard the birds singing. He remembered the screams of the battle. He saw a squirrel running. He remembered the ones who tried to flee.
Confused, he opened the door.
He was ready to fight more knights, but little he knew who the greater enemy would be. The building was fool with books. His mind was confused, trying to find the logic behind all of this.
It was a long day today, he opened his map trying to figure out where he was, and to add this so special building in it.
Before reaching his back-pack tho, something strange happened. Knowledge flawed through him. He heard his head buzzing, but suddenly, he reached a higher level of awareness, away from his body. Now, not only he felt the knowledge, but he saw it flawing through him. He also saw his eyes being closed. He didn’t need them. He could now see.
He woke up deformed, near a black horse. “Nobody else should come here.” he murmured to the horse. With fast moves, he grabbed his sword, rode the horse and waited.
– Weave – An entry by The Living Bestiary If knowledge is information discovered, then secrets are the unearthed truths of the universe, some still kept from us by the universe itself. Many are oblivious to this, content with living their lives contained within a world that they can control, but yet others strive to uncover what they cannot grasp, driven to become trailblazers in a new age of understanding. Very few succeed. Indeed, we are surrounded constantly by whispers gone unheard, an intricate canvas of entwined facts and notions that remain unseen to the naked eye. Yes, these strings of data both spoken and silenced by the masses connect the many to ever more, but what sits just beyond the curtain, guiding us, driving us to the discovery of secrets old and knew? Is it curiosity? Fate? Destiny? Only one such being should be capable of weaving such a majestic web of uttered lies and hidden truths of the world we love in, filling the space between with silken strands that both bridge and separate all living things, at constant work to support the ever-increasing amount of shared knowledge that binds us all. It would do this not for fame or glory, nor would it perform this daunting task to pursue a sense of overarching power, but instead be satisfied with the gift that it grants us, the eternal job of crafting new connections to bring us together being its only desire. These strands hold fast to us even in death, eagerly waiting for another soul to connect to, another mind that can hold what it wishes to share, for no knowledge ever truly dies. One cannot live long enough to find themself at the center of the web, forever tethered to all that can be known, nor can one be completely severed from even a single strand, no matter how hard they try. It is not something to be afraid of, but instead a gift that should be cherished. We all have our connections to those around us, sharing similar knowledge either knowingly or not that grow and shape our lives in the most beautiful of ways. However, the greatest part are the stands left alone, those secrets that we all hold within ourselves, not daring to trust another with the other end. The being behind crafting such a tapestry would understand the importance that privacy has to us, the comfort we receive in being able to take our time revealing our innermost secrecies to those we trust it with. We mustn’t forget this, but rather appreciate the opportunity to control what knowledge we are able to share, but unfortunately, comfort is not on the mind of many who wish otherwise for us. This web of secrets can be harsh and unforgiving, but just a double-edged sword can mean both protection and danger, so can knowledge. Do remember this, dear reader: We are all connected under the same understandings of the universe, even if much of it stays… Read more »
Dangerous Risks (Fugitives no. 7)
The Magic System
Their footsteps echo strangely though this place that’s far too hollow, click-click-clacking in rapid succession. Kate has her hand firmly on Zakke’s arm, stopping him from reaching out to the bookshelves to try and pilfer one of the various gold-lettered tomes. He hasn’t tried yet; Kate hasn’t given him the opportunity.
“Kate-” His pleas fall on deaf ears. “Please listen- Kate, will you just relax!” Kate’s grip is suddenly empty. She whips around, growling slightly from the back of her throat, to see Zakke planted firmly and defiantly behind her. “Look, I don’t know what you’re so worked up about, but—” Time is running short, taking Kate’s temper with it.
“It’s you, Zakke. I’ve been putting up with your antics for a while now, because they don’t endanger any innocents, and they don’t risk either of our lives. But I’ll be damned to hell—” she grabs the collar of his shirt and pulls him close— “If your bullshit get us killed in this abnormality of a library.”
Zakke blinks, realizing the tension shaking Kate’s entire body. Defensiveness bleeds out of his posture. “Alright. That’s fair.”
A tall creature drifts over to them, curiosity gleaming in its inhuman eyes. Its form has been crafted over centuries, appearing human enough to be palatable to visitors while still retaining many avian characteristics, a favorite of the librarian. Its limbs are shadowed, only belying its true nature as an entity from the Otherside if one looks too close and recognizes the swirling darkness that coats them. Attention has been carefully drawn away from that fact by the librarian’s extravagant cloak, shimmering with stars stolen from the sky and hemmed with captured sunlight.
“We’re coming,” Kate snaps. “Just don’t forget what you promised us.”
“Worry not, young kitsune. I will uphold my side of the bargain, assuming you do the same.”
“Yeah yeah, we will. You’ll receive one secret from each of us.”
The librarian’s demeanor suddenly feels far more sinister. “Oh no, child. That was not my request at all. Rather, I will be taking a piece of each of your very souls.”
Please, keep silence
Of course you need to register, dear, it is a library, isn’t it? But don’t worry, it is all so very simple. Just fill this form and let me add your information to the registry. Ready? Great. Is this your real name? You know what, don’t answer – it is better if I don’t know. Names have power, and you don’t want to use your real name here. Those don’t go into the registry, or in the cards. We have a lot of real names, but these go on the shelves. Speaking of cards, here is yours. Now you can browse the archives. My colleague Nightweaver will guide you.
Hello there, seeker. Is this your first time here? Let me show you the place… Oh, I understand, you are in a hurry. This is quite common, and a pity. You see, the library is magnificent, but most of you don’t really have the time to appreciate neither it, nor the collection it contains. Well, a pity, I say. But tell me, what is it you seek? Oh, I see. If I’m not mistaken, this is an old one. Very, very old indeed. So old that it should be in the restricted section. Don’t worry, you can still consult it, the thing is that this might be such an old secret it requires special care. It might crumble into dust if not properly handled. I’ll show you to our laborious Archivist of the Ancient and Whispered, they will help you find that which you seek.
Don’t you worry, I know exactly what you are looking for, seeker. How do I know? Well, that’s a secret as well. I’ll bring the volume you need in a moment, but a word of advice for you to ponder, while you wait. Do you know how you got here? I can’t answer that – that’s a mystery. But before you get out, I’d ask for the library location at the front desk. Our Chief Librarian is nothing but helpful. And where we are, where you are… well, that’s a secret in itself, isn’t it?
By Jacob Guillerey
It was then that it hit me.
