Saturday, December 21, 2013

OSR Christmas List Item #2: The Genealogy Room

Merry Christmas to Roger, who asked for:
how about a description of a single room, locked for 200 years, in a castle run by mad wizards and aristocrats?
Here it goes, then.

The musty smell of stale air and book mold practically suffused the room. Ebony-dark bookshelves lined three walls, lined with thick books covered in blue leather. Each bore a number engraved in silver, and there were so many that the last of them had numerals as small as a pinhead. The last wall was taken up a vast desk, above which hung a huge chart. The desk was strewn with so many books that I thought it was a wonder that the whole thing didn't collapse in a heap. Slumped across the desk was the unconscious form of a wizened, emaciated old man. I thought he was dead, until he shifted, and the top book of a particularly precarious stack tumbled onto his shoulder.

With a yelp of surprise he arose and flipped from page to page in a few of the histories and journals, pausing occasionally to record something in the blue book whose ink had smudged his bearded face as he slept with his face in it. He worked with unnatural speed, and in moments the book had nearly filled. With a satisfied sigh, he made the final mark and shut it, then feebly scrambled atop the desk to mark the chart-- only then did I realize it was a family tree going back as many generations as I could count and more. He stood on gnarled tiptoes as he drew a line to a name written in gold, a name I had heard once before in this castle and never forgotten.

"There," he sighed. He began to climb down, so much more slowly than he ascended, but before his foot reached the floor, I felt a draft from the door I stood in, and the dust that seconds before had been the mysterious old scribe had scattered, leaving only his robe behind, and lifetimes of genealogy.

This small chamber has been sealed for over two centuries. Its lone occupant was tasked by previous generations of the masters of this castle with recording their complete family history, there to remain until he could establish their descent from an ancient god best left forgotten. This whole time he has been under the influence of a Haste spell, made permanent by a ritual until his task was complete-- indeed, none of the aging he has experienced already is due to the spell since it has not yet ended. If left undisturbed, he will finally find the proof he needs within one turn, record it, and immediately age 7,050,043d10 years. A Time Stop spell will save him if cast in time, but the decades of isolation have driven him quite mad and getting information from him is a remote prospect at best. The books and the genealogy chart themselves would be of immense value to all manner of scholars and heralds, as they represent a significant fraction of the populations of half a dozen kingdoms going back practically to the age of myth.

Incidentally, this is post #75 on this blog! Excitement and huzzahs are in order!


Holly Oats said...


Roger G-S said...

Huzzah and thank you! I will make use of the present.