Title: Songs of the Past
Boombox - October 2, 2011 04:43 PM (GMT)
Sam knew this was a long shot. In fact, he was pretty sure this was pretty well impossible. An ancient tome in the local library? There was no way this would work out. But even his other half (or new half, or... something) had no idea what his own deal was, and Sam was tired of not knowing. So, he'd looked up online about things that were like Boombox, and only one name came up...
The Libri Apotheosis.
So, he popped down to the downtown library to see if they knew anything. Maybe the librarian was a supergenius or something...
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 04:50 PM (GMT)
Ema finished drying her hands and walked out of the bathroom, wondering whether she should take her lunch break or try to help speed up the check-out line.
...Probably lunch break.
Of course, Sarah looked like she was trying to get Ema's attention, which meant she wanted her to come check people's books out, which meant that that nice man over there looked like he needed some help.
"Hi! Can I help you find something?"
Boombox - October 2, 2011 05:00 PM (GMT)
"Well, I'd like you to try," he said sheepishly. "Um... what's your oldest book?"
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 05:13 PM (GMT)
Ema raised an eyebrow. Either this guy didn't know what he was looking for, or he didn't know who he was talking to. Or both.
"We don't have any really old books, but we have a lot of books with excerpts and translations from older books. Plus we have online databases and the internet. If you know what you're looking for, I can probably find it for you."
Boombox - October 2, 2011 05:17 PM (GMT)
"Oh, okay," he said. "I'm looking for something called the Libri Apotheosis... ever heard of it?"
I wonder how far the next library is, he thought. I'm sure she won't know a thing...
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 05:22 PM (GMT)
First Ema cocked her head, staring at Sam. Then she closed her eyes and started mouthing words to herself. A few seconds later, her eyes flew open again, and she glared at the floor.
"Damn it! I know I've heard of that before, but I don't know where. What's it about? Come here." Beckoning to Sam, she abruptly turned and started walking (quickly, for someone with legs the length of hers) towards a round table crowded with computers.
Boombox - October 2, 2011 05:30 PM (GMT)
"Oh, um," he started, trying to keep pace with the surprisingly swift librarian. "I think it's by this crazy monk named Brother John Vilgius. It was about avatars of various abstract concepts... I guess it got him burned as a heretic by the Inquisition. When I was looking it up, it said that one copy didn't get burned by Torquemada, but... they weren't sure..."
Huh. Might not need to go to another library after all...
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 05:43 PM (GMT)
Ema plopped down in a chair, pulling a second one up next to it, and stuck out her hand, grinning.
"I'm Ema. Trust me, if this book is out there, I will find it." She loved a good challenge.
Boombox - October 2, 2011 05:51 PM (GMT)
Sam grinned as he sat down and shook her hand. "Sam. Sam Roundtree," he said. This would be AWESOME!
"Um, I think it was also handwritten, despite movable type being around already," he offered, hoping it would help. "I guess he was kind of old-fashioned."
That was a sentiment Sam could relate to. Twice.
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 06:06 PM (GMT)
"Nice to meet you." She said it, so it was polite. Even though she was staring at the computer screen and clearly not paying attention to him.
"Um, I think it was also handwritten, despite movable type being around already. I guess he was kind of old-fashioned."
She glanced at him briefly, then went back to typing.
"Maybe, but then again, that sort of thing wasn't really practical for a long time, so it may just have been easier to write it out. When was he around? Do you know?"
Once her favorite database was up, she typed in the author's name. If the book was hard to find, maybe this would be an easier way to track it down.
Boombox - October 2, 2011 06:19 PM (GMT)
"Um... late 1400s, I think," he said. "Right when the Inquisition started really taking to burning 'heretical works'," he said, airquoting. "So... 1480s, 1490s? I think the Catholic church doesn't even like to acknowledge he existed..."
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 06:32 PM (GMT)
"Well, here's something." There was always some crazy professor with a special interest story. It didn't matter what the topic was. There was always at least one article about these things. True fact.
"Interesting..." She scrolled to the end of the article and scanned the bibliography. "Got it! This references the Libri Apotheosis, although I can't tell from just this how they got hold of it."
She turned to give Sam a very serious look.
"This might take a couple days."
Boombox - October 2, 2011 06:48 PM (GMT)
"Oh, I've waited for some time to get some of these answers," Sam said. "I can wait a couple more days. What does that one say?"
