My prompt this week was: “A race of dragon librarians whose highest honor after death was to be made into a book.”
Keepers of the Flame
The librarian smiled gently as she handed the book over, only a hint of claw showing on her long fingers. “Treat her gently, dear, it’s her first time out.”
“Thank you, I—wait. Her?”
“Oh yes,” replied the librarian. In most angles, she could pass for human, with only a hint of scaliness around the eyes to give away her true race. As she wore the traditional spectacles of her position, even that hint was hidden. “Brighid Breochwidh passed to her reward last spring, and the copyists have been hard at work on her tribute. An illustrated herbiary, based on her own notes and using her drawings and samples.”
Leofrich examined the tome in his hands. The heavy volume was bound in what looked to be a leather of faded lavender; as he tilted it, a hint of iridescence shimmered across the front through the gilded embossed title. Ribbon bookmarks dangled from the spine; from each one depended a teardrop of a scale, shifting from blue through green and purple. He swallowed, and said, quietly, “She’s beautiful.”
He knew that it was a signal honor to be allowed inside the dragon’s library, The Flame of Knowledge, and he was afraid to give offense. The librarian noticed his nervousness, though, and said, “I had forgotten. You have an aversion to such practices, do you not? Why might that be?”
“Ah…” Leofrich stumbled. This was not a question he had been prepared to answer. “It may be that such items have been more likely to be trophies of war, or the result of horrible practices.” Little could damage the librarians, no matter how they chose to present themselves, and at any threat to their books, they could slay all who opposed them. He gulped and looked at the book again. If this was their version of a cemetery, such an offense would be ten times the worse.
The librarian led him to a table, and he set the book down. Carefully, pulled the cover over, and it fell open a ways in. Startled, he glanced at the page, and his eyes widened as he realized that the herbs thus described had the properties he was looking for. “How—?” he choked out, and the librarian smiled.
“Oh look,” she said. “She likes you.”