2010-10-16: Read a Book



Summary: Connor checks out the library; the library tries to check him out in return,

Date: October 16, 2010, .

Log Title: Read a Book

Rating: PG-13.

Note: "Librarian" emitted by Set

Tegu-Haaz - Xavier's Insane Asylum for Adolescents (Library)

There's an eerie silence that seems to dampen most noises in the library of the Institute. Thick carpet covers the floor with eight rows of bookshelves that seem to go on forever. At the end of each bookshelf is a plaque that reads what can be found in that row. At the end of each row a stained glass with a representation of eight angels that have been blinded and bound in barbwire. There are eight tables in the library just before the rows of books in front of an elegant fireplace. There are gas chandlers positioned around the library to give it sufficient light. All of the pages of the leather bound books are blank; there is not one book in the room that has text on its pages.

While under normal circumstances, Connor would be the last person to break his own rules and the ones that were made to keep the studens predominantly safe, the incidents heard about Robyn and Star have been enough to push him to steal away late at night from the farm, using his relative familiarity of the terrain to make his way up towards the Asylum. Not looking for signs of the people who he called friend and have ended up calling this place home, he instead heads for the library, using a grav-pulsed nail to shed some light around him while he moves along. Getting to the door of the Library, he pushes it open and floats his light in first, before coming in and looking around. A few steps from it… and the door closes, making him jump slightly… but a steeled breath brings him back around to his task. Which is to look for records or knowledge that might have been stored here.

The library itself is dead calm, the entire room smelling of literature suffering from a mixture of age, moisture, and misuse. The carpet suffers from the same fate, its mildewed fibers more dingy and washed out that anything. As the door closes behind Connor, the lock clicks solidly. But if that were not strange enough, the gas-powered chandlers suddenly light, followed by the fire place. Scattered light now fills the room, casting a mixture of shadows and light. And then, silently, the room itself begins to change. Dust disappears, pages repair, broken shelves mend…and when it's all said and done the run-down library is new once more.

Looking around as the lights come up, he douses the nail and catches it before putting it back into his pouch. There's a frown at the lock and he goes to the door to test it, and feeling the weight, he shakes his head. Locks are nothing to him. With a deep breath he moves first to look at the tables, Connor looking for any open materials, or anything that might start providing the clues to what's really happening to everyone. Absently, he murmurs to himself, "If I was a magically purposed madman with a halloween fetish, where would I…" And he tries in passing to see if one of the gas lamp mounts is the lever for a secret passage.

Nothing happens. No secret doors, no hidden levers, and especially no mad scientist-themed laboratories hidden anywhere waiting to be discovered. Nope. Just your normal everyday library that's caught in some sorta trans-dimensional time flux. That or it's possessed. Why not ask the helpful attendant that's suddenly appeared over by the mental health reference section! The sound of a nearly un-stifled laugh rings out, a man on Connor's 6-o'clock some 30 feet away smiling devilishly at him,

"Can I help you?" Dressed in an old tweed suit that looks worse the wear, the 5'-something gentleman tilts his head as he stares out a set of circle-rimmed glasses that, unlike the library, remain broken and dirty. "

Connor immediately rounds on the voice, one hand going to one of the knives in his belt, drawing the former hunting tool in a backhand grip as he immediately drops back into a basic fighting stance, "Who are you." The question almost a flat statement as he tries to check his location, absorbing as much detail as he can quickly with the unfamiliar person, "How long have you been here?"

"The same thing can be asked of you, dear boy," the man sporting a week's worth of facial growth replies, "And I've always been here. As all of us are." He gestures out with a hand, "Are you looking for something specific? A book on phrenology perhaps? Psychosis? Or maybe my personal favorite, lobotomies?" He steps out of the reference section and takes a few more steps towards Connor.

