Nerundill caught hints, snippets of conversation. The rumors surrounded a book, a book of magnificent power. A book that contained the knowledge of the ancients. With every new tantalizing bit of information he heard, his resolve to possess this book increased.
In ancient China, women bind their feet for cosmetic reasons, resulting in them not able to walk without help and walking in a shuffling gait.
Possibly this can be modified such that people do it for less stupid reasons.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a racist remark since I'm Chinese myself and hence entitled to freely judge Chinese customs. NOT sexist either since I'm female as well.