A Cold Moon Sets On The Shelves
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The Wanderer's Library is arguably one of the busiest places in the multiverse. Most of its patrons tend to not concern themselves with the others or their matters, lulled to a sense of security by the rules known by all, and the constantly vigilant, unstoppable Staff upholding them. Most of the time this works and life in the shelves continues undisturbed. However, occasionally, this state of security provides an opportunity for unkindly folk to practice their shady affairs without notice.

This is why no one pays mind to the band of tall figures lurking around one of the larger rest spaces, dark glass helmets peeking from under their hoods and a mechanical whirring sound accompanying their every move. Moving between the tents, bedrolls and pods of people that have taken temporary residence, they occasionally type something in a strange device attached to their wrists. Meanwhile, one of them places down a strange, blinking device on a tripod, right in the middle of the huge hall. Afterwards, they gesture to the other ones, who nod before taking their leave.


A Few Days Later

"Aha!" cries out an elderly goblin as he pulls a comically large book out of a shelf, unable to help it from crashing down on the floor from its own weight.

"I have been looking for this damn thing for ages! Of course it was in the second nearest section to our home," he says to the phoenix perched on a nearby shelf. "Hehehe, finally I can continue my study on the bulb-birds of the Weightless Plain. Damn things better not have gone extinct in the meanwhile."

He begins to drag the tome away, one slow step at a time as he strains his old and small muscles. He is interrupted however, as the shockwave of an explosion rocks through the wooden floor, throwing him off his feet. In the rest space not too far away, the strange device has activated, shooting out a powerful ray and punching a hole through the borders of reality, forcing a Way into existence. Unlike most Ways, which appear as a gentle breeze of energy in a spiral, this one is like a raging rapid, roaring and undulating as it projects arythmic pulses through the space. As the residents of the hall begin to hurriedly pack up their stuff and run, silhouettes begin to appear behind the event horizon.

Sqr'lk arrives on scene just in time to see leagues of soldiers, all clad from head to toe in dark metal armor filled with strange devices and blinking lights. Holding large, jagged rifles, they train their sights on fleeing civilians, and pull their triggers. Globules of blue energy shoot out at blinding speeds, turning anyone they hit into an immediately fading cloud of blue sparks. In an instant, every Page and Docent within the Library simultaneously turn their heads and begin to approach. Seeing them advance, the soldiers tap a circle engraved to the chest piece of their armor, making it glow with crimson light, the same shade as the flames flickering in the Docent's lanterns. All of the Librarians halt immediately, looks of utter confusion plastered on their twisted faces.

"It's The Coldmoon Consortium…" Sqr'lk whispers under his breath, four eyes wide in nonbelief, while the phoenix flaps its wings and flails its body in angry recognition. The goblin shakes its head, dispelling the mind-clouding fugue of shock, and springs out of the shelves. Upon spotting him, the invaders begin gesturing and advancing towards him.

"Miss me?" he shouts, a furious glare descending on his face. Waving his hands, a large shelf flies in front of the soldiers, shielding him and a handful of bystanders from their blasts as books and scrollcases go flying.

Ushering people to duck and scatter into the shelves, Sqr'lk watches as other patrons begin to mount a defense. Some join him in tearing down bookcases and other pieces of furniture, assembling them in a barrier across the hall. Abjurationers contribute by strengthening the wall with magic shields, while evocationers and other patrons with offensive abilities peer over to fling attacks at the invaders, who manage to disintegrate some of those who expose themselves with unfortunately well aimed energy blasts.

A man in a suit and tie, a centipede tattoo coiling around his arm, rushes over to the goblin upon seeing him, brandishing a pistol.

"Sqr'lk, what is happening?" he asks.

"Ah, Basar. Glad you could join us," Sqr'lk answers while peering over the barrier. "The Library is under attack."

"I noticed. Why is it not defending itself?"

"They've found a way to guise themselves as Staff. Sly bastards! They've never played fair," Sqr'lk sneers from between pointy teeth, unconsciously scratching the jagged, ugly scar splitting his upper lip.

"You know of the attackers? Do you know why they are here?"

"Mrhm. They call themselves the Coldmoon Consortium. They're space thugs. Slavers and mercenaries with a god complex. I think they're here for me." Basar simply raises a brow in response.

"A long, long time ago, I brought their trade empire to its knees by murdering their precious Delegates. Long story, not important right now," Sqr'lk says, waving his hand dismissively. Before Basar has time to respond, the goblin has climbed down from the barrier and pulled a pistol, made of the same black stone as the invader's rifles, out of his robes and jammed it in Basar's hand. He looks down at it.

"I… already have a weapon."

"This one is better. It has a tiny, tiny little Way inside of it, through which it draws energy from the Limitspace, condensing it into blasts."

"So it is anomalous. I am of the Foundation, Sqr'lk. I can not possibly use it." A troll climbs and stands on top of the barrier, roaring in rage as it intends to charge the soldiers. It gets immediately blasted with multiple shots, disintegrating as fast as it regenerates, but unable to keep up. It crashes on the floor, twisted into a burnt piece of dead flesh through its own restorative nature.