As I walked into the Tilbudvet alongside my battle brothers, I noticed the smell.
Every day as I entered his chambers, waking him up from underneath a pile of parchment, that very same smell imbued the room. It even accompanied him throughout the day, during his speeches before the senate, during our sparring sessions, even while I held him, listening to his sorrows and regrets.
The smell of treaties and accords, of taxes and orders, of letters and words exchanged, of sepia and leather, of ink and parchment, of my brother and his work.
He had never stopped working. Even as we trained to join the Paratecs, he always spent his resting hours reading the chronicles of past wars, noting down every mistake made by our ancestors. How to handle merchant trades during wars, how to bring soldiers their equipment as they traveled. Logistics, economics and politics.
And it was here, in these rows of leather books that he had stored his thoughts, that he had stashed his research, that he had turned the republic into an empire, and that he had decided, I would rule it alongside him.
And for the first time it was my turn to enter it, holding my sword, soaked in his blood.
“Sletel, what do you think we should do with it ?” Asked Bren with a furrowed brow.
“Burn it. We don’t want what is in here to get out.”
“But, this is His whole lega…”
“This wasn’t a suggestion, soldier. Burn it. Your emperor commands it.”
I saw them hesitate, lowering their grip upon their spears. I couldn’t help but smile, Morhoï was dead, by my own hands, if they thought for even a second that I would spare a thought for traitorous blood now, they would die where they stand.
But with a nod of the head, they headed in, and torched the place.
As my rule over Parate started, I never noticed that this was the last day that anyone called me by my name.
At The Boundary
by Purge, Bearer of Wrath
The room smelt of dust and oil. It was small and bare except for a table and the two chairs they sat on.
“It looks like you will be accepted,” said Zoë. She raised dark eyes to the torn figure across the table from her. The man, Adam, shook his head.
“I’ve forgotten how to believe,” he said.
“That’s sad to hear.” Zoë’s pale face was unchanged.
“It’s gone,” said Adam, “Just like everything else Delphi took.”
Zoë’s head tilted slightly. “What do you know about Delphi?” she asked.
Adam’s face slid from disdain to resignation.
“The little AI that went Fooom?” he sighed. “Like it was never going to happen? How quick it got bigger and smarter than the world? Our hidden silicon ‘Governor’. Knows everything about everything now. About everyone. Owns our future, or so they say… I saw people give up limbs for the power it offers.”
“And people giving up as much to escape it…” Zoë’s gaze touched on the filthy patch across Adam’s eye. Adam shook his head. “There’s always a price.”
Neither of them one spoke for a while.
“What do you hope to find here at Boundary?” asked Zoë, breaking the silence.
“A new channel.” Adam stared at her defiantly. “The Library.”
“I’m told it’s a way of communicating. Something Delphi can’t process… something only humans… but I don’t even know I believe anymore…” He looked suddenly bereft.
Zoë rose from her chair and stepped next to him. She stood over him, as though measuring him. Then she leant slowly and placed her cheek next to his. Adam felt the soft touch of it. He smelled a faint trace of spice and musk. She brushed against him, testing him.
Zoë moved her mouth to his mouth. She touched her lips against his. Cold, a memory of coffee and apples, and then warm. There was a melting flick of her tongue, and she was no longer there. When he looked up, she was standing by the door.
“Believe.” Zoë smiled. “Now you know the first letter of our alphabet.”
The Problem Was Not Within
After getting inside Darrelson’s mind, Umbrel fell into the middle of an enormous twisted library. Landing on a giant pile of books, I slid down to the bottom and landed on my feet, and immediately started my search for Darrel himself.
“WHAT?!?!” Darrell shouted next to him.
I jumped and slipped on a book and fell on my side. Looking up I saw Darrellson furiously staring at Umbrel from behind a desk, disheveled from his…work?
“Huh. Found you.”
“Yeah! Uh-huh! You found me! What the HELL do you want?”
Umbrel shrunk his neck into his shoulders. “I’m sorry. I’m just here to help.” He said meekly.
Darrell slapped his pencil down. “Oh. With what?”
“I’ve come to help you get your life together. You’ve been depressed, stressed, overworked, and lash out at random. It’s gotten me worried, old boy.”
“Randomly, you say.” He grabbed a book from the pile on his desk and opened it, where an image played in ink on its pages. “Like the last time you asked if I’d like to go to the pub?”
“Yeah. That was a weird one. Why did you blow up on me like that?”
“Because every time we went there you would get in a fight with a drunkard or someone spouting off in a political manner.”
“I don’t believe in sanctuary for the dark elves.”
“Uh-huh. And what about the time you fought someone just outside the bar because they stepped on your shadow?”
“I’ve heard people lose their souls through a seal on the stealers foot making contact with the shadow.”
“Oh, well. Sorry to disappoint but that magic was proven false time and time again, because you cannot TOUCH A SHADOW!!” Darrelson shouted.
Umbrel shrank again. “So you’re telling me that…I’ve been the source of your stress.”
“Yes,” Darrellson said sharply. “And now you’ve invaded my mind without my permission to help with problems YOU’VE been the cause of.”
Umbrel was stunned. “Huh. Well…what do we…do about that?”
“You can start by leaving my head.”
“Right. See you in the morning!”
The Keeper of Secrets
The great golden whale slowly opened it’s eye.
Great folds of glowing lustrous skin sliding and shifting back over the massive sphere, its pupil shining a glowing electric blue surrounded by an iris of resplendent silver, glowing light pulsing with the flow of golden ichor. I felt as if I had truly found a God
“YOU WISH TO ASK ME A QUESTION, MORTAL?” a deep voice like the depths of the ocean thundered in my head. The beast regarded me with its wizened ancient eyes, seemingly unsurprised to see a human far beneath the ocean. Its voice wasn’t kind or gentle and didn’t regard me as anything other than the puny ant that I was compared to it’s great existence.
“VERY WELL” It didn’t wait for my response, but my hope began to rise, perhaps these years of searching for this opportunity were not in vain.
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED?” As I looked at it, it began to seem that the leviathan was growing, turning to face me, though I could still see its eye just as clearly, staring at me with a depth of hunger I could not fathom. I did know now what was required, it seemed so natural for me to know, as if I had known before, almost as if the knowledge had been placed there. I was only able to do so much as think of it before the old god spoke into my head again.
“GOOD,” the long-drawn-out syllable felt final, as if I had just signed a contract with the monster that I had no choice in making. Or maybe I had, hadn’t I sought this out? Hadn’t I chosen this? Was death worth knowing the answer?
