Article thirteen, section C dash two, subsection seven point four. The Librarian will be many things, but first among these is Vigilant. The Undersigned will be ever-Vigilant in upholding the doctrinal duties described in this contract. The Undersigned will not ever ignore this duty, for it rises above all others in import, until the termination of their contract of employ. Failure in this respect shall incur the punishments described in article twenty five, section A dash one, subsection six point three, with special dispensations for immolation and electrocution decided on a case-by-case basis by the head Library judicial committee.
It was probably that one, Naldir figured. Not exclusively 13C-2;7.4, but that one would be the core of the thing. Much like how a mystic focus is built around a gemstone, but that stone alone does not encompass the whole, 13C-2;7.4 was probably the primary issue.
The itch on the back of Naldir’s neck couldn’t have been created by 13C-2;7.4 by itself, of course. It didn’t describe any physical aspects of his duties, nor the magical processes which brought those aspects to bear.
And yet. His neck itched. He’d been a Librarian, officially, for five months now, and neck itching was a new one. Last time, his feet had just wanted to move on their own, wanted to just go to where he needed to be. And before that, he’d started smelling a particularly intriguing fudgy scent, real enough to make his mouth water, strong enough to make him leave his post at the front counter.
Now, though? It was just an itch. A little annoyance at the back of his mind, pulling him away from his review of the day’s visitation muster and his crosschecks with the membership rolls every time he started to fall into a steady rhythm with it. It was a bit infuriating.
Which was probably the point. His contract didn’t have a mind of its own, it was just a thick sheaf of papers chained about his hip after all, but it very often felt to him like it acted out of some strange and spiteful sense of justice. Were it a person in its own right, it could have just told him what sort of rule was being broken inside the Library, or at least told him where to go to put a stop to it. But the contract and its magic would do no such thing.
Unless the circumstances were excessively dire, he supposed. Just like the punishments he could receive for neglecting his duties—the more severe the infraction, the more severe the response needed to be. If someone were setting a torch to the stacks in the archives, he’d probably be have been empowered enough by some subsection or another to teleport right there and blast the offender into a pile of gore. Neatly contained gore, of course.
And even though the situation wasn’t dire, he was still walking, in a direction he thought mostly random, to try and see to it. The sound of his crisply maintained boots echoed forever around him, filling the empty halls of the Archimalaurian Library with some new life, if only for a brief moment as he passed by. Indeed, the Archimalaurian was the Great University’s jewel, one of, if not the finest centers of learning in all of Ephaos, and certainly throughout Damea. Open from seven-and-a-half hours before noon until seven-hours-and-twenty-minutes after, membership only, no exceptions.
A member staying after hours would’ve been an infraction of 4B-5;2.2, though, along with a sense of needing to crack his toes. This one was different. A new feeling. Naldir even found himself growing a bit excited, as the sensation on his neck crept down along his spine, worming its way into his extremities, tickling ever so slightly within his fingertips. Just a smidgeon of power he’d be able to call upon, granted to let him (or make him) enforce the rules that members had signed themselves over to.
How the specific lawmagic of the member and Librarian contracts worked was, of course, forbidden knowledge—as described in 2E-3;6.4 and 3B-2;17.8 respectively—but he and many others had still wondered on it. There were perhaps enchantments buried into the marble floors he strode on, or carved into the trees which were pulped and made into the pages of each contract, or swirled within whatever alchemical process created the ink penned across each. It didn’t much matter, in truth. It gave Naldir an itch in his mind, and a duty, and a growing sense of power he could draw on. And for members… well, he’d never asked.
Wasn’t dealing with a member, though. Not tonight. He could tell that, somehow, and that he was getting closer… but closer to what? A tome left astray on the floor? One of the many glow-spheres winked out? He was double-checking everything in his path, triple-checking every hallway, so much so that he didn’t even notice his hand scratching furiously, soothing the itch with a spray of delicious magical tingling across his back, while he stared forward at a door which should’ve been locked. A door which, he somehow knew, again, was not.
He pushed it open. He’d expected to find near anything else, but deep inside, he wasn’t surprised in the least. Could’ve been the magic. Could’ve just been his smug self-satisfaction at the wide pair of eyes staring back at him. “Emmiria,” Naldir said on a weighty sigh. “Emmiria, Emmiria, Emmiria.”