Connor straightens a bit, and steps back and keeps his distance from the man as he keeps his eyes on him for the moment. The knife is lowered, but only to turn the blade from view, keeping it in hand, "No one is here… no one we've met… so unless you're involved with what's happening, I can hardly see that. So you didn't answer my first question. Who are you?" Asking it once more with narrowed eyes.

"I'm the librarian. You 'are' in a library," the somewhat disheveled man responds. He takes a few more steps, "Have you fallen off your medication? Should I get one of the orderlies for you? They can help. They alllllways help." He smiles, teeth a dentists nightmare of decades of decay and lack of care. "I'm here, you're here? That's enough. Would you like more? Less…inbetween?"

Connor moves back until he bumps into a table, his eyes going to it for a fraction of a second, and then immediately back to the Librarian, "People have names, not just functions… names given to us by our parents… Identities that are more than the sum of our occupation." At the mention of needing medicines, he has been off his own drugs this whole time, but makes no note of it as he moves around the table to buffer an obstacle between himself and the green-toothed man, "I could easily ask a dozen questions, but you could answer them all with lies. If you're the librarian prove it… show me information on the master of this place. I don't just mean the Asylum, but also Salem… and the countryside."

"Reference!" the man says with new found glee, a finger going into the air as he forgets about the rest of what was just said, "Not that is something I can help you with." A smug smile follows as he says in a more relaxed manner, "For a moment there I thought we were going to have a bit of the old Dr. Armstrong, if you know what I mean." He laughs in an uneasy way as he heads towards a more official-looking desk, back to Connor, "Does the young master wish for anything else? Mmmm….hehehe…Master. HA!"

Connor counters immediately, "Who's Doctor Armstrong?" Tilting his head slightly as he moves still to keep some space from himself and the strange man, he moves towards the desk that the other man has gone to, a set to his jaw as he keeps his eyes moving on the other corners of the room, still exuding all the nerves of someone who has no trust of this situation, "Not that you'd believe me… but we're not supposed to be here. This place… it's not our home. We need to go home, and we need answers to do it. This is the only place that might have some of them. Libraries do more than keep books. You keep records, you transcribe notes for others, you write letters for people who have poor handwriting or are illiterate. People always sell librarians short."

"You don't belong here, I don't belong here…none of us belong here," is the reply from the librarian, "Don't I know it. It wasn't his fault he killed his wife, it wasn't her fault she burned the house down. It wasn't my fault that I…what did I do again??" He waves a hand in the air, "Ohhhhhh, yeah that's right." He steps behind the desk and pulls out a big leather tome, before dropping it on the desk with a *boom* that sends out an unreasonable amount of dust into the surrounding area, "I believe this is what you're looking for. Is there anything else the Maaaaster would like?" He starts wringing his hands a little, grinning evilly.

Connor purses his lips for a moment, and then seems to take a real step back at the last sentence uttered, and the look on the man's face. Gulping and attempting to muster himself, he breathes in and then says, "Why… don't you… go check all the books… over there…" Pointing to the far end of the library, in a spot where he can watch, "I think I want some privacy for this…" Despite any bravado he might evince, there's sweat trickling his brow and a slight dilation of his eyes that speak to his being disturbed by this 'being'.

The man hunches his shoulders and nods, walking off to whatever it was he thinks Connor was pointing at, "I'll just be a short distance away. Scream if you need anything." Doing as told, he gives Connor the requested space. The book itself is large, heavy and leather bound with a fancy locking mechanism on the front. One that doesn't require a key to open. Inside the easily 3'x2' pages seems cartoonishly out of proportion, each page a mixture of languages, shapes, and numbers. It only takes a quick glance to realize that, at point, these words might be backwards, upside down, or worse—not words at all. But, further back Connor finds pictures. Interesting pictures. Ones with the look of old woodcut reliefs that almost seem to move, almost as if each page had a story to play out. All one needed to do is figure out how to hit 'play.'

