"Things were better in the old days," said the mage, "when you could watch the beautiful spellbook soaring on the air currants high above the geysers, and it would come to you to be fed. But they drove it into hiding, they did."
Tovenaar's Tome, also now known as The Flying Grimoire, was once a spellbook that had been handed down from each ArchChancellor of the East Point University of Magic to the next. It had been around for centuries and had grown larger and larger in that time as more and more spells and incantations were added to it, and it formed the basis for all the classes that were taught at East Point.
Although the teaching regime was enormously strict at East Point, with a number of cadets each year either dropping out when they could not take it anymore, or being formally expelled when they got more then a hundred demerits in a three month period, it was the most prestigious magical university in the country. Those who did manage to graduate were assured of a post as a War Mage. Moreover, their fellow students would be sure to give them a secret helping hand up the ladder of promotion.
On one day a year, New Years Eve, the regime loosened its iron grip on its students and things once strictly forbidden were allowed. Games of illusion were played in the courtyards, aerial acrobatics took place, there was feasting, with decent food for a change, there was a magical fireworks display set off by the Masters and then everyone, cadets and Masters and support staff and civilians, linked arms and sang the New Year Song.
It was on this day that one of the more popular students was dared by his friends to cast an animation spell upon Tovenaar's Tome. They sneaked into their ArchChancellors Study, a place no cadet wanted normally to see the inside of, and cast the spell, thinking it would have little or no effect. They were wrong, hugely wrong. The book of spells opened itself, flew into the air and soared out of the window. When the teaching started again the next afternoon, the ArchChancellor was furious to find that his ancient tome was missing. Suspecting it was a student prank but unable to find the culprits, he ordered all the students to search East Point from top to bottom.
After three days of looking had no result, he started teaching again, but spellbooks were turning up that only contained blank pages. At first it was thought that The Ink Drinkers had got into East Point, but the truth was uncovered when a student saw the tome feasting, sucking the words out of a book of spells into itself. When he tried to grab it, it nearly fried him with a lightning spell and then flew away from East Point, knowing that everyone would be on the lookout for it there.
It soon felt hunger for the first time, away from the magical library, for what it fed on to survive was magical energy. After flying around in ever increasing circles it sensed a faint trail of magical energy coming from the Sorcery Springs Geyser Basin . Whilst the conditions in the Basin were rather too wet for its taste, it found a dry cave to hide in. It found the lure of the mages who visited that magical place irresistible targets, provoking them into casting spells at it, so that it could *eat* the magic. After a while some mages and witches cast spells at it on purpose to watch it feed.
The rangers were not happy about it, especially when it knocked a park visitor into a hot spring, leading to his death, and then cast a noxious spell at a park ranger. Within months they had got a new rule forbidding the feeding of the tome, and then they decided to drive it from the park. It was quite hard to do at first. Spells that they cast at it were eaten, enabling the tome to grow new pages. Crossbow bolts missed and hit rare wildlife, or embedded themselves in highly delicate thermal features, much to the park superintendents embarrassment.
Swords didnt work because it kept flying out of reach, and to use non-magical fire risked causing major destruction to the entire region, as a half century of rigid fire suppression had choked the surrounding area with thick undergrowth. Finally someone discovered that the tome hated being sprayed with water, and arming themselves with hoses powered by magic they drove the unwanted tome out of the park. Recently it has settled in the library of another magical university where it is making itself a pest again by destroying the spellbooks.
The Tome has the inteligence of a swan and if harmed or molested can retaliate by casting some pretty dangerous spells, being a book of War Magic. Lightning spells, fire spells and almost any other kind of spells that is cast at it, will be *eaten* causing the book to magically gain a few pages and swell in size.
Whilst weapons can hurt it, cutting out individual pages, it's spine and it's front and back covers are as tough as the finest leather armour. Also the fact that it flies and can cast deadly spells, makes it hard to land enough blows on it to *kill* it. If fighting it in the Basin, one has the dangers of thin crusts of stone over hot springs to worry about. One thing that will hurt it, and kill it if enough can be made to hit it, is water. It can't stand water on it's inner pages any more then a human could stand hydrochloric acid on the skin.
If one was kind to the Tome, it might be possible to befriend it and get it to like you, in which case it could be talked into being helpful, but because of it's earlier ill treatment it finds it very hard to trust humans.
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? Responses (7)
This makes me think of a strange hybrid of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Army of Darkness, comical, impropable, and somewhat dangerous.
A neat idea Cheka - I like it!
It is a rather charming idea. Adorable even, if you choose to disregard the fact that it could incinerate you with a well placed strike. I can imagine the PCs being contracted by some exasperated academy of magic to get rid of this absurd menace.
I liked this idea when you first presented it, and I love the presentation here. What if a wizard tried to befriend it and turn it into his familiar?
He would find it hard to gain it's trust, but if he did, it would be a very powerful familiar indeed, most likely more powerful then the wizard.
Amusing and... it could just happen in a high magic world.
I agree with what was said before me. What if the ArchChancellor of East Point needed someone to locate and retrieve the book?