A Librarian Starts a War

A Librarian Starts a War

Darcy was breathing easier now; the shock of the time-jump had worn off. And as she followed Madame Lobellia and the ancient Roman in to the inner peristyle, the scent of rosemary hedges amidst burbling fountains dispersed what was left of her self-consciousness. What’s more, the servants were no longer staring at her. Maybe they were used to time-jumping guests. She jotted down this possibility. She’d have to research it later when she was back in her cramped office. Funny, the Library for Dragons was immense, but her office was the tiniest room in the whole place. She was sure of that. Pretty much sure. Maybe there was a broom closet somewhere posing competition. Looking back up from her notes, she was struck by the

How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 2)

How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 2)

– Continued from How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 1) – Quiet, quiet. Retrieving a book takes great concentration. Especially when it’s the size of a two-car garage and three stories up. That’s right, each shelf’s height is the equivalent of a one-story house. This is why only librarians are entrusted with the magic to Retrieve. How does it work? I’ll tell you. Have you noticed the gold symbols inscribed into the black, wooden shelves? These not only help us locate a book, they emit magic that helps librarians pull on a book’s spine. Watch closely as I begin to Retrieve; you’ll see what looks like blue smoke seep from the symbols, then gather around the book and move as my hands do. With its

How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 1)

How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 1)

If you’re willing, and I mean very willing, I’d like you to help me retrieve a book from the library. I say retrieve because it’s unwise to borrow. Dragons immediately sense when a book is removed, and their reaction is, well, less than favorable. I must here repeat the cardinal rule of the library: Never, ever, ever take a book home.   Several difficulties lie ahead of us, but I’ll only mention two, the rest you can learn by experience. First, we’re headed into the most populated area of the library: the fiction section (where all human history is shelved). Second, the books are dragon-size; you could host a dinner party on one if it was lying open. What does this mean? It means retrieving

A Librarian Introduces Herself

A Librarian Introduces Herself

I am not the first human to hold the position. You should know this before I tell you anything else. The Durian Archives record a genealogy of librarians stretching back before the time of King Solomon. You mustn’t misunderstand this curious family tree; librarians are not related by blood, but by three common cords: an enduring passion for books, the will to keep great secrets, and a keen instinct for predicting the behavior of dragons. We have been, and always will be, those that guard the Spiral Staircase between two worlds—worlds that deny each other’s existence. Hello, my name is Madame Lobelia. I was eighteen when I applied for apprenticeship at the library and thirty when I took my oath as Head Librarian. It’s been eleven years since. This

Eavesdropping on Dragons

Eavesdropping on Dragons

Oh good, you came. Were you quiet coming down here? I know it was a lot of stairs. I was afraid they’d hear you and—of course I mean the dragons. Who else would I be talking about? The mice? Okay, okay, just—shhhh. Whisper. Let’s creep forward a bit. The Agreement is still in effect, so we should be safe. What’s the Agreement? Oh, uh, nothing. Just follow me. Shhhhh. Why do you have to bump into everything? Okay, stop. Stay crouched down. Do you see them? They’re over there in the Renaissance isle. Two of them. You see? Good. Now, the one with gold-ish wings just became the youngest professor on human mythology. Prester is his name. From what I gather he’s descended from an ancient Greek dragon that guarded

Both Sides of the Mirror

Both Sides of the Mirror

I only told you half the story in the previous post. The other half is our side of things, those fantasy stories us humans read with pleasure, but would never admit to believing in. Yet, belief or no belief, we’ve all tasted something of reality in them, or at least something that should, or will be, reality—if only we live long enough to see it. We give this away when we set a fantastic story down and find that real life has come into sharper focus because of it. Why did that story—that hero, that enemy, that resolution—feel right at home inside me? we ask ourselves. Or we may not. We may not because these stories are familiar. It’s easy to blame their “feeling right” on having grown up with them,

Why Dragons Read History

Why Dragons Read History

We think we have the market cornered on fairy tales. We don’t. Dragons, if you can believe it, have quite the appetite for fairy tales. J.R.R. Tolkien may have written about dragons, but professor Emberglow, senior basilisk at the University for Large Reptiles, wrote about J.R.R. Tolkien and, to be frank, most dragons don’t believe the story. Which leads me to my first point. Do you know what dragons call our history? Fantasy. For the Love of Everything Real, they call it fantasy. They curl up in their dragon libraries (large enough for all wingspans) with a good fairy tale about the American Revolution, or the conquests of Alexander the Great. We are mythical creatures to their double-lidded eyes. Oh, they’ve seen men before, but