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"This cannot stand." He of the Desert Wind brought his burly fist down onto his palm: a gesture of finality. "Not for the Serpent's Hand, not for much longer."

"Don't be too hasty." Persistence the Scrivened stroked at his beard. "The Library has sheltered us for years. We would not exist today were it not for the haven they provided."

"In the beginning, yes," replied He of the Desert Wind. "We may have once relied on their magics. But now I fear that the Hand has outgrown the Library, and both suffer for it."

"Outgrown… but the Library is vast. We are but one of the societies that gather here."

"Exactly, Persistence. We are many in number, and swell larger than any other colloquy within the Library's walls. Wanderers become acolytes of the Hand in waves, as schools of fish that collect as the current brings them and then scatter away when it begins to push against.

"And the magics of the Librarians strain under the weight. Remember the day that the Princess of Lions attempted a scrying ritual to track all attending members of the Hand and their works, as is our custom, but the sheer number overloaded the Library's wards? The magical flux sent that entire wing of the Library into limbo. What a terrifying day that was.

"And stop stroking your beard, Scrivened," He of the Desert Wind added. "You always do that when you play Bookburner's Advocate."

"Are you proposing what I think you're proposing?" asked ~, the masked druid. ~'s face was imperceptible beneath the mask, but ~ punctuated the question with the psychic impression of an excited grin.

"I am," said He of the Desert Wind. "The goals of the Docents are not our goals, and their ways are not our ways. High Mages of the Serpent's Hand, we must depart from the Wanderer's Library. We must create a pocket dimension of our own."

The High Mages became restless. Anthross's surveying gaze focused in. The Grecian Elegist knocked back a glass of wine while Nyx's nebulas made the ineffable cosmic chirp unique to themselves.

Persistence the Episcopal, not to be confused with Persistence the Scrivened, broke the susurrus with a point. "It is fine to speak of pocket dimensions," said he, "but no magical feat of that scale comes without a cost. And the costs of such a magical feat would be great. The spell would expend many jewels, and maintenance would require the procurement of… goat's blood."

"The High Mages have done everything we can to avoid the use of goat's blood in our magic, Persistence," said the first Persistence. "It comes with much power, but it is power that easily corrupts and divides unless handled with extreme care."

He of the Desert Wind frowned. "Persistence, have you ever tried to cast a banishing spell manually in the Library? It's an ordeal. When you reach the third phase of the incantation, rather than allowing you to speak the name of they who must be banished, the truename wards of the Library require that you instead list off all those who will not be banished room by room until you finally reach the location of the actual target."

The abjurers among them cringed. They had tried to speak with a Librarian enchanter, but the Library enchanters were not to be found, and indeed had not been seen for centuries ere the beginning of the Age.

"And I've heard the legends of when Chill-of-Entropy joined the council. For some reason, the Library's wards prevented him from receiving the Wreath of Empowerment altogether. The way the Library's magic interferes with the spell, we had to enter the Sea of Time and locate the moment of his birth. But it had been lost to the ages.

"After days of seeking the moment in vain, do you know what Chill-of-Entropy did? He gave up, and killed himself. Then he was reborn anew. Just so that he could have a new and accessible moment of creation. That is why we must form a pocket dimension with all the features that matter to us."

~, who experienced that time firsthand, was nearly on their side with laughter.

When ~ finally calmed down, they began to speak. "Yes, we have always shunned goat's blood. It is a dangerous power source. We could never trust ourselves with it." ~ broadcasted a face of whimsy, to lighten the tone of their serious words. "But I believe that, should the time come… we have the maturity to bear that burden. Two of us are named Persistence, after all." ~'s whimsical face intensified.

"I suggest," said Surfeit-of-Labours, "that we start descending these stairs from the first step, so to speak. If we try to start with the last one we'll just trip and break our legs."

"Surfeit-of-Labours, your analogies are terrible, but you have a point." Persistence the Episcopal was ever the voice of moderation. "Before we start asking everyone to drain their goat for us, we must weave the spell in the first place."

"The Council of Metamagic is already hard at work," said He of the Desert Wind. "Their sorcery is already scanning and altering the very structure of magic itself, forming it into wells of the most arcane and mystifying magic of all… statistics."

"Then the wheels are already at work." ~ stood to their feet, their mighty antlers diligently raised. "I must go… but I hope you will record this call to action, and spread it as a whisper on the southern breeze. That is all we can do for now." With ~'s departure, the others of the council began to disperse as well.

"Sure," muttered Persistence the Scrivened, "throw it into the southern breeze. That always gets things done." But if anyone heard, they cared not to disagree.

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