“I can explain,” she blurted out. Naldir wasn’t quite sure how this would be accomplished. His fellow Librarian was bent over the long table reserved for members of highest standing, in the cramped study reserved for members of highest standing, and, with a quill poised between her fingers, she looked to be copying one of the newest manuscripts from the chained shelf into her tattered little notebook. Her featureless brown robe, identical in all but size to his own, hid the majority of her figure—though were she standing, she’d’ve been taller than he, and broader in a few notable respects to match. And up, out of the robe’s baggy collar, a slender neck, a rounded chin, tan cheekbones, hazel eyes framed by dark brown bangs, the rest of her hair pulled smoothly into a tail that fell… that fell…
Right. Staring. Emmiria, for her part, seemed to take his compulsive leering for a keen, critical gaze. Good, Naldir smirked as he composed himself, she needs a bit of a sweat. Not that she’d get it from glancing over his own figure. He was built shorter, stockier on the whole. Brown hair worn long, parting to the right, gave the impression of his collar coming up into a hood over his head like some cloistered monk, which at least discouraged some visitors from annoying him.
“Listen, Naldir,” Emmiria began slowly, trading her quill for clasped hands, “there’s a perfectly good explanation for all this. I was making my rounds, and—”
“You were making your rounds and you decided to so casually break the laws of our Library, yes, that is a perfectly good explanation.” Clicking his tongue, Naldir closed the door behind him and strode up to her side, where she still sat defiantly. His eyes flicked between her face, and the book set open on the table before her, its chain running up and back into the bookshelf bolted to the wall. “Vultimas.” He sighed. “Seriously?”
Emmiria spread her hands. “What’s wrong with Vultimas?”
“Besides the fact that he’s a godless heathen, he—”
“Okay, that’s reductive,” she snapped.
“It’s practically the foundation of his philosophy!”
“Have you ever actually read one of his treatises, Naldir?”
He hesitated. “Well I—”
“No, of course you haven’t.”
Emmiria crossed her arms. “You simply lap up whatever mindless dribble that Trieste insists are valid theses and regurgitate it up on command, hm?”
Naldir’s eyes rolled. “Trieste is a scholar. Vultimas is…”
“An actual scholar, bringing new theory to the field instead of the manure that the magical community has been slathering themselves with for the past millennium.”
“You’re insufferable,” he said. She was always like this. She’d been like this since they were in the same class at the University, and since they’d both signed on for postings as Librarians. He still believed Emmiria had signed up just to make his life a living hell.
“Only because I’m correct,” she added with a smirk.
This was too much to take standing up. His hands wrenched over the room’s remaining chair, and he seated himself firmly. “We have followed these principles for millenia because they are correct, Emmiria.” He spoke slowly, as if to a child, with the intent to infuriate. “To insist that the events of the material world are entirely governed by the chaos of the magical realm is to argue that the gods did not intend to give us free will!”
Emmiria shrugged, impassive to the blasphemy in her speech. “Perhaps the gods made a mistake?”
“Gods do not make mistakes,” Naldir said, the words venomous on his tongue.
“I seem to recall you muttering the opposite about a birthmark of yours…”
“That is absolutely not—”
“And besides,” she said, “who are you to claim knowledge of the gods’ unknowable acts? Their purposes and powers extend far beyond our mortal minds, you know.”
Naldir sighed into her ever-obnoxious grin. “This is going nowhere,” he said.
“Correct,” she said.
“Shall we take it someplace useful?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Well,” he said, standing, “considering you’ve violated our inviolable contract, I believe that I’m here to mete out your punishment.”
And just like that, her cocky grin froze, melted, and reformed into a supplicating smile that could little hide her terror. “Really Naldir, you don’t have to…”
“Actually, I do. 13C-2;7.4,” he said, a smile crossing his face as Emmiria’s lips struggled to catch up to the rate of her recollection, “you know what it says, as do I. ‘The Undersigned will not ever ignore this duty, for it rises above all others in import.’”
“Yes,” she growled, “I understand that part, only—”
“Only it means that I can’t sit by while you flaunt a flagrant disregard for our duties!” he all but shouted.
“2A-1;1.3,” Emmiria spat.
Article two, section A dash one, subsection one point three. The Librarian will not, nor shall any patron, raise their voice above an acceptably quiet level. Failure to comply shall incur the punishments described in article twenty five, section A dash one, subsection two point eighteen.
Memories rushed. He could feel the contract humming at his hip, humming through bone and sinew and forcing the recollection into his mind. Both of them, and indeed every visitor to the Library, were compelled by magic to obey the rules of the place. The contracts gave Librarians the power to enforce those rules, but so too were they bound by them. When Naldir finally regained his senses and opened his eyes, Emmiria was standing with him. Smiling in her smug way.
