Merrick wasn’t exactly sure when the conversation with Lucian got away from him. After his talk with Copper, he knew there was a fair bit of research to be done to find out where this ‘collection of rare curiosities’ resided, if it still existed at all. But at least he had a name to go on: Madeline. Copper had insisted that the sole name, bereft of a family name or even a title, would be enough.
“She was quite an icon of the city at the time, if I recall.” He wistfully recalled over what seemed like his 10th ale as he spun tales of his days spent among the culture of those that built the gates. “Was strikingly beautiful by all accounts, held sway over many a politician and statesman. Never met her myself as she was a bit before my time among humans. Was well known for having a cape of sorts that she would use to great effect in her performances: transforming into a pair of wings, either leather or feathered, depending on the character she wished to portray. Seems like the very thing you’re after.”
Being so armed with but a single name, Merrick had gone to the old wizard’s tower and the library it contained to check with Lucian to see if they held any histories or chronicles of the local events of the time. Lucian assured him that they most certainly did: volumes going back a few centuries and asked him which time period he was interested in.
He’s pretty sure his reply of “Can I just have a copy of some as far back as you can” was where the confusion started.
“Oh my, it might take a little while to fulfill that request, but it is certainly within our capabilities” Lucian replied, the lights in his eyes flickering with either amazement or intense calculation, Merrick couldn’t quite tell. “We will need roughly 4 days and a donation to our coffers to complete it.”
Merrick was a tad confused that it would take so long, but let it pass without further inquiry. And what with being freshly flush with wealth from recent adventures, didn’t hesitate at the request for funds. “Well, I guess every library has expenses, even this one.” He sighed, resigning himself to return in 4 days time.
He hardly expected what awaited him on his return.
“You made copies of the entire collection?!”
“You did request them…”
“I wanted *A* copy to look over!”
“Yes. One copy.”
Merrick just stares at the carts of freshly made books in front of him: all volumes the library had in stock of ‘The Chronicles and Journals of the lands; the complete collections of the people and their culture, oratory, culinary practices, plays, and architectural developements; assembled and edited by Sir Erstwhile Gabbo, QhD. OmJ. LMaO.’
“[Sighhhhhh] you… had all these books in your library already and made… copies of them all?”
“Yes, as per your request.”
“So when I asked if I could have A copy of your chronicles, you–”
“Made one copy, yes.”
“You.. had a copy of all these volumes made in 4 days?!”
“Our ZERO-X apparatus.”
Merrick couldn’t take much more, but he couldn’t just let that last thing go. “A what now?”
“Oh, it is a wondrous contraption! Truly a marvel from one of the best artificers our city has produced. Guaranteed to replicate any mundane object to exacting detail. Zero mistakes! Saves us from the hassle of having scribes do the work. You will not find a single crossed out error in the entire set!” If it were possible for a construct to look smug, Lucian was managing it.
“So, I now have … How the– What in the nine hells am I supposed to do with all these?”
“After giving us the copying fee, they are yours to do with as you will. But they are technically not library property, so you will need to vacate them from the premeses at your earliest convenience.”
**BANG** … **BANG** … **BANG**
“Please, sir. You are beginning to dent the desk with your head.”