Chapter 11: Chris Beaker
Copyright© 2010 by Wandering Lanes
Chris looked at Sar'ha sleeping on the chair; he shook his head and took the grey book that had appeared earlier. It was almost an exact copy of the script of the Traveller although it did have a few additions.
Chris saw the warning in the book and made his plans, using a spell he made a psychic connection between himself and Sar'ha, in so doing he found the part of her that was in love with him, it shook him deeply. He also was in love with Sar'ha but knew that they couldn't stay together, his world was too different from hers, and he wasn't really part of her world either, not to mention the fact that they couldn't physically meet.
Somehow he found that his power was magnified while he was in touch with Sar'ha, and then he realised that their powers had doubled, with this power he/she was stronger than most single Adepts - he learnt from Sar'ha that her people were mainly solitary when using their powers, if they only joined together then who knows what could be achieved.
He couldn't stay with Sar'ha though, the book made that clear, but it also showed that there was another place, one to which all the libraries were joined. He stopped their flight in the void and concentrated, his library shimmered and then he was in a large area, almost like his library but there was a mixture of scrolls, sheets of paper and a few books.
Chris walked about in the library overwhelmed by the number of scripts there were, but it was all hap-hazard in its ordering, almost as if people just dropped them as they finished, it wasn't tidy.
"Who's looking after this place?" Chris wondered out loud.
"THIS IS THE LIBRARY OF THE ACCORD." The voice came from nowhere.
Chris turned around but couldn't see anyone. "So? Why is it so messy?" He asked.
"JUST WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION ME?" The voice countered.
Chris thought for a moment and then spoke, "Hold on ... question you? You're the Library?" He asked surprised at the thought.
"I AM. BUT WHO ARE YOU?" The Library asked.
"Sorry, I'm Chris Beaker although I think you know me as The Stranger."
"AHH, BUT YOU ARE EARLY. YOU SHOULDN'T BE HERE UNTIL ... HUMMMM." There was a pause and then a dark mist appeared in the middle of the library. "I'm sorry but it's been so long since anyone's been here." The voice came from the mist.
Chris frowned, "Just how long has that been?" He asked.
There was a sigh, "Never. Nobody has come here at all. I send out the scripts to those who are ready, but there are those who never read them. They don't believe in themselves or in me." The voice sounded sad as it spoke the last words.
"Haven't you shown yourself to anyone?" Chris asked puzzled.
"To what end? They don't believe in me, all I am is a story told to them to explain their scripts, I'm nothing but a legend." The library said.
"You can't be just a legend, how come I can see you ... well almost." Chris looked at the dark mist.
"I don't know - there was a time when I was just a library ... I think, but then I became aware and from that I created this form." The Library said from within its dark mass.
"Yes, but why a formless mist? I mean it's impressive but not very practical is it? How can you hand people scripts when they visit you, can't you change your form?" Chris asked it
"I'm sorry but I've nothing to go by, I mean I've see how people are but there is nothing that I can use, excuse me for a moment." The mist paused and then coalesced to a translucent female form, she was elderly with her hair in a tight bun, she looked at me and smiled, "how does this seem, I brought it out of your mind." She said and Chris realised that he'd seen the woman before; it was the librarian from the film Ghostbusters.
"I don't think that she would be suitable, you can see what she turned into when she was threatened." And he pictured the ghoul that the woman morphed into.
"No, I can see that that would be a problem, can you suggest some other form?" She asked him.
Chris thought for some time before he smiled, "There is a story; it's about a meek man called Ichabod Crane. It's called the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Could you try that form?" He asked.
"Huhh? Oh I see." The woman vanished to be replaced by a large man on a horse; instead of a head he had a pumpkin. "How is this better?" The Library asked sounding puzzled.
Chris shook his head, "No, no, not the ghost but the man instead." He said picturing a stylised man, tall but lanky, long arms and legs but a thin body, the nose was hooked with a wart and he was wearing a long coat with a tri-corn hat behind which a pig-tail trailed down the man's back.
The headless horseman changed for to that of Chris' picture. "How is this supposed to be better?"
"It makes you seem smaller than you actually are, when people see you now they won't be frightened of the Library. Try to talk softer and have a stutter in your voice when you speak, it will help them to listen to you, but not too much of one or it will start to annoy them."
"S ... s ... so y ... you th ... think." The library began but Chris shook his head.
"No, no, too much stutter. Just try a little less." Chris suggested.
"Oh, S ... so that might be b ... better, but how can I know how to react to people?"
"Just read their minds, they don't have to know how you're doing this but you are The Library, they get their scripts from you and so you should be all powerful, at least in here, don't allow them to think of their own libraries which are just extensions of this one." Chris told him.
"You mean I'm not trapped in here? I can go to other people's libraries?" Ichabod sounded surprised at that.
"Wherever there is a library then you should be able to go as well." Chris said and concentrating he vanished from The Library of the Accord and returned to his travelling library where Sar'ha was sleeping on the couch.
After a few seconds Ichabod appeared and looked around, "My w ... word, but this looks almost the same as ... except there are no scrolls or sheets of paper. Why is that?" He asked.
"This is my Library, or at least my extension to your library. As parts of it originate in yours so you can enter it and any other library in this world." Chris explained
Ichabod flickered as he moved between other libraries and then solidified again. "I see, but I don't recognise these books." He said looking at the yellow bindings, "I suppose they are from your world's library." He said looking at Chris.
Chris frowned, he hadn't thought that there might be such a library on his world, but then where did his other spells come from? "I suppose so, I hadn't thought of that. Now can I introduce you to Sar'ha, she was called The Traveller in one of your grey scripts." Chris told him.
