More Books From A Fantasy Library, Part 4

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.

Botanical Locus: The Southern Reaches

Description:  This tidy volume would easily fit in a large belt pouch . It is bound in green dyed leather and embellished, unsurprisingly, with simple leaves and vine work. A small slip latch holds the book closed.  The page edges bear a variety of colors in seemingly random patterns, but flexing them slightly slightly reveals "edge painting" in the form of a basic map of the Southern Reaches area.

Summary: The Botanical is a clear reference guide to the plants common & native to the Southern Reaches. Each entry has a clean outline drawing, along with helpful information such as season, typical environment, useful parts, warnings, usages and similar looking plants. The work appears to be part of a larger collection, though it is not numbered in any way that suggests whether or not other companion works were ever actually printed.

A Primer in the Legacy Hephaestic

Description: This handsome volume is bound in gray leather so dark as to be nearly black. Its corners and edges bear rough hammered metal embellishments and a variety of Smithing tools are embossed on the leather's surface. The faint odor of soot wafts up from its pages when the book is opened.

Summary:  Despite its haughty title and an extensive amount of initial material dedicated to history and concepts, the work does eventually become more technical, covering practical concepts. It spans such topics as forge setup and maintenance, properties and usages of common metals, processes for creating basic implements & tools and repairing existing items. The writer seems to specifically avoid addressing armor and weaponry, however.

Marlowe's Treasury Comedic

Description: This work is heavily worn and riddled with signs of neglect... It's spine is broken from aggressive and frequent folding and flexing, with frayed strings hanging from the binding.  The pages smell of stale beer and have suffered numerous food stains.  The cover title is barely visible, its gilt inlay worn almost entirely away.

Summary:  This works is a collection of antique comedy plays, several centuries out of date.  The topics and particularly the word play are not particularly accessible to most modern audiences, but the work does include all the stage instruction and direction to perform the plays, if a cast were so inclined.  Someone has added copious notes, comments and strikethroughs in attempt to re-write the works in a contemporary form. Many of these "improvements" are obviously pointed at recognizable modern figures and organizations.

Valkenjacht: From Fledgling to Mastery

Description: This tome bears all the hallmarks of a older work; the binding style, lettering and layout suggest it was created at least a century ago. Despite this, it is in surprisingly good condition. A set of thin metal bookmarks crafted in the form of flight feathers accompany it, allowing the user to mark pages as well as specific sections.

Summary: While painfully comprehensive, this work is written with such a deep passion for the art of falconry that it is hard not to become engaged. Everything an aspirant could desire is covered; not just acquisition, rearing and training of hunting raptors, but the fabrication and maintenance of all the necessary gear, breeding, history and an expansion section about the various species.  While it lacks woodblock printing or illuminated paintings, copious hand-drawn sketches that are both precise and beautiful appear throughout the work.

Noeli's Treatise on the Cooperage of the Inner Sea

Description:  The cover of this book is fashioned from thin vertical strips of wood with two metal band running horizontally, in the fashion of a barrel.  Along with the title, the cover bears a dedication to a powerful and widespread regional Coopers Guild.

Summary: This appears to be a journeyman's entry-work application for full guild membership.  The author attempts to make it clear that she has mastered the art in the manner and quality dictated by the Guild, as well as paying homage to several persons who are presumably mentors, masters or guild officials.  Throughout the practical portions of the work the author references specific examples of their own work for examination.

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