"Now is not the time to consider protocol, Foundie," Sqr'lk says, serious. Basar nods and takes the weapon, setting himself behind the barrier. Sqr'lk climbs next to him and looks down at the scene below, the floor littered with dark plates like graves, erected by the invaders as defense.

He begins to weave a spell, grabbing at and twisting at the arcane structure, breaking and reforming it to change the nature of the incantation. As the structure solidifies in the form he wants, he throws it down as a spear of flickering, white light, catching an enforcer who has just peeked out of their shield. The spell impacts, and instead of exploding in a wave of force like it normally would, it instead arcs into every nearby enforcer, all of whom begin to smoke and crackle, the wires and circuits in their suits frying and exploding as they are boiled inside. They are dead before they fall.

"What'chu think about that huh? I've learned some new tricks since we last danced!" Sqr'lk shouts before ducking back to cover, not seeing an enforcer, differentiated from the others by a long, silver cape.

"So have I," says a female voice from behind the mask as she curls her gloved hand into a fist and misty, blue energy begins to pour out of it. It begins to swirl and flow, extending into a large, spiraling form that the enforcer holds up in her hand, letting it catch and deflect everything thrown at her as she walks through the battlefield, every step calm and calculated. A few dozen meters away from the wall, she points her fist at it, and opens it.

An enormous wave of energy spills out, rolling through the air in a roaring pyre. Impacting with the barrier, it tears it down like a wave hitting a sand castle. Those not immediately vaporized in the blast are thrown to the side like ragdolls. Sqr'lk feels his arm snap like a branch as he hits the floor. He lifts his eyes up just in time to see a bookcase spinning through the air, but not soon enough to get out of its way as it lands on his feet.

Flailing under the wood, he attempts to desperately tear himself free as he watches a figure emerge out of the hole in the wall. Quickly, he grabs a book lying next to him, muttering something under his breath and weaving arcane energy around it. Delicate, nearly invisible threads emerge out of his chest and the book, connecting mid-air. Sqr'lk sets the book next to himself just as the figure steps next to him. She clicks a button in her neck causing the helmet to disintegrate and slide into the suit, revealing the face of a woman with crocodilian skin and spikes on her cheeks and jaw. A huge, gaping scar that glows with bright, blue light covers the left side of her face, correspondent eye emitting the same light, while the other is orange and reptilian. She smiles widely at Sqr'lk with big, triangle-shaped teeth peeking out of her mouth.

"Hello Green."

"Long time no see, Glasyc. I see you lived, then."

"Yes, and so did the Consortium, despite your terrorism."

"Did it though? I hear you've been struggling ever since and that the majority of your slave worlds became independent or joined the Allegiance. And the Delegates definitely didn't live. How was the funeral, by the way?" Sqr'lk laughs, but it quickly turns into a cough, forcing a globule of blood out of his mouth and onto Glasyc's feet.

"Ever the smart mouth." She stops and snickers. "You know, I almost didn't believe it when my agents told me where you are. But after all these years of dreaming about your demise, here you lie, at my feet. The Emerald Menace himself. I should thank you, you know," she says and puts her hand in a fist again, blue energy pulsing inside of it, in sync with the pulsing in her scar. "This is because of you."

Sqr'lk cocks his head, unable to hide his interest.

"As much as I would like to stay and chat, catch up, and then torture you slowly until even your resilient little goblin body can't take it anymore, I can't give you a chance to trick yourself out of this one, so I'm just gonna kill you right here. Maybe I'll kill some of your friends and your bird afterwards, who knows, we'll see." She levels her fist at his head. "Goodbye, Sqr'lk."

She opens her fist and a blast of energy pours out again, but as it washes over Sqr'lk, instead of disintegrating him into nothing, it travels up the thread connecting him to the book, which burns away, destroyed on the atomic level. Immediately, a loud, bellowing groan echoes through the hall, drowning out Sqr'lk's maniacal laughter. Librarians still present in the space fall to the ground, limp.

"What?" Glasyc utters.

"You've just destroyed a part of the Library's precious collection. It still thinks you're Staff, so it can't find you, so it will do the only thing it can. Absolutely annihilate every living thing in this sector," Sqr'lk explains, laughing. Glasyc opens her mouth to say something, but cannot get a word out. The groans grows ever louder, green light beginning to pour out of every nook in the floor and the ceiling as an angry titan begins lashing out. Sqr'lk gestures with his hands.

"Nice seeing you, Glasyc. I hope we never meet again," he says before disappearing in a flash.

"Oh we will," Glasyc sneers, before curling her fist and disappearing as well, slipping into Limitspace.

After most of the surviving patrons have managed to get out of range, an explosive roar spreads out, the sheer force of will of the Library grasping at every enforcer, tearing apart their bodies and their souls, one particle at a time. Everything happens in mere seconds, before the hall is again neat and tidy, as if nothing ever happened. The groan goes silent, as the Library, satisfied, goes back to slumber.

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