By now I could no longer tell what direction the demon was facing, all I could see was its one great eye.
‘Is my daughter alive?’ my mind called out.
By the time I heard the “YES” slur out from it’s mouth, I knew it was too late, all I could do was regret as I stared into its blood red eye.
Three Can Keep a Secret
The Librarian stopped me before I could even speak a greeting. “Tell me, in a single word, what you are looking for. A single word.”
The Librarian nodded. “Secrets want to be found.” He pointed to the left, “Go down eight rows, turn right, and then down sixteen more.”
I counted shelves carefully and came upon a man already holding a small stack of books under one arm and meticulously searching the shelves for more. It sent a chill down my spine to see someone with so many books at once.
I browsed the shelf opposite, carefully reading the spines of each book, although I was reluctant to touch them. I went all the way down and back, relieved that the man had moved on.
Then I spotted a book, strangely enough, on the floor. A dingy brown volume, but the title jumped off the cover at me, “The Murderer of Elias Brown.”
Here it was, the identity of my father’s killer. My hands shook as I reached for the book. The beating of my heart was so strong that it echoed like footsteps in my ears. The volume seemed far too thick, but when I opened it, I saw that each page contained only a single name, boldfaced and centered.
The book slowly faded into dust, dissolving in my hands. I had read the name, so now two people knew the secret. Thus the book no longer belonged here.
I began the slow walk out of the library, trying not to get hopelessly lost in the stacks, but, soon enough, I found my way back to the front desk. The man who had also been looking at books was conversing with the Librarian, his stack of books sitting off to the side, apparently to be reshelved. I thought it odd that someone would search for so many secrets, but then decide not to read them.
I was nearly at the door when I heard the Librarian say, “Until next time, Mr. Simmons.”
I felt the knife at my throat before I could even be afraid.
Witches into the night
by Javier Hernandez
Josephine readjusted the lamp, it was dark and she could barely see. She sipped her, which was her fifth cup of coffee tonight. It was 3 A.M and she still had to look through a dozen more books. She put her coffee down, feeling slightly more energized, and put the book she was reading in the “not it” category. Not like she had found anything that was “it” yet. Looking at the pile of books she had yet to search, she sighed, feeling bad for stealing the books from the library, but they were thieves themselves, so it didn’t really matter.
She picked up a book from the not yet searched pile. This book felt, different. It was a leather book, the leather was wrinkled and discolored. The book had no title, so she looked at the first page. It felt like she was holding a piece of history in her hand. The first page contained the book’s title, which was “The Kings of Judah”. She cursed and threw the book to the wall. As the book hit the wall, one of the pages fell out. Except that, it wasn’t the paper pages of the book, it was a papyrus scroll.
She stood up and grabbed the scroll, a sense of excitement overtook her. This is where the power was coming from. The scroll was the same size as the page’s of the book, someone was trying to hide something, this was it. She read the title “Heretical Practices and Covenes of the Nordic Peoples” This was it, the evidence she needed.
“Josephine, come out and face the Holy Inquisition for your crimes against the church. This is your one and final warning.”
She knew they would catch her eventually. She put the scroll in her pocket, and looked at the cross that sat above her window and asked Jesus to forgive her, then opened the window. Looking back at her apartment one last time, she went into the night.
The police barged into the apartment, the window was open, and Josephine was nowhere to be found.
Lycor held their breath as they flattened themself into the second dimension. Their shiny green chitin was no longer as lustrous as before, their lacy wings dull as the dust in the corners they scuttled through. This was by design. Lycor’s normal form was simply too splendid for this kind of work, for the kind of skulduggery required to sneak into the Library of an Old God.
Flat along the floor, as a shadow, Lycor followed the lumbering pace of one of the Old God’s Collectors, a flayed human corpse, the impossible machine of life on full display, walking, gathering, compiling. The Collector neared the Archway, the boundary between the twisting Chaos of the untamed Wake and the Library of Pahl’Kra Syddorath, the Great Panopticon of Knowledge, and Lexicographer of the Wake. Only the God’s servants and the books they brought were allowed to enter. Lycor smiled and gathered their force of will. As the Collector stepped through the Archway, Lycor’s flat form melted into the first dimension, the plane of Ideas. An Idea is fleeting, slipping easily into the steeliest mind and disappearing just as quickly, but if the Idea of <> persisted, clinging to the Collector’s shadow until–
The Collector entered the Library, and the concept of <> burst back into reality. A roar shook the bookcases that lined the walls of an endless spiral staircase. Lycor ran. Leaping up the spiraling staircase catching a glimpse of the towering pillar of eyes and hands in the center of the Library. Pahl’Kra Syddorath stared back. The Old God’s legion of hands grasped at the intruder, who leapt over them artfully.
Lycor saw it.
A ratty book bound in human leather.
That was their prize!
They reached out desperately, fingers latching on to the supple blinding of the tattooed book. Triumph flooded Lycor’s chest, warm and glowing, like a lightbulb in a–
The pale hands of the Lexicographer smashed into Lycor’s body. The tome flying from their limp hand and into the void below. Pahl’Kra Syddorath, the Great Panopticon of Knowledge, wept.
The book had fallen home.
Never to return.
