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"What are you doing here?" the man asked. Tall and thin he held himself stiffly upright, gazing down with contempt at my companions and I.
"We seek council. The wisdom of the Order of the Hollaston is known far and wide." I bowed as I spoke, hoping the others behind me were following suit.
The figure regarded us silently, his inhuman eyes looking down a long nose as me. He did not look amused or terribly impressed with my attempt to curry a favorable disposition. After what felt like a millennia her spoke. "Our wisdom is ours. We do not seek or require trade. You have nothing to offer us for our wisdom."
I'd expected this. The Order was well known for its xenophobic isolationism. I bowed my head, "Indeed, I am sure that is often the truth, but in this instance your wisdom is superseded by a gap in you considerable knowledge." I reached under my cloak and produced a thick tome. Bound between brass slabs etched in hair thin tracings of runs and sigils, three hinges and three locks held the contents firmly shut, and secret.
"This tome we retrieved from the deep ruins of the fallen tower of Ullbac. Surely it contains knowledge long since forgotten within the realms?" I held the tome out with both hands, offering it, "Surely your council is but small payment for the ownership of such an ancient tome?"
The wizened figure stood silent, peering down at us through those strange eyes. I found ti unnerving, and swallowed hard to stand my ground. At last the silver grey eyes shifted from me to the tome. I drew a ragged breath, only realizing I'd been holding it as I drew in a chest full of fresh air. I waited and hoped, and wondered if such as the Order could be trusted with whatever lay within the book.