'My superiors have instructed me to fill you in,' Sapphire continued, 'and I'm supposed to start with this question: what do you know of The Book?'
'The Book?' Will's memory returned to the night at the Fish and Spear. 'Do you mean Maegard's ultimate spell book? Isn't it supposed to have every spell in the universe in it?'
'I see Paradam left out some details. Spells are only the beginning.' Sapphire took books from the shelf and piled them in front of Will, theory and history books in limited edition covers and golden writing. 'The Book is a commoner's name for it, educated minds will call it by many other names, Lemegeton, the Book of Thoth, the Emerald Tablet. All names from different cultures, all telling of scriptures with ultimate knowledge, few know that they speak of the same object. And it doesn't just contain ultimate knowledge about magick, no, it tells of the true events of history, the secrets of the Arches and how to open them, what was not recorded in Veritatem about the Days of Darkness, perhaps even the meaning of life itself. Imagine everything you've ever wondered or wanted to know written down for you.
'People will kill to get it, and they'll kill to protect it, but in any case, everybody wants it. Anybody who says otherwise is deluding themselves from basic desires, all of us want to conquer something, all of us want to conquer truth. But the truth I always wondered was this - who wrote it? Who could have ultimate knowledge, the scripture didn't just come into existence, it was written.'
'Do you know who?' Will asked warily,
Sapphire flipped the red leather book to a double page the spine had been worn down on. She set it down on the table in front of them. On the left was the photograph of a cave painting, on the right were strange symbols he couldn't read. 'What is it?' he asked.
'This,' said Sapphire, pointing to the cave painting, 'is the earliest dated record of The Book's creator.' The painting depicted ten black figures, each with complex, white symbols on their chests in a runic language Will didn't recognise. They formed a circle around one figure highlighted in white. They were all cloaked in black, with tanned skin and closed eyes.
'How old is this?' Will asked, observing the stone slab it was painted on and the lack of colour.
Sapphire's eyes shone, 'it's from an ice cave in the Northern Mountains, circa twenty five years after the Night of the Sun.'
What? 'That makes no sense. The Book was made ten years ago, Paradam said so, it's the reason...' the reason you all killed my family.
'You're right, the Book was bound a decade ago, however its author lived much earlier than that.' Sapphire took the book from him and flipped past several pages of text and photographs. 'There are hundreds of images and sightings of a creature - or person - who possesses incredible magickal skill and knowledge for almost a thousand years. Always female, some believe they're a matriarchal society of enlightened ones, some believe that it's the same soul reincarnated over and over. Everybody feared her, everybody wanted her dead.'
'And one of these people wrote the Book? But that's wrong, my father wrote it.' Will didn't know what Sapphire thought to accomplish by telling him all of this, it was only confusing him more.
Sapphire nodded, 'that's right, Willow. Your father did write the Book, it was his penmanship, but was it under his own influence? Or somebody else's?'
Will's brow furrowed, 'you're - you're saying he was possessed or something?'
'These girls were all killed eventually, but it's thought that if they never came into harm's way, they could live forever. Some say they could change their appearance, others thought that they were just ghosts.'
'No, this doesn't make any sense.' Will backed away from Sapphire and the books, there was a drumming in his head, the pulse of his own heartbeat. 'You - you went looking for the Book six years ago, you killed my family to get to it!'
'The Book never interested us,' said Sapphire, calmly shaking her head. 'We could have sold it for a very good price on the Pandora Market, but no, not the Book. Your father wrote the Book in an ancient language known only to one person - that girl. It was her that we sought.'