Anything to start off with, Sam thought...
Tiny Librarian - October 2, 2011 07:03 PM (GMT)
"Not a whole lot. This is mostly bibliographical stuff about people, including that guy. I don't know what it's about, really. Looks kind of complicated, actually..." Ema trailed off, then shook her head and looked back at Sam. "The point is, I'm going to try to contact the writer and see if I can find out how to get a copy of the book. They might have one, or they might know where to get it. Or they might be full of shit and just referenced it so they could say they did." She grinned and shrugged. "Who knows."
Boombox - October 2, 2011 07:09 PM (GMT)
"Hopefully you do," he said. "Do all librarians know about this stuff? I mean... it's pretty obscure..."
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 04:00 PM (GMT)
Ema burst out laughing. If he asked one of her coworkers about this, they would probably search the book catalog and then give up and send him to wikipedia.
"Probably not, no... You could say I'm kind of a specialist."
Boombox - October 4, 2011 04:16 PM (GMT)
"Oh!" Sam exclaimed happily, leaning back in his chair until he stared at the ceiling. "I was so afraid I'd get some old lady whose book knowledge began and ended with 'shhhhh'. I must actually be getting lucky for a change."
He almost mumbled the next sentence. "That Wade thing must have been the turning point, I guess..."
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 04:27 PM (GMT)
She might have laughed at what he said, but...
"Wade?" Same Wade? Well. Probably. What other Wade could it be? Definitely Wade.
Boombox - October 4, 2011 04:35 PM (GMT)
"Yeah, he was this homeless guy my..."
Pause to generate half-truth.
"... roommate let sleep at our place the other day. I freaked out at first, but as it turned out, he was a pretty cool guy. Helped me work some things out, even. Things have been looking up since then."
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 04:43 PM (GMT)
"Huh. Yeah, I think I met that guy. Can I ask what he helped you with?"
Whatever it was, it had to be interesting.
Boombox - October 4, 2011 04:57 PM (GMT)
"Well, he..." How to put this in terms that wouldn't expose him... "Helped me understand my roommate a lot better. In fact, it's why I'm helping him with this project of his. It pertains to...
"... The curse put on him that makes him always speak in rhyme. Yeah. Just woke up one day talking like that, he said," Sam blatantly lied. "Impossible to get him to tell me anything about oranges..."
Sam grinned, unsure that would hold up. He did not realize at the time that grins like that ensured it wouldn't.
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 05:10 PM (GMT)
Okay, then. What was that all about?
"So, what's with this roommate of yours? I mean, why do you think this guy's book has something to do with some random curse your friend just woke up with? It sounds like that's something that would happen if you pissed off a magician, not just at random." Ema almost stopped talking. But then she didn't. "And what does that have to do with this book, anyway? It's not actually about magic, right? I thought it had something to with some kind of mystical entities and artifacts or something like that."
Maybe he thought he could use one of the artifacts for a cure? But really, who the hell thought they could just walk along and happen to find the particular unique magical artifact they were looking for? It was hard enough to find any information about them, let alone the things themselves. And how did he get on this topic anyway? Why wasn't he asking about curses?
Ema found herself frowning as the questions built up inside her head. One at a time. She'd have to save the rest. Take it one at a time.
Boombox - October 4, 2011 05:29 PM (GMT)
"Heh... I dunno. He has a CRAZY night life," Sam said, not lying since he didn't imply he had NO life beforehand, on top of the fact he had no clue what that OTHER homeless guy did with the amulet before he had it. "B-but, um, he DID also wake up with this around his neck."
Reluctantly, Sam pulled Boombox's amulet from his pocket. It was a simple item, a diamond-shaped red stone (with what looked like a treble clef within) with a gold setting on an unremarkable chain. But it had marked magical power, perhaps even greater than the whispers of unseen energy it emitted spoke of.
"I got nothing on the net when I looked it up... any ideas?"
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 05:47 PM (GMT)
Ema sat up straight and leaned forward as her eyes widened with excitement.
"Oooh," She exhaled, the bit her lip.
"Can I see?"
Normally she would have assumed it was a piece of costume jewelry, but considering his story, she imagined it must be something very different.
Boombox - October 4, 2011 07:08 PM (GMT)
"I... I guess," he said. "But be careful! It's... pretty weird. And I don't want you speaking in rhyming couplets, either."
