Seen rather than heard

Aleric woke up early the next morning. Not because he wanted to, mind you. No it had more to do with the pink-haired elf girl, poking him incessantly in the side of the head.

"Gabrielle... We've been over this. This is not what I meant by 'Gently coax me back toward the waking world'," Aleric moaned.

She shrugged but said nothing, because pink-haired elf girls are really more intended to be seen than heard. ...At least, that was Aleric's mindset when he pried the Trans Dimensional Vortex Stone from the skull of Voldemort the one-eyed oger summoner, and used its multi cosmic power to create... a magic servant who mostly performed menial tasks while dressed in various skimpy outfits. ...Aleric was much younger back then.

He rolled over and sat on the side of the bed for a long moment before finally making the ultimate decision not to go back to sleep. At that point the die had been cast. He rose to his feet with purpose and prepared himself for the day.

About fifteen minutes later, he emerged from the luxury of his pocket dimension and stepped back out onto the horse trodden streets of Wolverton. There was something, somewhere along this Lonely Coast that would prove quite precious to him. The final crux to his magical discipline. And like a ravenous wolf, he aimed to sniff it out- figuratively or literally, if need be.

But in the meantime, it had apparently rained overnight, as the streets were even more muddied than usual. His boots immediately sank up to his ankles, and he was well aware that it wasn't just wet dirt he was standing in.

"Even the limitless powers of the Immaterium must be bent to the will of the tame and menial from time to time," he sighed, scripting a pale blue incantation into the air with an extended index finger.

Around his feet, the mud began to bubble and swirl. It easily released his boot as he took a step forward and began walking atop the filthy earthen mixture.

"Dent... Dentist strangle?" Aleric struggled vainly to read the strange sign on the front of the book store that the barkeep had mentioned the night before.

"Strange... you learn a thousand obscure languages and dialects, and yet a new one can still creep up out of nowhere and confound," Aleric grumbled to himself.

A tiny bell jingled as he nudged the door open. Inside, stretching back as far as the eye could see, were winding casms of books piled upon books. No shelves in sight. Just books. In fact, one could not so much as enter the shop without stepping on the rotting spines and crumbling pages of long forgotten texts. There was a faint scent of magic about the place, as well as mold, mildew, and that one specific smell that accompanies all old men around. Speaking of old men...

"Stay a while and listen," a crackling old voice called out from the depths of the book-casm.

"Hm...," Aleric muttered as he made to follow the voice.

If not for the minor enchantment he'd placed on his boots outside, Aleric would have been showered in guilt for the many texts trampled underfoot as he did so.

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