Granville Sombers opened his leather backpack and spilled the contents out onto the dusty stone floor. The dried rations and iron spikes weren’t needed any longer. His eyes were on a much bigger prize. The shelf in front of him was filled with cubbyholes and bins. All of which held some moldy looking scrolls and bound parchments.
It didn’t cross Granville’s mind that actually knowing how to read may help him at this moment. He just scooped up as many musty old scrolls as he could fit into his backpack. His partner, Gervais lay propped against the door. His bloody hands holding a heavy crossbow, aiming it down the darkened hallway.
They had killed three giant rats while making their way down into this lower room of the monastery. The ruins were not much more than a jumble of stone, but Granville had found a covered entrance. It was little more than a chimney, but he knew that a great reward could be waiting.
Granville grabs a few more scrolls with colorful red tassels and puts them hurriedly in his bag. This was all they had found. He hoped that the wizard who had hired them would get what he wanted.
Somethings coming! croaks Gervais as he tries to stand. Granville rushes to help him up and they make for the chimney. He pushes the warrior towards the hole. The rope waiting there is the best thing he has seen all day.
Granville climbs the rope like a squirrel and steadies it for the warrior. Gervais drops his crossbow and pulls himself upward, his wound still bleeding freely. Together they struggle get him up the hole. If I tested my blade on that rope, I’d bet that oaf would fall and break both legs, the thought flickers through Granville’s mind. He decides not to pursue that line of reasoning any longer for the large man grabs hold of the edge and pulls himself up and out.
The warrior cuts off a bit of his tunic and pushes it against his side muttering, Let’s get out of these accursed ruins and back to Bree. That drunken wizard will be light in the purse after looking at our newfound library!
Later that night in the cramped and swaying chicken hut of Cornwall the Odd, the two dungeon rats stand before the old wizard. Granville looks about the room, wondering what treasures might be stuffed away in the myriad of cupboards and crannies. Gervais just stands there growing nauseous at the swaying of the bird legged hut.
The wizard cocks an eye at each scroll, holding them up to better see. A glowing orb of green light floats over his head, summoned up by him moments before.
Hmmm…well, well…looks like most of this is rubbish…see how the writing has been stained…’damp dungeons destroy delicate documents’…my master taught that to me when I was a boy…I can’t remember his name, but I do recall he had extremely small eyes and not a tooth in his head. Oh, well…too bad…but wait, there’s one more here...The Love Poems of Lower Lompoc…
Granville’s heart sunk. No treasure here, not one copper piece in the whole pile, he thought sullenly. That drunken wizard might even turn us into goats for wasting his time.
The wizard looks up at the two men, beaming…Excellent work! I haven’t seen a copy of the Lompoc poems in a decade! You’ve done a fine job, boys! Here’s your payment…he throws them a small sack of coins.
As the two men hurry to leave, Granville can’t help but say to the wizard, I thought you’d be wanting some spells or such?
Cornwall the Odd, already deep into reading the scroll scoffs, Why would I need more spell scrolls? I’m a wizard!
At that Granville exits the hut, actually is more like ejected from the doorway as the chicken hut shifts abruptly to scratch one leg against the other.
Notes on miscellaneous books and scrolls
The wise adventurer should never judge a book by its cover, that is…if he can read it at all. Here are a few titles that may be valuable to the discerning collector.
Migratory Routes of the Green-backed Stirge
Garden Gnomes–Friend or Foe?
Weather Patterns of Lower Lompoc
Customs of the Common Orc
Bridge Building for Fun and Profit or Why Witches Don’t Make Good Bridges
The Crotian Hierarchy
101 Ways to Cook Hedgehog
Secrets of the Dwarven Forge
A Treatise on Bottled Lightning
Three Years Underground
The Sights and Smells of Lower Lompoc
How to Marry a Maiden with Huge Tracts of Land
Stranded in the Fingerlakes
Three Days in Lumpoc~a Tale of Woe