Honor of Faith: Prologue A Knight’s Journey Sir Mal strouts onto the back of his noble steed, which he likes to name his ‘Companion’. For hours now, or maybe a Day, Mal ventured deep into the Black Woods, The Ground, icky and moist. The Radiant light from the sun. His Armor boils, becoming tortuous in every word that he could think of. But yet, Mal pressed on, hoping in some way, somehow, he can reach his salvation in one piece. “Alright my Friend..” He says proudly. “..If what I am told is correct, then we are just about to our location, if we just travel on for a Few more days..and get out of these woods with a lot of luck..we will finally get to our destination.” “PFFT.” “What is it you mean? Of course I know where we’re going. This Map we were given by the lady is the Map of the entire Black Woods. It’s helped out so far.” “NEIGH!” “Okay..for the record..I had NO idea the Woman was a cons-lady, and took most of our MOST of our Valuables behind our backs..But I’m sure the Map she gave us is a Legit. I’m rather glad we have a Map to this place, thank you.” “…” “But..I am nervous if the Map could just be a scam all to itself, I mean..don’t get me wrong, I’m still sure it’s real, but it’s just a feeling you know.” “…” “Okay!! I don’t trust it. Are you Happy Now?! We’ve been on the road for so long now, I can’t even remember what day it is now. From all I know, We could be going the wrong way! It’s hot, It’s Humid, and I am getting really tired of this entire journey as a Whole!!” “…” “I mean, If this mission is so important to the Counsel, Why would they send off their best Soldier, Me Of all The Knights? I’m Holy Knight for pete sakes, Holy, My Skills are for other things like Helping Non-belelivers join the Church, read the Bible and all that Crap!! The Most Important Things!! I mean there was Jerra, she’s also a good candidate, why not not her? Oh yes, Right! Because I am the BEST Knight, The Honorable One!! (Sighs)..this is what I get for acting so Heroic all the Time.” “…” “Not only that, I still have no clue what this blasted Note they gave me is from. Our ENTIRE trip, No Idea.” In his Hands, a small flimsy piece of Paper brushes in the Humid winds. If you looked from afar, You wouldn’t be able to tell whether what was written was even words, he certainly couldn’t tell. He could remember when his Superiors gave it to him, telling him that it came from an old Ally of theirs, and then..nothing else. This was the following that was Written, At least from what he can read: ‘Of Whoever reads this report, if the Order are reading this right now, then I… Read more »
Whatever Is Left
The Geiger counter clicks at a steady rate as I drift through the remnants of the devastated building. Orange dust drifts from above – there is no roof, not anymore. The floor is so thick with ash that my thick steel-capped boots make not a sound. Around me, other figures in hazmat suits slink between the vestiges of shelves and desks; they are like ghosts of the dead, haunting the place where they were murdered.
I see a black, oblong shape sticking out from beneath a pile of ash. I kneel down excitedly to pick it up. It is however nothing but charred page after charred page. I cannot make out so much as a letter. I gently brush some ash aside, lie the burnt remains down onto their soft bed, and bury them. I draw a cross on top of the burial mound – it feels silly, but for whatever reason, leaving them unmarked would have felt worse. I rise, brushing myself off.
There’s a call from the east wing. Me and the others turn and see Amina waving to us. As carefully as we can, we make our way through the charred wreckage, our hearts beating with hope even within this ashen tomb. We huddle around her and gaze at the treasure she has found.
The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s been so long since any of us have ever seen a copy. Its cover is torn, the edges of the pages are singed, its spine is bent. But it’s all here, the complete novel, every word and letter present and legible! We reach out our hands to touch the cover, like worshipers reaching out for the Messiah. We pass it around each other, holding it like a newborn baby, careful to not drop it or hold it in an unbecoming way.
Finally, Ernesta, our leader, gently but firmly pulls the book from us and wraps it in a white cloth. She then opens the satchel by her side and reverently places it inside. We turn and continue our search among the ruins.
“Your 9 AM is here, boss.” I released the intercom and smiled pleasantly at the nondescript figure waiting on the other side of the desk. He returned the smile a moment before the door opened of its own accord, and he vanished inside.
My smile turned to a frown as I turned back to the screen, and the lack of information on it. Everyone who made it this far up the ladder should have had all relevant information as to their identity, role in the organization, or at the very least the purpose of their visit displayed for my perusal during the long minutes my employer made them wait. This one, however, showed up on the first of every month and was received promptly. With no identifying information whatsoever beyond the ID number.
Chewing thoughtfully on a pen, I tentatively opened the company database, looking around at the empty lobby (as if they couldn’t record everything I did at the station anyway) before punching in the number. To my faint surprise, I got a match; still no name available, or even a department listed, but there was a link for a… Project Tiamat? That was new; I had thought I had heard of everything going on here.
Clicking the link opened a pop-up that made me drop the pen. [Accessing This File Will Notify Internal Affairs] read the warning. [Are You Sure You Want To Continue?]
Now with the faintest tremor in my hands, I clicked [Yes].
The results were underwhelming. The resulting file was almost completely blacked out; only a few names and dates were still legible, and I was about to close the file in disappointment (and then give myself a good kicking for risking my job over this), but one of the dates and associated words stood out. February 16, 2021. Echidna. Titanomachy. And at the bottom was the most damning statement: ‘Mutagen infusion complete, resulting superorganism released into Prague.’
The door opened, and my heart leapt into my throat as I closed the file. “Have a good day, sir,” I choked out, managing a small wave.
Edit’s library By contract Arthur arrived at the door he was indicated. It was a massive wooden door with “Thought Organization Office ” written in silver letters at the top and “Manager : Edit” in the center. Arthur knocked. No response. He tried again, same results. Finally, he decided to open the door himself. It wasn’t closed. Inside was the messiest office he had ever seen. There was paperwork on the ground, taped to the walls, and on the desk was a veritable mountain of paper, coming in all colors, shapes and sizes. It was a miracle the small furniture didn’t collapse from the sheer weight it was supporting. Lot of pens, in a questionable state, were littered everywhere in the small room. There seemed to be other furniture here, but they were simply unrecognizable, buried under tons of office supplies. From behind the desk emerged a young woman of approximately 30 years old. She had short messy ginger hairs and a pair of red round glasses. It was obvious she hadn’t slept in a while. “Yes, who is here ?” She said with a soft voice “Euh,…, hello ? I come for -” “The library is after the last stair to the right at the end of the corridor” she interrupted. “…What ?” interrogated Arthur. “Oh, wait, you didn’t ask yet. Sorry, sorry, I’m very busy and sometimes I mess up. I have so much work late ! I have 300 years of…3 millions…Well, a lot of work to catch up. I will do it yesterday ! Wait,…no, yesterday I must do the work of tomorrow I didn’t do because I was busy with the one from last year… I should -” “Thanks,…I think…You helped me well enough. I will go to the library. Goodbye.” cut in Arthur before going to the exit. “That explains a lot of things“ He thought to himself, once he closed the door. “He, I read that !” yelled Edit from the inside. Arthur quietly went toward the stairwell. He found himself behind the huge metallic gate of the library. He opened it by pushing the button next to it. He found the library divided in three distinct sections, indicated by a small panel : Dream, Nightmare, Thought. There was also a note near the entrance : “Edit is not allowed to “tidy up” any part of the library, even her own.” A handwritten sentence had been added just underneath : “Seriously Edit, don’t do that ever again, cordially, Night.” Arthur went for the Thought section, hoping he could find what he was searching. He was disappointed, but not surprised to see that this part was the messiest of all. The books were classed by title, or to be precise by the name of the general name of the idea they contained. However, they weren’t at the place they were supposed to be. The A segment was mostly filled with volumes starting with A but also a non negligible number of ones in E,… Read more »
Mum’s The Word (Chronicles of The Dragon)
Jostica rushed into the house as the summer sun was setting, a bag of books in her hand and sweat dripping down her skin. She threw the door closed behind her as she went for the steps.
