Cerin It was a short while after the Doctor had departed that Cerin found himself on the Blessed Isle. The journey had taken more time than it might, due to the state of Imrama, but not overly long due to the airship he had flown, and then concealed within a cave, just beyond the boarders of the shadowland. The second part of his trip had taken far less time. The Agata he had brought with him opened up a portal, and through it he had (...)
Cerin stepped, emerging several miles distant and rather higher up the Imperial Mountain in the mouth of a cave he had not visited for millenia. He spent a little time up there, looking down on the city of Juche far below him. And then he started to descend towards the city.
Doctor The Lion's troops had not been kind to the city. Where Cerin remembers dusty and quiet, yet peaceful streets, now there are stains of blood and pieces of bone. Cerin notes the house where he and Ahina stayed on his previous visit, its door smashed in and its insides gutted by fire. (...)
Doctor From those houses that still stand, Cerin sees wary eyes peek out with fear from behind curtains and through boarded windows, as the city's still-living citizens warily hope that no more death squads will come to render even more destruction to the city. (...)
Doctor Unlike the rest of the city, however, the library has remained utterly untouched, and stands with the same elegant ostentation that Cerin remembers from his previous visit -- though now a squad of nemissaries stands guard before the front door.
Cerin That, at least, is reassuring, he notes as he descends before leaping over the walls and walking through the streets less visible than a shadow in the gloam of the shadowland day. The only thing which stops him from walking right through the squad of nemessaries is the time he takes to study the library from without, seeing what information his Unmatched Peripheral Perception can tell him through the walls of the place.
Juche's library has never been particularly well-defended or warded, so Cerin's extended senses move easily through the walls. What he sees tells him quite a bit: that the Library has clearly been visited and used since its capture, though not "ransacked" per se; (...)
it looks as if a team of scholars in all likelihood visited the library with a task of gathering information on several specific topics, made heavy use of the library's materials, and did not put any particular effort into restocking the books when finished. (...)
It does, at the moment, appear to be generally empty of persons, ghostly or otherwise.
Cerin Cerin had half-suspected this would be the case. It would take him no trival amount of time to search through the wreckage the scolars had left behind, assuming the book was even there. Time which he didn't really have, so instead he activated the Hawk Aloft Gaze and the question was answered.
His supernatural gaze tuned perfectly to the effort, Cerin locates the book immediately: on the third floor, tucked into the bottom of a rather extensive pile of books on matters of spiritual anatomy and disease that is nearly overflowing the set of work tables upon which it has been assembled.
Cerin Cerin frowned softly, and then walked past the ghosts and into the library itself, ascending to the third floor as he considered how best to handle this situation.
The table stands before him, the books not so long ago placed in this pile as the necrosavants who delved into them completed their work.
Cerin Cerin considered the task and then, after casting his perceptions about himself to ensure he was alone, he crawled below the table and drew out his Orichalcum blade, slicing with the uttmost niceity around the edge of the book from below and then with supreme care, he lowered the slab of wood bearing the book to the floor.
Cerin, forewarned as always whenever something might happen to be amiss, notices before he has lowered the slab more than a tiny distance the thin tracery of Essence on its surface, a complement to another such pattern woven into the other stacked books -- like an Essence-based pressure switch, ready to activate should the book be removed.
Cerin This development was hardly unexpected, considering the source of the location of the book and so Cerin is not too put out by this. He very carefully inserts a selection of wedges to hold the slab in place as he starts to trace the minute strands of essence, trying to gain an insight into the consequences of removing the book.
Nothing too unexpected -- an explosive death curse is bound between the books, ready to go off and rend the flesh of whoever removes the book -- all while carefully preserving the library and its contents, of course.
Cerin Ah, an explosive death curse. Sometimes the old tricks were indeed the best. Still, it gave Cerin to some serious thought. Should he attempt to disable the curse, or simply remove the book and dodge it?
Cerin Well. When it was considered like that, there was really only one option. Cerin disengauged himself from the table, and then moving with slow and measured steps, he started the work of undoing the weave of warding on the books, first setting out a trio of flowers to act as anchors for the strands and then by slow degrees unpicking and unwinding the complex structure of warding that was attached to the collected tomes until at last (...)
Cerin the book was free. After that, he began the even more meticulous process of reconstructing the ward, or at least its essential appearance. He didn't particularly feel the need to replace the death curse.
After all that rather elaborate effort, at last the book is Cerin's.
Cerin calls his cache egg and then stores the book Elsewhere. He then wraps himself in the cloaking shadows and then for benefit of any scryers that he has not spotted, activates the Bottomless Well Of Memory style as he walks from the library, corrupting their memories of the event.