'Tempest. Devlin. A brave one of tormented worth, who lives in the places of the Rowan where the stakes are freshly cut. Holding himself in the dark wells of his own mind, humanity, although not born into it, is a generous part of his very being. This one lives in denied fear, but of what is for this souldier to determine. He will seek the destruction of the one they call Milosh Brown, and the happiness of a Savage. The death of this creature, shall be by Slaughter.‘
The year is 1914. Picture in your mind for a moment, a war ridden England. The sky seems to glow red, as though acknowledging the bloodshed of the past few months. It is nearly dark, and all around are crumbling buildings that were earlier evacuated for safety. The humans believe this all to be the result of the first world war. All the blood lined streets and the climbing death count. It is easier for the governments to avoid the panic, easier to let the English population believe for a few more months the war, which had already ended, was the cause of those extra thousands ending up six feet under.
Now, with that scene in mind, picture two men hurrying down a cobbled English street, both carrying a multitude of books in their arms. One man limps. He is the soldier. The other man, he is the lankier of the two and is not as memorable as the other. The thinner of the two men, the one not covered in sweat and blood from battle, is named Gregory Swan, as labelled in ink on his pale cotton shirt. The other is the second born Tempest’s son. Devlin.
As they hurry, picture Gregory turn his head back to the mouth of the street. Now see what he sees: the enemy. Eleven, inhuman, deathly creatures with fangs and hungry, blood red eyes. They are the Raadgen warriors. Demons lead by Milosh Brown. This war is the result of his attempt to overtake the Demon world, to combine it with the human world and create one massive empire under his command. This is the time of Chaos, a time that will soon be archived in the very heart of Epinphren…
The Raadgens, they are catching up.
Now see Devlin, he is wounded but somehow is still faster than Gregory. He turns to face the threat, and lays his books down into Gregorys arms. “Go!” He yells. Gregory looks for a moment, defiant, but Devlin is widely known to be one you don’t disagree with when he wears that expression. Gregory hesitates, but nods and breaks into a sprint.
This is where Gregory stumbles, as he turns onto Mayfair. See the books, all seven, fall from his arms and scatter into the street. One book, the Fourth, lands open, and from its pages a terrible scream ruptures the usual sounds of war. For a moment, all that can be heard is this scream. Like it has broken all other sounds, shattered them even. Imagine Gregory’s horror. This scream will only lead the Raadgens closer to their location. Gregory scurries forward, and close it with intended force. The world around him gains back its sound immediately. Gregory jumps to his feet and frantically searches for his keys. There is a church beside him, a simple building with undamaged beauty. This is the place chosen by Devlin and prepared by Gregory, to be the books’ sanctuary.
Gregory finds the key, just as the first drops of rain begin to fall. In his hurry, he leaves the door wide open while he collects the books from the road. All but one. The most valuable.
Oblivious to the seventh book left outside, Gregory goes ahead as planned. The six he carried inside are each bound and protected in spells to which not even the wisest of witches could conjure a solution. Gregory, as a final security measure, locks the books in a vault made with the essence of sunlight. No Raadgen is capable of breaking through such extreme and precisely planned protection. Not even Milosh himself would have the knowhow. Gregory, once satisfied with the precautions, secures the church and awaits the arrival of his friend, Devlin Tempest.
Move the clock forward to midnight, and see Devlins silhouette move swiftly past the Raadgens on their nightly patrols. His wounds have healed. He no longer limps, but is still coated in grime and blood. His face, among others, is strewn across the city of London on wanted posters. Devlin takes one of his face, and tears it from the wall of the church. He’d made it. Then his eyes notice, the book. The Seventh. Now picture him, in a blur of movement, snatch the book from the wet ground and enter the church. He calls out Gregory’s name.
Gregory moves out from the shadows, his eyes settling on the book in Devlins arms. The Seventh. “Where—“
“I-I’ve already sealed the vault.”
“I think Milosh, if he finds this place, would expect to find seven books Gregory.”
“I could reopen it, though that might take some time—“
“No,” See Devlin inspect the book as he moves down the aisle. He is thoughtful. “No, I think, I think open it once the Dream stage has set. Make a replica of this book, an exact replica, and let me keep the original with me. You’ll need something to fill your time with.”
“But your memory…? Wont that change the plan?”
“Just trust me.”
Imagine the scene now, ten minutes further into the night. Devlin and Gregory have entered the Library beneath the church. It is a tall, cylindrical building, eight storeys high. The shelves are dull and empty, as are the walls and floors and banisters. Focus on the centre of bottom floor, where both men are standing. There is a desk, circular with seating in the middle. There is a door behind the desk. A simple door, made of real mahogany, that opens into the vault.
Imagine as Gregory speaks, the floor being lifted by Devlin. “There isn’t much time.”
As this is said, another man joins the picture. He is as well built as Devlin, a soldier too. Blood covers him like it does Devlin. His name is Russell Foster. “Am I too late?”
“Just on time actually.”
Devlin and Russell exchange a personalised handshake. Their friendship is clear. This is where England rejoices. The noise is heard overhead, through the walls of the church. Celebrations. They’ve been allowed to believe the war has ended. Milosh, without his books, is powerless. This is where the time begins to run away; the Raadgens still faithful to Milosh’ cause will be looking for the culprit. The one responsible for their failure.
This is where Gregory sighs. See him lift a spell book from his pocket. “Are you sure?”
Russell is uncertain, but Devlin replies; “Just Raadgen, okay?”
Gregorys chant covers both soldiers’ minds in a blanket, smothering their consciousness, and their bodies fall to the floor. Grey seeps through their skulls, and vanishes into a powder. Gregory chants, a separate incantation, and the seal over Epinphren is made. The Dream begins. In a stunning three seconds, the walls of the building begin to become transparent. Like they are becoming non-existent. Time narrows to a close.
Gregory whispers, unsmiling, “Goodbye.”
His incantation changes a third time, and in an angry flash of orange the sound of celebrations are no longer heard. The entrance to the Library of Chaos leads to nowhere. Picture in your mind, Gregorys face when he sees both soldiers have gone, too. He is glad. He is grateful. He is proud.
This is it. This is what his life will be. This is the life he volunteered to possess. It’s the life of a Librarian. A life in solitude, in loneliness, but with an abundance of books. It is the life he will spend as the sole guardian to the world’s best kept secret…