“Fine,” he said, at an uncontrollably soft volume, “I had hoped that you would offer yourself willingly, but you’ve left me no choice.”
“We’re Librarians,” she said. “We don’t have a choice.”
“Again with your nonsensical fatalism.” Naldir shook his head. But Emmiria was right—what had begun as a simple itch on his neck had grown into a desire, one that bubbled out of him with his words. “Did you not make a choice when you infringed on 7A-5;3.19?”
He saw her wince, as if she’d been bowled over by the words filling her mind. 7A-5;3.19 was perfectly incriminating: a Librarian was never permitted to copy works for personal purpose while on a working shift. And here Emmiria was, copying a text just so, muttering a single curse under her breath as a hand came to cradle her forehead.
“Ah ah ah,” Naldir shook his head, wagging a finger toward her, “mind your tongue. That’s another transgression… 2A-3;4.2 if I’m not mistaken?” He was not mistaken. He knew he was not mistaken. He watched her reel again, and had to admit to a certain enjoyment at giving it to her. She’d been edging over the line in so many ways for just as many years. And far from a simple want, the itch was now a need. And with the compulsion, with so many rules being disregarded… he felt the rush, familiar, sensitive through every hair on his skin. Magic at his disposal, ready and begging to be used in upholding the law. He was a tool of justice, a righteous device of—
Well, that was one way to smother his ego. “You have something to say?” he asked Emmiria with unsheathed disdain.
“No, no.” It was clear from the stifled chuckling that she did. “Please, go on with your triade.”
That grin. Magic and heat rushing in his blood. “You’re mocking me. A Librarian found disparaging the—”
“Disparaging the sacred institution of the Archimalaurian Library will be subject to yes yes blah blah lightning, thunder, and all of that blathering.” She nodded at him, quite smugly. “But I’m not disparaging the Archimalaurian, Naldir, I’m simply disparaging you. And there’s no laws against that.”
“You are still in violation of—”
“Am I?” Emmiria interrupted, and this time it was Naldir who froze.
“Yes,” he managed with his slack jaw, “you are?”
She spread her open palms, stretching the fabric of her brown-colored robes. “What article am I disregarding by standing here as I am?”
“You are…” Naldir blinked. “Well, you were—”
“I was,” she said. “You could probably cite ten clauses I was contravening, I’m sure, but… you’ve stopped me.”
His lips pursed a moment. “This is some game of yours.”
“No game, Naldir.” She brought her hands together, clapped them a few times with a simpering smile. “You’ve apprehended me, your fellow Librarian. Right out of 6H-1;1.2, yes?”
Article six, section H dash one, subsection one point two. As part of their duties, a Librarian will apprehend any fellow Librarians found defying or disregarding the laws imparted in this contract.
Words filling his thoughts. Spoken in a voice he couldn’t ignore, much louder than the itch and the quiet feeling of a fraction of power ebbing away from him. The contract would only give him enough power to see to his duty, to uphold the laws by which he was bound… and the fewer of those there were… “That’s your game,” he whispered. “You’re trying to siphon it away, before I can…”
“Punish me for my transgressions?” Emmiria shook her head. “Naldir, darling, that would be a desecration of 7C-4;5.9.”
Article seven, section C dash four, subsection five point nine. A Librarian will never intervene in the lawfully driven pursuits of another Librarian.
When his eyes opened, Emmiria was a step closer, her grin a shade brighter, his power a breath weaker. “That shouldn’t be…” he heard himself saying, “that is a clause that you are profaning, not me.”
“Then why do you seem so stunned when I remind you of 7C-4;5.9?”
Article seven, section C dash four, subsection five point nine. A Librarian will never intervene in the lawfully driven pursuits of another Librarian.
Words, tingling, magic and breath leaving him even as he gasped. Naldir swayed on his feet, grasped the back of his chair for balance. The woman looked giddy before him, positively manic. And beautifully so. He’d dreamed of being cornered by her in tiny rooms such as this one before, who couldn’t when presented with a beauty like her? The swells, even beneath thick robes, the persistence of her grin, everything on her was simply stunning. But.
“This must end,” he said. “Y-you must desist in your flouting of 7C-4;5.9.” He spoke the words as loudly as he could bring himself to, feeling as though thunder was booming out of his lungs to smite her down...
… but nothing happened. Emmiria smiled, and took another step, and shook her head gently. “You really don’t understand, do you?” she asked, almost sadly.