Sam handed over the amulet with great wariness. He almost couldn't believe no one but him had held it since he'd got it. He was even worried she'd turn into a disco star before his eyes. But that wouldn't happen...
"Just... be careful."
Tiny Librarian - October 4, 2011 07:24 PM (GMT)
"Ohhhhhmygosh." Ema's brain started speeding up until it felt like her thoughts might bust out of her skull. Her words sped up to match her thought processes. "There's a thing I wanna do, but there's people here and I dunno if I can do it with you around, and you're so not gonna let me take this out of your sight unless you're some kind of idiot, which I don't think you are, but. You could be."
She stared at Sam for a second, letting a small corner of her mind attempt to determine whether he would be enough of an idiot to let her take the amulet, then shook off the thought. It wasn't gonna happen. Not when she had just said that out loud. Man, that was kind of offensive.
"Sorry." She looked back down at the amulet, turning it over and over in her hands, trying to memorize the way it looked and felt. It had to be important, especially if he was really that nervous about what it could do. Just touching it could mess you up? That had to be powerful.
"What do you know about it?" Looking up again, she fixed him with an intense stare. The one she wore when she was focusing really hard on at least two things and they were getting in each other's way. Right now she was thinking about the amulet and trying to think about Sam's response, and really, she just needed to calm down and start thinking clearly, but that was not going to happen. Too exciting!
Boombox - October 4, 2011 08:08 PM (GMT)
Sam did not like that stare. It was a stare of knowledge. A stare of inquisition.
A stare that, despite himself (or herself), was one of intimidation.
"Nothing! Iaaahe, um," he said, swerving to avoid the first person tense, "he said he might have seen a homeless guy with it the night before! Maybe he did it to him?"
Sam was trying desperately not to look as if he was sweating bullets. She asked the wrong questions! She should have just told him where to find the book! He wasn't equipped for this!
"Maybe I should just bring my friend back some other time," he said nervously. "It's him that's affected, not me, so he might be of more use..."
Tiny Librarian - October 5, 2011 03:15 AM (GMT)
Well, that sounded like a load of bullshit. And what reason would he have to lie about a magical artifact that he just happened to have lying around? Very interesting.
"So then how did he get it from this hypothetical homeless guy?" An unpleasant thought occurred to her, and her intense stare turned into an equally intense glare. "He didn't take it from Wade, did he?"
Man, she would be so pissed. Wade was a good guy. Quite possibly more than a little bit nuts, but he was really nice. Not that he couldn't take care of this himself, but if he hadn't already, then he probably didn't know about it, in which case, Ema should probably just go ahead and kick this guy's ass on Wade's behalf. Outside, of course. It wouldn't do to have that kind of chaos in her library.
Boombox - October 5, 2011 03:33 AM (GMT)
"Whuh? NO! Different homeless guy! TOTALLY different homeless guy!" Sam said defensively. "Although you can't really steal anything from Wade... hard enough to GIVE him stuff, really... but it's a TOTALLY different guy and it WASN'T stolen, I promise."
Sam sighed. He was getting worse with this lying stuff, especially when he wasn't planning to (even though, in hindsight, he really should have been). Maybe a bit more truth (not ALL) would ease things.
"... Can I tell you a bit more about this curse?"
Tiny Librarian - October 5, 2011 06:52 PM (GMT)
That seemed like it might have been more of an outraged denial and less of a nervous guilty denial, so Ema would let it slide. This time.
"Can I tell you a bit more about this curse?"
Clearly he had missed the first part of this conversation. The part where Ema wanted to know EVERYTHING. That part was important. She nodded enthusiastically, letting her glare melt into a very excited half-smile.
Boombox - October 5, 2011 07:34 PM (GMT)
Oh, this was not going to end well.
"My friend," he said, "might be talked about in that book. As... an ancient incarnation of music. He wasn't clear on how it worked."
Man I hope she's satisfied with that for a while...
Tiny Librarian - October 5, 2011 09:37 PM (GMT)
Ema crossed her legs on the chair and stared. Somewhere in the back of her head, she was running through every possible scenario that would make that statement make sense, except that it didn't. It made no sense. But it had to, but it didn't. Was he lying? Or was he confused? Or was his friend lying? Or maybe there was something else going on?
"Hmmmm..." Her head tilted slightly to one side as she continued to stare at Sam.
