Allen Varney, Writer and Traveler




Extracts From the Papers of the Late and Honored


Revered Librarian of Throal, 795-837 TA

Assembled by Third Deputy Assistant Librarian

Enwid Deltern

857 TA

O Lochost,

free and mighty Passion who inflames all Name-givers with love for learning, open my road to knowledge!

As Mind sought his first Thought, thus shall I seek. Lochost, walk with me on my quest. Let your torch light dark and hidden places on my path. Lead me to what passed, what becomes, and what may come to pass. Let each question answered lead to ten questions more.

Let the glory I earn bring glory to the cause of learning. Let the power I gain lend power to those who walk this path. Give me courage and endurance to break the shackles that bind my thoughts and find my journey's end: FREEDOM, blessing and birthright of all who live.



Prefatory Note

Our late master Vertius, who kept this monumental Library for 42 years, spent his days in endless battle. With pride he once remarked, "I have slain thousands of times more enemies than any other dwarf. Just today I killed 10,000 silverfish who wished to eat the collected commentaries on the Books of Harrow. Tomorrow I shall fight the paper wasps that afflict the Troll etymology section on the 22nd floor. Many dwarf warriors speak of their valor, but have any killed seven with one blow, as have I? Of course these were termites, but a library termite surpasses a troll raider in viciousness. Raiders destroy only towns; termites destroy knowledge."

Now that Vertius has passed through the final portal, the pleasant task of arranging and publishing his papers has fallen to me. This extract presents fruits of his rare leisure hours, when he pursued his hobby of folklore and legend. Vertius collected and loved myths of all the Name-giver races equally. Their many kinds of imagination, and the ways they shaped many lives, fascinated him. With pleasure I have followed Vertius' scheme for a monograph long planned, never completed, and I begin each section with his own brief notes.

Vertius had no shortage of imagination himself. He loved how it had shaped his own career, and we who served with him loved the imagination he always displayed. Late in life he said to me, "I suspect that in time my library, already more vast than any, will actually hold not only all books that have been written, but all that can be written. I suspect a cult will grow that spends its days in these endless stacks looking for the One Book, the All-Binding Book wherein all the secrets of this place are collated. I hope they never find it, for true love of a library comes with seeking."

He grew pensive for a time, then threw himself into new efforts. "I have enemies to fight," he said as he strode away. "Even now I hear the clack of hungry mandibles."


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Copyright ©1994 Allen Varney and Don Webb.

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