“What are you doing?” he murmured, his eyes wide.
She shrugged. “I’m simply adhering to 7C-4;5.9 and 7C-4;5.10.”
Article seven, section C dash four, subsection five point nine. A Librarian will never intervene in the lawfully driven pursuits of another Librarian.
Article seven, section C dash four, subsection five point ten. In the case of two conflicting duties, the most pressing offense must be addressed first.
Naldir blinked. His face was warm. His breath came out winded. And Emmiria was close enough to touch him. “And you’re about to say, ‘but five point ten would only apply if I were breaching my contract,’ aren’t you?” she asked.
“Well w-wouldn’t it?” he stammered in reply. “You’re the one copying manuscripts, I’m only…” He trailed off, as Emmiria stretched her arms, popping eight knuckles and sending eight emerald-colored sparks of magic into the air. And when her hands rose again, they glowed with her untapped power. Naldir swallowed. “Y-you don’t have to…”
“5F-2;2.6.” She lifted her shoulders, then set ten fingers on either side of his face. Thumbs to his temples, pinkies around his jaw. Her eyes glowed in anticipation, and he couldn’t bring himself to move away for the sight of it, and the feeling even then of so much energy ready to leap through his skin. “You know that I must. And so must you, according to 4E-5;1.7.”
Article four, section E dash five, subsection one point seven. Any miscreant will comply with and participate in a Librarian’s inquest into their disobedience with Library contracts.
“Make this easy on me, will you?” Her voice floated into his ear as consciousness returned, thick with perhaps some exertion, as evidenced by the arcs and echoes of green magic shining out from her eyes. “Just
tell me what you’ve done.”
A command spoken into him. Foreign magic with it, as lively and clever as she, slinking past whatever resistance he might’ve assembled and parting his lips before he could even think to open them himself, opening his mind and memory in a way that he could not alone. He’d done it to others, interrogation was standard practice. But he’d never felt it before, the warmth and chill as words drew themselves up and up from the depths of his mind. One moment, there was nothing, only sensation so strong it blotted out his thoughts. And the next…
“Left my post,” his memories explained, using his lips as their own instrument. “Left the doors unwatched. Left checking the rolls incomplete.”
And as suddenly as it had come, the magic was gone. Her fingers left his face, and every muscle in his body went as loose as gelatin. He’d’ve fell all the way to the floor, had Emmiria not hoisted him forward, their bodies clutched together for barely an instant, and shoved him into the chair he’d been standing beside.
Naldir’s breath shuddered through his lungs and limbs. The power that had made him so brazen was gone. In its place was guilt, confusion, and an even stronger itching: an ache, full-bodied, to give himself over for his mistakes. But he could not surrender yet, not while she smiled and blushed so damned smugly. “I left them… f-for 13C-2;7.4, Emmiria. I had reason, a-and it was no crime.”
“You did, Naldir,” she cooed, and the warmth of her fingers rejoined the warmth of his left cheek, absent of magic, tingling only with excitement. “You came to stop me, and haven’t you?”
“Yes,” he rasped.
“But now that I’ve been stopped…”
“What are you going to do to me?”
That grin. There for half a second. “Sentencing,” she said. “And correction. You’ll comply, won’t you, Naldir?”
He hesitated, for only a moment, before chuckling. “I’m a Librarian,” he said. “I don’t have a choice.”
“You don’t,” she reiterated with a nod. “Especially when you, Naldir Cutter, are in violation of 11A-4;3.2,”
Article eleven, section A dash four, subsection three point two. This position or route being assigned, a Librarian will not leave or deviate from it for any reason until relieved or replaced, save in exceptional cases of contractual infraction or those outlined in article eleven, section A dash four, subsection four.
His eyes and ears shot open, his pulse pounding, sweat on his brow, still more accusations on her lips, “11C-21;5.9,”
Article eleven, section C dash twenty-one, subsection five point nine. The main doors of the Library will be monitored by a Librarian at all times.
Eyes half-lidded, drained and aching, his cheek leaning into her touch as green eyes flared before him, “15M-5;6.2,”
Article fifteen, section M dash five, subsection six point two. It will be an imperative duty of the Undersigned to maintain the rosters of attendance and membership to the Library; neglect in this will incur the punishments described in article twenty five, section B dash six, subsection twenty-seven point twelve, up to and including the ‘dismemberment’ clause.