After flipping through the pages for several moments, all the way to the woodcut reliefs, he then looks up and for a moment he engages his dimensional sight on the librarian. His eyes begin to glow intensely blue-green as the world fades into the spectrum, letting him see anything that does not belong here. Like himself… the aura around him different from this place, highlighting him against the background. For a few moments he watches the Librarian to assess him before he releases the ability. Only then does Connor go back to the beginning of the book, the very beginning, looking at the first images done.

From the view, it appears that everything belongs here. Even the library, who may have just been seen eating a spider. He grins widely at Connor, a bug's leg on his tooth probably (thankfully) out of sight. He waves and goes back to puttering. The first image appears to be a typical staff photo. The type where everyone looks unhappy to be there. But, the longer one looks, the more likely one is to see their eyes looking around, chests breathing, as the 20+some people await for the photographer to be finished. Then a flash and…voices? The picture going suddenly still and locked in time.

Connor closes the book for the moment, and then begins to examine the lock and the apparatus attached with the book. Lifting it and looking it over, checking the inside of the spine, he goes over everything for a moment with his usual detailed care, but afterwards, he digs a cloth out from his pocket and proceeds to clean his fingers off, a small frown on his face. It takes him a few moments to get back to his search, looking for some kind of initiating mechanism.'

Suddenly the 'librarian is nearly pressed up against Connor's back! "Are you finding everything you had hoped to? Do you need help? Would you like an Hors d'oeuvre??" The rancid breath is enough to strip paint…as is the man's unfortunate body order. "I'm helpful. Jsut ask. All you have to do is ask, Master. I'll be good!"

Connor instantly vanishes, reappearing ten feet away and turned in a crouch, the sickened look on his face obvious as the cloth falls from his grip. He picks it up as he coughs, trying not to gag from it, subconsciously wiping at his arms as he says, "What the hell?!" Glaring in an accusing fashion around green-tinted cheeks, "Who the hell are you, and why do you keep calling me Master!"

Looking suddenly hurt, the man begins to wring his hands, "I only wanted to help. I always only wanted to help. I was going to tell you about page 931…but I can see I'm not wanted here. I'll…leave." He fades, taking his stink and oddness with him. The book, however, stays.

Connor holds up his hand, "Waai…" The word trailing off as he vanishes, and for a moment he removes his gloves to wipe at his brows, and then replaces them, "Allright, this is just getting…" Shuddering as he coughs to keep the instinct to vomit back down as he goes back up to the large table, and proceeds to open the book once more, turning it to the page indicated.

On the page is a rather plain-yet artfully drawn image of nothing in particular. A nothing-in-particular that almost matches up with the desk perfectly. As is the book were suddenly clear, providing a rendered view of whatever was under it. In the wood, ever so lightly carved, one could see an arrow pointing right.

Narrowing his eyes a moment, he tilts his head back and forth until he's sure this is almost an exact rendition, even to the point of lifting the book, and settling it back down. Turning to the right finally, he moves a couple steps so that he can look in the proffered direction, standing in front of where the arrow is pointing when the book is open and matched.

When picked up, the book continues to offer a view of whatever the back panel is pointed at. Almost as if it were acting as a screen for a small mounted camera. But, instead of a clear view, the images continue to be rendered in an old style of woodcut-like art. Aiming the book elsewhere offers a art-ed up view of the library one can only see through this strange tome. That is, until another arrow is spotted on the far wall, one that doesn't appear without looking through the page itself. One the far wall an arrow points right, as if aiming somewhere past the bookshelves and towards a location.

"You have got to be kidding me, " Connor mumbles to himself as he moves to the next arrow, and follows it along it's line of travel, keeping his eyes alert, hand going to one of the knives for a moment again, "I should have brought someone with me… this is stupid…" But that does not seem to stop him from moving along the lines being provided, at least something that might lead to a solution.

Standing next to the most recently discovered arrow, another one is quickly discovered. But this time it's an X, one situated over one of the paintings. As if there were something significant about this specific object.

