Five More Books From A Fantasy Library, Part 2

Libraries are one of those staples of a certain type of fantasy and horror fiction writing. Hidden away in the musty tomes and scrolls some vital, but forgotten piece of lore waits to be found.  Or perhaps somewhere among the shelves, lays a wealth of esoteric knowledge or rituals that can turn the tide for the heroes of our stories. Or maybe you’ve simply found someone’s old peculiar book collection.

Folks seemed to really enjoy the first set of books, so I’m going to try to make this a semi-regular series! As before, I’ll try to keep them generic enough for use in most fantasy settings, but you may see some personal favorite references creep in from time to time. 🙂

A full “library”, consolidating all posts, past and future, will reside here.

Analects from the Azure Course 

Description: This neat, trim quarto bears no name on its cover or spine, but instead has a seamless interplay of swirls and ripples that lures the eye to linger and follow them in their passage about the book's exterior surface.

Summary:  Only when opened is the title and dedication revealed.  While no author credit appears anywhere, an extensive dedication to something called The Azure occupies several pages.  The nature of this dedication is highly elusive and poetic, making it unclear if this is a person, place or thing.  The analects which follow are mostly philosophy in nature but none of the references are from known people, places or sources.

A Martial Course of Grubs de Guerra

Description:  This small battered book has numerous stains and heavy wear on its cover of thick, coarse leather. It's interior pages show the signs of frequent reading and rough handling. It contains a surprising number of illustrations and the last few dozen pages are filled with a messy handwritten script that appears to record various odd names and statistics.

Summary:  This book is a comprehensive guide for the breeding, rearing, training and care of "fighting grubs".  Typically a lower class pursuit, grub fighting employs the larvae of a beetle species that possesses unusually strong jaws for their small size and an aggressive nature.  The previous owner seems to have recorded his or her various "fighters" and their wins and losses in the ledger in the back of the book.

The Quotable Courtesan For Every Occasion

Description:  If not for its thickness, this tiny tome could almost be palmed in a large hand but contains such small text that older eyes might have difficulty discerning its contents. Conveniently, a small, chipped looking glass on a brass chain is tucked into a discrete notch in the edge of its back cover. Illustrations are sparse, limited to a different figure in outdated courtly fashion in the corner of the first page of each of section.

Summary:  The book is divided into sections by topic and situation, with scalloped notches to allow the user to quickly navigate its contents, providing them large number of famous and learned suitable quotes.  Although obviously a dated work, the organization and breadth make it surprisingly enduring.

Crossed Cutlasses & Wicked Waves

Description: This book is substandard in almost every respect, from its flimsy pasteboard cover to its pulpy pages. A badly faded illustration on the cover is its only embellishment and even this is so worn as to only suggest the hint of a female form with tousled hair leaning suggestively over a young gallant.

Summary: The work purports to be the confessional of a high ranking lady who spurned her arranged marriage, taking to the sea and a life of piracy instead.  In a decidedly dramatic narrative, she documents her rise to command a pirate ship and her diverse array of conquests, both criminal and romantic.

Manifest Magicka: A Component Catalogue

Description: This loose collection of pages appears to be cover-less by design and bears a publication date from some years ago. The format is serialized, suggesting that annual revisions preceded and followed it. Its illustrations are simple drawings, lacking the artistry of woodcuts seen in more substantial works, but are clear and concise nonetheless.  A small rectangular label pasted on the lower right is mostly torn away, but bears part of a person's name and the name of large city of the realms.

Summary: The manifest documents the major suppliers, regions and prices of various components and exotic supplies of interest to those working in magic. In addition, it offers suggestions on preparation, storage and use, as well as tips to avoid fakery, adulteration and substandard materials.

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