Like all things in the Spoke, the Library was old.  Nobody knew who built it or when.  Answers like that simply didn’t exist there.  And, anyway, concepts like what is and what isn’t, what was and what wasn’t were hard to nail down in a place where to be and not to be sometimes switched places. Sure, folks figure someone or something had to have built it.  And, obviously, there must have been a time when the Library didn’t stand imposing and solitary in the middle of the Hub.  But such a time was lost in deep antiquity, before even the Inkmen had could speak and the Stone Legion waged its first war.

The Library stretched a titan’s height in the air, over 400 stories at last count. Works in all languages of all the worlds filled its uncountable stacks.  Human, Animal, Automata- from the Earth of the Living.  Leppior, Salax, Churli- from deep Poseii Under the Waves.  Even the cursed blood language of the Dream Mariners was represented in the Library.  From children’s books, to erotica, to history, and even technical manuals for stars, one could find nearly anything in the Library.  

The books were curated and cataloged by the three Sisters.  If they had names, they’d been forgotten a mountain’s lifetime ago.  Most people just referred to them as The Blind One, the Mute One, and the Deaf One.  And though there was acknowledged the three, many suspected other sisters, or maybe even clones of the three, also dwelt in the Library.  How else could one account for the swiftness of their arrival upon need?  Or the way one of the Sisters always seemed to be at the end of the row, watching you hungrily, as if waiting for you to break one of their draconian rules of silence or behavior?

Other beings were also said to dwell in the Library.  Living shadows on the 50th floor that crept through the dark places and whispered madness in your ear. Paper dryads, dry and rustling with a voice like wind.  A glistening tongue thing slithering around the Boronian Republic’s self-help section.  Fairies- wonderful, spirit-lifting elves and pixies, always eager to help a lost reader find his way back to the first floor.  Dark goblins and nixies- also eager, but instead of salvation, offering only slavery in their nightmare realms.  And, ever popular among the young of the Spoke, the Red Friend of the 210th floor- a jolly sentient gumball machine that dispensed only the tastiest and stickiest gumballs.

There were few rules in the Library.  Silence is Golden, Do Not Steal, and Borrowing is Right Out, were the main ones.  Patrons were allowed to copy any of the pages they desired, but to leave with one of the books would invoke the Sisters’ terrible wrath.  Few were still alive who could recall the last time the Sisters’ fury fell upon a soul, but even they were loathe to remember it.

There was a power in books, people said, but the copying of them turned their power into mere words, and were therefore safe.  It was also argued that the power was in the words themselves, not the paper and binding, but the Sisters did not seem to mind.

There are approximately 45 x 10^500 tales in the Library.   This is one of them.

Posted by DrHeat on March 10, 2015 at 12:49 PM in The Spoke | Add a Comment
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