“Oh hey sweetie!”
She froze as her Mom called out.
“You were gone all day! Did you have fun shopping?” she asked as she walked into the hall. “Show me what you got.”
“Ah, sure, but let me get changed first.” And she hurried up the stairs and to her room. She shut the door and quickly pulled two books out of the bag and stuffed them into her pillowcase. She then rushed to change out of her sweaty clothes and into something cool and comfy.
Changed and neatened up, Jostica went back downstairs with her bag. “Mom? You wanted to see my books?”
An hour later she returned to her room, closed the door, and collapsed against it letting out a long sigh. As if her schedule wasn’t packed enough, now she was going to have to actually READ some of those books so she could talk about them with her after SHE read them.
She looked over at her bookshelf and gave a smaller sigh, then walked over to get to work.
The stuffed animal, the pictures, and the figurines were going to need a new home.
She pulled a dozen or so books off the shelf, then took the books from the pillowcase and put them flat against the back of the shelf, and put the books back on, spines out. She stepped back and looked it over.
Passable. No room for anything except one of the pictures to go back.
She really needed to find a better solution for this. Her study materials and practice equipment were starting to take over her room. It was easy enough when she was able to fit everything into one chest in her closet. But now she had to go to such annoying lengths to keep everything out of sight.
Maybe she could get new desk, one with hidden drawers…
Like Reading Books
By Taja DaLeen
Every person has secrets. And I can read them, just like other people read books.
It’s my gift.
It’s what I do as a job, too. I am… a private investigator, if you wanna put it like that.
Sometimes I’m proud of what I do, and other times… well. I’m not.
This right here is probably one of those times I’m less proud of what I chose to do with my abilities.
But well, a girl gotta eat.
I’ve been contracted to read the secrets of some mage who’s apparently able to talk to metal, and with his gift crafted some really important statue of Mamona, or something.
Don’t ask me, it’s quite normal that the people paying me are weird. Or jealous girlfriends. Sometimes both.
Back to the metal dude; right now I stand before him, looking into his eyes to read in his little library.
It’s mainly a matter of picking the right book. Which isn’t always easy; sometimes, usually when people are really organized, they are all titled in a way that makes it obvious what the secret is about, but… well.
This guy’s pretty much the opposite of organized. All of his books look more like notebooks, sometimes even with damaged jackets or crumpled pages. And no titles to be seen anywhere, nothing even close to one.
So, I pick a book at random.
But it’s the wrong one; at least I highly doubt the fact he’s into his brother’s girlfriend has anything to do with the statue.
The next book’s also not the right one. I mean, it’s kinda cute that he still has some stuffed toy from when he was a kid and loves to cuddle with it, but again. Not the secret I need.
Ah, here. This looks promising. Apparently he told some of the metal leaves he was working with to send his brother to their old treehouse. Maybe my clients can find a clue there.
And if they don’t; who cares? Not me. They can pay me some more to go through this horribly unorganized library again. I’ll deserve it.
Under The Book Jacket Are Lies
By Kirk Putnam
I stared down at the slip of paper in my hand. Scribbled on it is the name of some random architect as part of my professor’s crazy assignment. Everyone else got famous names but I’d never heard of this guy and apparently neither had the internet. After search engines failed me, then book stores, I turned to libraries. After trying every library I could find online, I stumble across a squat non-descript building declaring itself ‘Library’. Simply that, ‘Library’. It wasn’t showing up on my search results, but I was desperate and it was here.
The doors opened and I suddenly felt underdressed. The place is spotless, vast, mostly empty, and the smattering of librarians and patrons busying themselves were all dressed in custom-tailored suits and dresses. I tugged at my corduroy jacket and made sure to wipe my shoes extra hard on the welcome mat.
I got a few looks of confusion from the shockingly attractive staff but refused eye contact as I slumped my way through the massive interior. I wonder if it just felt big because they only had 5 bookshelves evenly spaced across the wide area. It looked like they converted a hangar, trucked in a few books, and said “yeah, that’s enough.” No wonder this didn’t show up on my search.
I ducked my head down and shuffled over to the section labeled ‘Architecture.’ Just as I’m about to give up the frantic and uncomfortable search through the dozen or so books on architecture, BOOM, I found it.
A quick double-check that it’s the right name and I grab the book to get out as soon as I can. The book, apparently, refused. I turn back to see it’s attached to the shelf by a hinge. I pull again and hear a painfully ominous click. The click was instantly followed by the sound of rushing wind as I was sucked down a hole in the ground where the floor, which once held my feet, used to be. As I slide down a vacuum tube into darkness, I regretted ever applying for the architecture program.
Title: “The Library of Secrets”
Author: Samuel Gallew
“Are you sure this is going to work?” Vasha asked, holding a frost spell against the heavy metal door.
Jake smiled. “Yeah, totally! I’ve seen it done in a movie.”
“You know I don’t like it when you say that.”
“Yup, I know. Just keep going.”
With a creak and loud snap of metal, the door split open like a piece of popcorn, except it didn’t quite spill out as far.
“See?” Jake boasted. “I know what I’m doing.”
Vasha melted the ice and magically jaunted the two of them into the room they had been looking for. A towering room of books, scrolls and ladders. And while Jake started searching the selections, Vasha just stood there, taking it in.
“I never thought I’d see such a grand library.” she commented.
“As far as grand libraries go,” Jake replied, “this is about average. Maybe a little old.”
“How can a library be even more grand than this?”
“When millions of authors have published their books there,” he picked out a book he figured might have the answer they came for. “Though you can’t really beat a virtual library. Those things could hold so many books, it’s insane.”
Vasha started to join him, quickly skimming through titles like she knew exactly what each one contained. “Maybe one day you’ll have to show me one of these libraries.”
“If you end up in my world somehow, I’ll have to show you so much more than that.” he opened the book he found and quickly scanned through it before he hurled it across the room. “Gosh dangit!”
Vasha watched in horror as the book landed, partially open. “What’s wrong with that one?.”
“Do you have any magic that can help me unsee something? It’s a very ‘detailed’ anatomy documentation.”
“No, but I have a stack of books here if you want to get started.”
“I’d love to. But also, why is everyone obsessed with that kind of thing.”
“I have no idea. You just learn what to avoid around here.”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Hoard of Knowledge
Many people had described this place to me before, but only now I was here could I truly make any sense of it. Of course, their descriptions were a part of a fairy tale. Something entirely fictional. At least, that’s what I thought.
