A small, warm room waits for us on the other side of the door, lit with several dozen candles spread across the various shelves and surfaces. I step out in front of Bastian, crossing the threshold before him and scanning the room. The walls are lined with shelves filled from floor to ceiling with hand-bound books and stacks of loose papers. One shelf houses a dozen small jars of dark liquid, another with a pile of goose feathers and metal nibs.
I can hear scuffling in the distance, somewhere deeper into the room behind the shelves and it reminds me to keep my sword up and ready to fight should someone spring from around a corner. I check over my shoulder and see Bastian peeking around the other end of a bookshelf, searching for threats. Luda sidles up beside me and nods encouragingly toward my end of the bookshelf. I return the nod and move to the end, press my back to the shelf, and slowly poke my head around th-
“AHH!” Someone screams and I hear a clatter of glass and the splash of fluids on the stone floor.
“AHH!” I scream as I instinctively duck back behind cover, then remember that I am a main character and am supposed to be heroic, and I jump out from behind the shelve and brandish my sword.
“AHH!” The mysterious someone screams in response to my screaming and jumping and brandishing my sword.
“Ahhyuh?” I begin to scream in response but my fighting spirit becomes confused by the sight of a very young looking Elven man as he cowers upon the floor next to a platter with spilled mugs of… tea?
“You may lower you sword,” I hear Bastian say as he approaches. Another Elven man, his arms full of loose papers, follows behind him.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” I mumble as I fumble about, trying to get the short sword back into its sheath. My hands are shaking from the adrenaline rushing through me and it takes me a moment.
“Wheres the Macguffin?!” Luda shouts, springing forward and waving his dagger in the elf’s face. The elven man cowers away from him, raising his hands defensively in front of himself. Bastian quickly steps between them.
“It’s alright, Luda. They’re peaceful and will not harm us.” Bastian says.
“Sorry,” Luda says and quickly lowers his weapon. “I got into the moment.”
Bastian nods and pats Luda on the shoulder before crouching and helping to clean the spilled tea.
“These are monks,” Bastian explains. “They wear robes similar to those worn by the Inkdrinkers of Southern Andelucia.” Gathering the mugs back upon the platter, Bastian rises, pulls the elf back to his feet, and places the platter in his hands.
“My apologies,” Bastian continues. “We were not expecting a monastery at the back of a dungeon.” The monk bows his head and turns to move off to disappear around a tall bookshelf.
“Uh, hey,” I say, nodding at the other elf as he shuffles papers between his arms. “Seen any, uh, macguffins around?”
The monk shrugs his shoulders at me.
“How about a scribe?” I ask with a chuckle. The monk nods once and turns away, moving off around a different tall bookshelf.
“Huh,” I mutter and look at Bastian. “He just nodded, right?” Bastian nods, returning my befuddled expression. “Should we, like, maybe… follow?”
As we stand about exchanging bewilderment, the monk returns and stands at the corner of the shelf, staring at us. The three of us turn and stare back at him. He nods his head at us, then jerks his head sideways, signalling us to follow, before turning around and moving out of view again.
“Yes,” Bastian says. “I believe we should.”
We follow the monk through a winding maze of shelves, all packed with volumes of books, until we enter a clearing surrounded by shelves. At the center rests a desk, and hunched over the desk in dark robes sits…
“The scribe!” I exclaim.