Connor immediately looks down, then up, checking the area around it, then finally he looks at the painting, and then tries to lift it to look behind it. Though as he does this, he checks around himself once more for any signs of Libramstein or any one else that could pass for a zombie film extra.

There's nothing behind the painting, there's also nothing in the room. No librarian, no film extras. However, a quick view 'at' the painting almost seems to animate it like the other pictures in the book. It's a rather self-important painting of some unknown, never-before-seen man. A metal tag that's only viewable when looking at it through the book that reads "Our Founder." Inside the book-picture the man blinks and sighs, asking in a mumbled pitch, "How much longer is this painting going to take? I've been sitting here for the last hour."

Staring in amazement at the painting and the reality of it, the young man turns around to face the other direction to see who he might be speaking to, then turns back to look at the painting. Finally, he gulps once and says to the person inside the painting, "Hello… who are you?" The same question that was unanswered before, but reapplied and still eligible.

"Who am I??" the painted man asks, "What is wrong with you, man?! Have you no sense of urgency. I'm sure there are plenty of artists in this town who could have gotten this done in a third of the time. And with at least half the where-with-it as well. Who am I indeed!" He moves his mustache in a comedic fashion, looking upset at the same time, "Unless you get your act together I can tell you who I won't be! The man signing your check! Had I know…I'll tell you what…Poppycock!" Suddenly, he's shoved out of the way, the librarian appearing the photo. There's a high-pitched scream, "Yearrrrgh!" and with that, the now-crazed looking man launches himself through the book, hands wrapping firmly around Connor's neck as he tries to pull him inside! "MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY!!! I'll play marbles with your ear!"

Connor screams loudly, too scared by this to immediately teleport, instead, he tries to push up with his martial training, attempting to break the chokehold as he's tipped towards the painting by bringing his arms in and then shoving up and out at the same time. Sickened by the sight of the Librarian, he's working on instinct, his powers not to the level of immediately being able to threat respond to this kind of surprise.

Digging his fingernails into the boy's skin, the man starts to pull himself out of the painting, his image still one of art, not of flesh. "Hookay Hookay! Oook oook!!," he taunts, "I'm the master now! I'm the master now! I'm shove caterpillars into your nose and make moths fly out your bottom!" As he throws himself from side to side, the weight of the book shifts, as if effected by the struggling. "Mouse pudding for everyone!"

"Noooooooooo!", He screams out, and Connor's power lashes out in the direction of the assault, a crushing wave-burst of pure force that begins in his hands and radiates out in a pair of spheres that would knock everything else away like a pair of the invisible woman's attack spheres! Still screaming, the power just flows, his eyes glowing as he yells, "Let go of me, you dirty, putrid, ugly, smelly, psycho BASTAAAAAAAARD!"

As the power wave washes over the man and book, they disintegrats; bits and pieces flying every with way as the both fade into dust. As if at ground zero, a invisible blast radius crashes through the room, emitted from the very spot Connor stands. As the force expands throughout the room, the library returns to it's previous, discarded state. The books no longer fresh and new, the desks now rotten and nearly falling apart. Within seconds, it's almost as if nothing had happened. That is, nothing except for the scratches on Connor's neck.

Connor immediately goes for his cloth, and some water, and begins to feverishly clean at the wounds, remembering the fingernails, and shaking his head, "Infection… not good… what was that, who was that… oh hell, oh hell…" Muttering to himself as he sits down and tries to get the scratches cleaned out as best he can, "It tried to kill me, James was right… stupid stupid STUPID…"

With exception to Connor's voice, silence reigns supreme inside the large room. Then a click of a lock that was latched for much too long, the door opening ever so slightly as if inviting those seemingly trapped inside back into the world beyond.
Heedless of whether or not it's a trap, Connor gets up and starts pelting towards the
door, then his much more strategic mind engages itself, and as he's running, he attempts to teleport outside of the building and the entrance, covering the scratches on his neck with the cloth with one hand.

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