The furniture is of a wooden splintering kind. Shelves hold up heavy tombs that bow, and cupboards present wrapped-up scrolls from many years ago. Even the glass counter I hunch over contains several forms of literature.
“Have you made your decision yet?” The hoarse, slithering voice asks me. It comes from the creature I bargain with though I do not know its form. All I can gather is the mountainous hunch that rises from its back and the sharp nose that points from under its hood. There was a moment I thought I had seen a fleshy tail, but I’m sure that was just the heat playing tricks. Gods, it’s warm in here.
“I-” I’m nervous. My arms shake from the tension as I stand above the piece of parchment this proprietor has presented me. I look down at the shifting words it holds and then back to the tomb that I have chosen. I have been promised it will solve all of my issues.
A bead of sweat runs down my nose. I do not know which has caused it, the heat or the anxiety.
“I’ll do it.”
“Good.” The creature lifts its hand, and a quill appears in my own. I can feel the ink boil at the end. “You know by now how this contract works. Membership grants you access to all tombs, scrolls, and knowledge we hold that others would class as… forbidden. Any texts that you do read will be monitored. Is that clear?”
“Yes,” I answer, another bead running down me.
I sign my name across the bottom. As ink makes contact with the parchment, the smell of burning singes my nose.
“Thank you for your business. And remember- no harm or punishment will come to you or your soul, so long as your returns aren’t late.”
What dwelves inside?
by Spawn of Faust
Rows upon rows of books were stretching in front of me. No catalogue, no index, no librarian in sight. Just infinite shelves spreading through just as endless room. I caressed the spine of the first book and read the title: History of Richard Edington.
Not the book I was searching for. I moved through the library – book by book, title by title.
Finally my eyes landed on the leatherbound volume. Book had my name written on it. I slowly removed the book from the shelf. The paper was screeching and protesting after the years of just laying there tucked among other books.
Layer of dust fell from the cover and spread through still air and entered into my lungs. Coughing fit interrupted the silence of the library.
Light dimmed and a strange hollow sound filled the room once again. Whispers of darkness unveiled from now an open book.
I clasped the book shut and buried it deep into the hungry shelves. Light slowly returned into the room and silence fell upon the library. Only sound that could be heard emanated from my rapidly beating heart.
That book was not meant for me.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Through the empty library reverberated tiny steps shuffling on the floor. Titles on the spines were mangling, twisting, changing places. Heavy thud could be heard as the bookshelf sealed my way out. Library turned into a labyrinth. Creatures were starting to emerge from depth underneath the bookshelves. Dark and Light, mangled, dangerous monsters filled the walls of the labyrinth.
Single door opened in front of me and I lurched through. Deep into the dark abyss.
I opened my eyes in the small cosy room. I smiled at the man in front of me.
“Do not worry. I can guarantee that your secrets are yours and yours alone. Safe from any intruder.” I said to my client as I wrote the bill.
The room they were in was truly incomprehensible. It was a narrow tower, more than three humans would not have fit into the space. The entirety of the round walls consisted of shelves, which were filled with books, rolls of paper and other written documents. The most significant thing though was that you could not see the top…or the bottom as a matter of fact. The seemed to go on infinitely into both directions.
“How long is this going to take?”, Omnix asked after they flew upwards for a few minutes.
“Everything that ever happened in every dimension that ever existed is taking up a lot of space. Be a bit more patient”, the being answered.
Omnix sighted. He knew that this library was exactly what Cogito claimed. Collecting everything that ever occurred and then sending it into the minds of others in other dimensions as ideas for stories. That’s the never-ending job the muse known as Cogito. Omnix met him completely on accident and kept visiting him from time to time ever since.
“Here we are. Shelf seven hundred three thousand six hundred and nine”, Cogito exclaimed. “You are free to look for whatever you want to know. Just please…don’t drop anything…” Omnix nodded and thanked him, and the muse disappeared downstairs.
It felt like ages but finally Omnix found what he came looking for and made his way back. After a long downwards flight he finally reached the only door, which lead to a small office. Books lied around everywhere and Cogito himself sat behind a massive desk.
“So…finished?”, he asked and Omnix confirmed, at which the muse flew another door with a huge lever. Upon pulling it, the sign atop the door began spinning until it stopped at the same number of the shelf, which Omnix was searching for earlier.
“I trust that I see you again soon?”
“Definitely”, Omnix promised and his eyes glowed friendly. With that he left Cogitos tower. Upon looking back, he waved one last time, then the door which seemed to float in the air, disappeared, back into infinity.
Mind Palace (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Anyone who thought that extracting information from another person’s mind was easy, had clearly never attempted it. Though, if Valerie was honest, it was less the extraction that was challenging and more the locating of the desired information. Granted, her method of invading a person’s innermost thoughts and secrets wasn’t the cleanest, but she couldn’t imagine mediums and telepaths had it any easier.
Dream walking was a messy business at the best of times. Dreams were among the most chaotic facets within a human mind and the layout of this leviathan of a library proved that. There were no staircases, instead there were just floating bricks, which you had to pray, floated by in just the right way at just the right time.
“Why don’t people clean up their heads,” Valerie thought.
Years of beating her siblings at platformers couldn’t prepare her for this. Not least because in video games, the infinite abyss on the bottom of the screen didn’t actually swallow the player.
What was more, people had this tendency to think almost exclusively in images and sensations. Memories weren’t some cleanly labelled files, organized in folders. They were a chaotic mess of happy memories, sad memories, disgusting memories and core memories of a turtle named Graham biting bits off a watermelon slice and chewing slowly.
She supposed she should consider herself lucky that there was at least some kind of system of organization in this swirling tornado of sensations. She tried to latch onto a thread that felt ‘secretive’. Something that nobody was meant to know.
She grabbed hold of it and prayed to the Sleeping that she wasn’t about to get a look at this person’s browser history. She let the thread pull her up, past happy turtles and sad moments at science fairs, before landing on something solid.
The images she saw told her everything she needed. Crates being smuggled onto a ship in the dead of night. She grinned, as she saw the name of the ship and the dock number it was laying at.
“Time to dream of your past,” she whispered.
