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A Little Knowledge

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The north-western stacks were almost in order. Khadgar's eyes streamed from the dust flying about, his hands were dry and papercut, and he'd long abandoned his robe on a library chair, instead opting to sweat in his breeches and undershirt as he hauled the heavy tomes around.

He stacked a last handful of scrolls on the shelf he'd designated for manuscripts: torn, burned or otherwise damaged, medium: blood on vellum, contents: unread under strong advisement, and flopped down at a reading desk. He let his head loll back—only to notice a small pile of books he'd missed, teetering atop one of the bookshelves.

Sighing, he hauled out a stool, stood on his tiptoes and managed to rain the lot of them down onto himself. One clocked him a good one on the head. A little knowledge was a dangerous thing, especially when dropped from a height. Khadgar waited for the stars to disperse and then bent to pick the book up.

It had no magical wards that he could sense, nor was it locked up or swaddled with chains, nor scrawled with a warning in Medivh's erratic handwriting. It didn't tick nor hum, nor feel heavier or lighter than it looked. The cover was weathered; nothing but the odd scrap of gold leaf remained of its title. For all appearances, it was an ordinary book.

"Well, that's just strange," Khadgar said, and opened it at a random page.

"Greetings, adventurer," the high elf priestess said to Marcus. She had long golden hair and was slender and tall; not all that many curves, but the ones she did have were in the right places. Marcus felt overcome with the urge to set his Divine Purpose aside, if just for tonight.

"Your beauty fills me with an Inner Fire," he proclaimed mightily, and swept her close.

"My, such an Ardent Defender!" The priestess swooned. "Is that the Mass of McGowan in your pocket, or are you truly so pleased to see me?"

Khadgar thumped the book shut as heat rushed to his face. Too embarrassed to know where to look, he defaulted to his feet, where his sight fell on the rest of the books scattered about the floor. Some were in better shape, their covers tragically legible—Savage Passions; Waves of Desire; Big Brass Bombs—and he came to the unavoidable conclusion that he'd happened across Medivh's… personal reading.

A soft footfall froze him where he stood.

"What's got you quivering like a hunted talbuk?" Garona snatched the book from Khadgar and held it up high, away from his grasping hands. Well, at least it wasn't Medivh come to mark his progress.

She opened the book, turning a circle to keep an elbow between it and Khadgar, and mouthed the words 'mount me like your divine steed'. Her eyebrows rose.

"It's not mine!" Khadgar said hastily.

"Then why are you half undressed?"

"I got too hot," Khadgar retorted. He hurriedly scrambled back into his robe, losing his arm in a sleeve somehow. "Uhh—the books! Moving the books around."

"If you say so." A wide grin spread across Garona's face. She dropped into a crouch so she could rifle through the rest of the pile. "All right, help me look," she said, her tongue pushed cheekily against one of her tusks. "I want to know if any of them have pictures."