Deka handled the old tome with due care. Its brittle pages were prone to breaking--indeed, many were missing already--and with naught but a flickering candle to read by, it was all the more difficult to find what he was looking for.
The librarian did nothing to improve the situation; from time to time, he shuffled about in a nervous manner or muttered softly to himself. It was clear he regretted his ill-advised bet of yesterday, made under the influence of the drink (which he enjoyed a little too much for his own good). The look on the librarian’s face when the dice fell in Deka’s favor had in itself almost been worth the trip to this cesspit of a city.
Luckily, the librarian had not noticed Deka’s little flick of the wrist: just an innocent cantrip--a harmless trick to make sure that fortune should not thwart him.
“Are you quite done?”
Deka half-rose from his seat and looked back at the librarian. The fire and impatience in the man’s eyes melted before Deka’s towering stature and dark glance.
“Why?” Deka asked. “Do many of the Waymages visit the library at night?”
“Well, you never know who comes at night.” The librarian’s voice was a thread now, nearly a whisper, and trailed off as he turned to watch the hallway.
Deka smiled and returned to the tome. He leafed through its pages until he came upon the illustrations. Done in red ink (and for that all the more difficult to read) and lavishly decorated, they were akin to the other symbols Deka had read in the moldy, bug-infested tomes of the abandoned Etter-holds.
“Yes,” he said softly. His finger traced a symbol not unlike a cobweb, though each strand consisted not of a single line, but of a series of letters that none today could read. “The Thyra,” he whispered, “the Door. . .”
“Have you found what you came for?”
Deka did not respond; he was lost in the symbol. It was intricate, yet as ill-preserved as the rest of the work, and it was certainly part of the key to the Thyra. How long it must have lain here, in a damp and drafty room under the eyes of the Waymages--the very ones who claim to study the art of interdimensional travel.
The symbol spun in front of his eyes: the faint red ink of the occult glyphs--of which even the Etter knew not the meaning--began to glow. They grew until their light was as lifelike and strong as the candle’s flame. And as their light grew, Deka saw them more clearly.
Yes, it was a part of the puzzle; already he could match some of the mystic symbols to the other segments of the key that were known to him--and with so little effort! Perhaps this symbol would--
The librarian’s nudge was gentle, but hard enough to rouse Deka.
“Have you what you came for?” He asked again.
For a moment, Deka looked at him as if dazed. Then he smiled and spoke:
“Indeed, I have.”
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