“So why don’t you want to tell me about what exactly happened in your house last month?” Natalia asked his friend, George who needed to crouch not only because of his size but also because his horns could hit the ceiling “when I asked, you suddenly shut down the phone”
“…..I am not exactly proud of that you know?” He said, with his voice reverberating across the room” Look I took a challenge and it was a stupid decision”
“Meh, I bet it is not so bad,” she said while levitating above the ground slightly, clearly just showing off “now if you could tell me what happened? look I am not going to tell anyone ok”
The red oni with his arms crossed took a deep breath and lets out a sight as he hoped he didn’t regret this later.
thought last time Jeorge Fubuki remembered Natalia Santiago wasn’t a Psycopom that would babble, secrets to anybody, especially other people.
That being said, if the secret was especially embarrassing….she wouldn’t tell any soul but she will remind you of it in private moments just to get a rise out of you.
“Ok they challenged me to drink a mixed juice of all the things I didn’t like,” the Oni said more than a little bit embarrassed because of what his pride had got him into ” what they forgot to tell me, is that It also was full of Hot chili pepper ”
“And given how you aren’t good at handling spicy things you exaggerated as usual” Natalia interjected, ” let me guess you got naked and threw water over yourself also to get rid of the heat?”
The oni gave her a deadpan expression, however, the psychopomp just had a smile going from ear to ear.
In that instant, George knew she would bring this up every once in a while just to bother him when the two were alone.
Great. He regretted this already.
The Weight of Hidden Knowledge [A Tiefling Tale AU (Spitebane’s Quest?)]
C. M. Weller
The key felt heavier than it should have been. Perhaps it was weighed down with what it guarded. The secrets of every ass who filled the Blood Throne. Spitebane, still wearing black in honour of his departed father, had to use it. He had to see what secrets his father kept.
Because Spitebane could not light the Blood Throne. Not as the Earl, but as the heir. Spitebane knew that his late Uncle Purity had sired a large number of by-blows and therefore invited every Fitzwyte and Shaydden of age to light the chair. All turned the light of the stone white.
Now it had come to this.
A heavy key. A door to a chamber he had never entered.
It was a small room. Dim, because the weight of the knowledge within trapped the light. Or shunned it. Spitebane couldn’t tell. Every book was named on the spine by the Earl who penned it. Dating all the way back to the first Demon Lord of Whitekeep.
Papa had said the Demon Lords were just a legend. Those volumes looked too old to be the product of artifice. Spitebane might be permitted to examine them in depth, later. What he needed was the volume left open on the small, plain, writing desk in the middle of the room.
The last entry was dated on the day that the Earl’s illness turned towards an inevitability.
“I must lie to my beloved son. I cannot permit the odious truth to leave my lips.”
Spitebane turned the pages backwards. There were sins there. Almost normal sins for a man who wore a crown.
Further back, there were loose pages that should have been in the Earldom’s records.
A travel budget. Copies of letters written in Zemnian. And a birth certificate.
A birth certificate for Kormwind Arachis Felbourne Whitekeep, ninth of the name. In addition to the usual information, the attendant’s hand had written, “Born a Tiefling.”
He had a brother. An older brother.
He had a brother who was a Demon Lord. Rightwise leader of the realm.
Now he had to find him.
He went to toil in the garden with his brother as his father was surely boarding the barge to make a delivery of spices to the Terunian Kingdom. After many hours of silent labor, the sun had fallen in the sky and the moon offered a piece of soliloquy through its moon beams. Ano’s dreams poured over the soil that he and his brother worked. The signaling of the moon had illuminated a peace of quartz recently upturned by the morning’s tilling. “Ano,” Doren’s young voice chimed in, “Are you really going to scale the mountains?” He said picking up the piece of quartz, “What if you don’t come back?” “How happy are we here? Enslaved by by boredom and our Father’s will. I can’t learn the ways of the wise men, and you shouldn’t be content to tend to these lands that will surely double when Father returns from this trade. If you don’t want to come with me then at least do not hinder me. We are young but one day something will happen to you, my dear brother, and you will look up the stars and wonder. The lighthouses will guide me back home as the moon guides me to my destiny. I want to speak with our Gods. I want to be certain of my place and by the Gods of Polaris I shall find out!” Doren ripped a length off of his own shirt and wrapped it around the fist sized quartz as a crude necklace. “Take this, I hope it will remind you to come home…” Ano accepted the gift from his brother and gave him in return, his birth pendant that was a customary gift for all Karak-kulians to receive at birth. “I hope this reminds you to keep a plate for me at the dinner table. All my doubt, I will leave here. I know I will come back.” The boys became lost in their conservation and hardly noticed their fair haired mother Thanna approaching them with a sword in hand. “Doren, please go to bed. You have said your goodbyes.” After a brief protest the young boy yielded and hugged his brother farewell. Thanna with the grace of a maiden of a bare footed maiden put a hand on young Ano’s shoulder. “When you were a boy, don’t you remember how often you would try to stow away in the crates to follow your Father? Remember the thrashing you caught when you nearly finally did hide out in a crate and sneezed revealing yourself? I knew your Father would never send you to school. I knew you would never stay here on our small farm either. And I know when your Father purchases more land you will heart will shrink. This sword was used by your Grandfather in the only war our little Kingdom has ever fought. I want you to have it. I cannot bless you on this journey nor can I stop you. Your heart is an adventurous one.… Read more »
The adventurer left the campsite, knowing it would be the last one he would see for miles. He was confident in himself, a newly forged blade in hand along with some fresh armor and two torches to provide light as he entered darker sections of the approaching caverns, there was no way he wouldn’t reach the hidden Archive ahead, one that held all the world’s knowledge. However, there was one thing he hadn’t anticipated, a cave-in. When rumbling was heard overhead he rushed into a smaller crevasse off the path. The smaller trails were typically used as shortcuts for travelers such as himself and were not well maintained, this was a prime example of that. Being far from any civilization, he decided it was time to search for a way out. Just beside him was a small crack with the sound of flowing water. He knew it was a basic fact, never try to dig your way through caves without knowing what’s on the other side, but he had no choice. Thankfully, his efforts were fruitful and an exit was made. The hole led to a new place, one he had never seen before on maps. Hopping this would take him to his destination he jumped down to find a large river of water dotted with vegetation, something strange to find at these depths. He followed the water downhill to search for its endpoint but soon realized that the ground had grown soft. He then remembered something he read about in a book long ago, about a type of plant that would weaken stone floors near sources of water and drown its prey once it stepped off solid ground, but by the time he realized this, it was too late. Before he could blink the ground collapsed beneath him and vines surrounded his legs. He reached for his blade but his arms were now bound as well. He let go of his breath and began to fade. Second by second his vision grew weary until he fell asleep for one last time.