Naldir could scarcely open his eyes this time. He was beaten. He was weak. He was limp in her hand and hanging on her words, just waiting for the punishment he ached to be given…
… until he felt her left hand close around his very stiff cock. “And,” she breathed, “13J-8;4.14.”
Article thirteen, section J dash eight, subsection four point fourteen. The Undersigned will not be permitted any undue arousal in the course upholding their duties. Failure to comply may necessitate the signing of a Eunuch’s contract, should repeat offenses be incurred.
It took a squeeze for his eyelids to rise, and Naldir gasped as he fought to process what in the hells was happening. Emmiria’s eyes were wild. She was licking her lips. Her hand was on his flushed cheek, her hand was pressed to and squeezing through his robe. “This is insane,” he spoke somehow, “y-you’ve lost it this time, you’re breaking clause—”
The hand from his cheek covered his lips, and the words couldn’t leave them. She leaned close, he could feel the heat of her breath as she spoke, “If you go and say that, Naldir, we’ll both be in trouble. This process of sentencing is sanctioned under 4E-8;5.19, and according to 7C-4;8.3, I have both priority and discretion. But all that will change if you go and open those lips, won’t it?”
He nodded, insofar as he could. Her smile returned as her hand was drawn away, though he was still too stunned to do anything but stare into her roiling eyes.
“Then,” she said, “I will invoke statute 9B-12;3 and proceed to the corrections process, to also be handled at my discretion and with priority over any of my remaining duties.” Emmiria winked at him. Her hand was still on his cock. “Do I have your consent?”
She’s giving me a choice, Naldir realized. He could still resist, all it would take was the word ‘no.’ Another Librarian would surely sprint to their location, and they’d be impartial enough to dole out sentences and corrections for both of them. She’d get her punishment… but he’d receive his own. He’d been neglectful, and so blinded by her that he’d allowed himself to get lost in her web—there may have been some obvious way out, some contradiction he’d missed calling out. He’d be chastised for it. Possibly disbarred.
… but if he said yes… well, a woman he’d frankly had a crush on for near a decade was currently gripping his manhood and staring him down with enough color in her eyes and cheeks that she might just do something about it. He could get leniency from her, considering they were both in a shared mess. More pressingly, he could get off. The decision was already clear. “Yes,” he said.
“That’s a good boy,” Emmiria whispered, as shivers ran up his spine and her eyes and hands both flashed with the power he’d just granted her. The tingling around his hardness was impossible to ignore, and he moaned involuntarily. Emmiria just giggled. “Now be a dear, would you, and
stay quiet while I am speaking to you.”
His lips snapped shut, closed tight by the spell on her words invading his mind. He couldn’t have objected if he wanted to. He was at her disposal now, sitting in her hand, unable to look at or think of anything else, and he was so unbearably aroused.
Which wasn’t helped by her squeezing him again, and really wasn’t helped by taking her hand away entirely. His eyes widened, his lips tried to protest, “Ah, ah, ah,” she said, waving a finger before his eyes, making them follow the sparkling green tip of it, “you only speak when I ask you, Naldir. And on that thought,
tell me how long you’ve been fantasizing about this.”
“Years,” he moaned, “I’ve just never said it because you are truly frustrating.”
Emmiria laughed. “Noted, and the same goes for you. Now
go on, Naldir, and don’t take your eyes off my fingers.”
He shivered, swallowed, and stared as she drew six swirls of light in the air before his eyes. “I-I’ve always found you gorgeous, Emmiria, and we both know that you’re brilliant, and well the way that you so constantly clash with me is quite attractive and—”
A finger pressed to his lips, bidding him to silence once more. And as it retreated, it came to rest with her other hand, on either side of her robe’s collar. “I’ve suspected it, of course,” she said softly, “because I’ve often felt quite the same, as I’m sure by now you’ve surmised.” He nodded quickly, prompting a smile at the edge of his vision. “And I hope, what with us being such good comrades in crime now, that you won’t mind my adding one more infraction to your record?”
His eyebrow rose. But any confusion he could’ve had was dispelled as soon as her hands moved, and her fingers began opening the long brown robe. Bronze flesh came pouring into view, slowly at first, then faster, as her gleaming fingers seemed as excited as he. She wore a plain shirt beneath, but his eyes were fixed on the line of deep cleavage her fingers traced, then the curve of her waist, then the buckle and belt of her trousers, then the shape of each bare thigh as she let them fall to the floor.