Ichabod walked to the sleeping woman and put his hand on her head, "This is wrong, she wasn't properly prepared for the task, the training she needed wasn't given to her ... well I can correct that." He said and a glow appeared around Sar'ha's head before he stood back, "That's better, the next time she travels then she'll be better prepared for the void, she's lucky that she did find you, otherwise she would have died."
"I didn't realise that, I thought she was frightened of the void because it was dark, she did say that she was close before she found me, but you mean -"
"I mean she would have dissipated in the void, her mind would have been torn apart and when that happens then she would be dead, her body would remain but would be forever empty, just a husk of the person she was." Ichabod said this dispassionately as if it was a fact of life.
Chris felt anger then, not at Ichabod but at those who sent Sar'ha, they hadn't ensured she'd be safe, and they probably used her sister as well. He looked at Ichabod, "I need to help Sar'ha but she must seem to have arrived on her own, can you suggest how this can be done?" He asked.
Ichabod thought for a moment and then there appeared a book in his hands, "This was a script created by Dor'n of the House of Dor'n, it allows the caster to change forms in order to escape his enemies, you can still sense what is happening around you and are able to act – that's as long as you only sub-verbalise your spells." He handed the book to Chris who read through it and smiled.
"This is just what I need, but won't people know that the spell has been used? I think I remember something about echo effects from spells?" he asked.
Ichabod gestured at the library, "With all these scripts giving off echoes of their own? You can't tell one from many." He said smiling and Chris filed this information off, just in case. Now Chris realised something else.
"If I could enter the Library of the Accord from here then I could go to any library or rather you could." He said looking at Ichabod who nodded.
"Yes, although I think I could do the transfer easier than you, I belong to all libraries ... why? What are you suggesting?" He asked.
Chris looked at Sar'ha and then back to Ichabod, "Could you take Sar'ha into her sister's library and then she should return to her body. Instead of having to travel through the void like this."
Ichabod smiled and Sar'ha's form shimmered and faded from view, "She's in her sister's library and now her body has called her ... she's back in her body." He reported.
Chris gave a sigh of relief. "I need to be close to her, can you put me inside her library until I'm needed?" he asked.
Ichabod nodded and Chris found himself in a similar library to his own, except there were scrolls in niches instead of books, he thought of the script that Ichabod had shown him, muttered the words and his body compressed down into a book, 'Essence of Earth' He was just lying on the floor waiting for Sar'ha to find him.
Chris felt when Sar'ha awoke, he could sense her looking for him, but the spell kept him hidden from her, he knew she felt sad as she couldn't find him.
He felt her shock as she brought Sop'ha out from the spell that her father had placed on her and realised that he would do the same to Sar'ha unless she was immune to the spell, a muttered phrase would help her in this.
When Sar'ha called the Council to the Training room he added his power to hers and Sop'ha taking the Council bodily through their libraries into Sar'ha's and then into the Training Room, but it was done so that they never realised how they appeared in the room.
With a mental nudge he managed to get Sar'ha to take Jo'ha into her library and then to introduce her to Ichabod and the Library of the Accord. With her increased power she was able to transport herself and Jo'ha bodily into the Libraries.
Chris learnt with Sar'ha who on the Council would have been planning to take him hostage and decided to deal with him; he prompted Sar'ha to challenge Red'n. Who cockily accepted confident in his power, but he wasn't strong enough for the combined powers of Sar'ha and Chris. Using the arrogance of the man they created a multilevel spell, first a deep pit was created, then a covering spell to show an image of the floor and finally the image of the deep pit – this was covered by a flashing light spell to divert Red'n from seeing what was happening.
Red'n contemptuously removed the top image of the pit and stepped forward to prove his point, falling into the pit that had been created, it was possible that he might get out and so the pit was closed, crushing all those within it.
Chris was grim as he did this and Sar'ha felt his grimness. "Thus perish all those who plot against the Accord." She said. Chris found out that when a Council man was killed in a duel then his place would be taken up either by his family or by the person who won the duel, this couldn't be allowed, not if their plan was to be followed, Sar'ha couldn't be tied to the Council by this and anyway the House of Grork'n already had its representative on the Council.
Chris realised that the Brethren would be a formidable force to face and that The Accord would need mages enough to fight them, but if they found out that The Traveller was making plans against them all would be for nought, and so Sar'ha called out Poin'n and Mic'n transferring them to a shielded cell, unable to use their powers to call for help.
Sar'ha expounded our plans for a training school for all those apprentices that could be found, whether of noble stock or not, and also the penalty for those who failed the course – stripped of their power again whether noble or not.
To'ha, a Council woman, spoke out "And just how will you achieve that? You'd need the backing of all the known Adepts to strip a person of power. So it will never happen." She said smugly
Now Chris decided it was the time to show himself, a muttered the phrase to return to his form, although it was purely a mental image. The plinth and book into the middle of the training room and by moving around the book fell to the floor, the spell caused the pages to open out, but unlike a book they began unfolding, getting taller and wider until Chris appeared to the group.
"Sar'ha has all the knowledge she needs to accomplish the task. I have ensured that she is aware of this and Ichabod will ensure that her words are carried out." He said as he approached the Council.
"Who are you and by what right do you tell us what will happen?" Art'n said contempt in his voice.
"I am Chris Beaker, although you may call me The Stranger." Chris said and the whole room went quiet.
Chris smiled at Sar'ha, "I'm sorry I hid away, but I did have a warning that there were those out to get me." He said gesturing to the spaces where Mic'n and Poin'n had been.
Sar'ha returned his smile, "I'm glad you are here ... were you the one who suggested the school?" She asked.
Chris nodded, "I am, although it has a backing on Earth, it's only a story, but here we can make it real." He looked around the Council. "I am the Stranger, you called me here to this world to help you, if you will accept my help then the Accord will be safe ... but if you don't..." He stopped and shook his head.