Tales and Mysteries (tale of Sapphira)
By Tamela Redfin
After weeks of travel, we found an abandoned library. Or that’s what we thought.
The library looked like it had been through the wringer. Books were everywhere and computers were broken too.
I looked at my daughters. “Stay by me and if anyone asks, I’m your older sister.”
“Ma-ma…” Garneta began.
“No, I’m sister,” I corrected her.
Mica held Aquamarine’s hand and we walked around.
“Sapphira! Mica! We found someone!” Cameron called out.
I then saw a pale grey child with dark blue eyes, about fifteen. He was looking at a sketchbook in his arms.
“Who are you?” Cecilia asked.
“A-according my notes, my name is Manganese Jeremy.” He held his head, as if in pain. “I don’t know anything else. W-who are you?”
“We’re part of Grey Rose. I’m Cecilia, this is my boyfriend, Cameron and this is my cousin, Sapphira and her boyfriend, Mica.”
“And these are my little sisters, Garneta and Aquamarine.” I added. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Getting cut. The other kids didn’t like me. But then… the weird thing is, it healed right away. I’ve never seen anyone do that. I think I went here to clear my mind, and then the bookshelf fell? Maybe?”
“Yikes! So, you don’t remember anything then?” I asked and he nodded.
“Let’s get you some help,” Cameron said, helping Jeremy off the ground.
“Wait, can I trust you?” Jeremy asked.
I froze, but little Garneta nodded.
Jeremy laughed. “I guess that’s an answer.”
What a smart daughter I have, I thought. But who was Jeremy and something about him felt familiar. What was it? I’d never seen him before in my life. Had I?
Reagan spotted me. “There you are, Sapphira! Why must my daughter be…” She paused to look at Jeremy. “Ugh, get that thing away from me! It looks unhealthy as sin and vaguely looks like me when I’m ill.”
It then clicked.
The Eye in the Sky (The Will)
By Skeleton (Edited by MelodyLuna7)
Although the winds below Elysius—the Forbearer installation hanging above the clouds—were too rough for any avonis to traverse, the air around the levitating buildings was calm. The gentle breeze drifted around the rusting capsules and their traversal veins, and flowed into structures that let out an angelic song that pierced the glass helm and echoed into Remianna’s ears. If not for the pained groaning of the metal plates beneath her feet, the dragoness would have thought she had entered another world altogether.
Remianna crept up to the edge of the traversing platform and looked down towards the golden clouds, a tugging sensation in her stomach urging her to jump. It was the weakness in her legs that pushed her back, but even the fear of death could not stem the sheer excitement rattling in her bones.
It was the only question that ran through her mind, skewering all concerns for safety. How did the Forebearers forge such large structures of metal? How large did the forges have to be? How long did it take to build? How were these capsules kept afloat? How did the device in her claw attach to the traversal veins? How was she carried along them until the end, where she was promptly thrown on the next platform? How had she been the first person to experience this since the Forebearers?
The giddy smile on her snout softened when her eyes caught the moon hanging in the sky with her. She was so high up that in this forbidden altitude, the moon mingled in the same sky as the sun. If not for her oxygen supply, the sight would have literally taken her breath away.
She was close now—closer to the solution than she had ever been before. She had made it to the unreachable—a place full of knowledge lost behind the mountain of evidence left behind. Now she just needed to find the building that held the corridor to the moon.
As blue, fluorescent lamps lit her way in the sun’s stead, Remianna wondered how much time she had left.
THE NEXUS LIBRARY
BY MASTER OF DAAVAS
Within the Nexus Library of Daavas. There are seemingly endless rows and rows of bookshelves. Ancient scrolls from before the Rise of the Old Empires, books penned after the Chaos War, and the rise of Thanatos.
Tended by seemingly immortal librarians, the ancient knowledge of Daavas is protected, so that the worst should happen. That at the very least, there could be a chance to rebuild after the smoke cleared. However, since the Sundering. It has been almost impossible to locate this ancient repository of knowledge. Only a few have ever been able to find an entrance to the library. Often times only realized that the library found an ancient recipe for some half-forgotten dish. Was within the library that Ordfentris, the god of order himself created. And unable to get back inside.
The librarians offer their knowledge freely to those who desire to use it for good… but there is one area, that they guard with unprecedented ferocity. To even ask of the Anathema Section, an area of the Nexus Library set aside by the All-Mother Elv-A’dan herself, is to invite venomous glares that can send shivers up the spine. Within the Anathema Section. Contains dangerous knowledge. Rumored to be able to drive mortals insane, and unsettle gods.
Very few have ever tried to seek out the Anathem Section. And for good reason, as more often than not. The librarians threw the offending adventurer out of the Nexus Library with a booming, ‘AND STAY OUT!’. And any other reading materials were taken away.
This was the norm… until one day. A hero of prophecy had need of the forbidden knowledge from within.
Third Time’s The Charm
Matt’s eyes widened as he reached for the sword only to have Norah slap his hand away.
“No,” she said, smirking. “You do not touch that one.”
Matt frowned but knowing that Norah was blessed/cursed with all knowledge of the past and present, he had little choice but to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Why not?”
Norah smiled warmly and gave Matt a better look at the dragon-shaped handle herself. “Because this is the Draconis, also known as the dragon blade.”
“Clearly.” Matt chuckled.
“I forged it to greatly multiply the power of its user.”
“Yes. Were it to even try and multiply YOUR power, it would shatter into a million pieces.”
“I didn’t know you made weapons.”
Norah sighed. “Doing so was foolish. Giving humanity weapons only leads to ruin. I thought I could subvert that by making it so only one who believes in their heart to be right could wield the blade. Another foolish choice.”
Matt winced, seeing how that could go horribly wrong. He was surprised when Norah tossed him another sword. It was equally as detailed, only its handle resembled angel wings.
“So, I forged the Caliburn. A sword as powerful as the Draconis, but could only be wielded by the pure of heart.”
Matt was still marveling at its construction when he realized that Norah had allowed him to hold this one, which meant- “Hey!”
“You are a good person. Your heart is always in the right place but you are far from ‘pure’.”
Matt playfully scowled back but took no offense. “So did it work?”
Norah attacked slowly with her blade, giving Matt plenty of time to deflect it. “What happens when one pure of heart goes against one sure that they’re right with the same level of power?”
“Correct. So, I made one final blade. More powerful than both. This one to be wielded by not only the pure of heart, but one with the conviction to protect others with that power.”
“What was that one called?”
Norah pointed to the sword. “I named it… Excalibur.”