Books and Their Covers

Bodil raised her shield and her opponent’s mace crashed into it, sending a shock wave down her arm. As this happened, Bodil shifted her weight and pushed, and the opponent’s side was exposed. She thrust her sword into his abdomen and pulled the sword left then up. She retreated and he fell off her sword to the ground. She watched him die before she turned her back on him.

She said to the shaman crouching behind her, “Get up old man. You’re safe now.”

He looked at the five bodies surrounding them then down at his shoes.

“Be glad it’s their blood soaking your shoes,” Bodil said.

He tip-toed through the mess and once on clean ground said, “The library is this way.”

Bodil frowned, but followed him. A simple thank you would be nice, she thought as sweat dripped between her breasts. Five untrained bandits were no challenge, but they still required work.

“Why was the library built out here?”

“Why not out here?”

“No one can use it if it’s in the middle of nowhere.”

“Well,” the old man said, “there are libraries, then there are Libraries.”

“I don’t see the point in having a secret library in the middle of the forest.”

“Ah, here we are.”

They had stopped at a boulder in the middle of the trees. It had a flat top.

“We’re at a rock,” Bodil said.

“Oh, that’s just the marker. Can’t you feel it?”

Bodil looked at th shaman then at the rock, and back at the shaman. “I’m not a shaman, so no, I can’t feel it.”

“The knowledge lives here. It is like the wind blowing across my skin or the sun shining down on my head.”

“Well, good for you. Take out your sunny book and your breezy treatise. I’d like find an inn where I can eat and rest.”

“It is the river flowing through me,” he said as he climbed onto the boulder and sat cross legged.

Bodil groaned. “Don’t tell me you’re going to meditate.”

“I’m going to…”

“I said DON’T.” She wandered through the trees, keeping the old man in sight, and looking for signs that others may have been here.

Bodil found animal tracks and paths, but no signs of humans. This would be a good hunting ground. She was tempted to stretch out in patch of green grass and snooze, but she had to keep that annoying shaman alive.

The shaman announced, “I have what I need.”

She waited for him to climb down from the boulder, but he still sat.

“Then let’s go,” Bodil said.

“This is the end,” he said.

“You don’t get to die after all the hard work I put into keeping you alive.”

“No, dear, I’m not dying. I’m staying. Your job was to get me here. You’re done. Go find your inn.”

Bodil folded her arms across her chest. That was true, but should she leave him out here with no protection?

“Go, child.”

She shrugged. “Right then.”

Bodil walked into the forest and looked over her shoulder as she left. A glow surrounded him and diffused into the forest. She stumbled and watched the path she walked. Well. So he was a Shaman. In his Library. He truly no longer needed her.

This post brought to you by prompts from the Seventh Sanctum:

The story ends in a library. The story must have a shaman in it. The story must involve a shield in the beginning.

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