Uncomfortable Lesson

Bobby casually glanced around the empty foyer then back to the black-suited man.

“Hard choice, huh?” he asked with a smile. The man nodded politely.

“You may have been the only candidate, but you weren’t the only choice. It wouldn’t be the first time the council declined to train a librarian. Despite…,” the gentleman gestured at the empty seats. “…flagging interest in our guild, we never admit anyone just to bolster our ranks. Please, follow me to your quarters.” He turned, book in hand, and strode out of the lobby. Bobby followed.

Bobby knew the Librarian’s guildhall was, of course, a library. However, he was not prepared for the number of books he saw as soon as he entered the hallway. The long, narrow corridor was made tighter by bulky bookshelves lining both sides. The shelves ran floor to ceiling the entire length of the hall. They turned a corner at the end and Bobby found more of the same. Every hall and room the gentleman led Bobby through was filled with bookshelves.

“That’s a huge book,” Bobby gestured at the gentleman’s thick tome as they walked. “How long did it take you to fill it?” A smile grew on the older man’s face.

“As a librarian, our tomes are never filled. But…,” he hefted the book in one hand as if he were trying to guess its weight. “It’s taken me more than a few years to reach its current state. But it all depends on your story; some are easier than others.” Bobby nodded as they turned another corner. They stopped in front of a closed door.

“When do I get my story?” he asked. The gentleman chuckled and opened the door. Bobby expected it to be his room, but it looked like an office. A single, plain wooden desk sat in the middle of the room; a stack of parchment paper, pen and ink sat on the desk. Bookshelves lined all four walls, but the shelves were completely empty.

“When you write it,” the older man gestured at the desk, then at the empty shelves. “The shelves are there for your convenience. Once you begin, you’ll find they fill up fast.”

“Is this my room?!” Bobby asked. The gentleman nodded.

“I did say, ‘follow me to your quarters’. Here we are.”

“There’s no bed!”

“Comfort is a luxury you won’t always have. Starting now,” he smiled at Bobby. “Welcome to the guild.”

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