Boombox - October 5, 2011 10:28 PM (GMT)
Sam was sweating. This girl did not take "functional lie" for an answer, and it did nothing but make him nervous. She wouldn't help him, he knew it! She wanted him to spill everything he could, totally transform in front of her, put an article in the Times about him, and totally ruin his life! And for what? Wanting to know something about himself? Maybe find a way to get BACK to a normal life? It wasn't fair!
It made him wish he was made of sterner stuff.
"Okay, okay!" he began to semi-admit. "What else do you want to know about my... 'friend'?"
Take the inflection as a hint, he quietly begged. Let me keep that much...
Tiny Librarian - October 5, 2011 11:50 PM (GMT)
Ema grinned. Answers! This was turning out to be a good day.
"Everything! Or whatever you'll tell me. So everything you're willing to tell me, I guess. And what do you mean-" she raised her fingers to trace a pair of quotes in the air "-friend. What is the deal with this guy who may or may not be an incarnation of music? Are you actually friends or are you just saying that because it's a convenient way to talk about him?"
That was totally plausible. Sam seemed really uncomfortable. Maybe he was even being threatened or blackmailed or something. Somewhere else that might have seemed unlikely, but in Metro City... You could never really know for sure.
Boombox - October 6, 2011 12:07 AM (GMT)
Sam said it pointedly, quietly, but with eye contact given to a darling patch of carpeting. He hated it. He HATED it. But he needed answers, and if it took making one librarian swear to silence, he'd do it.
"It's me. When I put on the amulet, I turn into a different guy, and he's really annoying, and I think he's the incarnation of song or something, and he's in my head saying...well, it's about time, actually...and I need you to never tell anyone, but I still really need your help, because I doubt anyone knows half of what you know on the topic."
He looked up for a moment, then dropped his gaze again. "Can you just...help me, please?"
Tiny Librarian - October 6, 2011 12:36 AM (GMT)
Ema breathed out a quiet "Ohhh," and leaned over, placing her elbow on the desk and her head on her fist.
"Can you just...help me, please?"
"Well, yeah, totally, but you know." What. He shouldn't tell people that he was occasionally some sort of magic incarnation thing? Yeah. That was probably why he didn't say it in the first place, plus it was too late now, and that seemed sort of insulting to give him advice on his own privacy at this point... "Well. I can do some things. I think I can help, but probably not while I'm working. Not more than I already have, anyway. Is there any way I can find you after I'm off work so we can talk then? I take my job seriously, or I wouldn't ask. But I'll definitely try to help."
And really, this was a pretty sweet deal for her. She couldn't help grinning.
"Plus now you made me curious."
Boombox - October 6, 2011 01:26 AM (GMT)
"Yeah, I kinda caught that," he said, as if admitting that yes, she found him with a Hustler in the bathroom. "I just want help, that's all. Obviously, you wouldn't do it unless I told you everything, so here I am telling you everything. ... I just wanna figure this out, y'know?"
He got out his phone and opened a calendar program. "I guess I can meet you here... When did you want to meet? I think I've got some time later tonight..."
Tiny Librarian - October 6, 2011 01:21 PM (GMT)
"Well, I might do it anyway, but this'll be easier." She sat straight again, dropping her feet back to the floor.
When to meet... Was she going to make these after-work meetings with random PE guys a thing? Because she really hoped that was not what was going to happen. This was kinda ridiculous.
"Alright, I'm off at 7:00. If you want to come back and meet me, we can go somewhere and talk or something."
What she really wanted was to go try an identification spell on his amulet. What the hell was it, anyway? Of course, then they came back to the question of whether she could do that with him around, and whether he would let her take the amulet out of his sight. Speaking of which.
She handed the amulet back to Sam. Maybe if he trusted her with it now and she gave it back, she would be able to do some experiments in peace later. Or not. It would be interesting either way.
Boombox - October 6, 2011 01:58 PM (GMT)
Sam visibly relaxed when the amulet was back in his hands. "Sure, thanks," he said. "I just... yeah. I just want some answers, that's all."
Tiny Librarian - October 6, 2011 02:11 PM (GMT)
Ema chuckled and stood up. The check-out line was down to two people. Perfect.
"Alright, well, this will be fun. Try not to worry too much, you'll probably be fine. And, how about we meet up in the front lobby?"