His mouth watered, he leaned closer while her fingers pressed into the wetness between her legs, then he was quickly drawn up to the hem of her shirt, pulled up her belly, past her navel, stopping just where the swell of her breasts began. She shook them gently, teasingly, forcing a needy sound out and against his lips, then they darted up, and then they dropped down. Full and round, soft as they squished beneath her fingers and pressed into each other… “If your mouth could open, you’d just be drooling, wouldn’t you?”
Naldir nodded slowly, captivated by her teasing display, until a thought stirred. He had no words. But he still had hands. With a speed that surprised him, and a recklessness that defied the methodical pace of her teasing, he stripped off his robe, got his trousers around his ankles, and got a grip around the base of his cock. But before he could start to stroke… Emmiria shook her head. He paused, all on his own. “You’re in my power, Naldir. Must I make you proceed as I please?”
In truth, that sounded like an excellent proposition to Naldir.
He started to pull his hand up, and then she spoke, “Unless you would like me to remind you of every law in our contract that you’re breaking at this moment, you will
stroke only as fast as I will it,
He did. And he felt her magic reaching out, caressing his hand with a trembling warmth, guiding it slowly up, and slowly down again, then right up to the tip… and slowly down again… he shivered, and nodded to her, eyes still locked to the circular motions of her hands over her chest.
But he could tell she was wearing a smirk, by the shape of her next words. “And I’m certain you don’t mind that
you cannot reach orgasm until I order it,
He did not. In truth, that sounded like an excellent curse to be settled with, so excellent that his spellbound lips couldn’t contain the moan from within, as his hand shot up and down and his legs shook with pleasure.
Emmiria didn’t object, though, didn’t chastise him for it. Her hands still played, cradling her breasts, roaming over and across them, twirling irresistible fingers about large, unreachable nipples. He craved, he longed to peer between her thighs, to take the cock in his hand and see how wet she’d become, to make his hands squeeze and tweak the nipples that she kept teasing into even higher, even harder peaks. Her breath came fast, nearly as hard as his own.
And every other instant, he felt his cock ready to burst in his hand, but it would not. It could not. Not until Emmiria said. Not until Emmiria… ordered him. Another uncontrollable moan.
“You want to cum, hm? You need to, yes?
he heard her muttering from above his head.
“So badly,” Naldir whispered, barely able to form the words.
“What would you give?” she asked him.
“Everything, Emmiria, please,” he cried out, moaning again as his whole body shook, overwhelmed by the pleasure of his hand working rapidly, impossibly fast, so hard and straining and gritting his teeth and staring at her hands and ready to beg just so he could finally
The dam burst forth at the sound of her voice. He felt himself spasming, twitching in his grip that slowly stroked out spurt after spurt, as his eyes and neck both rolled back, slumping in the seat with exhaustion and bliss and warmth through every fiber of his being. A smile spread across his lips, as the last drops fell, and the magic around his fingers made them finally unclench, and the magic over his eyes made them finally close. He breathed deep, and felt her close to him, smelled her arousal mingling with the remains of his own, and heard soft words, whisper-quiet in his ear, questions he understood, but didn’t need to listen to.
He heard answers he gave, easy ones, free of magic and free of compulsion. But these, too, it was easy to ignore, for they weren’t meant for his waking ears, only his sleeping ones.
And then there was a word, and a touch, and a flowing of magic across his skin, and it was easy to begin to forget, and easier to remember that he would remember, and easiest to let that be forgotten with the rest. And with nothing left to remember, he recalled only blackness.
It was probably long hours, Naldir figured. Too much work and none of it interesting enough to keep him conscious. Fortunately, he’d woken up last night before anyone had seen him, and he’d finished checking the rolls without incident.
And now it was another night. Matching visitor names with member names. Hunting for discrepancies. Ensuring that the Library was completely…
There it was again. His fingers scrabbled at the back of his neck, trying to soothe the itch that just wouldn’t leave him alone. How many times was that now? Three? He was probably cursed. That’d explain it.
“Ah, well.” He shrugged and started his stroll away from the reception desk, still scratching at the itch. He remembered something, as he often did while taking a stroll through the Library. Something about two Librarians needing their corrections? He’d have to ask Emmiria about it.
Wait, Emmiria? Oh, he had a chuckle at that. She wouldn’t be caught dead talking to him while on shift… but he’d ask when he got there, anyway.
Wait, when I get where?
When he got here. Standing at the door, fingers around the handle, so close to scratching the itch, he’d nearly forgotten about the rosters…
“Ah, well.” He shook his head, he stepped inside,
and he remembered.