The Wordsmiths Induction
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A large metallic tendril rapped on a wooden door.
"Hello?" The timid greeting came from within.
The door opened and a small human poked out their head.
Coarse, sandy blonde hair and dull blue eyes looked up at the red-robed entity.

Uhloill sized up the structure the boy was held out in. It was oddly shaped and looked cobbled together. Was that a tarp serving as one of the walls? "When your caregivers get back, please let them know that you can't stay here. This section of the library is off-limits to camping." The boy gave it such a strange stare that Uhloill was positive it was misunderstanding the situation. The small voice merely replied with a "Sure."

Uhloill's second brain decided to pipe up. "What's your name kid?"

The small humans stared up at it. In the faintest voice, the boy replied "Eric".

Uhloill's third brain chimed in. "Where are your parents?"


Uhloill's first brain snapped back to attention. "You mean you're lost?"


Uhloill relaxed the tension that had been building in its connective tissues.

"I don't know where they're buried."

Uhloill felt the sudden pain as its three brains thrashed within their glass enclosures. "Who's taking care of you?"

"I take care of myself."

And that is how Uhloill Mechads, Tri-symbiote and High Wordsmith, came to care for the human child called Eric.

"The council invites Eric Aunger to the stand for his induction." The eighteen hooded figures stood, red robes fluttering in the stale air of The Library. One by one, the High Wordsmiths exited the room, leaving two men sitting opposite to each other at the table. Eric was stunned. He was positive the man hadn't been here before. Unlike the red robes of the High Wordsmiths or even the red sash worn by Lower Wordsmiths, this man was garbed in what could only be described as armor made of red scales. But the armor lacked seams, and indeed seemed to be part of the man. Disregarding the person silently watching him, he turned towards the small statue at the other end of the room.

"Solemnly, I swear to uphold the rules of The Library and the Guild. I swear to hold myself and others to these rules to the best of my ability. I swear to represent those who I am elected to speak for fairly and hold those I speak for to the councils' decisions. I swear to solve each problem I am presented quickly, in a just manner. I swear to put the interests of The Library, and visitors, before my own. The pen shall be my sword, and written word my shield. I swear to be arbitrator first, scholar second, and warrior last. "

Eric could feel an odd moment where the table itself seemed to lurch upward towards him. A strange feeling seemed to suddenly permeate the room. The entity ahead of Eric Auger seemed to be reaching towards him, the rest of its body unraveling into small strips of paper. A single hand pressed an object into his palm, and the cold texture made him shudder.

The feeling in the room went away. Eric realized he had been squeezing his eyes shut. He opened his eyes carefully. In his hand was a small case made out of copper-colored metal. The person, the thing was gone, and the High Wordsmiths were filing back into the room, gazing at him intently. One of them tentatively stepped towards him, as if to confirm he was alive. After a moment, the High Wordsmith nearest him held out a red sash. Eric didn't make any move to accept it for several moments.

Slowly slinging the red cloth over his right shoulder, he marveled at the detailed patterns woven into the fabric. The gold and silver threads did an intricate dance across the soft maroon expanse. Threading his arm through, he was amazed at how light the thick material was. He could barely feel it at all.

Turning back towards his new superiors, he bowed, before quietly leaving the room. The High Wordsmiths took their seats at the table and resumed their meeting.

Eric was a quick learner. Uhloill liked that in an entity. Eric already knew the name of all the major sections of the library. He knew 4 languages and could speak them fluently. He knew all the political groups of the library, from the Serpents Hand to the Magpies. Eric was charismatic. By the age of 12, he could talk his way out of any situation, and into anyone's heart. Soon, Uhloill would introduce him to the guild. But it kept finding reasons to wait.

When Eric was 14, he caught Uhloill off guard by asking a question it assumed there was an unspoken agreement not to address.

"What do you do here Uhl?"

After it recovered from the shock, it explained the guild to him.

How they worked to maintain order by establishing generally agreed upon laws.

How they did their best to help people.

What it didn't tell him was that sometimes, the law wasn't enough.

What it did tell him was that when he was ready, and if he wanted to join, it would introduce him to the Guild.

Outside, of the meeting area, Lower Wordsmith Eric Aunger glanced down at the metal case, before snapping it open.
Inside sat several tools. The first was a fountain pen. Each Wordsmith received one, and each one was a unique representation of themselves. Studying the pen, he noted that it was made out of brass, with small abstract carvings hidden among a larger image, carved around the circumference of the shaft.

After that came the two stamps, tucked into their own small slots in the fabric interior of the case. One had a green "Approved" on it, and the other a red "Denied". With these, he would decide which proposed laws would get sent up for the High Wordsmiths to vote on.

The last item was in the other half of the case, held in place with two prongs made out of a plastic material. The Card. A small plastic object granting him access to every part of The Library, and identifying him as a Wordsmith. Only about the size of a small business card, and rather bland in color, it had his name on the front. In smaller gold lettering beneath it, his new Title.

Even though it was the least conspicuous, that small piece of plastic was the most important tool in his arsenal, and across all the priceless books he handled in his time in The Library, this would be the most valuable thing to pass through his hands.

The Serpents Hand may try to enforce the law in The Library, but as of now, he was a living embodiment of the law.

Let the Hand be the executioners.

He was a judge.
He was a jury.
He was a Wordsmith.

He would make Uhloill proud.

Eric watched his caregiver, the one he had known ever since he was 5 years of age, die.
Uhloill didn't go out peacefully. It died in a sparking, jellified mass, beneath a ton of limp metal and broken glass, a pool of preservative fluid spreading slowly across the library carpet, with their remaining tendril flailing uselessly.

Sometimes, the power given by the library wasn't enough.

A book, covered in grey fluid, sat across the room with a broken spine, where other Wordsmiths were packing more like it in a box.

A dangerous book.

A Daevic book.

Some books are not meant to go on the shelf.

Later, when all was said and done, it was Eric alone that mourned Uhloill.

The first thing he did was travel to the main thoroughfare. Here, patrons of The Library opened up shops to sell their wares.
Passing by the shops selling potions and food, he found a small area where a fish was selling office supplies.

Perusing his wares, the first thing he came upon was a small plastic lamp. It was blue and ratty, and perfect. He paid for it with four pieces of Atlantian silver and went on his way to his next stop. By and by, he came to Ricks, The Library’s only used furniture store.

With apprehension, he paid two lizard tounges and the eye of a raven for a writing desk. The desk had been burnt in a fire, but the hole in it was small, and it served his purpose well. After haggling the price of a stool in decent condition down to the price of seven quid, he set off to find a location for his office.

Eventually, he settled on the sparsely populated self-help section, where only divorced parents would frequently come to see him. Otherwise, it would just be him, a good book, and the occasional official with a real problem.

Life should have felt good for Eric Aunger, the newly appointed Lower Wordsmith.

It didn't. Taking the pen back out of its case, he compared it to one he pulled out of his pocket.

Uhloill's pen was beautiful.

One last time, he wept for his mentor, caretaker, and the closest thing he ever had to a parent.

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